Wednesday, May 3, 2023
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USC football looks to bounce back after disappointing 2022 finish

USC football’s 2022 season:

Despite a massive improvement leading to an 11-win season in 2022, second-year head coach Lincoln Riley is feeling the pressure of a less than stellar finish.

It was all there for the taking. USC was 11-1 and favored to beat Utah in the conference title game. A victory would put Riley’s Trojans into college football’s Final Four with the likes of Georgia and Michigan. Instead, USC squandered an early two-touchdown lead and fell to Utah 44-27. The Trojans were denied the BCS playoffs and settled for the Cotton Bowl where more misery awaited.

If Trojan fans thought the Pac-12 title game meltdown was bad, it got even worse in the Cotton Bowl. USC lead Tulane by 45-30 with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter. SC quarterback Caleb Williams, who was slowed in the Utah loss by a hamstring injury, was 37-for-52 for 462 yards and a Cotton Bowl-record five touchdowns. He could only watch as the Green Wave recorded a safety and scored two touchdowns in the 247 seconds to steal the game.

Looking ahead to 2023:

Heisman winner Williams is back for his final season at Troy as are a number of weapons. USC must address the problems on the defensive side of the ball if they want to improve on their finish from last season. To help address that problem area, USC went back to the transfer portal. They acquired edge rusher Anthony Lucas, a former five-star recruit who barely played as a freshman at Texas A&M. Lucas is 6-6 and 270 pounds. USC also has inside linebacker Mason Cobb, who had 96 tackles last season for Oklahoma State. Riley calls him the best inside linebacker in college football.

In the big picture, the Trojans matched the biggest turnaround in school history despite the late losses. While being unforgiving they must take the next step in 2023 to have any chance for glory in the playoffs.

Sophia Lee
Sophia Lee

Sophia Lee is a talented Korean-American sports journalist with a passion for covering a wide range of sports. A graduate of Columbia University's journalism program, Sophia has made a name for herself as one of the most insightful and engaging sports writers in the industry.

Her favorite sports include tennis, basketball, swimming, and golf. She has a keen eye for detail and is known for providing insightful analysis of the latest news and events in each sport.

When she's not busy writing about sports, Sophia enjoys cooking up her favorite dish of kimchi and spending time with her friends.

With her depth of knowledge and engaging writing style, Sophia Lee is a standout in the world of sports journalism.


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