USC vs. Cal: An Offensive Offense

USC vs. California
November 10, 2018 at 7:36pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA: 56,721 (of 78,467)
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Two SCents: 

Former USC defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, went into the Coliseum with his stacked roster of former head coaches, and handed an embarrassing loss to the man that fired him. USC’s previous loss to Cal was a triple overtime against an Aaron Rodgers’ team back in 2003.

CommBro Breaker/Bonus SCents:

Remember that WE PLAY campaign USC ran back in 2012? If it were brought back today, it’d be:

Done in photoshop in a hurried and shoddy manner. Like the coaching.

In a week, the Pac-12 South went from a possible 6-way tie to USC not having any chance of winning.

It’s been a long time since Cal became bowl eligible before USC. Since 1996, in case you’re wondering. So before 99% of current undergraduates at USC and Cal were born. With rivals UCLA and #3 Notre Dame left, the Trojans only have two shots left to get bowl eligibile. Realistically, only one shot.

How did the Trojans go from a 14-0 lead, with a chance to go by 17-0 or 21-0, spend their next three drives going: fumble, safety, then interception?

All they had to do at that point was next to nothing…like not give up a safety. That wasn’t even that difficult…but Helton is adamant at keeping Toa Lobendahn at center and not willing to put in the time to fix his consistently bad snaps.

Then you’ve got the defense, picking up a costly unsportsmanlike conduct after they had the Cal offense stopped on third down. No discipline for the nation’s 10th most penalized team. They also couldn’t contain Cal QB, Chase Garbers’ on some crucial runs.

Lastly, this aged like sour cream left out in the sun for two days:

They’ll probably be much closer to No-Win November.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #1: Cal’s coaching staff probably has the most former head coaches I’ve ever seen. Sure, some of them are from the high school level, but even that’s a rarity. Even if you exclude them, there’s still quite a few. There’s Beau Baldwin (Eastern Washington), Marques Tuiasosopo (Interim, Washington), Tim DeRuyter (Fresno State), Charlie Ragle (Chaparral HS), and Tony Tuioti (Kalaheo HS).

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #2: USC gained 13 yards on 18 plays in the third quarter, and 27 yards on 13 plays in the fourth quarter. That’s 40 yards in 31 plays for the entire second half of the game. A single one of Reid Budrovich’s punts went for more yards than the entire offense did, collectively, for the second half. That’s an average of less than 7 yards per drive in the second half. They lost more yards due to penalty this game (55), than they gained in the second half. I could keep going.

Ridiculous Stat of the Week #3: Despite the above stat, USC actually won the time of possession battle this week. They have managed to find some interesting ways to screw up.

 

USC vs. Cal: Strawberry Turnover

California vs. USC
September 23, 2017 at 12:43pm
Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA: 46,747 (of 62,467)
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes

‘Tis probably bittersweet for Cal now that their stadium no longer has “Kabam Field” attached to it. The name and branding really didn’t fit the venue, but Cal really needed—and still needs—that money to fund their renovations. If you don’t already know, their athletic department is operating on roughly a $20 million deficit largely due to overly optimistic projections for the renovations. I won’t get into that though. Today, there was a different disaster on the field: Cal’s offense in the fourth quarter.

The stadium isn’t the only thing that got rebranded this year. Former USC defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, made the leap to head coach and instilled a new culture within the team. It was apparent through their 3-0 run, beating teams like UNC and Ole Miss. It was apparent throughout the game today.

Quite interesting that Wilcox did well everywhere except at USC: at the University of Washington, the other UW (Wisconsin), and even Cal. Yet he managed to have a thoroughly unimpressive campaign at USC.

It has to make me wonder if it’s something about SC. Were the position coaches not developing the players properly? Failures of strength and conditioning? Mind control nanobots in the LA water? Just baffling. A person can spend their life contemplating these issues and come to no conclusion.

Meanwhile, USC heads into another fourth quarter with the game tied. Had it not been for an offensive implosion by Cal, the win would’ve seriously been in question. Six turnovers and USC wins by 10 points. Great job by the defense, but something needs to be fixed or a loss is impending. Don’t be like 2014 FSU or 2012 Notre Dame.

Good-Badisms

BAD: Both sides of Cal’s line push SC’s around. Their DL managed to get significant pressure rushing only 3 or 4. They knifed into the backfield early, disrupting a good number of run plays. While the stat sheet doesn’t show a ridiculous number of tackles for loss allowed, I assure you, the damage was there. On the other side, their OL allowed them to run confidently and convert 4 out of 6 fourth downs.

GOOD: That might’ve been the best Pac-12 official crew I’ve seen in recent memory. No super controversial game-deciding calls. They let the people play. Now requesting Mark Duddy’s team for the rest of our conference schedule. Please?

GOOD: On a similar vein, not as many stupid penalties this game. They weren’t swimming in false starts flags like usual.

GOOD:  Deontay Burnett!! Week in and week out, he has been our most reliable receiver.

GOOD: Congrats on Sam Darnold’s first non-multiple interception game of the season.

GOOD: Who is this Uchenna Nwosu guy? Can we give him two scholarships? The outsider linebacker has played absolutely insane this season. He seems to bat or tip a pass every other drive. He also gets credit this game for the weird almost interception fumble.

GOOD: Stephen Carr played a decent game, filling in for the injured Ronald Jones as starter. Outside of the single fumble, he did what he needed to throughout the game.

GOOD: Being able to make a strawberry turnover pun.

CommBro Breaker

3-0 #24 Oregon just lost to 0-2 unranked ASU. Stanford went from losing to SDSU to making UCLA wish they played Memphis again.  An Arizona team that turned the ball over 5 times (-3 differential) still managed to keep it close against #23 Utah. Maybe you just can’t tell what a team will do any given week. Maybe the team will be fine squeaking out wins.

How did that man Wilcox convince a former FBS head coach to serve as his defensive coordinator? Has he become the Saban of the West?!

Lottery Stats

Running count of fourth down conversions: 0 of 5

Running count of opponent fourth down conversions: 6 of 10

Turnovers off of turnovers: 1