USC had more yardage, first downs, and time of possession on Saturday. Stanford was far more explosive in the passing game, averaging 10.2 yards per attempt vs. 5.3 for Kedon Slovis and the Trojans. Perhaps the most glaring number, however, was one that often reflects coaching. USC committed nine penalties for 111 yards, vs. five for 27 for the Cardinal, who won the game 42-28.
Jim Mora hasn’t coached at USC, but he knows the pressures of leading a major Los Angeles program, at the very least. During an appearance on Sirius XM ESPNU Radio, he said he thinks the move was appropriate after USC’s first loss of the year.
“First of all, I hate to see it,” Mora said. “I hate to see it with any coach and Clay’s a friend, so I hate to see it with Clay especially. But I can’t say it wasn’t the right move, you know I think sometimes there’s a negative vibe that starts to permeate a fan base, maybe even a team.”
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) September 14, 2021
“The media, as they’re reporting on you and I think we also felt that creeping in, and I think you know more than anyone Clay knew the pressure was on him this weekend,” Mora continued. “When you watched USC play Stanford the other night, what I saw was what I thought was an uninspired, undisciplined, talented football team.
Mora raised some questions about the roster, saying that he believes Kedon Slovis, who some have as a first-round pick, is “overrated.” That doesn’t exactly help Clay Helton’s case, though. Mora said that the Trojans didn’t play with a “sense of urgency,” and that it looked like a change needed to be made to the situation.
Now, USC will be the first Power Five team actively looking for its new head coach. The Trojans have kept it in the family in the decade-plus since Pete Carroll’s departure, but the results haven’t been there. Plenty of big names have been floated for the job so far, including Penn State’s James Franklin, Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell, and former Washington head coach Chris Petersen.