October 10, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler (6) throws under pressure against Arizona Wildcats linebacker Jake Fischer (33) during the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

USC vs. Arizona: Inside the Box Score

With Ed Orgeron at the helm for the first time after Lane Kiffin’s firing, USC jumped out to a big lead against Arizona before allowing a late comeback attempt from the Wildcats. The Trojans held on for the victory, 38-31.

Here’s how the box score shaped up.

 Team Totals  ARIZ  USC 
FIRST DOWNS  25  27 
   Rushing  13 
   Passing  16  11 
   Rushing Attempts  33  45 
   Average Per Rush  4.4  5.5
   Completions-Attempts-Int  28-44-0  15-30-0
   Average Per Completion  13.0  19.8
   Total offense plays  77  75 
   Average Gain Per Play  6.6  7.3
Penalties: Number-Yards  5-52  7-50
Possession Time  26:27  33:33
Third-Down Conversions  8 of 17  6 of 13 
Fourth-Down Conversions  0 of 0  0 of 0 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances  2-3  3-3

The Trojans held the advantage in first downs, and in a big twist, were more often the beneficiaries of penalties even though the Wildcats came into this game as one of the least penalized teams in the nation. USC greatly improved their third down conversion percentage in this game, picking up extra downs nearly half of the time. Also a noticeable change from Lane Kiffin to Clay Helton, USC ran the most offensive plays of the season, running 70 or more for the first time since the season opener.

From a defensive perspective, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey became the first opposing running back to log more than 100 yards against the stout Trojan rushing defense. The Wildcats still trailed well behind the Trojans in total rushing yards however. Arizona did best USC in passing yards, the bulk of those coming late as they made their late comeback push.

Return of the Stable

RUSHING  No.  Gain  Loss  Net  TD  Lg  Avg. 
Redd, Silas   19  82  80  12  4.2 
Davis, Justin   42  38  14  4.2 
Allen, Javorius  37  37  20  6.2 
Isaac, Ty   36  36  22  12.0 
Kessler, Cody   34  34  34  34.0 
Madden, Tre   28  28  11  5.6 
TEAM   -4  -2.0 
Totals…  45  259  10  249  34  5.5 

With the return of Silas Redd and the precautionary limits to Tre Madden, Clay Helton turned to the stable of running backs. Buck Allen saw noticeably more time, especially on the goal line which resulted in two rushing touchdowns. Justin Davis and Ty Isaac also contributed, though it was Redd who saw the bulk of the carries in Madden’s absence and Redd who was called upon to close out the game, earning nearly half of his yards on the final drive.

Kessler Has An Arm

PASSING  Cmp-Att-Int  Yds  TD  Long  Sack 
Kessler, Cody   15-30-0  297  63 
Totals…  15-30-0  297  63 

Cody Kessler threw for a career-best 297 yards, including long completions to Nelson Agholor and Madden. Those two touchdowns were his second and third longest passes of the year. However, his second half numbers hurt his completion percentage as he hit just one of four passes in the fourth quarter for three yards.

Agholor Galore

RECEIVING  No.  Yds  TD  Lg 
Agholor, Nelson  161  62 
Telfer, Randall  40  29 
Blackwell, Victor  23  18 
Allen, Javorius 
Madden, Tre   63  63 
Cope-Fitzpatrick, Ja 
Totals…  15  297  63

Agholor stepped into Marqise Lee’s shoes admirably against the Wildcats with season-highs in receptions and yards. He also caught his first touchdown pass of the season. The only other receiver to catch a pass also happened to be the only other healthy scholarship receiver on the roster — Victor Blackwell. Tight ends Randall Telfer, Xavier Grimble and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick saw noticeably more time in the passing game, though some drops and some missed throws limited their impact. Tre Madden’s single catch proved highlight worthy as he continues to be a real target for Kessler.

Albarado Approaches Beast Mode

PUNTING  No.  Yds  Avg  Long  In20  TB 
Albarado, Kris   214  35.7  46 
Totals…  214  35.7  46  0

Kris Albarado’s pooch punting has been nothing short of magnificent this season and Thursday night’s game was no exception. Four of his six punts landed inside the 20. Two of those were downed inside the five.

Tavai Flies High

##  USC   Solo  Ast  Total  TFL/Yds  FF  FR-Yds  Int-Yds  BrUp  Blkd  Sack/Yds  QBH 
94  Williams, Leonard  10  12  0.5/3   .   .   0.5/3  
58  Tavai, J.R.   10  3.5/13   .   .   0.5/3  
10  Pullard, Hayes   10  .   .   .   .  
6   Shaw, Josh   .   .   .   .  
4   Harris, Torin   .   .   .   .  
21  Cravens, Su’a   .   .   .   .  
42  Kennard, Devon   1.0/4   .   .   1.0/4  
13  Seymour, Kevon   .   .   .   .  
55  Dawson, Lamar   .   .   .   .  
83  Katrib, George   .   .   .   .   .

J.R. Tavai filled in for the injuried Morgan Breslin with surprising ease. Given Breslin’s importance as an impact player, Tavai more than made up for his absence by harrying Arizona’s B.J. Denker in the pass rush and logging a team-best 3.5 tackles for loss. Leonard Williams continued his dominant season by leading the Trojans in tackles.

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Tags: Buck Allen Cody Kessler JR Tavai Nelson Agholor Silas Redd Tre Madden USC Trojans

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