USC moved to 6-0 on Saturday with a 30-14 win over Washington State at the L.A. Coliseum. The Trojans are still searching for that complete game, but they made enough plays to beat a good Cougar team, providing plenty to work on and plenty to feel good about.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

You are what your record is

Look, folks keep talking about how USC can’t do this and USC is poor at that and USC won’t do this and the reality is USC keeps winning football games. The Trojans won a game in Corvallis because of their defense, and then won a game against Arizona State where the defense didn’t produce any turnovers until literally the end of the game, and now they’ve won another lower-scoring game against a darned good Washington State team.

USC is 6-0. The Trojans haven’t been 6-0 to open a season since 2006. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. Does USC have problems that need to get sorted out? Yes. But so does every team in the country. USC’s “fatal” flaws aren’t costing them football games.

Utah is next, but the Utes have looked completely incapable of stopping the run against the two best teams they’ve played. Travis Dye ran for 149 yards and a score against a Wazzu defense that entered the game ranked second in the Pac-12 in yards per run allowed, yielding less than 3 a carry. Dye ran for over 5 a carry.

USC just keeps finding ways. That builds confidence. I think it’s still just a tad too early to definitively say whether this team is championship-caliber, but they remain unbeaten, and that’s nothing to take for granted.

In that way, the presence of Dye can’t be understated. He talked after the ASU win and then during this past week about needing to keep the focus. His perspective is valuable to the USC locker room. His leadership is a big deal.

All week long USC had to hear about how they were in a trap spot, about how they were in a position to get upset. Instead of getting caught looking ahead to Utah, USC took Washington State seriously, jumped out to a 10-0 lead, and then pitched a shutout in the second half. Whatever the message has been from thee leaders on the team, it has been received.

The Tuli Shrug

Just line Tuli Tuipulotu up wherever and let him go to work. It’s a joy to watch him get after it.

The USC defensive lineman finished Saturday’s game with four tackles for loss and three sacks. All of them came in the first half, a remarkable display of pass-rushing acumen. He was a terror, causing problems for the Washington State offensive line all night. The third was maybe the most impressive.

The frequency with which Washington State ran right up the gut on USC’s defensive line was a bit concerning, but that was nothing new. Wazzu running back Jaylen Jenkins finished with 130 yards on 13 carries. USC was missing Shane Lee in the middle of the defense, and his absence was felt in the run game.

Defending the pass, though, USC was stout. Washington State quarterback Cam Ward finished 19-for-32 for just 172 yards. He was sacked five times. Washington State was 4-for-13 on third downs. Yardage didn’t come easy by air and USC was able to limit the shot plays — Wazzu had just one explosive pass play all game. And the defensive front was a big part of that.

The WRs

Jordan Addison was hampered by… something during the game. He spent some time in the medical tent early but returned to the game.

Considering that, the wideout group had a rough game as a whole. There were drops. There was miscommunication. That was probably the poorest showing from one of the strongest groups on the team. Quarterback Caleb Williams finished just 15-for-29 for 188 yards and two scores.

Mario Williams caught both of those passes, finishing with 82 yards on four catches. He continues to flash massive potential.

But he also had a couple of bad drops. Consistency with him is the key. If USC can get it, the duo of Williams and Addison is as good as any in the country.

The group just had an off night.