The USC Trojans had quite the first game under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, jumping out to a 28-3 second quarter lead before having to hold on for a 38-31 win over Arizona.
The Trojans started out with the deep ball as Cody Kessler completed two touchdown passes in the first quarter -- a 62-yarder to Nelson Agholor and a 63-yarder to Tre Madden. The Wildcats responded with a field goal early in the second quarter, and then USC took the ground with rushing touchdowns from Justin Davis and Javorius Allen.
Arizona made a spirited comeback thanks to four B.J. Denker touchdown passes (three in the second half), but it was too little, too late, and the Trojans won their first conference game of the seaosn.
Evan Budrovich of Conquest Chronicles saw a different Trojan team inspired by their new head coach.
This team-first family like mentality has certainly caught the attention of players, who have been rather audible about the change of coaching on this programming. While not looking to blame any previous concerns, the vibe following Thursday night's victory was one that certainly has not transpired under the former head coach.
"We would put our life on the line for this man, any day of the week," said quarterback Cody Kessler, who finished with just under 300 yards passing, on the impact of his interim head coach. "We love Coach O like a dad," linebacker Hayes Pullard said, adding, "we look up to him. That's a great feeling. That's the bond you want to have with your family."
Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Desert Swarm pointed to the Wilcats' inability in pass coverage as a primary reason for the loss.
Inopportune third-down mistakes and blown coverages downfield defined the first half for Arizona. And forget about the Wildcat cornerbacks having the speed to stick with a Trojans receiving corps without Marqise Lee and without much depth at all -- UA dropped their corners so far off USC receivers it then became a wonder if they were within 10 yards to tackle them at the end of their routes.