“A bunch of guys that don’t quit. This team is special.” USC head coach Clay Helton made this declaration shortly after the Trojans shocked and beat back No. 10 Utah, 30-23, at the United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
This was a game where the players viewed as a championship game. The Trojans came out and got the job done, despite their quarterback Kedon Slovis going down in the second play of the game.
The Trojans would now have the opportunity to see what they are made of. USC had already lost starting quarterback TJ Daniels for the season. When Slovis went down it didn’t look good for Helton or his team. This USC bunch came together through adversity and got the win.
Third-string quarterback Matt Fink got the opportunity of a lifetime to step up and show he’s ready when his number is called. He proved he had made the right decision to stay at USC, despite the odds being against him as a 3rd string quarterback. In times where it seems you may never get your chance, it’s important to stay grounded and ready to go at all times.
“I have a great team of brothers that’s going to push me forward. That’s the only thing that kept me motivated through the process.” Fink said when asked what kept him inspired. He also said, “SC is on the rise, we have guys that’s going to push us to the top.”
Helton has done a great job of mentally preparing guys for when your back is against the wall. And they are continuing to prove that. This is a mentally bunch but they are determined to prove to the world that they are on the way up.
“This is one of the most unique situations I have ever been in because the four quarterbacks,” Finks said. ” I have can play anywhere. You don’t know God’s plan. You never when you are going to get your opportunity.”
Another guy that’s under the radar but made an impact on this game is running back Markese Stepp. As of right now, Stepp doesn’t get that many minutes but when his number is called he’s ready. He got his first career touchdown and celebrated with Reggie Bush. He spoke on what it means to always be ready when your number is called and staying positive.
“It’s very important to be ready when your number is called,” Stepp said. “You can’t be negative, always be positive; can’t go into the game with a negative mindset or you’ll start messing up. Celebrate when your teammate’s score, being happy with them and try to create a good environment on the sideline. Being positive is a key thing for me.”
Stepp also spoke on the next man up mentality the coaches created for them and his belief he has in all the quarterbacks.
“I’m confident in all our quarterbacks, it’s so what, now what mentality,” Stepp said. “When one guy goes down, the next guy has to do just as good as the last guy.”
“So what, now what? That’s our motto,” Helton said. “What are you going to do? Are you going to make an excuse or are you going to find a way to get the job done? They don’t pay you to make an excuse, they pay you to find the answers.”
USC found the answers with its upset win over Utah. The victory against the Utes is deemed more than a surprise, given the fact that Utah was picked as the team to win the Pac-12 Conference. This was an upset. Period.
The Trojans might continue to shock the naysayers if they play future games with the same intensity. It looks as though Helton and the Trojans are on a mission to finish out the season strong and do the impossible.
Four games into the season they gave us no reason to think different. Helton believes when this season is done, they will be one to remember.
“By the end of this season, they are going to be a special product,” Helton said. “You watch. We need some luck. We need to stay healthy, but this team can do some special things.”