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USC 59, Idaho 9: Explosive offense meets bad defense

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USC 59, Idaho 9

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Idaho USC Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 77 74
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 30.5%
Avg Starting FP 24.1 22.2 29.7
Possessions 13 13
Scoring Opportunities*
3 9
Points Per Opportunity 3.33 6.56 4.80
Leverage Rate** 55.0% 92.3% 68.3%
Close S&P*** 0.493 0.906 0.584
* 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?) Idaho USC
Total 26.8 69.9
Rushing 6.8 27.3
Passing 20.0 42.6
Success Rate (what's this?) Idaho USC Nat'l Avg
All (close) 25.0% 80.8% 41.3%
Rushing (close) 22.2% 76.9% 42.5%
Passing (close) 27.3% 84.6% 40.1%
Standard Downs 27.3% 87.5% 46.8%
Passing Downs 22.2% 0.0% 29.6%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Idaho USC Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.47 1.30 1.27
Rushing (close) 1.18 1.16 1.06
Passing (close) 1.66 1.42 1.49
Standard Downs 1.58 1.28 1.10
Passing Downs 1.29 0.00 1.83
Line Stats Idaho USC Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 2.51 4.18 2.80
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 0.0% 5.1%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 0.0% 6.6%
Turnovers Idaho USC
Turnovers 0 0
Turnover Points (what's this?) 0.0 0.0
Turnover Margin +0
Exp. TO Margin USC +0.51
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Idaho +0.51
TO Points Margin +0
Situational Idaho USC
Q1 S&P 0.493 0.954
Q2 S&P 0.377 0.792
Q3 S&P 0.625 1.101
Q4 S&P 0.386 0.650
1st Down S&P 0.488 0.844
2nd Down S&P 0.516 0.908
3rd Down S&P 0.509 0.799
Projected Scoring Margin: USC by 43.1
Actual Scoring Margin: USC by 50

This game went as expected. The USC offense remained explosive with six plays of 30+ yards in this game, which helps explain the high EqPts total. As I'd mentioned in last week's recap, Idaho gave up almost 4 big plays per game last year, so this was not a surprise. Great news going forward if USC can continue this pattern of explosiveness.

As great as big plays are, you also need to be able to convert third downs. The biggest wart for the USC starting offense so far is its 18-percent third down conversion rate. This matters as they go into this week facing a MUCH better defense (Stanford); the Cardinal will try to limit the big play and force the USC offense into more third-down situations. The 92.3% leverage rate is helpful because it shows that at least they're not getting into too many 3rd-and-longs.

The USC defense was ok. No turnovers in the game isn't great considering they're not getting many sacks -- just one this game by Su'a Cravens and two total on the season. However, holding the Vandals to 4.4 yards a play is good to see, highlighted by Idaho's 25% success rate.

Formations/Basics

Idaho USC
Backs-Wide % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
0 backs, 4 wide 3.9% 8.0
0 backs, 5 wide 1.3% -2.0 1.4% 12.0
1 back, 2 wide 11.7% 2.9 6.8% 4.6
1 back, 3 wide 42.9% 3.3 23.0% 7.9
1 back, 4 wide 13.0% 9.9 24.3% 12.0
2 backs, 1 wide 2.6% 1.5
2 backs, 2 wide 15.6% 3.3 28.4% 11.9
2 backs, 3 wide 9.1% 1.6 14.9% 8.3
No Huddle? % of Plays Yds/Play
Idaho 38.2% 5.3
USC 100.0% 10.0
Idaho USC
Hash % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
Left 42.1% 4.3 44.6% 10.2
Middle 19.7% 5.4 12.2% 10.7
Right 38.2% 3.2 43.2% 9.5

So Idaho, maybe simplify the playbook and personnel sets a bit? As for USC, 10 yards per play! The offense literally averaged a first down every time they snapped the ball, which is pretty fun. Obviously the six big plays weigh heavily on the average.

Passing

Idaho USC
Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass
Behind Line 5-6, 39 yards 83.3% 6.5 10-11, 152 yards 90.9% 13.8
0 to 4 9-14, 78 yards 64.3% 5.6 8-10, 56 yards 80.0% 5.6
5 to 9 12-17, 91 yards 70.6% 5.4 6-7, 82 yards 85.7% 11.7
10 to 19 2-5, 30 yards 40.0% 6.0 3-5, 44 yards 60.0% 8.8
20 to 29 0-2, 0 yards 0.0% 0.0 1-1, 28 yards 100.0% 28.0
30-plus 0-2, 0 yards 0.0% 0.0 2-3, 91 yards 66.7% 30.3
Idaho USC
% Blitz: 37.0% 27.0%
Avg. Rushers 4.4 4.3
Passing (no blitz) 19-29, 168 yards, 0 sacks, 5.8 yds. per att. 23-27, 368 yards, 0 sacks, 13.6 yds. per att.
Passing (blitz) 9-16, 70 yards, 1 sacks, 4.1 yds. per att. 7-10, 85 yards, 0 sacks, 8.5 yds. per att.
Reason for INC/INT Idaho USC
QB Fault 11 1
Good Defense 4 2
WR Fault 1 4

It would be pretty impressive for Cody Kessler to have a better game than this one for the rest of the season. His success on the deep ball -- categorized as 30+ yards -- was encouraging given the struggles against Arkansas State. The real star of the passing game was Juju Smith-Schuster, who had his best game as a Trojan so far: 10 receptions for 192 yards.

Taking his two deep passes out of the equation (44 yards in the air + after the catch for a TD and 41 yards in the air for a TD), what is most impressive about Smith-Schuster's game was him taking the shorter passes -- average distance traveled in the air: 2.6 yards -- and gaining an average of 10 yards after the catch.

Rushing

Idaho USC
Rush-Yds YPC Rush-Yds YPC
To Edge 6-6 1.0 5-75 15.0
Toward Tackle 7-23 3.3 13-96 7.4
Up Middle 10-34 3.4 5-15 3.0

The running game excelled against Idaho, with only two runs getting no yardage, both by Ronald Jones II. However, he was also the most explosive with three runs over 10 yards. The usage pattern of the running backs, with Tre Madden and Justin Davis being the featured backs in the first and second quarters, was notable and what everyone imagined it would be the case coming into the season. Davis was excellent, with four out of his five carries going for 5+ yards for a total of 74 yards.

QB Activity

Idaho USC
QB Move Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds
Rollout 1-8
Sack - in pocket 1--8

No sacks allowed! Kessler didn't face much of a pass rush this game, and the offensive line was vastly improved from that terrible first quarter against Arkansas State. Line play will be extremely important for USC against Stanford on Saturday, so they'll want to keep up the improvement on the offensive line side and perhaps look for a little improvement on the pass rush end.