USC vs. Notre Dame: Championship Wishful Thinking Ended

Notre Dame vs. USC
October 21, 2017 at 4:43pm
Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN: 77,622
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Do you remember the last time USC didn’t score in the first half? At Corvallis in 2010, where the Trojans lost 7-36 and starting QB Matt Barkley had to be taken out with an injury. Seven years later, the #11 Trojans played about as well as the unranked Temple or Boston College against the #13 Fighting Irish. If you combine this game with USC’s 2013 trip up to South Bend you might get a full game’s worth of scoring!

Any hope at an outside shot of a playoff berth has been ended. Now fans are forced to adjust their expectations and are uneasy about the rest of the season.

No matter how good a coach is, eventually they will lose—maybe even a team that they have no business losing to—but a prepared coach shouldn’t really get blown out often. Not at this level. Not with this kind of team.

The team gave up. Hell, it looks like they were never really into it to begin with. The team looked completely unprepared and unable to tackle. From what I’m seeing, I’m guessing they stopped tackling in practice. Sources confirmed that. Hasn’t Helton learned from the mistakes of his predecessor? He worked directly under Kiffin when he made that same unfortunate decision. Uncoincidentally, it’s starting to look like that 2012 season; a depleted roster edges out unconvincing wins through sheer talent, but ultimately squanders the season due to poor preparation and coaching decisions—only Kiffin didn’t get blown out that season.


BAD: Allowing 377 yards rushing. That’s higher than ND’s average. Allowing 8 yards a carry is also fairly disappointing

BAD: Producing unforced turnovers.

BAD: Defense unable to balance out the offense by getting takeaways of their own

BAD: The punt return game. They made a change, like I wanted them to do. It resulted in another unforced turnover. You’re telling me the entire roster doesn’t have anyone that can reliably field punts?

BAD: The missed field goal almost got overshadowed in my mind because of all the other things that went wrong. A 27-yarder should not be that difficult.

BAD: Could not establish a run game.

BAD: I could list more but who wants that?

GOOD: Fink showed some good runs.

GOOD: Deontay had a great game despite his quarterback struggling.

Yeah…that’s about all the good I can remember

CommBro Breaker

As bad as that was, firing should not be on the table at this point. A third midseason firing, all within 5 years ,at a school that had previous not done it before, would be disastrous. Firing the guy at the end of the season might be hasty as well. He should get about three years. If he fails to make the necessary changes this offseason, then that’s the point when those considerations should start.

Lottery Stats

Depressing Stat of the Week: USC averages 2.71 turnovers a game. They have not had a game with less than two turnovers this season.They are tied for 127th in the FBS for total turnovers (19). The only team that has more turnovers that SC is San Jose State.

Running count of fourth down conversions: 4 of 12 (33%)

Running count of opponent fourth down conversions: 9 of 15 (60%)

USC vs. Utah: FumBowl Eligible

USC vs. Utah
October 14, 2017 at 5:14pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 72,382 (93,607)
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

So this post comes unbelievably late, even by my poor standards. In my defense, I was busy struggling through studying and struggling through my midterm. Kind of like how USC struggled all the way through this game against Utah. Clearly the struggle bus is a malady that affects all.

Tickets now on sale.

The problems started with some early fumbles—one leading directly to a touchdown. Three first half fumbles by a single player is quite concerning. That’s almost half the first half offensive drives ended by lack of ball security. But hey, at least there were no interceptions! this might’ve been a different game had Utah not missed that medium length field goal.

I must admit that there were a lot of distractions for me during this game, so my analysis it sorely lacking. I barely have time to write this so y’all can forget about me watching plays frame by frame like I used to do.
Speaking of time, there’s a bunch I’d like to get back from those officials that saw fit to measure for the first down like 3 times in the same set of downs. They had so many measures, the band almost thought it was their sheet music.
GOOD: The defense didn’t allow any points in the second half…until the last minute. They also managed to stop a potentially game-winning two point conversion.
GOOD: Scoring 21 straight points to take the lead.
GOOD: Darnold played an acceptable quality in the second half.
GOOD: Tight ends are finally getting more involvement in the offense. Here’s a stat for you: 75% of USC’s touchdowns came from the tight end position group.

