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USC defense loses 15-point lead in brutal Cotton Bowl loss

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Group of Five

Maybe, just maybe, USC playing Tulane, a Group of Five team that lost to South Mississippi earlier this season, would allow USC to play better in the 2023 Cotton Bowl. Maybe, just maybe, four weeks off with a chance to get healthy and practice would sharpen USC’s instincts and make players refocus on fundamentals and tackle better.

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Maybe.

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It didn’t happen.

Green Wave

Even with the USC offense holding the ball for nearly 22 minutes in the first half and holding the ball for 14 of the first 17 minutes of the game on two very long touchdown drives, the USC defense, despite being fresh and rested, she was unable to make tackles. . He couldn’t display more physicality than the Green Wave offense. He couldn’t reduce the explosive plays.

Cotton Bowl

We’re left with the simple, undeniable reality that the USC team we watched through 13 regular-season games was the team we watched in Game 14, the Cotton Bowl on the first Monday of 2023.

And that was just the first half.

Then came the late-game sequence, with Tulane, with only one timeout, trailing by 15 points with 4:30 remaining, scoring two game-winning touchdowns, crucially aided by a safety.

Alex Grinch

It’s a complete disaster for Alex Grinch and a USC defense in dire need of transfer portal reinforcements in the offseason.

This is how the game developed:

FIRST LIGHT QUARTER

End of first quarter: USC 7, Tulane 0. Time of possession: USC 11:48, Tulane 3:12

— Adam Grosbard (@AdamGrosbard) January 2, 2023

COSTLY MISSED APPROACH

Nick Figueroa

Nick Figueroa misses a tackle and a chance for #USC to come off the field on third down. Tyjae Spears scored a touchdown on the next play pic.twitter.com/nxM6ELhYCX

—Trevor Booth (@TrevorMBooth) January 2, 2023

TRYING TO FIND SOLUTIONS

The biggest issue is how many of these attempts are made at or above the numbers. The strike zone must be from the navel to the knees.

— Shotgun Spratling (@ShotgunSpr) January 2, 2023

REALISM

USC’s defensive staff hasn’t changed over the past month. Neither did the staff who didn’t know how to get more out of them. Why did people think they weren’t going to give up a TD or two?

— Alicia de Artola Castillo (@PenguinOfTroy) January 2, 2023

TALENT

…and before the attacks on the Grinch begin, let’s be honest: this is a talent deficiency issue. I can assure you that the teams that excel at tackling do not have special drills or spend more time (it is limited by the NCAA) doing it.

— RJ Abeytia (@RJ_Abeytia) January 2, 2023

SO SAY ALL

Just make one entry. OMG

— Ted Kaiser (@Tek13) January 2, 2023

BOTTOM LINE

Play after play, throughout the season, #USC has a guy prepared and in position to make the play. Too often, that guy doesn’t.

— RJ Abeytia (@RJ_Abeytia) January 2, 2023

AS WE EXPECTED

Cotton Bowl

The Cotton Bowl has 5:42 left in the first half and there have already been two TD drives of 90+ yards, just two missed third/fourth down conversions and six plays of 15+ yards.

— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) January 2, 2023

DEFENSE DELIVERED

THE DEFENSE DELIVERED 14 POINTS IN 18 PLAYS OF THE FIRST HALF

And 48 scrimmage plays for USC vs. 18 for Tulane.

— Brian Tinney (@bstinman) January 2, 2023

START OF THE SECOND

BAD START OF THE SECOND PART

5 USC players bite into the running action.

Nobody stays home.

THAT is a training problem.

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

NOT FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND

Guys are in position to make plays but they don’t make them: that’s up to the players.

5 guys biting into a fake and no one staying home is a discipline problem. That’s in the Grinch.

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Eric Gentry

Eric Gentry misses a leg tackle.

He was really good in the first half of the season, but since he came back from injury, he hasn’t been at the top of his game.

Lots of work in the weight room in the off-season.

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

IMPOSSIBLE TO

IMPOSSIBLE TO DENY

Turns out, after a month of bowling practice, this is the exact same USC team we watched all season.

— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) January 2, 2023

UNABLE

Raesjon Davis

The game’s best hit comes from Raesjon Davis, a talented young LB who has barely had a chance all season. Go figure.

— RichSC (@OriginalRichSC) January 2, 2023

WILD (USC 35, TULANE 30, END OF 3 QUARTERS)

USC has gained 500 yards and Tulane has completed 3 passes.

Trojans lead by just 5.

— Michael Castillo (@MichaelCastFS) January 2, 2023

BASIC MATH

USC needs a lot more defensive portal reinforcements. #Math

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

INCONVENIENT TRUTH

Smart from Riley and yet also a clear acknowledgment that D is not to be trusted at all. A concession, really.

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

FACE PALM

Does USC need 49 points to win this game or 56?

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

HIGHLIGHT

Mekhi Blackmon

Search groping! Mekhi Blackmon forces it, Solomon Byrd recovers. Great play for the #USC defense which has struggled but now may have given their offense a chance to end the game pic.twitter.com/Pf2PVl2iHr

—Trevor Booth (@TrevorMBooth) January 2, 2023

OUT OF SEASON THEME

USC still has the game clock close to 0.

I think, to some degree, Riley is doing this as 4 Grinch and D motivation.

He’s going to hang that fact over the D during the offseason (and I think that’s a good tactic)[email protected] @TPrangleyJr @LbcTrojan @MarkRogersTV

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

MORE MATH

Tulane had 37 points on 40 scrimmage plays and just 17 minutes of possession.

Total shame for this defense after 4 weeks out.

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

NOW THIS

Tulane gains 50 passing yards in two plays.

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

DISASTER

Up 15 with 4:30 remaining.

he

— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) January 2, 2023

Credit: https://trojanswire.usatoday.com/lists/usc-defense-collapses-in-cotton-bowl-creating-long-offseason-and-withering-heat-on-alex-grinch/

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