Cardinal and Gold suffer from November blues

LOS ANGELES — Losses aren’t supposed to happen for USC in November. History says so. Pete Carroll owned November during his time as USC’s head coach.
 
It’s safe to say history hasn’t repeated itself this time around.
 
“As I look at it and break it down it’s been a disappointing month,” said USC head coach Lane Kiffin. “We’ve had a disaster month.
 
“It’s not like it’s been a bad two, three years. It’s been a bad one month.”
 
That’s putting it mildly. USC (7-4) has lost two of their first three games this month, and the manner in which they lost has been monumental.  

This November has been historical in Trojan Land but not for the right reasons.
 
Oregon helped the Trojans get off on the wrong foot on the first Saturday in November.
 
Giving up 730 yards of total offense will have that affect. It’s the most yards given up by a USC defense ever, and they’ve been playing football since 1888. But, that wasn’t all. There were more records to be had by the Ducks.
 
Kenjon Barner rushed for five touchdowns, also the most ever against a USC team. He rushed for a school record 321 yards.
 
The Ducks’ 62 points stand as the most ever scored by a USC opponent. The previous record was the 56 points they allowed in the triple-overtime loss to Stanford in 2011.
 
The once-proud month for the program was off to an embarrassing start.
 
After Oregon came a win over Arizona State and that was followed by UCLA.
 
The Pac-12 South Division title was on the line and the Trojans dug themselves into a hole they could not get out of, lost their quarterback, and proceeded to lose the game to the Bruins. It further solidified that this “disaster month” has been the opposite of something you’d want to write home about.  
 
“It’s not a matter of preparation,” said defensive end Wes Horton. “It’s just not getting it done on Saturdays.”
 
Look no further than turnovers. USC is minus-four in the turnover margin in the two losses this month.
 
Coincidentally enough, Kiffin is 7-4 in November as the USC head coach. Half of those losses came during his first year, one of which was without Matt Barkley under center.
 
USC was 4-0 in November of 2011, including a win at No. 4 Oregon. They’re 245-162-20 all-time.
 
Under Carroll, the Trojans prided themselves on November wins. The former USC head coach was 29-1 during the month in his nine seasons as head coach.
 
His lone loss in the month came during his final season in the infamous “What’s your deal?” game against Stanford.
 
This season has been a disappointment. There’s just not getting around that, but similar to a position they’ve found themselves in on a number of occasions this season, USC has an opportunity to make a statement.
 
Saturday is supposed to be a coronation for Notre Dame (11-0) in their return to prominence and their next step towards competing for a national championship.
 
The only thing in their way is a four-loss team led by a backup quarterback, who just happens to be making his first career start.
 
On Saturday, the Trojans will hope to avoid having a losing record in November for the first time since 1996. If they can do so, they’ll spoil the national title hopes of the Fighting Irish.  
 
“I know they’re undefeated,” said safety T.J. McDonald of Notre Dame. “I know that they’re the No. 1 team in the nation. That’s all the conformation I need to know that this is a big game. This is a game that we can make a statement. (It’s) definitely a game that we can get our respect back.”