USC vs Oregon Offensive Recap

USC wasn’t able to keep up with the #1 Oregon Ducks.  A (-1) turnover margin proved to be too much to overcome.  There were a couple of key plays which turned the tide of the football game.  In the 2nd quarter and USC with a 17-15 lead, a botched snap while Barkley was looking to the sideline lead to a turnover and an Oregon touchdown on the very next play.  USC sputtered late in the game after a 14 point surge and could not hold Oregon off.

This post will look at the offensive side of the ball for USC.  We will look at the play calling, the situation by down, yards and points per quarter, and the gain histogram.

Play Calling

Overall, USC ran the ball 35 times (41%) and passed the ball 51 times (59%).  But as always, let us take a closer look into the play calling by various situations.  We’ll first look at the play calling per down.

USC passed more in almost every situation.  Generally, USC tends to run the ball more in early downs and pass more in later downs.  A lot of this probably had to do with USC’s run getting stuffed early.  2nd down was actually the most balanced.

Now let us look at the play calling based on quarter.

USC was actually perfectly balanced in the 1st half.  However, once the 2nd half hit, USC started passing much more.  Most of this probably had to do with the score differential.  At halftime, it was a 12 point game.  This prompted USC to throw the ball more to catch up.

Down Situation

Let us look at the average distance to go and average gain per down for USC.

The first thing that stands out is 2nd down’s average gain.  USC gained an abysmal 2.3 yards on average on 2nd down.  Barkley threw the ball 14 times on 2nd down and completed seven of them, but for an average gain of 3.7 yards per completion.  There was a completed pass for a loss of six yards, another completed pass for a loss of two yards, and a completed pass for only one yard which brought the average way down.  Add in six incompletions and an interception and it shows just how bad we were doing on 2nd down.  Rushing wise, we had an average rush of 3.7 yards on 2nd down and also had a fumble lost to a botched snap.

The good news is USC performed fairly well on 3rd downs.  Lets look at the 3rd down conversion rate based on distance to go.

USC converted on 75% of its 3rd and shorts.  3rd and mediums were converted 50% of the time.  And the 3rd and longs were even converted 44% of the time.  This is a pretty good showing on 3rd downs to keep the drives alive.  Unfortunately, USC couldn’t sustain those drives late in the game.

Yards/Points per Quarter

Lets first look at the yards gained per quarter.

Yardage was a little bit all over the place.  So lets look at points per quarter.

The interesting thing about looking at the graphs together is that the points we scored was nearly inversely proportional to the yardage we gained.  The 3rd quarter gained the least yardage (54 yards total offense), yet scored the most points (15).  The 1st quarter gained the second least yardage (82 yards) but scored 10 points.  I guess the 2nd and 4th quarters broke this trend as the 2nd quarter gained more yardage and scored more points than the 4th quarter.

USC was shut out in the 4th quarter.  If you remember the defensive preview for Oregon, their scoring defense drastically improved in the second half, especially in the 4th quarter.  This entire season, Oregon has only allowed seven points in the 4th quarter, which was a touchdown to UCLA with under two minutes remaining in the game.

Gain Histogram

Lets look at the gain histogram for USC.  Incompletions have been removed for ease of reading.

The first thing to notice is that there were no explosive runs of 15+ yards.  USC’s longest run of the game was a 12 yard gain.  In fact, only five runs gained 10 or more yards (14% of total runs).  26 of our runs gained five or less yards (74% of total runs).  17 of USC’s runs, which was nearly half of our total runs, gained less than three yards.  Even worse, seven runs (20%) gained either no yards or negative yardage.  In such a big game, USC’s run game needed to execute.

On the passing side of the ball, USC had a number of good long balls.  Eight passes (16% of total passes) gained 15 or more yards.  About a third of Barkley’s passes gained at least eight yards.


USC’s offense performed well before sputtering at the end of the game.  The three turnovers were highly unfortunate, especially the botched snap which may have been the turning point of the game.  A difference of about a foot in Barkley’s interception in the endzone separated USC closing the gap in the score down to seven and Oregon scoring a rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 21.

I will post a defensive recap of the game in the coming days and will try to finish up my formation stats for USC as well this week.


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