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Washington 17, USC 12: A USC fan works his way through a dismal game

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

uscuw

Top 5 Plays

Play Number

Offense

Down

Distance

Spot

Quarter

Play Description

Home Team Win Probability Before Play

Home Team Win Probability Added

1

186

Washington

3

7

58

4

Team Team Rush for -4

0.199

-0.199

2

95

USC

1

5

5

2

FIELD_GOAL

0.745

-0.116

3

104

USC

2

10

80

3

Cody Kessler Pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster for 7

0.646

-0.113

4

178

USC

4

9

28

4

FIELD_GOAL

0.310

-0.111

5

8

Washington

3

13

36

1

Jake Browning Pass to Jaydon Mickens for 16, FIRST DOWN

0.520

-0.109

Washington 17, USC 12

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics USC Washington Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 68 69
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 20.1 37.5 29.6
Possessions 13 13
Scoring Opportunities*
4 6
Points Per Opportunity 3.25 2.83 4.76
Leverage Rate** 70.6% 65.2% 68.1%
Close S&P*** 0.548 0.508 0.585
* A scoring opportunity occurs when an offense gets a first down inside the opponent's 40 (or scores from outside the 40).
** Leverage Rate = Standard Downs / (Standard Downs + Passing Downs)
*** When using IsoPPP, the S&P formula is (0.8*Success Rate) + (0.2*IsoPPP)
EqPts (what's this?) USC Washington
Total 29.3 27.6
Rushing 19.7 13.4
Passing 9.7 14.1
Success Rate (what's this?) USC Washington Nat'l Avg
All (close) 44.1% 34.8% 41.5%
Rushing (close) 58.8% 38.2% 42.5%
Passing (close) 29.4% 31.4% 40.5%
Standard Downs 60.4% 42.2% 47.0%
Passing Downs 5.0% 20.8% 29.8%
IsoPPP (what's this?) USC Washington Nat'l Avg
All (close) 0.98 1.15 1.26
Rushing (close) 0.98 1.03 1.07
Passing (close) 0.97 1.29 1.48
Standard Downs 0.95 1.04 1.11
Passing Downs 1.75 1.54 1.79
Line Stats USC Washington Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 4.19 2.64 2.84
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 10.0% 5.9% 5.0%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 21.4% 5.6% 7.2%
Turnovers USC Washington
Turnovers 3 1
Turnover Points (what's this?) 13.0 4.1
Turnover Margin Washington +2
Exp. TO Margin Washington +0.95
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Washington +1.05
TO Points Margin Washington +8.9 points
Situational USC Washington
Q1 S&P 0.519 0.490
Q2 S&P 0.581 0.479
Q3 S&P 0.417 0.677
Q4 S&P 0.665 0.293
1st Down S&P 0.523 0.489
2nd Down S&P 0.677 0.615
3rd Down S&P 0.524 0.343
Projected Scoring Margin: Washington by 7.1
Actual Scoring Margin: Washington by 5

The fact that Washington's average starting position was the 37.5 yard line and the Huskies only scored 17 points, tells you USC may have been lucky to only lose this game by five points. I know the projected scoring margin says only 7.1, but there were several missed opportunities from the Washington offense to blow this game open.

The first quarter was one of the worst quarters of football ever played, and this game as a whole largely resembled this one. The efficiency was mostly there for the Trojans, but the explosiveness wasn't and the field position was largely horrendous.

Formations/Basics

Washington USC
Backs-Wide % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
1 back, 2 wide 4.5% 10.0 14.5% 7.9
1 back, 3 wide 28.8% 4.1 40.6% 5.7
1 back, 4 wide 31.8% 4.4 15.9% 2.8
2 backs, 2 wide 7.6% 1.4 20.3% 4.1
2 backs, 3 wide 24.2% 5.6 8.7% 3.2
3 backs, 2 wide 3.0% 4.5
No Huddle? % of Plays Yds/Play
Washington 6.1% 2.8
USC 100.0% 5.0
Washington USC
Hash % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
Left 37.9% 4.2 39.1% 4.9
Middle 18.2% 3.9 21.7% 6.1
Right 43.9% 5.3 39.1% 4.6

Something that should be noted here is that although USC managed a competent five yards per play, that was largely thanks to a running game that averaged 6.3 yards per play. The passing offense, which, mind you, was going against a supposedly questionable pass defense, averaged 4.6. So bad. This was such an atrocious performance by the passing game, and what made it worse was the coaching staff's lack of ability to adjust the game plan to commit even more to the run.

