Pac-12 Championship Game 2017: USC vs. Stanford matchup by the numbers

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Sam Darnold
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Sam Darnold /
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The Pac-12 Championship rematch of USC vs. Stanford features an intriguing matchup of explosive offenses and capable defenses. Here’s the numbers to know.

The one team that USC dominated in 2017 is back for revenge in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The Stanford Cardinal will be looking to cap off an impressive run to finish their season, including blowing out Notre Dame and giving the Washington Huskies their second loss of the year.

On the other side of the field, USC will look to validate their program’s beliefs with a title win.

Here are some statistics from the rematch between the North and South division winners:

The Series

USC leads the all-time series with Stanford with a record of 62-32-3. However, the Trojans have just three wins in the past 10 meetings.

Of course, the last time these two teams faced each other in the Pac-12 title game was in 2015. Then, Stanford beat USC, 41-22, led by Kevin Hogan and Christian McCaffery.

Fortunately, USC fans will have the most recent matchup in Week 2 to look back on, when the Trojans turned in their most complete game of the season, defeating Stanford, 42-24, at the Coliseum. On Friday, USC will look to turn in a similar performance, which was highlighted by Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr gaining a combined 235 yards rushing.

S&P+ Numbers

USC Offense vs. Stanford Defense

Coming into the game most people will be wondering how well USC’s defense will hold up against Bryce Love and the Cardinal rushing attack. Though if you’ve been paying attention all season, you know the success of this team hinges on the offense.

USC’s offense is ranked 16th overall in S&P+ and 17th in success rate. The offense is also 13th in IsoPPP, which measures explosive plays. What is more surprising, and disappointing is that USC is only ranked 48th in rushing S&P+. However, through the air, USC is ranked 8th in S&P+.

On the opposite side, Stanford’s defense is ranked 52nd overall in S&P+. They are also 62nd in success rate, 59th in rush defense and 54th in pass defense. Stanford is also ranked 41st in defensive IsoPPP, meaning that Stanford’s defense has turned in some impressive wins, but they aren’t quite juggernauts.

The story for USC should continue, if they play a clean game they should be successful.

USC Defense vs. Stanford Offense

USC’s defense will have a tough task stopping Stanford’s rushing attack.

In September, USC did a good job against Love after giving up a 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

More from Reign of Troy

The Trojan defense is ranked 56th overall in S&P+. Even though USC is ranked lower than Stanford overall, they are ranked 26th in success rate. They are also ranked 55th in rushing and 11th in passing defense, which is stunning, especially given Josh Rosen’s performance fresh in everyone’s mind.

Stanford’s offense is ranked 34th overall in the S&P+. The Cardinal are also ranked 60th in success rate but are impressively 16th in IsoPPP, the explosiveness measurement, no doubt helped by Love’s big play ability. Stanford is ranked a surprising 47th in rushing and 39th in passing as well.

If USC’s defense plays as well as it has all season, and manages to erase the lapses on reverses and deep coverage, the Trojans should have a pretty good night in Santa Clara and walk away Pac-12 Champions.

Fast Facts

  • USC had its first of three 600+ yards of total offense games against the Stanford Cardinal in September.
  • USC is 5-2 all-time in Friday night games. The two losses were last year against Utah and in Week 5 this season against Washington State.
  • The North division has defeated the South in all six previous Pac-12 title games.
  • USC is still undefeated in games in which Ronald Jones II carries the ball 15 or more times.
  • USC will wear its home jerseys against Stanford. They have never lost while wearing cardinal and gold under head coach Clay Helton.