Lincoln Riley's loyalty to Alex Grinch can't exceed his loyalty to Caleb Williams and the USC offense

The USC Trojans came to the Cotton Bowl knowing they were likely in for another shootout,

another game in which the offense had to remain in control and not waste possessions.

 In the first half against the Tulane Green Wave, USC did waste one possession on a Caleb Williams interception,

They put seven points on the board in their other four drives and grabbed a 28-14 halftime lead by converting 9 of 10 third downs,

unofficially all 10 third downs if you treat fourth-down conversions and successful third-down conversions.

Caleb Williams wasn’t full-speed after his hamstring injury (suffered on December 2 in the Pac-12 Championship Game versus Utah),

As long as he can buy time in the pocket and move around to avoid the pass rush,

USC did not punt in the Cotton Bowl. If you view fourth-down conversions as third-down conversions,

This was a nearly perfect performance. In truth, USC had only two really,

really bad offensive plays the whole game: the Caleb interception,

USC missed a field goal, meaning the Trojans could have scored 48 points, not 45, with a little more help from their special teams unit.


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