Sep 21, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as Southern California Trojans center Marcus Martin (66) snaps the ball against the Utah State Aggies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Utah State 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC vs Utah State: Inside the Box Score

The Trojans survived the final game of their three game home stand, beating Utah State 17-14 with a stout defensive effort and just enough offense to get by. The tale of the box score reflects the low-scoring, defense-heavy affair:

 Team Totals  USU  USC 
FIRST DOWNS  13  17 
   Rushing Attempts  27  39 
   Average Per Rush  3.9  3.0
   Completions-Attempts-Int  21-40-0  13-27-0
   Average Per Completion  8.5  12.6
   Total offense plays  67  66 
   Average Gain Per Play  4.3  4.3
Penalties: Number-Yards  11-89  8-58
Possession Time  27:46  32:14
Third-Down Conversions  5 of 17  3 of 14 
Fourth-Down Conversions  1 of 3  1 of 1 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances  2-3  2-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards  3-10  4-18

The Trojans finished the game ahead in rushing but behind in total yards. The key number was leading in first downs as both teams found it difficult to break down the defense to continue drives. Third-down conversion percentages of 21% for the Trojans and 29% for the Aggies reveal just how much trouble the offenses had. Ultimately, two big fourth down stops for the Trojans made the difference.

PASSING  Cmp-Att-Int  Yds  TD  Long  Sack 
Kessler, Cody   13-27-0  164  33 
Totals…  13-27-0  164  33  3

Cody Kessler attempted his largest pass total of the season, though his completion percentage rating took a hit as he finished the game with six straight incompletions. His 30-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Grimble was his longest of the season while his 33-yard completion to Marqise Lee was his longest pass of the year. The three sacks he sustained match the total he had taken in the first three games and while he avoided throwing an interception, he did lose a fumble.

PASSING  Cmp-Att-Int  Yds  TD  Long  Sack 
Chuckie KEETON   21-39-0  179  42 
D.J. TIALAVEA   0-1-0 
Totals…  21-40-0  179  42 

Chuckie Keeton had his worst game of the season statistically in nearly every category. Despite his two touchdowns, his passing yards and completion percentage were well below his average and the four sacks he took were the most this year. D.J. Tialavea’s unfortunate stat line came courtesy of a failed fake punt.

RUSHING  No.  Gain  Loss  Net  TD  Lg  Avg. 
Madden, Tre   24  98  93  13  3.9 
Davis, Justin   19  17  2.8 
Agholor, Nelson  13  13  13  13.0 
Lee, Marqise   8.0 
TEAM   14  -5  -1.7 
Kessler, Cody   10  -8  -2.0 
Totals…  39  149  31  118  13  3.0 

Tre Madden failed to hit the 100-yard mark for this first time this season as the Trojan rushing attack slowed to a halt in the second half. Nelson Agholor and Lee both had successful carries, Agholor on a reverse and Lee on a sweep.

RUSHING  No.  Gain  Loss  Net  TD  Lg  Avg. 
Joey DEMARTINO   75  72  55  8.0 
Joe HILL   51  51  24  10.2 
Ronald BUTLER   -2  -2.0 
Chuckie KEETON   12  10  25  -15  -1.2 
Totals…  27  136  30  106  55  3.9 

The numbers for Utah State suggest a fairly productive rushing attack but a closer look reveals the mirage. Two long gains account for the bulk of the Aggie production on the ground. Joey DeMartino took on carry 55 yards and Joe Hill had nearly half of his yards on the one 24 yard run. That means nearly three-fourths of Utah State’s rushing yards came on two plays.

RECEIVING  No.  Yds  TD  Lg 
Lee, Marqise   72  33 
Madden, Tre   15 
Grimble, Xavier  39  30 
Agholor, Nelson  38  19 
Totals…  13  164  33 

Lee increased his catches from last week but has yet to find the level of production that won him a host of awards last season. Though his 33-yard catch was a highlight, he once again dropped a very catchable pass. Madden got into the passing game as he has all season and Xavier Grimble showed the value of using the tight end in the passing game as he came away with a touchdown.

