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A couple of thoughts by KeoughCharles05
1) My biggest complaint on playcalling was the Mitchapalooza play being run straight rather than a wrinkle. On the jet sweep, I don't see leverage pre-snap. Here's some analysis of the play. Looks like Evans went to the safety instead of the linebacker, and left the tackler untouched.
3) I'm not sure that failing to hit a check-down is on Rees. Pyne has been missing check-downs all season long. It wasn't until the final drive that Pyne started hitting the swing pass to the RB leaking out of the backfield that was open nearly all game.
4) Agreed, as mentioned above.
5) Williams made time with his scrambling. Regardless of zone or man, if Williams is able to hold the ball behind the line of scrimmage for 8-10 seconds, someone is likely going to get wide open. He didn't frequently beat us with runs off his scrambles, it was much more common to beat us throwing the ball. I don't think man or zone really mattered there.
6 & 7) The egregious uncalled holds by SC absolutely changed the game. This wasn't just your every play holding in the interior line -- it was jersey grabs on the edge by linemen who had been beat, and in the interior, it was straight up waist grabs allowing Williams to squirt throw the pocket when it started to collapse. When USC had a penalty called against them, their drive stalled.
Overall this game didn't feel like we were outclassed, it felt like we lost. Losses will happen, especially when we make errors. Pyne's fumble and INT hurt, as did the defense's inability to tackle on USC running plays. But, had they called half of the egregious holds, I think 1 or 2 of USC's 5 TD drives would have likely stalled out. USC is likely a playoff team, and I think we'd beat them 4 or 5 out of 10. The fumble really, really hurt, as a completely unforced error. Assuming we had scored that drive absent the fumble (it was 1st & 10 at the USC 23 when it happened), USC would have faced 4th & 15 from our 36 yard line up 31-28 with, say 5 minutes to go. Regardless of how the game unfolded from there, it would have felt like a very different game than the one that played out.
Bigger picture, on the season, we outclassed a top ten team for the first time in a long time. I'm excited for the next 3 seasons.