USC football had a 0.2 percent chance of beating ASU with just over three minutes left on the clock. Somehow, someway they pulled it off.
How unlikely was USC’s 13-point comeback against ASU?
Their statistical chance of winning the season opener with 3:05 on the clock was practically zero.
ESPN’s recorded win probability at that point with USC trailing 27-14 showed ASU had a 99.8 percent chance of leaving the Coliseum with a victory.
The sharp downturn for the Sun Devils on that graph coincided with Kedon Slovis’ touchdown passe to Bru McCoy, a successful on-side kick recovery and then a score on fourth-and-nine from Slovis to Drake London.
No one could have seen it coming, except for maybe USC head coach Clay Helton. After the game, he told the media he went up and down the sideline telling players they would win the game 28-27.
He was right.
USC football needs to learn not to leave it so late, but a win is a win
The Sun Devils presented one of the two biggest challenges on USC’s 2020 schedule. Jayden Daniels is probably the best quarterback the Trojans will face in the regular season and the 9:00 a.m. start was never going to do USC any favors.
If you want to find positives about the performance outside of the late heroics, that context does matter.
The Trojans were sloppy, committed four turnovers and struggled to finish drives in the red zone. They genuinely had no business winning the game.
Despite all that, they managed to save their season because they never gave up.
Drastic improvement is needed, but at least they showed the heart necessary to achieve such an unlikely comeback.
Trojan fans are well within their rights to hope USC doesn’t make a habit of this though. This year has been difficult enough without adding stress with more fourth-quarter deficits to overcome.