Editor’s note: This is the Sunday, September 12 edition of the Troy Story USC Sports newsletter, from reporter Adam Grosbard. To receive the newsletter delivered to your inbox, sign up here.
Well, that was ugly.
Honestly, Ugly is probably one of the kindest descriptions for USC’s 42-28 loss to Stanford, a team that looked helpless in Week 1 and then looked like a Pac-12 contender because of the Trojans’ incompetence. If you want a more in-depth analysis of the disaster, here’s my game story. And columnist Mark Wicker wrote how it seems clear that head coach Clay Helton’s days at USC are numbered.
Here are the five prime numbers from the game.
How many yards did USC average on the third down? The Trojans could not extend the drive, scoring 4 for 14 on a third-down conversion attempt, with Stanford allowing USC to put the game out of reach without a fight.
USC have had the same number of sacks in two games this season. Pass Rush was considered the USC Defense’s greatest force. But after applying heavy pressure against San Jose State, USC was unable to pocket Stanford QB Tanner Mackie.
How many first downs did Stanford get from the USC penalty? USC made a costly false start on third and three, which led to a punt in the first quarter, and a neutral field violation on a Stanford field goal that allowed the Cardinals to go for a touchdown instead. Any way you cut it, the penalty hit USC on Saturday.
What is the average score USC has scored during its last eight third quarters? USC has scored touchdowns in only one of those third quarters, a stretch that predates the start of the 2020 season.
Despite taking an average of 6.6 yards for the first time, the Trojans were so at a loss. With Stanford only facing USC for a total of four yard losses in all games, USC again struggled with running on low yardage conditions and repeatedly vacated second and third positions.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for reading the Troy Story newsletter from reporter Adam Grosbard. To receive the newsletter delivered to your inbox, sign up here.