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.

 

 

USC vs. Utah: Statistical Anomaly pt. 2

Utah vs. USC
October 20, 2018 at 5:10pm
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT: 46,405
Total Time: 3 hours 12 minutes

Two SCents: 

Seven games in and the USC Trojans are in full Clay Helton road game form: anemic offense, bad snaps, and uninspired coaching that left freshman quarterback, JT Daniels, exiting the game with a possible concussion. If not for a few lucky plays, the offense would have been held scoreless for the first three quarters of the game.

CommBro Breaker

The defense may have faltered towards the end, but I would attribute that fault more to the offense. Week in and week out, they have to endure being on the field for 30% more plays and nearly 10 minutes of game time on the field than the failing offense. By the end of this Utah game, they looked absolutely exhausted, so Utah could continue to race them to death using perimeter runs.

I thought last week was a statistical anomaly, but this one is definitely worse in the grand scheme of things (especially since it ended in a loss). In fact, “anomaly” may not be the right word; this has definitely become a pattern for Clay Helton and his coaching staff. Year three is usually when a head coach fully installs their system and philosophy, leading to a strong team or a hollow mess of one. Find me one person that can believe it’s the former.

He probably looks like this

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: 205 yards of total offense. That’s seriously half of what Utah’s QB, Tyler Huntley, produced himself (398 total yards).

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: USC punted as many times as Utah scored (7). USC scored as many times at Utah punted (4).

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #3: The Trojans ran less than 60 plays (54), which resulted in a time of possession that was 9:32 less than their opponent.

Misleading Stat of the Week: 20% of USC’s first downs were a direct result of a Utah penalty and 10% were from fourth down conversions…but that’s only because USC only had a total of 10 first downs through the entire game. Ridiculous Stat of the Week #4: In the first half, USC’s defense had more sacks (5) than USC’s offense had first downs (4).

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #5: All three of Helton’s losses this season have been by double digits. They average a 16 point differential per loss.

Uplifting Stat of the Week #1: Only 2 penalties for 20 yards!! Yay!…Yet, by the end of the third quarter, they still had more penalties (2) than first downs (0 of 10)…I’m bad at this uplifting thing, huh?

Uplifting Stat of the Week #2: A 310 pound Jay Tufele ran 48 yards for a touchdown.

USC vs. Colorado: Statistical Anomaly

USC vs. Colorado
October 13, 2018 at 7:45pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 57,615 (of 78,467)
Total Time: 3 hours 42 minutes

Two SCents: 

#19AP/#18Coaches Colorado entered this game undefeated (5-0, 2-0 conf.) against a USC team that hasn’t lost to CU from the times of Howard Jones to the present and decided to put up a performance in recognition of that. The Trojan would’ve looked just as bad if not for some heroic catches by Michael Pittman and Tyler Vaughns.

CommBro Breaker/Bonus SCents:

Newcomer Palaie Gaoteote played well at linebacker in the absence of Cam Smith. The defensive back play as also fun to watch in the fourth quarter. There were more break ups there than the summer after a high school graduation.

It was also great to see Matt Barkley out there launching some shirts into the crowd with the cannon.

Professional level photo quality

The 13 penalties for 123 yards is bad, but the officials’ management of the game was worse. Dragging out a 7:30pm game to nearly four hours with unnecessary, ticky-tack penalties sucked lots of the enjoyment out of the game. Rumor is that Colorado didn’t even know they had scored the touchdown when they went for that inexplicable two point conversion. You’d think they’d tried to clean things up after the recent scandals.

Special teams also crapped out another mess.

Basically the entire game was some of statistical mess, so buckle up for the ridiculous stats of the week.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: USC had ZERO rushing yards at the end of the first half.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: JT Daniels’ 50% completion rate for 272 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs. While the final stat line is acceptable for a true freshman starting his first season, the breakdown reveals a problem with the entire offense, especially in context of the rushing yard stats.

Quarter Passing Yards % of total passing yards
1st quarter 43 15.80%
2nd quarter 212 77.90%
3rd quarter 10 3.70%
4th quarter 7 2.60%

The second half passing yards (17) were less than 50% of the first quarter passing yards (43). That means almost all of his passing yards were a product of the second quarter. That’s 212 passing yards within those 15 minutes (77.9%), and basically nothing much else. You might say that this doesn’t include the two major drops that would’ve resulted in big plays/touchdowns, but that means this offense has an overreliance on explosive plays much like Sark’s offenses did. Clay Helton and his offensive coordinator continue to disappoint.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #3: USC has been on the losing end of the time of possession stat for the fifth straight game. The last time they had a higher TOP was against UNLV.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #4: Three home games in, USC attendance has hit a 10+ year low. Both the average (56,248) and peak attendance (58,708, vs. UNLV) are lower than USC’s previous 10 year low of 60,314 (vs. Oregon State, 2017). Bad football and ongoing renovations seem to be taking their toll on attendance.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #5: Colorado finished the third quarter with less rushing yards than the end of the second quarter. I guess neither team could really run in this one. Other than allowing a few fluky plays, Pendergast called a pretty good game.

 

 

USC vs. WSU: Home Win Streak Continues (Barely)

USC vs. Washington State
September 21, 2018 at 7:35pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 52,421 (of 78,467)
Total Time: 3 hours 27 minutes

Two SCents

It’s great for USC to win in a dramatic fashion and claw their way back up to a .500 record, but don’t let a win cloud all glaring flaws. The number of bad snaps and messy handoffs were astounding—those are things that shouldn’t happen more than once every several games.

