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USC-Fresno State Report Card

USC-Fresno State Report Card

QUARTERBACK

JT Daniels was on fire at the outset until Fresno State figured out the new Air Raid offense. Kedon Slovis played about the way you would expect a true freshman who didn't expect to play. Clay Helton created this mess.

GRADE: C+

TAILBACK

Vavae Malepeai had 134 yards and Stephen Carr 56. But again, when USC needed a critical yard, the same problems as last year reappeared. Where was Markese Stepp?

Grade: B+

WIDE RECEIVER

For all the hype about this being the nation's No. 1 receiving corps, I was underwhelmed. Especially when Tyler Vaughns fumbled. But this is probably the least of the team's worries.

Grade: C+

OFFENSIVE LINE

They got blown up on a couple key plays: When Daniels tore his ACL and the fourth-and-1 with 2:44 left in the game. And there was a key penalty on Alijah Vera-Tucker that negated a huge play. Tim Drevno is working wonders.

GRADE: C

DEFENSIVE LINE

I kept hearing how the line made a huge jump in the offseason. Then there was a game and I saw Fresno State rush for 206 yards. It didn't look much different to me.

GRADE: C-

LINEBACKER

If you asked me one player sure to make an impact, I would have said Palaie Gaoteote. But I can't remember more than one play where he lived up to his promise. John Houston had 13 tackles but I'm not sold on him being an inside linebacker. It was an average group at best.

GRADE: C

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Fresno State rarely threw the ball downfield. And their receivers were always open. Watch out when USC plays a passing team. At least Isaiah Pola-Mao made a great play to save the game with his interception.

GRADE: D+

SPECIAL TEAMS

I don't care what else happened. After the two No. 7's debacle on the first play of the season, someone needs to fire John Baxter.

GRADE: F

COACHING

Where was the clock management? Where was the new, physical team we were promised? Why was USC going for it on 4th down? What changed? How dumb did it look to run off Jack Sears after Daniels went out? Has anything changed?

I thought there was no way a defense could cover the receivers in the Air Raid scheme? Weren't we promised an unstoppable, dynamic offense? It produced 24 points . . . against Fresno State.

GRADE: D-

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