Brigham Young University vs. #24 USC
September 14, 2019 at 12:36pm
Provo, UT: 62,546 (of 63,470)
Total Time: 3 hours 49 minutes
I considered not even doing an analysis and replacing it with a literal stream of memes. However, I realized that wouldn’t be good. I wish people realized the same thing about Helton before he happened. Either way, I decided to include a few memes for this week:
If losses could talk, that’s what they would be saying to Clay Helton. He always has an excuse and some impossible optimism of just a few things that need to fixed to be on track. Well, then fix it. Or actually, don’t, because we hope he will be gone soon, so we can say:
Asking for a new coach used to go like this:
But with Swann gone, we can only hope that it’s going to be happening by the end of the season. Anyway, time for the game analysis.
It turns out that Stanford might finish with a bad record, so it settles that debate. Regardless, that doesn’t completely discount true freshman Kedon Slovis’ performance last week. He looked a little more human and freshmanned the game up a bit against BYU. Before overtime, Slovis was 24 of 33 (72.7%) with 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Still a decent performance for a freshman dealing with: his first road game; high elevation, a subpar offensive line; a subpar run game; and a subpar head coach. Although Helton indirectly blamed “turnovers” (meaning he was blaming a freshman QB, since all the turnovers were produced by him), I offer a different angle. There is no way a team with as much talent as USC should be putting all that pressure onto a freshman QB that was supposed to be a backupb to win a road game for them. He shouldn’t have the weight of the entire team on his shoulders.
Slovis’ stats still check out. He’s fifth in the nation in completion percentage (right above Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa). He just has to learn to read the zones better and not force passes. All things, we hope, he learns as he grows under a coach someday.
Meanwhile he continues to play under a coach that has produced:
BAD: Illegal wedge penalty. Dude, Helton and Baxter should have left that in the Roosevelt era of football. Theodore Roosevelt. Seriously, many versions of it were banned in 1894…which was before Teddy, yeah, I get it. I just wanted to make a joke. Plus President Roosevelt was big on football reform in that time period, so it seemed like a relevant choice.
BAD: If you take out the three sacks, the BYU team rushed for 186 yards on 37 carries—an average of over 5 yards per carry.
BAD: Meanwhile, the USC running backs had trouble running against a three man defensive line. The offensive line, with five to six people, also had trouble protecting Slovis at times against that same three man rush.
BAD: A three man rush meant that eight dropped into coverage. The zones and number of defenders gave Slovis quite a bit of trouble. Of particular note were the linebackers making highly athletic plays for two of the interceptions.
BAD: In addition to three interceptions, there were three fumbles. Although none were lost, three leaves one feeling uneasy.
BAD: Slovis has locked onto receivers a few too many times, allowing zone defenders to read his eyes and clog up the passing lanes.
BAD: Not wrapping up tackles. Many defenders, sometimes two or three at a time, would hit the ball carrier for what would have been a loss or short gain, only to slide off and allow them 5+ yards after contact.
GOOD: A career long 52-yard field goal for Chase McGrath that allowed the game to make it to overtime
GOOD: Michael Pittman grabbing some touchdowns in tight coverage.
GOOD: Erik Krommenhoek getting a career long of 60 yards on his second reception of the season. That already matches his two receptions per season during his USC career. Will he finally break two this season?!
Utah has moved up to #10 and has to travel to a different time zone on a short week. They have tended to play down on the road as well. That gives this USC team a chance to win. Only four more wins to bowl eligibility—because that’s already a higher bar than last year. I still stand by my prediction of an 8-5 or 9-4 finish.
Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: More people attended this BYU-USC game than any USC game since 2017.
Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: USC ranks #113 in the nation in average punt distance (38.78 yards)
Ridiculous Stat of the Week #3: I have to sneak a positive one in here somehow. USC is #2 in the nation in passes broken up…right under #1 UCF that just destroyed Stanford 45-27 (38-7 at the half). Whoops, still found a negative.
Misleading Stat of the Week: We finally won the time of possession battle! Totally worth. No, actually it wasn’t.