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USC Trojans focused on football despite tumultuous week

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Sarkisian led USC to a lopsided victory in his debut as the team's head coach.

The turmoil at USC might not be completely over quite yet, but the Trojans have decided that they will not be disrupted by it.

That's the impression I came away with after being on hand to call USC's game on Saturday and spending some time around the team leading up to the game.

It was a tumultuous week for the program, no doubt. Cornerback Josh Shaw, a team captain, was suspended indefinitely after admitting to fabricating a story about saving his 7-year-old nephew from drowning and running back Anthony Brown quit the team, calling Steve Sarkisian a racist as he departed.

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Yet, the Trojans went out and handled Fresno State with ease, 52-13, on Saturday. They racked up 712 yards, never punted and ran 101 plays -- an outstanding performance in the first game of the Sarkisian era.

Now, everyone in and around the program was stunned that Shaw would be at the center of such a firestorm. Character had never been a question with him.

That rocked them.

However, Brown's accusation against Sarkisian actually galvanized the team. That's not the type of person Sarkisian is, and many members of the team publicly showed their support for the coach in the wake of Brown's allegation. The team was unfazed.

News regarding Shaw will pop up intermittently as the season progresses. When we know the real story from what happened that night, that's something the team will have to deal with, but I don't think the team will allow it to be a distraction.

The Trojans' focus is on football, and awaiting them next week is a huge Pac-12 game at Stanford. This team has been tested in some unique ways early, but this much seems clear -- it's unified and has the potential to put up a heck of a fight in what will be a tough battle for the conference title.

Follow Charles Davis on Twitter @CFD22.

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