USC vs. ASU: Sears Not Bankrupt

USC vs. Arizona State
October 27, 2018 at 12:41pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 47,406 (of 78,467)
Total Time: 3 hours 21 minutes

Okay, I had to make a Sears pun. It was ripe for the taking, much like this game that Clay Helton and his staff failed to close out on.

Can USC get 40% off on Helton’s salary?

Can the Pac-12 also get 40% off on the officials’ salaries? I showed up to watch the reviews but they kept letting it get interrupted with this football. Yes, I’m being facetious about the latter.

Two SCents: 

Mounting injuries on defense and a coaching staff that continues to get in the way of their own team prove to be insurmountable for third string quarterback, Jack Sears, to overcome. His play actually kind of makes you wonder why he was third on the depth chart anyway.

CommBro Breaker/Bonus SCents:

The last vestiges of arguments for Clay Helton’s head coach position have ended with the 19 game home winning streak. That was the first time the Trojans have lost in the Coliseum since Steve Sarkisian botched the game against to his former team, Washington, in 2015.

It’s not often that we hear of a third string quarterback starting a game. When was the last time USC played one not during garbage time? You’d have to go back to Paul Hackett’s second season in 1999 when Carson Palmer, John Fox, and Mike Van Raaphorst all played a few games that season.

The good news is that the offense looked a bit different than what we’ve seen throughout the season. The adjustments actually allowed Sears to thrive a bit. He was able to gain confidence and capped it off with a ridiculous pass to Vaughns to give the Trojans a sliver of a chance in the fourth quarter.

The punting (both kicking and receiving) crew looked fairly solid early on with a punt return TD and a few pinned deep into ASU territory, including at the one yard line. Giving up the 92-yard punt return TD kind of puts a significant mark on their performance though.

Talanoa Hufanga being out for the season puts this team’s defense at a huge disadvantage. With Bubba Bolden gone, and Isaiah Pola-Mao and Marvell Tell injured, only C.J. Pollard remains as a scholarship safety. The defense has to suffer this while also missing Porter Gustin and Cam Smith from the linebacking corps.

Lastly, that was a miserable game to watch in an 80+ degree and 94% humidity day. A good rule to live by is that the temperature and humidity level should both be lower than your grades in school.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: A new low in attendance numbers for Saturday with a shocking sub 50,000 people. Since this keeps coming up, I actually crawled back through records to see that last time it was lower. We have to go back to the 2001 season that played follow-up to a 5-7 2000 season. It was Pete Carroll’s first year and his 3-5 team competed in front of 44,800 against Oregon State early in November.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: An abysmally low third down conversion rate with 2 of 11 (18.18%).Eight games in, the Trojans are 117 out of 130 in third down conversion percentage.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #3: USC also happens to have the highest penalties yards per game in the Pac-12 and third most in the Power 5 conferences. They sit 124 out of 130 nationally.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #4: Are we allowed to have good ridiculous stats? I make the rules and I say yes. Tyler Vaughns scored touchdowns in an astounding three different ways: an 82-yard punt return to open USC’s possessions, a 36-yard pass to Michael Pittman to take the lead, and a desperately necessary 48-yard reception near the end of the fourth quarter.

Misleading Stat(s) of the Week #1: If you want something USC is #1 at, it’s for 80+ yard punt returns. They are tied with 11 teams…including ASU. Other than that, it’s PAT kicking percentage. This and the previous stat are the only two I could find, but they have to share this #1 spot with 69 other teams.

 

 

USC Spring Game 2017

USC vs. USC vs. USC (USC Spring Game)
April 15, 2017 at 12:00pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: (Attendance Not Announced)
Total Time: Approximately 1 hours 40 minutes

Renovations have already started at the Coliseum, as you can see from the picture above. Honestly, it looked like a dilapidated structure that you’d find in Pripyat or some other torn up place.

The Peristyle might actually look worse than this right now
(Photo credit: Timm Suess)

You know what you won’t find in Pripyat though? Great weather! I still got sunburned though…Between that and a condensed and non-game format, you don’t need to feel too bad if you missed it.

You know, maybe they didn’t want to keep score after tearing down a scoreboard.

Below are some observations…pretty much all from offense. Sorry if that offends the defensive-minded folks.

  • Sam Darnold still looks sharp on his passes. During drills, he managed to throw some perfect deep balls between the coverage
  • Jack Sears is deceptively fast and has the instincts to know when to slide on a scramble. I have gained more confidence in him as Darnold’s backup
  • Matt Fink improved a lot since last spring, but still throws late across the middle with regularity. Strangely enough, this issue seems to be less noticeable on left-breaking routes.
  • Tyler Vaughns was clearly favored receiver amongst the quarterbacks, but did not make the most out of his numerous targets. He also needs to tie his shoes.
  • Velus Jones broke off a 30+ yard run on a reverse
  • The redshirt freshman, Vavae Malepeai, looked excellent out there. He could find the holes to run through, good lateral speed and finished runs with force.
  • Ronald Jones caught some passes out of the backfield. That’s a good sign for his continued development.
  • Jake Olsen got to snap for a field goal.
  • Exiting seniors and juniors got their Rose Bowl rings.

CommBro Breaker

The spring poster for this season looks fairly generic compared to some previous ones.

Misleading Stat of the Week: Velus Jones had more yards in one play than Jack Searsdid from passing the entire ‘game.’