ASU vs. USC
November 9, 2019 at 12:35pm
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ: 54,191 (of 55,000)
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
I had predicted a loss to ASU, and despite the early 28-7 lead, I still expected it to happen. Luckily, I was proven wrong and we can enjoy being bowl eligible for the first time since 2017. Many of you probably still feel like this:
However, I don’t think that will be the issue. Would a new athletic director really want their performance evaluated based on a head coach that has lost the fanbase and is a hire from two athletic directors ago? Based on subtle hints in Mike Bohn’s speech, it seems like we should expect a set outcome no matter how Helton finishes the season.
Helton posted up one of the highest scoring first quarters—the highest since Sark’s first season, with Kessler throwing for 4 TDs against Colorado. He almost tricked us into thinking he knew what he was doing.
Slovis looked like he had end of game stats by the end of the first quarter (297 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions). As a result, Helton seemed to be lulled into thinking the game actually ended already. He could’ve stayed at his first quarter scoring numbers and still won the game. Getting an average of one point per quarter after the first isn’t much better than that.
- ZERO touchdowns in quarters two through four
- Allowing a 19-3 scoring run by ASU
- Scoring drought of 28:45…basically half the game
Still, that was one of the better first quarters we’ve seen. Being able to gain 315 yards compared to ASU’s 1 yard, while holding the Sun Devils to 0 first downs is quite a sight. He had a decent first quarter against Oregon last week too. That’s three quarters he’s basically MIA for. Where’s the other 75% of the coach? Now we know where the other quarter platform went in King’s Cross Station.
Now imagine him in other professions.
- Pizza delivery: Order a large pizza, only get two individual slices
- Audio technician: half a speaker for your stereo setup
- Marathon runner: Stops after 6.55 miles
- Furniture designer: One-legged table
- College student: Cooks minute rice for 15 seconds
Can the school pay him 25% of the salary? Even his first quarter was full of problems like:
- illegal shift on a freaking PAT after the first touchdown
- allowed large kickoff return after going up 14-0 and again after 21-0. The second one was a squib kick that still got to the 50-yard line. Isn’t that the exact opposite of what a squib is supposed to do?
GOOD: Former USC safety, Jack Jones tried to strip the ball from running back Kenan Christon and failed miserably. The transfer’s greedy play allowed Christon to run it in for the touchdown.
BAD: Linebacker John Houston’s near interception that bounced directly into an ASU player’s hands.
GOOD: Kedon Slovis’ perfect touch pass from the 5-yard line that Amon-Ra St. Brown turned into a touchdown.
GOOD: Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao making an interception as if he was the receiver.
BAD: Slovis’ first mistake near the end of the second quarter. He overthrew Pittman on double coverage despite having time. That led to an interception.
BAD: False start penalty while trying to go for it on 4th down.
BAD: A pass interference on cornerback Olijah Griffin, which ESPN showed on screen as committed by “Devon Williams”—who is currently an Oregon wide receiver. Williams and Griffin both wore #2 when they were on the USC roster. Williams transferred a while ago. Maybe ESPN can put this on their “C’mon Man!” segments?
GOOD: Receiver Drake London ripping away a near interception from a defender’s hands on a 3rd-and-18 during the short period of time Matt Fink was in for Slovis.
BAD: Roughing the passer penalty that wiped out an interception. It’s technically written that way in the rulebook, but it really shouldn’t be that way. If the roughing penalty caused the turnover, I could understand returning possession back to the offense, but if that’s the case, that means it shouldn’t be roughing since he hit the guy as he passed the ball. If it didn’t affect the play, the 15-yard penalty should be assessed after the play has ended, which means the ball still gets turned over. The rule is the same in the NFL and CFB, but I think it should be changed.
GOOD/BAD: C’mon Pac-12, a review on a punt? At least it showed punter Ben Griffiths and the special teams’ best work all year: pinning ASU at the 1-yard line.
GOOD: St. Brown’s 24-yard punt return.
GOOD: Defensive lineman Christian Rector with the tip and the interception.
Finally bowl eligible! We can safely say this season is better than last season. Only took 10 weeks of the season to confirm. They’ve got back-to-back UCs in the next two weeks. We’ll see how it goes…
Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: The offensive line only allowed 1 sack this game. They also gave Slovis time to throw on most passing plays. Quite surprising since he was getting rushed or knocked down every other play last week.
Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: Don’t ever let anyone tell you Helton isn’t the best at something. He is the best in the nation in every statistical category for allowing long kickoff returns. That means everything from 30+ to 90+ yards. Can you think of the worst FBS teams—ones that may not even have any wins right now? Well, they have allowed less than Helton’s team has this season.