Sunday Night With Clay Helton

USC Trojans head coach Clay Helton during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Clay Helton talked about UCLA firing Jim Mora.

“Very sad,” Helton said. “We are in a high-risk profession/business. Coach Mora has always been respectful to me. It’s sad to see him go.”

Helton on his goal as USC coach: “You always want to progress and get better every year.”

That has probably been the main sticking point this season.

Helton on the pass defense allowing so many yards the past two weeks? “We’ve lost some battles the past two weeks.”

Helton also said USC has played a lot of man-to-man defense.

Injury report: Rasheem Green and Reid Budrovich suffered sprained shoulders. Budrovich did not get hurt on his tackle of Darnay Holmes on a kickoff but on a different play where he was thrown to the ground. Chris Brown suffered a lower back injury.

Meanwhile, Helton said wide receiver Randal Grimes did not suit up because of a broken hand two weeks ago. So quite a waste of a redshirt year.

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Where’s The Buzz?

Besides the fact it was like a cello recital (to paraphrase Jim Healy) when the game ended to mere silence, there was an attempt at a “We are SC” chant that fizzled out at the Coliseum. This was not the normal Crosstown Rivalry reaction.

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USC Quick Thought

UCLA Bruins wide receiver Jordan Lasley (2) catches a pass for a touchdwon over USC Trojans cornerback Jack Jones (25) during the second half of an NCAA college football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. USC Trojans won 28-23. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

It was obvious last night the USC fans are over the whole inconsistent nature of the Trojans’ play this season. The post-game reaction said it best. But apparently UCLA was also unimpressed.

A five-point loss to USC results in Jim Mora getting fired the next day? Didn’t Rick Neuheisel lose 50-0 to USC when he got fired? Now you get fired for losing by five points. USC isn’t even passing the eye test with UCLA.

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USC Morning Buzz: A Victory That Ended With Quiet Celebration

USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold celebrates after defeating the UCLA Bruins 28-23 during a NCAA college football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

USC held off UCLA, 28-23, but even many of the fans seemed to grow weary of the Trojans not passing the eye test.

Excerpt: The Trojans did just enough to win but not enough to make anyone think they would defeat a top 10 team. That will not matter to Clay Helton but it matters to the Trojans’ fan base and to Athletic Director Lynn Swann.

They will want to know how USC rushed for 153 yards against the nation’s worst run defense, which surrendered 302.3 yards rushing before the game. That was 9 yards less than Memphis gained against UCLA, the Bruins’ best effort of the season.

They will also want to know how USC’s secondary allowed 421 yards passing and wide receiver Jordan Lasley to catch three touchdown passes. This is normal for a garden-variety Pac-12 defense but USC is supposed to be an elite team.

Wolf: USC won Crosstown Rivalry but few celebrated

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The Pac-12 South Sinks

When you hear Clay Helton point out again that USC won the Pac-12 South, remember that every other team has at least 3 conference losses. It’s a truly awful division.

By the way, UCLA’s 501 yards in offense was the most allowed by USC since Helton officially took over as the Trojans’ coach.

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Discuss The USC-UCLA Game

The crowd was almost silent as time expired. It was that unimpressive. A five-point victory over a 16-point underdog. Clancy Pendergast’s pass coverage is awful. UCLA’s defense gave up its fewest rushing yards of the season (153). Memphis had 162 vs. UCLA.

This was another typical Clay Helton victory. Uninspired and sloppy (11 penalties for 115 yards).

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