USC vs. Cal: An Offensive Offense

USC vs. California
November 10, 2018 at 7:36pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 56,721 (of 78,467)
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Two SCents: 

Former USC defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, went into the Coliseum with his stacked roster of former head coaches, and handed an embarrassing loss to the man that fired him. USC’s previous loss to Cal was a triple overtime against an Aaron Rodgers’ team back in 2003.

CommBro Breaker/Bonus SCents:

Remember that WE PLAY campaign USC ran back in 2012? If it were brought back today, it’d be:

Done in photoshop in a hurried and shoddy manner. Like the coaching.

In a week, the Pac-12 South went from a possible 6-way tie to USC not having any chance of winning.

It’s been a long time since Cal became bowl eligible before USC. Since 1996, in case you’re wondering. So before 99% of current undergraduates at USC and Cal were born. With rivals UCLA and #3 Notre Dame left, the Trojans only have two shots left to get bowl eligibile. Realistically, only one shot.

How did the Trojans go from a 14-0 lead, with a chance to go by 17-0 or 21-0, spend their next three drives going: fumble, safety, then interception?

All they had to do at that point was next to nothing…like not give up a safety. That wasn’t even that difficult…but Helton is adamant at keeping Toa Lobendahn at center and not willing to put in the time to fix his consistently bad snaps.

Then you’ve got the defense, picking up a costly unsportsmanlike conduct after they had the Cal offense stopped on third down. No discipline for the nation’s 10th most penalized team. They also couldn’t contain Cal QB, Chase Garbers’ on some crucial runs.

Lastly, this aged like sour cream left out in the sun for two days:

They’ll probably be much closer to No-Win November.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: Cal’s coaching staff probably has the most former head coaches I’ve ever seen. Sure, some of them are from the high school level, but even that’s a rarity. Even if you exclude them, there’s still quite a few. There’s Beau Baldwin (Eastern Washington), Marques Tuiasosopo (Interim, Washington), Tim DeRuyter (Fresno State), Charlie Ragle (Chaparral HS), and Tony Tuioti (Kalaheo HS).

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: USC gained 13 yards on 18 plays in the third quarter, and 27 yards on 13 plays in the fourth quarter. That’s 40 yards in 31 plays for the entire second half of the game. A single one of Reid Budrovich’s punts went for more yards than the entire offense did, collectively, for the second half. That’s an average of less than 7 yards per drive in the second half. They lost more yards due to penalty this game (55), than they gained in the second half. I could keep going.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #3: Despite the above stat, USC actually won the time of possession battle this week. They have managed to find some interesting ways to screw up.

 

USC vs. Oregon State: Better Than Last Week

Oregon State vs. USC
November 3, 2018 at 7:05pm
Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR: 35,817
Total Time: 3 hours 23 minutes

Two SCents: 

USC looked better after replacing Neil Callaway with Tim Drevno and Clay Helton calling the plays instead of Tee Martin. Does that mean USC played better or that Oregon State was worse than SC’s previous competition though?

CommBro Breaker

For the record, Oregon State came into the game as one of the worst teams (if not the worst team) in the conference. They have given up an average of 48 points per game against FBS teams and an FBS worst average of 4.5 sacks allowed per game. Even if you remove the 77-31 loss to Ohio State, FBS teams still averaged 43 points against the Beavers, with the lowest scores being 34 (Colorado) and 35 (Arizona). That means that Trojans only put up an average-ish offensive performance against the Beavers.

Furthermore, snaps are still a sore point for the center and the defense was getting picked apart on slant routes. Oregon State repeatedly pulled within 7 and had the potential to tie it several times. I could probably go on about the negatives for a while, but let’s take a reprieve while we can.

John Houston’s well-timed tackle for a loss was one of the best plays of the game. He almost turned Oregon State’s handoff into a sack. The poor Beaver running back was probably mad that the QB handed it to him so that the loss got chalked up to the RB.

It was also good to see USC convert on short yardage plays like the quarterback sneak and fullback dives while playing under center. That was something completely non-existent under Martin’s playcalling. Seeing the offensive line get a push two to three yards downfield on most plays satisfied a weary soul. That allowed Aca’cedric Ware to get his first career 200-yard rushing game. No matter who you’re playing against, having a 200-yard and 100-yard rusher in the game is an accomplishment.

Devon Williams also played admirably, with a huge touchdown catch, in relief of the injured Michael Pittman.

On special teams, Michael Brown made a career long 46-yard field goal.

Defensively, the Beavers were held to -9 rushing yards in the first half. Halfway through the third, the Beavers were desperately trying to keep their rushing stats above 0.

Reminds me of something…

With the win, USC is 1 more away from bowl eligibility. Sadly, such a low standard could still be missed. None of the remaining opponents can be marked off as a win: a Cal team that beat Washington last week and played #10 Washington State tough, a rivalry game against UCLA that is playing better than their 2-7 record would suggest, and, the other rival, an undefeated #3 Notre Dame. Strangely enough, the Trojans could still find themselves with a Rose Bowl berth if they win out in conference play and things bounce their way. It’s a pretty wild situation when the Trojans could potentially enter the Rose Bowl with anything between a 7-6 and 9-4 record or have an 18-year worst record of 5-7. Realistically, I see them making a lower tier bowl like Vegas or Sun.

Misleading/Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: By the end of the first drive, USC earned 50% more third downs conversions than they did in the entire ASU game last week…which basically just means they had three in that first drive, beating out the two they got last week.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: Heading into the game, the Trojan defense only had 18 sacks in 8 games. They picked up 6 more this week.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #3: It’s not often that a team has more carries than yards, but Oregon State managed that with 32 and 31, respectively.