Why USC football's points off turnover margin is actually sustainable

Mekhi Blackmon, USC Football, USC Trojans
Mekhi Blackmon, USC Football, USC Trojans / Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

USC football has forced 14 turnovers this season. That's tied for the most in the country, and they have the top turnover margin in the nation at +14. Yes, that means the offense has miraculously not turned the ball over yet this year.

They have scored 69 points off of turnovers, and obviously therefore have a +69 point off turnover margin. Both are first in the nation, at least among Power 5 teams. Head Coach Lincoln Riley said after the game against Oregon State that "absolutely it's sustainable." Of course, many will disagree with that.

It is sustainable, though. The reason it's sustainable is because even when USC's offense is only scoring 17 points like they did on Saturday against Oregon State, they still added 10 to that margin. They had by far the worst offensive performance of the season, and still just kept on taking advantage of turnovers.

In fact, one of the only two times they didn't score off of a turnover was because all they had to do was kneel the ball down on one play to win the game after the Max Williams interception. It's like last week. There were two turnovers, and USC scored seven points off of them. The only time they didn't score off of a turnover was because it was an interception to end the first half.

It goes to show that USC football keeps taking advantage of turnovers, even when the opportunities aren't as plentiful.

It's even similar to Week 2, when USC football scored 24 points off of four turnovers despite forcing two of them all the way back in the red zone. The offense took over at their own 17-yard line once and scored a touchdown. They also took over at their own 2-yard line once and scored a touchdown.

Taking over after the defense forces a turnover is ALWAYS nice, but it's not always easy to score when the offense is so backed up like that. SC still made it happen, though. It goes to show that there is just something special about USC and scoring off of turnovers. They're disciplined and coached well to where they see it as a must. There's nothing fluky about this.

And of course, people may point to them thinking that USC can't force 3.5 turnovers per game for much longer, but the reality is that everyone has said that every week, and nothing changes. It's a defense that's looking for opportunities to take the ball away.

Besides, wasn't USC's turnover prowess supposed to be over after USC dropped from four turnovers in each of the first two games to two in Week 3? That's what all these opposing college football fans said, and then SC came out and forced four turnovers against who's easily the best team and offense they've played so far this season.

dark. Next. Game-by-game predictions for USC in 2022

USC may not literally average 3.5 turnovers per game and 17.25 points off turnovers per game for the rest of the year, but they'll very likely still be extremely impressive in the two departments. This has been four games now. It's clearly part of their identity, and they're so far ahead of everybody for a reason. When it's this drastic, USC is clearly doing something right.