TALE OF THE TAPE

College Football Week 2: #2 USC Vs. Syracuse

#2 USC
Syracuse
(credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
(credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Coaching
Winner Lane Kiffin had his players ready for their opener, a 49-10 win over Hawaii. He has recruited boatloads of four and five-star talents, especially at the skill positions.
Doug Marrone, raised in the Bronx and a Syracuse alum, is in his fourth season as head coach. His team regressed last year after winning a bowl game in 2010. He’s a hard-nosed, detail-oriented coach who is still in the rebuilding process.
Offense
Winner The opener couldn’t have gone better for the Trojan offense: Matt Barkley threw four touchdowns, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee had 16 catches and three touchdowns between them, and Penn State transfer running back Silas Redd scored as well.
Senior quarterbacks are always nice, and Syracuse has a pretty good one in Ryan Nassib. He’s an all-conference candidate who did everything he could in Saturday’s shootout with Northwestern, throwing for four touchdowns and completing at least three passes to eight different receivers.
Defense
Winner Hawaii’s offense should be very good this season, and yet USC shut it down. The Trojans’ defense looks even better than expected, a scary thought for opposing coaches.
The ’Cuse defense wasn’t as bad in Week 1 as 42 points allowed might suggest. Even so, pass-rushing is not this unit’s strength, so Barkley and the Trojans are a bad matchup.
Special Teams
Winner The Trojans looked great in all phases of special teams. Lee even returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
Kicker Ross Krautman doesn’t have a booming leg, but he is reliable from moderate distances. Sophomore Jonathan Fisher averaged 52 yards a punt in the opener.

The Winner Is

Winner #2 USC
4 out of 4

The Trojans have just one regular season non-conference loss since 2002. Let that sink in for a moment. Syracuse is a program on the rise, but is nowhere near ready to compete with a national power.

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