Passing

Washington USC
Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass
Behind Line 1-2, 1 yards 50.0% 0.5 6-9, 28 yards 66.7% 3.1
0 to 4 7-10, 47 yards 70.0% 4.7 5-7, 53 yards 71.4% 7.6
5 to 9 7-9, 67 yards 77.8% 7.4 2-3, 17 yards 66.7% 5.7
10 to 19 0-3, 0 yards 0.0% 0.0 3-8, 58 yards 37.5% 7.3
20 to 29 2-4, 49 yards 50.0% 12.3 0-2, 0 yards 0.0% 0.0
30-plus 0-5, 0 yards 0.0% 0.0 0-0, 0 yards N/A N/A
Washington USC
% Blitz: 24.2% 14.7%
Avg. Rushers 4.2 4.2
Passing (no blitz) 10-23, 106 yards, 2 sacks, 4.2 yds. per att. 12-25, 106 yards, 4 sacks, 3.7 yds. per att.
Passing (blitz) 5-8, 39 yards, 0 sacks, 4.9 yds. per att. 4-4, 50 yards, 1 sacks, 10.0 yds. per att.
Reason for INC/INT Washington USC
QB Fault 8 3
Good Defense 5 7
WR Fault 3 3

Cody Kessler was dismal in this game -- four of five sacks were his fault, either because he bailed on the pocket too quickly or held onto the ball for too long. He threw two passes over 20 yards; one was a double-covered jump ball in the end-zone, and the other was a throw down the right sideline into triple coverage after he'd left the pocket.

Kessler was lucky to not have four total INTs, as there was a pass over the middle intended for Juju Smith-Schuster that looked as if he hadn't seen the coverage at all. A lot of credit has to go to Chris Petersen and Pete Kwiatkowski for making Kessler uncomfortable all night long and seemingly deploy coverages that he hadn't seen on tape. In Kessler's defense, Tre Madden did drop what could've been a two-point conversion, and Justin Davis dropped a very easy ball on the last Trojan drive of the game.

As for Jake Browning, he looked very much like a freshman as he had four overthrows that could have been big plays for the Huskies. Two of the throws (one intended for Dante Pettis, the other for Josh Perkins) occurred in the first quarter and very easily could have led to a 10-0 Washington lead

Chris Petersen decided to attack the middle of the field -- specifically, USC freshman MLB Cam Smith -- for 39% (13/33) of Washington's pass plays. All but one of the attempts over the middle of the field came within 12 yards of the line of scrimmage, and Smith often looked out of position in coverage or was trying to cheat.

Rushing

Washington USC
Rush-Yds YPC Rush-Yds YPC
To Edge 4-11 2.8 15-100 6.7
Toward Tackle 14-88 6.3 10-50 5.0
Up Middle 8-41 5.1 5-39 7.8

USC could have run the ball for the entirety of the second half and won this game. The numbers said that the USC run game might struggle against Washington, however they had no issues at all. Ronald Jones II and Tre Madden both averaged over 7 yards per carry, and Jones was the only USC player to reach the end-zone. He is the most dynamic tailback, and new coach Clay Helton would be wise to get him more carries going forward.

QB Activity

Washington USC
QB Move Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds
Sack - in pocket 1-(-4)
Sack - coverage sack 1-(-4)
Sack - QB fault 4-(-14)

The fifth sack Kessler took simply a case of too many rushers and not enough lineman. This is surely a game he and many Trojan fans would want to forget.

***

It almost seems like a dream that a game was played by USC last Thursday, given the chaos of Sunday and Monday. I will echo what the guys over at the Solid Verbal tweeted out. Alcoholism is a disease, and it needs to be treated as one. Coaches often use the term Dream Job when describing taking a position, but when Sarkisian was hired and said it, you could see that he meant it. It was sad to see this end the way it did for him. Hopefully he gets treatment and gets healthy. That is the most important thing for him right now.