GOOD: Punter, Reid Budrovich, continuing to field bad snaps.

BAD: Obviously, the other side, stop snapping so badly. This ain’t bowling. The ball needs to leave the ground.

BAD: Only having 49 rushing yards at the half.
GOOD: The run game picking up in the first half.
GOOD: Only three penalties for 35 yards—one of which was absolute garbage and not a pass interference.
GOOD: Tyler Vaughns, bailing out the team on fourth down again.

CommBro Breaker

At 6-1, USC is bowl eligible! Even if the season ends in five straight losses, USC will continue the streak of qualifying for a six straight year. That’s kind of a low standard for a USC team to live up to, but…

Lottery Stats:

Don’t be greedy. I already spread some stats throughout the post.

Turnovers off of Turnovers: We got another one this game! How exciting!

Running count of fourth down conversions: 3 of 10 (30%)

Running count of opponent fourth down conversions: 9 of 15 (60%)

USC vs. Oregon State: Groundhog’s Day

USC vs. Oregon State
October 7, 2017 at 1:07pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 60,314 (93,607)
Total Time: 3 hours 12 minutes

You see those people hiding from the sun there at the edge? That’s the kind of day it was. Did USC win? It’s hard to tell with all the negativity still going around the fanbase. Some of it is warranted.

Remember that sequence where USC fumbled and Oregon State missed a field goal? Then USC fumbled and Oregon State missed a field goal? Then USC fumbled and Oregon State missed a field goal? Then USC fumbled and Oregon State missed a field goal? Then USC fumbled and Oregon State missed a field goal?

Oh wait, it only happened twice. I thought it was Groundhog’s Day. Groundhogs are pretty much just beavers. Do missed field goals figure into the turnovers off of turnovers count? Emotionally, it sure feels like they do. On that note…

GOOD:  Jack Jones getting the students some Chick-fil-A…err, I mean blocking that kick.

BAD: Getting a personal foul penalty on a perfectly clean hit just because the Oregon State player failed to secure his own helmet.

GOOD: The Oregon State player that thought he was so cool for catching “touchdown” pass that he felt the need to talk crap. Had it actually been a touchdown, then the penalty would’ve been assessed on the following kickoff. Much less costly. Instead, he got them pushed back to the 15. BAD: Lucky for him, they ended up scoring that TD anyway.

BAD: Punt return game. I was never impressed with it, but this was the last straw for me. I would make a change at this point…if I had any influence.

GOOD: Backup QB, Matt Fink, getting to the endzone in an impressive run.

GOOD: Always good to get Jake Olson in the game. He gets to look like a boss on the broadcast.

GOOD: Finally some garbage time. It shows that the team actually had a secure enough position to start playing back ups. The last time was probably USC-ND back in 2016.

BAD: Oregon State is probably one of the worst, if not the worst, team on their schedule. The win was never in doubt, but they made it painful. If the same thing keeps happening, it’ll be a hard fought game against Utah next week.


CommBro Breaker

USC can’t seem to score without the help of a turnover (counting missed/blocked field goals). Heck, they can’t even score with the help of them sometimes. The offensive coaching staff continues to field a product offensive to the fans.
CITY OF ANGLES EXCLUSIVE: I actually found their offensive gameplan for the first half of the season. See below:

This must be what they tell Darnold to do on all the RPOs and read options.

Lottery Stats:

Depressing Stat of the Game #1: Total 1.5 turnovers per quarter. Messy game to watch. The first quarter had three total turnovers and two missed field goals.

Depressing Stat of the Game #2: Despite running only once, Fink has second most rushing yards by an SC player this game. The second “run” credited to him was recovering a fumble for a gain of 1 yard.

Misleading Stat #1: Fink has better TD:Turnover ratio than Darnold this game. 1:0 compared to 3:3.

Misleading Stat #2: Fink has 100% completion on the season.

Running count of fourth down conversions: 2 of 8

Running count of opponent fourth down conversions: 7 of 13