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Stanford 41, USC 31: The Cardinal D adapted ... the Trojans, not so much

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford @ USC

stanuscwp

Top Plays

Play Number

Offense

Down-Distance-Spot

Quarter

Play Description

Home Team Win Probability Before Play

Home Team Win Probability Added

61

USC

2-13-54

2

Cody Kessler Pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster for 54, TOUCHDOWN

0.709

0.139

94

Stanford

2-10-17

2

Kevin Hogan Pass to Devon Cajuste for 17, TOUCHDOWN

0.579

-0.119

106

USC

4-3-33

3

Cody Kessler Pass to Darreus Rogers for 13, FIRST DOWN

0.476

0.119

142

Stanford

2-1-1

4

Remound Wright Rush for 1, TOUCHDOWN

0.191

-0.101

108

USC

2-9-19

3

Cody Kessler Rush for 18, FIRST DOWN

0.572

0.090

A lot of the games we've reviewed this week had two or three plays that completely changed the vibe and rhythm of the game. This one really didn't.

Stanford 41, USC 31

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Stanford USC Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 73 60
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 25.9 26.4 29.6
Possessions 10 10
Scoring Opportunities*
7 6
Points Per Opportunity 5.86 5.17 4.82
Leverage Rate** 71.2% 70.0% 68.7%
Close S&P*** 0.650 0.658 0.587
* 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?) Stanford USC
Total 45.2 40.2
Rushing 18.8 15.0
Passing 26.4 25.2
Success Rate (what's this?) Stanford USC Nat'l Avg
All (close) 50.7% 45.0% 41.8%
Rushing (close) 45.7% 51.9% 42.8%
Passing (close) 59.3% 39.4% 40.7%
Standard Downs 50.0% 47.6% 47.3%
Passing Downs 52.4% 38.9% 29.8%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Stanford USC Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.22 1.49 1.26
Rushing (close) 0.90 1.07 1.06
Passing (close) 1.65 1.94 1.49
Standard Downs 1.09 1.20 1.10
Passing Downs 1.53 2.32 1.81
Line Stats Stanford USC Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 3.28 3.66 2.83
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 6.7% 0.0% 4.7%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 16.7% 7.1% 6.6%
Turnovers Stanford USC
Turnovers 0 0
Turnover Points (what's this?) 0.0 0.0
Turnover Margin +0
Exp. TO Margin +0
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) +0
TO Points Margin +0
Situational Stanford USC
Q1 S&P 0.660 0.787
Q2 S&P 0.817 0.650
Q3 S&P 0.479 0.570
Q4 S&P 0.587 0.675
1st Down S&P 0.622 0.656
2nd Down S&P 0.564 0.644
3rd Down S&P 0.704 0.758
Projected Scoring Margin: Stanford by 4.9
Actual Scoring Margin: Stanford by 10

Bill C: Damn, did USC look good early in this game. First 18 plays: 159 yards, two touchdowns. Even with Stanford moving the ball, it looked like it was just a matter of time. And then Stanford's defense -- thin, banged up, sure to crack -- stiffened up. The first eight carries by USC running backs gained 77 yards; the next 17 gained 68. And the Cardinal offense kept going.

Saman: Bill, that doesn't make me feel better. Something USC needs to figure out going forward is if they really do want to live or die by the big play. Although they scored on 6 possessions, 3 out of the 4 touchdowns came on drives that featured a big play (30 yards +) and only one sustained drive. Also of note: that drive started out on Stanford's 40 yard line thanks to a terrible punt. I'm not saying big plays are bad, explosiveness is fun, but when playing teams like Stanford the Trojans need to improve their ability to maintain drives.

