Much was made of all the injuries to USC this week.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee, all three of the team’s scholarship tight ends, defensive end Morgan Breslin, linebacker Lamar Dawson and running back Justin Davis, among others, were ruled out of today’s game against Utah.
The count of total scholarship players available to USC at kickoff: 48.
That number went down even further when starting right tackle Kevin Graf was carted off with an injury early in the second quarter.
But the Trojans shrugged off the low numbers and took advantage of a slew of Utah turnovers to take a 16-3 halftime lead.
Utah’s offensive progression was abysmal. After getting a 42-yard field goal from Andy Phillips on their first drive, the Utes offense proceeded to punt, throw an interception, lose a fumble, turn the ball over on downs and then close out with two more interceptions.
USC parlayed all four turnovers into points, as placekicker Andre Heidari rebounded from a rough outing against Notre Dame last week to kick three field goals and Cody Kessler threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor.
For all the talk of the injuries, a basic point was missed: USC is just more talented than Utah, despite being short handed.
Virginia Tech has been playing just about the whole season without starting quarterback Michael Brewer after the Hokies signal-caller broke his collarbone in the first game of the season. Now, Brewer is on his way back to the field. Brewer has been medically cleared to return to practice in Blacksburg. It may still be another few weeks until he gets back in a game for Virginia Tech.
Brewer broke his collarbone in Virginia Tech’s season-opening loss to Ohio State. Once he left the game, it seemed the Hokies were unable to give the defending national champions much of a fight for a second straight season. He was originally expected to miss eight to 10 weeks of action, which would have meant a return for a Halloween game against Boston College as the earliest likely date. Virginia Tech has a bye week after the Boston College game, meaning Brewer could then be available for a Thursday night division game against Georgia Tech on November 12. Considering all of that, the chance Brewer might be available to play this Friday night against N.C. State is quite a pleasant surprise for a Virginia Tech team in need of some help after dropping to 2-3 after a second straight loss last weekend. Andy Bitter of The Roanoke Times says Brewer could be a gametime decision for Frank Beamer.
The outlook is not quite as possible for Hokies running back Marshawn Williams. Williams will be out for the rest of the season after reinjuring his left knee in practice in late September. It is the same knee that was surgically repaired last December. Williams can use this season as his redshirt season as he has not played in a game this season. He will still have three years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the team next fall.
wherever and whenever Washington State head coach Mike Leach opens his mouth, we will be listening. In a recent radio interview with John Canzano, Leach shared his thoughts on the presidential races heating up, the need to remove political correctness and the superior athletics facilities at Washington State compared to what is offered at Oregon.
Leach offered his take on the current status of the GOP race, saying if Donald Trump continues to rise that some other candidates will soon back out and others will “kiss the ring and hope for cabinet positions.”
I think honestly the single biggest issue in this election and country for quite some time is you have to eradicate political correctness. Unless it’s eradicated, you know, we can’t move forward.”
On the topic of football, Leach was asked what has held Washington State back from becoming a winning program. Leach reflected on the steps the program has taken to improve the program, which has seen improvements with facilities that have helped through recruiting, although Leach said it’s been tough because acquiring the talent has been a slow process. He was quite proud of Washington State’s facilities though.
“We have the best facilities in America, certainly within the conference, including Oregon,” Leach said. “We’ve had those for a year that helped accelerate the recruiting effort.”
Given a chance to back peddle from that statement, Leach, as you might expect, did not rescind or amend his previous comments.
You can listen to the full interview here. It is a good listen. He also wants to know where the best pizza place in Portland, Oregon is. You will learn he likes New York style pizza.