Trojans Offense Really Is That Good and More USC Football News


Sep 26, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian celebrates with quarterback Cody Kessler (6) after a second quarter touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. The Trojans defeated the Sun Devils 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Can’t get enough USC football news? We’ve got your morning dose of all the best content from around the web concerning the men of Troy.

1st & 10:

First Take… USC’s offense has been excellent in 2015, averaging 46.8 points per game. Still, there is a tendency to dismiss that number, considering the Sun Belt opposition the Trojans beat up in the first two games of the season.

It would not take much to accuse USC of padding stats.

However, as it turns out, the advance metrics don’t see too much padding there.

This week on Reign of Troy Radio, we talked to Saman Djabbari of Football Study Hall about what the stats say USC really accomplished in the first four games. He pointed out that the Trojans are actually ranked third in the nation in S&P+ ratings on offense.

For those not versed in advanced statistics, S&P+ measures an offense’s efficiency, explosiveness, ability to finish drives and aid the field position battle. All of that is adjusted for opponent strength. They also throw out garbage time production.

In a nutshell S&P+ tells you much more about a team’s effectiveness than the simple stats like yardage and scoring because it factors in all the complex things which can shape a football game.

USC actually ranks in the top ten nationally in all the measures that S&P+ tracks. In rushing, the Trojans are No. 10 and in passing they’re No. 5.

No one has been better than USC in terms of success on standard downs. If “success” is measured by gaining 50% of the necessary yardage on first down, 70% on second down or 100% on third down, no one has completed successful plays at a higher rate that the Trojans.

Unsurprisingly, no one has been as explosive as USC this season either.

Unfortunately, those who have been critical of the Trojan defense this season are absolutely backed up by the stats as well.

Though USC has done a good job of limiting the overall “success” rate of opposition offenses, the men of Troy have been among the worst in allowing explosive plays, stopping teams on long second and third downs, and stopping the run.

And Ten USC Football News Links…

  1. Reign Of Troy: A third of the season is gone, so we handed out awards for the bests and worsts of September. Unsurprisingly, Cody Kessler and Su’a Cravens are the offensive and defensive MVPs.
  2. Shotgun Spratling did an interesting breakdown of USC’s blitzing against ASU. Surprisingly the Trojans did not blitz that much more than they did versus Stanford, but they did do something different with the nose tackle to allow defenders on the outside better opportunities to rush the passer.
  3. Neon Tommy: Paolo Uggetti looks into Adoree’ Jackson’s ability to spark the offense and how the coaches are looking to get him into the game even more.
  4. LA Times: Steven Mitchell says there’s more for him to accomplish after a strong start to the season.
  5. Daily News: USC can’t escape criticism even after blowing out ASU. Scott Wolf’s online poll found 70% of Trojan fans did not change their opinion of the defense while Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt said that USC just isn’t tough enough.
  6. ESPN: Speaking of being tough, Ted Miller explores the role resilience will have in crowning a Pac-12 champion. Well worth the read.
  7. Bleacher Report: Cody Kessler is Brian Pedersen’s top QB in his power rankings headed into Week 5.
  8. Bleacher Report: Outside linebacker recruit Lyndell “Mack” Wilson tweeted his top eight on Thursday, with USC making the cut.
  9. Football Study Hall: With no USC game to watch this weekend, why not go deep into the ASU victory with some advanced metrics with Saman Djabbari. Yes, the Trojans were as bad as they looked in the run game.
  10. OC Register: USC basketball practice begins today, so Michael Lev had a chat with Andy Enfield to answer some questions about the upcoming season. Jordan McLaughlin and Strahinja Garvrilovic are both good to go while the team as a whole has bulked up for the season.

Stat of the Day:

Only Oregon has given up more plays of 10 yards or more than USC in the Pac-12 this season.

Tweet of the Day:

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