Formations/Basics

Stanford USC
Backs-Wide % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
0 backs, 5 wide 1.4% 10.0 1.7% 54.0
1 back, 0 wide 2.8% 5.0
1 back, 1 wide 1.4% 0.0
1 back, 2 wide 2.8% 5.5 1.7% 6.0
1 back, 3 wide 26.4% 6.8 42.4% 6.1
1 back, 4 wide 16.7% 13.1 37.3% 7.2
2 backs, 0 wide 5.6% 0.8
2 backs, 1 wide 22.2% 4.8
2 backs, 2 wide 8.3% 4.2 5.1% 11.7
2 backs, 3 wide 9.7% 4.0 11.9% 3.3
3 backs, 1 wide 1.4% 10.0
No Huddle? % of Plays Yds/Play
Stanford 9.7% 10.7
USC 100.0% 7.3
Stanford USC
Hash % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
Left 40.3% 6.7 35.6% 7.5
Middle 27.8% 6.6 11.9% 5.1
Right 31.9% 6.5 52.5% 7.6

x

Passing

Stanford USC
Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass
Behind Line 3-3, 48 yards 100.0% 16.0 5-for-5, 22 yards 100.0% 4.4
0 to 4 4-4, 30 yards 100.0% 7.5 7-9, 25 yards 77.8% 2.8
5 to 9 4-6, 61 yards 66.7% 10.2 6-7, 73 yards 85.7% 10.4
10 to 19 5-8, 75 yards 62.5% 9.4 6-8, 146 yards 75.0% 18.3
20 to 29 1-1, 24 yards 100.0% 24.0 0-2, 0 yards 0.0% 0.0
30-plus 1-2, 41 yards 50.0% 20.5 0-0 N/A N/A
Stanford USC
% Blitz: 38.5% 15.2%
Avg. Rushers 4.3 4.1
Passing (no blitz) 13-15, 202 yards, 1 sacks, 12.6 yds. per att. 21-27, 229 yards, 1 sacks, 8.2 yds. per att.
Passing (blitz) 5-8, 77 yards, 2 sacks, 7.7 yds. per att. 4-5, 43 yards, 0 sacks, 8.6 yds. per att.
Reason for INC/INT Stanford USC
QB Fault 4 1
Good Defense 0 4
WR Fault 1 2

Kevin Hogan had such an incredible amount of time to throw the ball and it shows in his completion numbers doesn't it? Something also to keep note of is the fact that aside from the 3 sacks he took, none of his throws were really affected by pressure. When he did find pressure he showed off his athleticism and scrambled for large gains. Cody Kessler continues to be pretty damn good, it absolutely helps when you have a talent like Juju Smith-Schuster to take a pass of 10 yards and turn it into a 54 yard TD and 15 yard pass and make it a 31 yard gain.

Rushing

Stanford USC
Rush-Yds YPC Rush-Yds YPC
To Edge 8-60 7.5 11-64 5.8
Toward Tackle 20-61 3.1 10-63 6.3
Up Middle 10-35 3.5 4-18 4.5

Although the averages for Stanford weren't exactly the greatest in terms of rushing average, the USC defense gave up 5+ yards a play on 1st down and an average of 8+ yards a play on 2nd down. That means the running game never really needed to haver more than 3.1 up the middle to get a first down. The USC defense was largely abysmal in this game and the numbers show it all over the place. In order to be a successful defense, you need to force your opponent into long downs and distances, something that the defense clearly failed to do. It should be said, all credit goes to Stanford because their offensive line was largely magnificent.

QB Activity

Stanford USC
QB Move Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds
Rollout 1-17 1-7
Sack - in pocket 1-(-9)
Sack - coverage sack 1-(-2) 1-(-7)

For all the grief the defense is taking (rightfully so..) they did have 3 sacks in this game. Two of the sacks came on blitzes on 5 people and the 3rd came on when they rushed only 4. Funny enough, this is the season high for sacks in a game for the USC defense which probably doesn't make any Trojan fan feel any better.

This was a hugely disappointing game, and although the S&P+ picks have USC by 6. I honestly have no idea what this USC team is going to do on Saturday or going forward. I think the offense is truly elite, but if you have a defensive line as weak as USC's has been, if they lose Saturday. It could potentially get ugly pretty fast for Steve Sarkisian and Justin Wilcox.