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USC 42, ASU 14: Nightmare for the Sun Devils, a dream come true for the Trojans

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Norm Hall/Getty Images

uscaz

(Arizona State is in yellow)

Play Number

Name

Down-Distance-Spot

Quarter

Play Description

Home Team WP Before Play

Home Team WP Added

1

13

USC

3-13-80

1

Cody Kessler Pass to Adoree' Jackson for 80, TOUCHDOWN

0.627

-0.252

2

6

Arizona State

1-10-98

1

Demario Richard Rush for 61, FIRST DOWN

0.503

0.151

3

10

Arizona State

1-10-24

1

Demario Richard Rush for 1, FUMBLE

0.684

-0.132

4

2

USC

1-10-75

1

Cody Kessler Pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster for 52, FIRST DOWN

0.550

-0.130

5

26

USC

3-16-76

1

Cody Kessler Rush for 21, FIRST DOWN

0.384

-0.118

USC 42, Arizona State 14

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Arizona State USC Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 79 66
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 49.7%
Avg Starting FP 20.8 36.3 29.5
Possessions 12 13
Scoring Opportunities*
7 7
Points Per Opportunity 2.00 5.00 4.82
Leverage Rate** 67.6% 57.1% 68.5%
Close S&P*** 0.581 0.742 0.588
* 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?) Arizona State USC
Total 40.8 42.9
Rushing 17.0 8.2
Passing 23.8 34.7
Success Rate (what's this?) Arizona State USC Nat'l Avg
All (close) 37.8% 42.9% 41.9%
Rushing (close) 42.1% 33.3% 42.8%
Passing (close) 33.3% 47.8% 40.9%
Standard Downs 44.0% 40.0% 47.3%
Passing Downs 25.0% 46.7% 30.2%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Arizona State USC Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.39 2.00 1.27
Rushing (close) 1.59 0.68 1.06
Passing (close) 1.13 2.48 1.49
Standard Downs 1.22 1.41 1.11
Passing Downs 2.02 2.67 1.80
Line Stats Arizona State USC Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 3.50 0.82 2.84
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 0.0% 4.7%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 0.0% 6.8%
Turnovers Arizona State USC
Turnovers 4 2
Turnover Points (what's this?) 25.3 9.6
Turnover Margin USC +2
Exp. TO Margin USC +0.95
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) USC +1.05
TO Points Margin USC +15.7 points
Situational Arizona State USC
Q1 S&P 0.670 0.787
Q2 S&P 0.536 0.673
Q3 S&P 0.554 0.469
Q4 S&P 0.624 0.618
1st Down S&P 0.630 0.653
2nd Down S&P 0.585 0.556
3rd Down S&P 0.621 0.444
Projected Scoring Margin: USC by 17.8
Actual Scoring Margin: USC by 28

This game is a perfect example of how much turnovers can determine the outcome of the game. USC capitalized on both ASU fumbles, returning one for a 94-yard touchdown and recovering another on the ensuing kickoff, which put USC on ASU's 4 yard line. That all but sealed the loss for the Sun Devils.

Formations/Basics

USC Arizona St.
Backs-Wide % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
0 backs, 5 wide 6.3% 1.0
1 back, 2 wide 1.5% -1.0 1.3% 14.0
1 back, 3 wide 20.9% 11.7 40.0% 5.4
1 back, 4 wide 31.3% 8.3 23.8% 6.3
2 backs, 2 wide 19.4% 1.4 18.8% 7.8
2 backs, 3 wide 20.9% 4.1 8.8% 1.7
3 backs, 2 wide 6.0% 10.5 1.3% 14.0
No Huddle? % of Plays Yds/Play
USC 100.0% 6.8
Arizona St. 80.0% 6.4
USC Arizona St.
Hash % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
Left 47.8% 7.3 41.3% 6.7
Middle 17.9% 5.6 20.0% 8.8
Right 34.3% 6.7 38.8% 2.9

