USC vs. Colorado: Is this a quality road win?

Colorado vs. USC
October 25, 2019 at 6:00pm
Folsom Field, Boulder, CO: 48,913 (of 50,183)
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

Survey says: No.

Clay Helton has defied the narrative and broken the road losing streak! That’s how it looks on paper, but if you watched the game, you might have noticed how painful and Helton-like it actually was.

The Trojans fell behind as much as 10 points and played from behind for nearly 43 minutes of the game. We’re looking at trends here. This kind of thing even happened to Pete Carroll every once in a while, but Helton is facing worse competition and still manages to make these easier games look like a playoff slugfest week after week. This wasn’t #1 vs. #2; it was a team with 3 wins and 4 losses trying to stay afloat in the Pac-12 South and has never beaten USC. At least he won, I guess.

The offensive side of the ball looked great in flashes, but failed to find consistency…yet again. While the young quarterback, Kedon Slovis, produced a good statistical performance, completing 30 of 44 passes (68%) for 406 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception, there were some concerning areas. Perhaps it’s the pressure of an unreliable coach, but he has appeared to take on a hero mentality and regressed in some areas. For one, he began to dance around in the pocket a bit and hold onto the ball for too long.  Other times he threw passes up haphazardly and dangerously in the air to avoid sacks in shades of Josh Rosen. That kind of playing leads to intentional grounding, interceptions, and fumbles. In fact, in one situation, he needlessly reached forward for extra yards after picking up a first down near the goal line. The resulting fumble took a lucky bounce.

It’s not all negative though. Slovis was on the receiving end of many hits during and after plays. Few quarterbacks, especially true freshman, can continue to deliver a solid performance after getting repeatedly knocked down play-after-play on the road.

If Colorado had a tad bit more in them, they could have ended the game several times over. They had plenty of opportunities to do so, but the heavily penalized Buffaloes allowed USC to complete the comeback with approximately two minutes remaining, giving rise to the meme above. Actually, it doesn’t matter. Win or lose, there will be memes.

Good/Badisms

GOOD: Amon-Ra St. Brown’s performance at running back. He had only a few carries, but made them all worthwhile. His vision for hitting the gap particularly stood out.

GOOD: Kenan Christon and Drake London quickly recovering fumbles that probably would’ve otherwise been the back-breaking difference maker in this game.

BAD: First missed field goal of the season

BAD: Plenty of plays could have been stopped for a loss or minimal gain if the defense had properly tackled. This continues to fall on Helton for not practicing/fixing something so fundamental to the game.

BAD: Misplaced pass that ended in an interception.

GOOD: The receivers made tough catches to keep the game alive.

CommBro  Breaker

Watch Helton defy the narrative and break a streak again next week—by losing a home game.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: USC goes back to losing the turnover battle this week

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: Colorado receiver, Lavis Shenault had more receiving yards (172 yards) than the entire USC running backs gained, even before accounting for lost rushing yardage (151 yards).

Illuminati Stat of the Week: The kickoff stats between the two teams are eerily similar. USC kicked off six times for 389 yards with 5 touchbacks. Colorado kicked off six times for 390 yards and 5 touchbacks.

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