So you might have noticed that I missed a week. Something that hasn’t happened since I started this blog. My apologies to all my loyal readers. The busyness just caught up to me. But did you really need anything from me though? It seems the close of the first half of the ASU game was enough of a joke by itself. I can’t even write content as good as that. Still, I feel I owe y’all something.
ASU vs. USC
October 28, 2017 at 7:51pm
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ: 53,446
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
GOOD: Perfect throw and catch by Darnold to Deontay for the first touchdown. That’s the factor that’s been missing from the offense for most of the season.
BAD: One of the OL almost sacked his own QB.
CONFUSED: Darnold fumbed…but since it was on fourth down and immediately recovered…did it matter?
GOOD: Good use of RPOs and read options.
GOOD: Uchenna Nwosu shutting down an ASU drive, basically all by himself.
GOOD: McGrath making a career long 51 yard field goal.
GOOD: Tyler Vaughns smooth moves after the catch.
GOOD: Steven Mitchell’s box out block to spring Ronald Jones for a touchdown.
GOOD: Ronald Jones
CONFUSED: Extended first half. After the Hail Mary attempt by USC was ruled down at the 1, the officials signaled that time had expired. Both teams started to head to the locker room before they decided they should probably review it. By the time they changed their ruling, USC’s team was nowhere to be found. An angry Helton, made the officials go and grab his team. One lone referee made his way to the locker room…down the wrong tunnel. The SC players ran out of the other tunnel, doing the whole pump up routine probably to amuse themselves. The Pac-12 being the Pac-12 had to throw a flag on the ensuing PAT attempt.
USC vs. Arizona
November 4, 2017 at 7:51pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 70,225
Total Time: 3 hours 43 minutes
Now I’m finally back on track. I wish I could say the same about the Pac-12 conference. The already atrocious scheduling (like 12 straight games, Friday road trip after a road trip, two 7:45pm games in a row) was made so much worse by the officiating.
Remember how I commended Mark Duddy and his crew for what a great job they did in USC vs. Cal? I take it back x1000. Perhaps Mark Duddy read my blog and decided he wasn’t having any of that. I was ruining his good name amongst his fellow Pac-12 associates. He has a reputation to uphold, and gosh darn, those flags will be numerous and biased. He sure showed me.
It got to a point that students were throwing up yellow towels mockingly after every penalty. Flags were thrown for phantom penalties or ticky-tack in nature. What made it worse was that the refs would wait until seeing the outcome of the play before throwing the flag. The Trojans were called for 5 offensive holdings and 1 defensive holding. Arizona got called for 1 offensive holding…which was offset by a USC penalty. Seems suspicious. Putting that up against the total penalty numbers of 14 for 123 yards versus Arizona’s 3 for 32 yards makes it look even more problematic. Then there were the reviews that took a while to initiate and a fair bit of which were incorrect. At one point, Helton had to run onto the field to try to get attention for a review. He was flagged for that too since he a sideline warning had been given earlier in the game. Despite the ref being right by the letter of the law, no sane referee should flag that.
Those 18 yards at the beginning of the third quarter moved at a snail’s pace. It must’ve been 20 minutes of real time for those pitiful 18 yards ending in a punt. I thought I was watching a World War I documentary about trench warfare. By the start of the fourth quarter, the East Coast had hit the daylight savings time change. Who’s crazy enough to watch that, especially if it wasn’t their favorite team?
BAD: Two red zone trips with no points? USC has had red zone troubles all year. Some of it is being unable to convert short yardage situations.
GOOD: The defense held Arizona to a pair of field goals for over two and a half quarters.
BAD: Defense getting tired after ridiculously drawn out game. Part of the reason that Arizona made such a furious comeback.
GOOD: John Houston had an interception made of dreams.
GOOD: JuJu Smith-Schuster joined the student section in the stands late in the fourth quarter.
GOOD: Tyler Vaughns continues to impress with what he goes after the catch
GOOD: More good work by the USC running backs
USC still has a formidable streak intact. They are 15-0 at home, dating back to 2015. The last time they lost in the Coliseum was the game that eventually led to Sark’s dismissal.
USC leads the nation in sacks (34).
Running count of fourth down conversions: 6 of 17 (35%)
Running count of opponent fourth down conversions: 11 of 18 (61%)
USC is the second worst in the conference in allowing fourth down conversions. Only Oregon State (arguably the worst team in the conference) allows more of them than USC (69%).