Passing

USC Arizona St.
Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass
Behind Line 6-6, 94 yards 100.0% 15.7 5-6, 12 yards 80.0% 2.0
0 to 4 6-11, 116 yards 54.5% 10.5 3-8, 17 yards 37.5% 2.1
5 to 9 2-4, 35 yards 50.0% 8.8 6-6, 72 yards 100.0% 12.0
10 to 19 4-8, 67 yards 50.0% 8.4 7-17, 98 yards 41.2% 5.8
20 to 29 0-0, 0 yards N/A N/A 2-5, 73 yards 40.0% 14.6
30-plus 2-5, 67 yards 40.0% 13.4 0-2, 0 yards 0.0% 0.0
USC Arizona St.
% Blitz: 51.4% 23.4%
Avg. Rushers 4.7 4.3
Passing (no blitz) 7-16, 124 yards, 1 sacks, 7.3 yds. per att. 18-34, 197 yards, 2 sacks, 5.5 yds. per att.
Passing (blitz) 13-17, 255 yards, 1 sacks, 14.2 yds. per att. 5-10, 75 yards, 1 sacks, 6.8 yds. per att.
Reason for INC/INT USC Arizona St.
QB Fault 5 12
Good Defense 5 4
WR Fault 4 4

Cody Kessler had a pretty good game -- he averaged a solid 8.8 air yards per attempt, showing that he wasn't necessarily just dinking and dunking down the field. However, most of his success came when the playmakers operated in space. Adoree' Jackson's awesome little (only a 4-yard pass turning into an 80-yard TD) wheel route was a pretty play that capitalized on an aggressive defense, leaving him one-on-one versus a safety.

Kessler also threw his first interception of the season, which looked very much like miscommunication between him and his receiver, Steven Mitchell. He missed two deep balls on overthrows, one of which Mitchell dropped on a diving catch. But he was able to hit Juju Smith-Schuster on a good throw on the opening play of the game.

What was encouraging to see was how well the coaching staff prepared the O-line in pass protection -- the run game not so much, which I go into below -- for the flurry of blitzes ASU was going to deliver. They only gave up two sacks, which could have been three if not for Kessler's Houdini impression. But they largely did a good job with picking up the pressure.

Rushing

USC Arizona St.
Rush-Yds YPC Rush-Yds YPC
To Edge 7-55 7.9 3-5 1.7
Toward Tackle 7-12 1.7 8-113 14.1
Up Middle 7-1 0.1 16-74 4.6

One yard on seven tries up the middle for the Trojans paints an ugly picture, and the running game was ugly indeed. After complimenting USC's running backs leading up to the week, it was evident that ASU coach Todd Graham made it a focus to stop the running game. The longest run for USC was 22 yards by Ronald Jones II, and that didn't come until the fourth quarter. Cody Kessler, of all people, had the second longest on a 21-yard scramble on third-and-16 in the first quarter. That was pretty fun to see but was a further indictment of the running game.

The USC run defense left a lot to be desired. Even when you factor out the outlier of Demario Richard's 61-yard run, the Sun Devils were still able to average a semi-healthy 4.2 yards per carry. This is definitely something to watch, as the Trojans next three opponents -- Washington, Notre Dame and Utah -- are all top-35 in Rushing S&P+.

QB Activity

USC Arizona St.
QB Move Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds
Rollout 1-22
Option - zone read 3-11
QB Draw 1-2
Sack - in pocket 1--9 3--21

While the USC D-line struggled against the run (which might have had to do something with missing Antwaun Woods), it did pretty well generating a pass rush. The Trojans were able to sack Mike Bercovici three times, twice while only rushing 4, and clearly affected him on the interception that John Plattenburg caught on the overthrow.

The Trojans don't play again until October 8 against Washington, where they'll look to add both Woods and starting corner Kevon Seymour back into the fold.