USC Trojans College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
USC Trojans Biggest Key: Offense
If the offense is going to be about the passing game, it has to be stronger and more dangerous. USC only averaged 3.2 yards per carry, but it was okay early and got stuffed as the short season went on – it finished with just 38 yards on 28 carries against Oregon.
The offense under coordinator Graham Harrell is going to throw and throw some more, but that means it has to rock.
No, it’s not going to be the LA version of Texas Tech – where Harrell was a quarterback – but it has to do even more than average 319 yards per game and seven yards a throw.
If that sounds like asking for the world – considering the Trojans led the Pac-12 in passing – that’s because that’s the deal with how this O works. Again, if you don’t have a ground game, the passing numbers have to be ridiculous.
To get to where this team wants to go, it has to hover around the 350-yard passing mark like Florida and Alabama did last year – and those two had running attacks.
USC Trojans Biggest Key: Defense
Hold up better at the end of drives. The defense was good overall – and it should be again – but it buckled whenever teams got into the red zone.
Utah failed to score on a trip inside the 20 in the 33-17 Trojan win. That was the only time didn’t come away with points on a drive that deep.
16 red zone trips, 15 scores allowed, and worst of all, 11 touchdowns.
USC was able to hold up once against Arizona State and allowed a field goal in the 28-27 win, and it was able to stiffen and keep Arizona out of the end zone twice, but Washington State, UCLA, and Oregon closed out the season scoring touchdowns on all eight drives inside the 20.
USC Trojans Key Player To A Successful Season
WR Bru McCoy, Soph.
The passing game is going to be good no matter what.
The Trojans have the quarterback in Kedon Slovis, Drake London is a true No. 1 target, and the line should be a bit better in pass protection with a ton of experience returning. Slovis will spread it around and keep things moving, but it’ll be a whole lot better if McCoy can rise up into the No. 2 role.
The 6-3, 220-pound big-time recruit caught 21 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns in his true freshman season – highlighted by his scoring grab and onside kick recovery in the win over Arizona State.
He’s got the size, the speed, and the talent to do a whole lot more, and with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns gone, he’ll get his shot.
USC Trojans Key Game To The 2021 Season
at Arizona State, Nov. 6
The Trojans needed a miracle to get by the Sun Devils in the opener – winning 28-27 in the final moments, helped by an onside kick – and this time around it’s a bit later in the season as they begin the finishing kick.
Arizona State is loaded with the talent to finally win again in the series for the second time since 2014. 2013 was the last time the Sun Devils won in Tempe.
Considering Utah is a home game for USC and the rest of the Pac-12 schedule isn’t bad, this is it. This should be for the South title.
2020 USC Trojans Fun Stats
– Red Zone Scoring: USC 27-of-34 – Opponents 15-of-16
– Punt Return Average: Opponents 12.2 – USC 4.3
– 4th Down Conversions: USC 10-of-15 (67%) – Opponents 5-of-12 (39%)