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USC FOOTBALL FYI

Trojans defense makes its case once again

The Trojans' nationally ranked defense has another impressive outing in a win over Utah State, which had been averaging 49 points.

September 21, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • USC safety Demetrius Bailey levels Utah State receiver Bruce Natson in the second quarter Saturday at the Coliseum.
USC safety Demetrius Bailey levels Utah State receiver Bruce Natson in… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

USC's nationally ranked defense had another impressive performance Saturday in the Trojans' 17-14 victory over Utah State at the Coliseum.

Utah State had been averaging 49 points and 550 yards.

The Trojans limited the Aggies to 285 yards and amassed 10 tackles for losses, including two sacks by linebacker Morgan Breslin and one each by tackle George Uko and linebacker Devon Kennard.

"I feel like we're building continuity," defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said.

USC limited Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton to 179 yards passing. He had minus-15 yards rushing in 12 carries.

"Even if we didn't have pressure on him, we still collapsed the pocket," said end Leonard Williams, who had a team-best eight tackles, including three for losses.

Said Pendergast: "That was our whole thing — we didn't want him to get out of the pocket and be able to make plays with his feet."

Streak ends

Tailback Tre Madden rushed for 93 yards in 24 carries, ending at three his streak of 100-yard games.

"I know everyone's going to be focused on not getting 100 yards today, but I'm glad we got the victory," Madden said. "That's all I'm focused on."

Madden rushed for 66 yards and touchdown in 15 carries in the first half. His one-yard scoring run in the first quarter gave the Trojans the early lead.

The third-year sophomore was aware of, but not obsessed by, his standing as the first USC player since Marcus Allen in 1981 to rush for more than 100 yards in the first three games of a season.

"I knew it was there and definitely everybody was talking about it," he said. "But I was just focused on the plays and what came out of those.

Madden said the Trojans have "a lot to work on."

"We didn't do as well as we should have on the rushing; I feel like we left some yards out there," he said. "We've got a lot to work on in little aspects of the game."

First touchdown

Tight end Xavier Grimble scored his first touchdown on a 30-yard pass from Cody Kessler in the second quarter. The play gave the Trojans a 14-7 lead.

"It was lovely to see that ball coming down the middle," Grimble said, who has 10 career touchdowns. "It was definitely a great feeling to get into the end zone."

Grimble finished with two catches for 39 yards. He has eight receptions for 88 yards this season.

Getting his kicks

Punter Kris Albarado played a key role for the Trojans, placing five of his seven kicks inside the 20-yard line and twice pinning the Aggies inside the five.

Albarado averaged 35.4 yards per kick.

Plenty of room

USC had hoped its victory over Boston College would translate into a larger crowd.

The announced 63,482 was a bit more than last week's 62,006. But, like last week, there appeared to be far fewer.

The Trojans' next home game is Thursday night, Oct. 10, against Arizona.

Penalty issue

USC was penalized eight times for 58 yards, an improvement from last week when the Trojans were flagged 10 times for 100.

The Trojans benefited from Utah State penalties. The Aggies were flagged 11 times for 89 yards.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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