RECEIVING  No.  Yds  TD  Lg 
Travi REYNOLDS   70  42 
Tr VAN LEEUWEN   31  10 
Bruce NATSON   21  11 
Brand SWINDALL   21  13 
Joe HILL   18  11 
Totals…  21  179  42 

Travi Reynolds caught his big 42-yarder on a third and 20, which was the result of single coverage and a great catch. He joined Brand Swindall in hauling in a midrange touchdown pass.

PUNTING  No.  Yds  Avg  Long  In20  TB 
Albarado, Kris   248  35.4  49 
Totals…  248  35.4  49 

While it is not the greatest thing to have you punter put in a Player of the Game performance, Kris Albarado made a case for himself as he booted five of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line to put Keeton and the Utah State offense in terrible field position. Albarado’s accurate kicking from midfield was especially valuable in the second half.

PUNTING  No.  Yds  Avg  Long  In20  TB 
Jaron BENTRUDE   276  34.5  40 
Totals…  276  34.5  40 

The box score is kind to Jaron Bentrude whose shanked punt in the third quarter set up USC’s go-ahead field goal.

Heidari, Andre  3rd  10:14  46 yards  Missed 
Heidari, Andre  4th  13:35  25 yards  Good 

Andre Heidari hasn’t quite recovered his freshman form. He missed a 46-yarder but made up for it with the aforementioned game-winning field goal.

Nick DIAZ  1st  01:39  37 yards  Missed 

No one knew at the time, but Nick Diaz’s 37-yard miss in the first quarter was the difference in the game.

##  USC   Solo  Ast  Total  TFL/Yds  FF  FR-Yds  Int-Yds  BrUp  Blkd  Sack/Yds  QBH 
94  Williams, Leonard  3.0/7   .   .   .  
55  Dawson, Lamar   1.0/2   .   .   .  
6   Shaw, Josh   .   .   .   .  
21  Cravens, Su’a   .   .   .   .  
24  Wright, Demetrius  .   .   .   .  
90  Uko, George   1.0/5   .   .   1.0/5  
10  Pullard, Hayes   .   .   .   .  
91  Breslin, Morgan  3.0/9   .   .   2.0/6  
13  Seymour, Kevon   1.0/1   .   .   .  
42  Kennard, Devon   1.0/7   .   .   1.0/7  
18  Bailey, Dion   .   .   .   .  
99  Woods, Antwaun   .   .   .   .  
58  Tavai, J.R.   .   .   .   .  
3G  Allen, Javorius  .   .   .   .  

Leonard Williams led the Trojans with eight tackles, including three tackles for loss, but nearly every defender got on the board with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Morgan Breslin stood out with two sacks and two quarterback hurries. Hayes Pullard was a beast in pass coverage with two pass break ups, one of which was a mega-hit that nearly resulted in an interception.

##  Utah State   Solo  Ast  Total  TFL/Yds  FF  FR-Yds  Int-Yds  BrUp  Blkd  Sack/Yds  QBH 
51  Jake DOUGHTY   12  2.0/4   .   .   1.0/3  
53  Zach VIGIL   12  .   1-0   .   .  
5   Maur ALEXANDER   .   .   .   .  
1   Nevin LAWSON   0.5/1   .   .   .  
4   GLOVER-WRIGHT   .   .   .   .  
48  Paul PIUKALA   .   .   .   .  
9   Kyler FACKRELL   2.0/7   .   .   2.0/7  
56  AJ PATAIALI’I   0.5/0   .   .   .  
21  Brian SUITE   .   .   .   .  
46  Frankie SUTERA   .   .   .   .  
36  Jake THOMPSON   .   .   .   .  
12  Terre THOMPSON   .   .   .   .  
96  KAMANA-MATAGI   1.0/1   .   .   .  
1H  Jeremy MORRIS   .   .   .   .  
99  BJ LARSEN   .   .   .   .   1

Utah State found similar success with six tackles for loss of their own and three sacks. Jake Doughty and Zach Vigil logged 12 tackles each while Fackrell’s one of Fackrell’s two sacks resulted in the lone turnover of the game.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Cody Kessler Leonard Williams Tre Madden Morgan Breslin USC Trojans

  • TrojanChuck

    Chuckie Keeton…negative 15 yards rushing. That’s Clancy Pendergast’s crowning achievement to date and it’s bad news for Taylor Kelly this week.

