My last article stated that the only way USC could win this game is if their defense played better than ours. I didn’t think they could, and they weren’t. To say that this was a good old drubbing, getting taken to the shed, trounced, thrashed, etc., would be an understatement, actually. For all intents and purposes, this was a multiple statement game. Rarely does that happen. When it does, it’s always special, and Saturday was really special for anyone that bleeds blue and gold.
Do not underestimate the growth curve of young Brandon Wimbush. He slung the ball around without that indecisiveness that created a bit of a hitch in his throwing motion as of late. He was a field general. At no time did he look rattled or out of control. Granted, he still wants to make things happen that simply aren’t there at times, but if that’s the worst problem we have, we have quality problems. Although he was more decisive and did throw a better ball, it didn’t do much for his stat line (9/19). However, if he puts a little less distance on two deep balls to St. Brown, and Stepherson, those number look a bit better. The bottom line here is that he threw the ball well enough to have the USC defense consider that a threat, albeit inconsistent, and he was able to be part of a rushing game that stunned and destroyed the will of SC’s defense.
Josh Adams is the best running back in the country right now, and any argument to the contrary would probably not be a very good one. Adams has carried the ball 105 times for 967 yards, and has scored 8 times. Three of those scores came Saturday. One of them was his longest sprint of the season: 84 yards. Dare I say that, physically speaking, he’s next-level ready right now? He is, and he runs like it. He’s a big bruising back that outruns secondaries and has incredible vision. He and the rest of our backfield undressed SC, and made it look rather easy from time to time.
Wimbush said it best when he stated that, “We’re scary when we play as a unit.” We saw a cohesive Irish team that could have beaten anyone in the country. Our offensive line, as a unit, is playing at a high level that puts that group up there with the top three or four in the land. As a unit, our RB corps is interchangeable after Adams. Any one of them can keep the chains moving behind offensive line.
In turn, our defense is extremely physical and doesn’t just want to keep you from scoring–they play like they don’t want you to get first downs. Therefore, when this team plays as an entire unit, we are scary good, and we’re still maturing.
The Final Statement
We are playoff contenders on this particular day. What I’m alluding to is the fact that if, God forbid, our Irish lose a game the rest of the way, it’s not because the other teams were better.
That’s a bold statement that I have absolutely no problem throwing out there. We’re just that good. We’ve taken care of the football. We’ve limited mistakes. We don’t get penalized much, and when we have, we’ve lost (See the Georgia fantom late hit).
We’re growing every game. We are, as Sam Darnold said, “Too much to handle.” Thus, we truly control our destiny since every single game left on the schedule is winnable for this team. The thing that remains to be seen is whether or not they’ll play like they did last night more often than not the rest of the way. If they do, they won’t get beat, and whoever they face in a playoff game will have an even tougher, more seasoned Irish team to deal with.