USC and Fresno State will be meeting for the third time in the schools’ history on December 21st, in the annual Las Vegas Bowl. While the Trojans may be the Pac-12 representative, they won’t be heavily favored against the 11-1 Bulldogs.
USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will need to find a way to slow down the up-tempo Fresno State offense, as the Bulldogs average nearly one whole play more per minute than USC does (2.93 vs. 2.01). Part of that is due to the pass-first identity that Fresno State deploys with Heisman Trophy candidate Derek Carr at the helm.
Carr, the younger brother of former No. 1 overall pick David Carr, leads the country in passing yards and touchdowns, while completing 70.1 percent of his passes.
For a USC team that has struggled to defend the vertical passing game at times, the Trojans’ secondary will have their hands full with Carr and his favorite target: Davante Adams.
Adams leads FBS with 122 receptions and 23 touchdowns. He’ll likely be matched up with Josh Shaw, the Trojans’ top cover corner.
We’ll have more on the matchups here at Reign of Troy over the next couple of weeks, but for now, here’s a full stat breakdown:
|Yards Per Play||6.01||6.67|
|Plays Per Minute||2.01||2.93|
|Plays Per Game||65.3||85.6|
|Time of Possession||35:25||29:12|
|First Downs Per Game||19.5||29.5|
|3rd Down Conversion||34.10%||44.51%|
|4th Down Conversion||46.15%||68.97%|
|Red Zone Conversion||91.67%||85.51%|
|Opp. 3rd Down Conversion||34.04%||36.14%|
|Opp. 4th Down Conversion||36.84%||47.22%|
|Opp. Red Zone Conversion||63.41%||85.37%|