CommBro Breaker

The Trojans also depended too much on the referees. SEVEN first down from penalties, which accounts for almost one third (30.4%) of their total first downs. On the other side, the defense allowed the Cougars converted 100% of their first downs (3 of 3).

However, the D did adjust during the half, going from 2 or 3 pass rushers in a nickel formation to more blitzes. That slowed Wazzu’s passing offense down enough to squeeze out the win. The offensive coaching staff still need to get their crap together

J.T. Daniels passed better this game and the  receivers also made some fantastic, body-contorting catches.

Lastly, being able to come back from down 10 to win a game is a step in the right direction. One could argue, though, that they never should have been down 10 in the first place.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week: USC lost as many rush yards (-53) as Washington State’s top rusher ran for (54). Of those 53 lost yards, 17 came from one miscue.

P.S. A few weeks ago I said I’d tried to confirm the maximum capacity of the Coliseum. It is 78,467. You’re welcome.

USC vs. Texas: Losing Streak in TX Continues

Texas vs. USC
September 15, 2018 at 5:21pm
Darrell K Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX: 103,507 (of 100,119)
Total Time: 3 hours 37 minutes

Two SCents

Some games can’t be told by the stat line, but this one sure could. Negative 5 overall rush yards, allowing a 34-point scoring run, blocked field goal being returned for a TD, a freshman QB being forced to throw nearly 50 times in the game, 10 penalties for 99 yards, a drive stalling out at the Texas 3-yard line and averaging drives of 5.41 plays and 26 yards (including two drives with a net loss). Now that I’ve squeezed one sentence for all it’s worth, I’m wasting the second one, just like the Trojans wasted a game.

CommBro Breaker

I can’t give you all bad things, though it mostly was. The Trojans were playing decently until the bad review on the potential safety. Not only did they miss out on 2 points, but possession of the ball.

The series still sits at 5-2, dating back to 1955. That’s including the loss in the 2006 BCS national championship game that USC Sports Information office doesn’t admit.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week: USC did not score for over 45 minutes.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: The -5 overall rush yards look bad, but when removing all lost yards from tackles for loss and sacks from the equation, it isn’t better at all. The Longhorns scored as many points as USC had in positive rush yards (37).

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #3: The Trojans have not won in the state of Texas since September of 1996 when they beat Houston 26-9 in a non-conference game. That was six head coaches ago.

Texas 2018 (non-conference): 14-37
Ohio State 2017 (Cotton Bowl: 7-24
Alabama 2016 (Advocare Classic): 6-52
Georgia Tech 2012 (Sun Bowl): 7-21
TCU 1998 (Sun Bowl): 19-28

USC vs. Stanford: Familiar Terror-tory

Stanford vs. USC
September 8, 2018 at 5:45pm
Stanford Stadium, Palto Alto, CA: 42,586
Total Time: 3 hours 13 minutes

If you’re wondering what that cursed image is, it’s a sculpture representing my facial expression during this entire game. It also happens to be actual “art” sitting on Stanford’s campus.

Two SCents

Despite repeatedly allowing tight end seam routes to pick up large chunks of yardage, the defense did enough to expect a win. The run offense managed decently (with over 4 yards per carry when not counting the 4 sacks allowed), but the sub 50% completion percentage constantly caused drives to sputter out.

CommBro Breaker

Falling behind early meant more passing. More passing meant moving away from a run game that was working towards a passing game that wasn’t. This game is enough to move my evaluation of Helton from “meh, but we’ll see” to a definitive “we need better.” If you believe differently, feel free to interject. At least they played a pretty clean game from a penalty perspective (4 for 35 yards)

Ridiculous Stat of the Week: 0 sacks of KJ Costello. Somehow they got away with that.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: USC had as many turnovers as points

USC vs. UNLV: Still Alive

USC vs. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
September 1, 2018 at 1:07pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 58,708
Total Time: 3 hours 17 minutes

Hi everyone,

I’m still alive.

Sincerely,

commbro

I somehow stumbled my way through the first year of graduate school while maintaining this barely functional blog. Round two has just started and I’ll try to keep it going. However, I will be altering the format again.

Switching the letters around for Vader makes him a lot less menacing. Daver sounds like a nickname for your suburban friend

The new format will consist of about two sentences a post (or approximately, give or take 50 sentences). That may seem ridiculously short, but bear with it for one more year. I will be back full force next season.

I shall dub this the “Two SCents” format because it’s my “two cents” and it’s two sent(ences). Or maybe it means “Two Scents” for how much this format stinks. Either way I am staying true to this blog’s punny history.

Two SCents

True freshman J.T. Daniels makes a shaky first start but shows high potential for his career. The offensive line appears to be the most improved unit of the team as they are no longer committing false starts reguarly and eliminating low/high snaps—perhaps the effect of Tim Drevno’s return…even though he’s technically the running backs coach?

CommBro Breaker

9 yard punt from the USC 46-yard line is sad.

Congrats to Chase McGrath for making a record-tying 5 field goals in a single game.

The home winning streak continues at 17.

Lastly, I still don’t like the renovation. I also can’t find out the exact max capacity with it half finished, but I have heard about 80,000. I’ll try to get a confirmation on that.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week: Aca’cedric Ware’s stat line is so perfect, it reads like he’s coding in binary.

Games Played Attempts Yards Touchdowns YPC YPG
1 10 100 1 10 100

I did you all a favor and translated it into binary. It comes out to: Ó

oh…

Maybe he wasn’t trying to code. Ó_Ó