It’s been a crazy month of October for the USC Trojans.
On Oct. 4, they lost, 38-34, on a Hail Mary to Arizona State. On Oct. 11, they beat then-No. 10 Arizona, 28-26, on the road. And last Saturday, on Oct. 18, they destroyed Colorado, 56-28, with USC quarterback Cody Kessler throwing for 319 yards and seven touchdowns.
“It’s been up and down,” Kessler said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Obviously Arizona State, that one’s going to kill me. I remember exactly where I was standing on the sideline when it happened. I watched it happen. At first I didn’t believe it, but it’s really cool to see this team bounce back the week after and beat the No. 10 team in the country at the time at their place. That’s a really good football team. Last week, I think our guys really got to come out and show that this offense can be explosive. The last three weeks have been up and down, but they’ve all been really good games and I think we’ve learned a lot from them going into this Utah game.”
No. 20 USC (5-2, 4-1) plays at No. 19 Utah (5-2, 2-2) this Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.
The Trojans have responded extremely well since that heartbreaking loss to Arizona State, but they almost had a late-game letdown two weeks in a row after Arizona recovered a desperation onside kick. Wildcat kicker Casey Skowron, however, could not convert a 36-yard field goal in the final seconds.
“Our guys ended up pulling it off, and our defense did a really good job of stopping them on that two-point conversion (on the previous touchdown), which ultimately, I think, won us the game,” Kessler said. “It forced them to make a field goal to win the game – instead of being tied, instead of going to overtime. Fortunately, they missed it. Our defense did a good job of holding them.”
Kessler, a junior, has had a remarkable season. He’s completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 1,884 yards, 18 touchdowns and just one interception. He’s also enjoyed playing for Steve Sarkisian.
“I think he’s done a really good job of keeping the tradition of USC,” Kessler said. “Obviously everyone was here last year when Coach (Ed Orgeron) took over. He was a great coach. He taught me a lot of things – not only as a football player, but as a man. I’ll always respect him and be thankful that I got to play under him. But when Coach Sark took over, I think he was the perfect man for the job. Coach O had just got let go, a lot of guys on the team were really close to him, and so it was a tough time for them. And Coach Sark took it head on. He did a great job and kind of picked it up and never looked back and has really been working hard with this team. We’re really close from being an undefeated football team.”
Following this weekend’s game, the Trojans play Washington State and California before closing the regular season against two ranked teams: at No. 25 UCLA (Nov. 22) and against No. 7 Notre Dame (Nov. 29).