    • Michael Castillo

      Pac-12 Network said they counted six sacks, but there were so many no-gains or losses all afternoon for Keeton. He’s a helluva QB and for SC to make him look so mediocre, when spread QBs killed the Trojans last year, is huge.

      • PenguinOfTroy

        Pendergast’s achievements thus far are really an indictment on what Monte failed to do with the talent he had. Clearly given the way Dallas’ defense has improved he is still a great D coordinator, but he wasn’t the right coordinator for USC. With the right guy in place now this defense is so exciting. Just wish the offense would follow suit.

        • Michael Castillo

          Agreed. And it’s funny, because last year before the season, I was the biggest supporter of Monte Kiffin’s defense for being able to stop spread offenses, based on those three quarters in Eugene, plus Oregon’s ineffectiveness vs. 4-3 defenses of LSU and Auburn. I was sooooooooooooooo wrong, as was seen in 2012. And you know, even Monte’s D was stout against pro-sets, as seen against Cal last year. That’s why I think the way SC made Keeton look mediocre for all but one drive was enormous, as it wasn’t just a talented defense beating up on a straight-forward passing or pro-style offense. I’ve said it a lot, but this team is looking like Florida last year, or even Notre Dame. Those teams won a lot of games by having a world class defense making up for shitty offenses and keeping them in the game long enough for the offense to luck into a game-winning drive. USC could very much do that, and ugly their way to a good-looking record.

        • disqus_5mzWKSTg3O

          Monte’s D isn’t suited for college. There were several times when Monte would comment on how he didn’t have enough time to teach his D. Yet, he kept coaching it, even after complete defensive collapses in games.

          • Matthew Moreno

            He might have hoped to teach them just enough to get by.

          • Michael Castillo

            That’s a really, really underrated point. The first thing he said when he got to Dallas was how great it was to not worry about academics.

  • Peter Choi

    With all due respect, while the D is playing better than last year, it is far too early to say this D is like UF or ND from last year. IMHO, I don’t care what you say, but the 3 teams we played are hardly worthy tests. The first real test may be Zona.

    • Matthew Moreno

      Utah State was more than a fair test for the defense. Yes, Chuckie Keeton’s stats benefited from playing mediocre teams, but he is a dynamic athlete that was essentially shut down.

      Had Keeton faced last year’s defense, it would have been a different story.

      • disqus_5mzWKSTg3O

        Keaton’s stats were inflated because ofy Weber state. IMO, he’s a slower, less accurate version of Mariota.

        Uko and Williams are beast, but if a supposed dual threat QB can’t juke them, said QB was falsely advertised.

    • Michael Castillo

      Not saying that USC is going to win 11 or 12 games, but they’re going to play those style of games and we’ve already seen it The defense is good enough to keep them in games to scrap away games, and look how importantl Heidari is right now. He’s both won and lost a game for the Trojans, and that’s not something that USC is used to.

      • Matthew Moreno

        I wonder if something is going on with Heidari that we don’t know about. His struggles are very uncharacteristic.

        Low scoring games are ok, but USC should be able to score 21 points on just about anybody.

  • disqus_5mzWKSTg3O

    I think everyone is ignoring the ugly truth. Kiffin coached the offense to nearly identical stat lines as Utah state.

    • Michael Castillo

      True. Though USC had considerable shorter fields all afternoon, so there was going to be less opportunities for yards. But yeah, the offense looked abysmal in the second half and that game-winning field goal was gifted with the shanked punt. Once again, Kiffin failed to push the right buttons in terms of in-game adjustments.

      • disqus_5mzWKSTg3O

        Having shorter fields is exactly my point. How many times did USC get the ball back from Utah state inside the 35 yard line? 2-3 times and no TDs?

        Yeah, those in-game adjustments, or lack there of.
        Kiffin has roll out, man.

        • PenguinOfTroy

          I think what Michael meant was that USC was at a slight disadvantage in terms of in terms of yardage gained, which contributes to the similar numbers. Granted, as an offense you want those short fields and the lack of TDs was disturbing, but it is harder to find space and defense tend to tighten up.
          My biggest concern is that no one on offense seemed to be capable of closing out the game. The entire second half consisted of the offense putting more and more pressure on the defense because they couldn’t score OR keep the ball long enough to even run the clock a bit.

      • disqus_5mzWKSTg3O

        I mean roll out of OC, maybe roll out of town.