Gary Doran

Advanced Stats Report: USC Trojans


As we continue our Advanced Stats Report series, we look at the following twenty-four graphs exhibiting how Arizona State’s first conference foe, the USC Trojans (the Sun Devils fourth opponent on the 2015 schedule) match-up by the numbers against the Sun Devils.

Offensive Production



– In 2014, the Trojans averaged 44 points per game at home and only 29 points per game on the road
– During 2014, the Trojans average points per game increased in each month during the season



– In each quarter in 2014, the amount of points scored by the Trojans decreased
– In 2014, the Trojans scored almost 100 point more in the first quarter than they did in the fourth quarter


– Less than one-third of the offensive touchdowns scored by USC were on the ground
– In 2014, Nelson Agholor and Javorius Allen scored 26 of USC’s total 63 touchdowns, over 40 percent



– The play selection for 2014 for USC was very similar to ASU


– In 2014, the Trojans averaged over 535 yards per game when playing at home and 390 yards per game on the road
– In 2013, the Trojans actually gained 100 yards more in games on the road compared to those played at home


– In the past two years, the Trojans’ average yards per carry has been the highest in the third quarter and the lowest in the second quarter
– In 2013, half the runs that went for 20 yards or more happened on first down and in 2014 half of them happened on second down
– In 2014, USC gained more yards per carry when they ran the ball from within their own 20 yard line, (5.00 ypc)


– In 2014, the third quarter was the best quarter for the Trojans in terms of yards per pass attempt, averaging 9.2 yards per pass attempt
– In 2014, USC threw fewer passes in each quarter. The Trojans threw twice as many passes in the first quarter as in the fourth quarter, (148/72)


– In 2014, USC’s completion rate was pretty much the same on first, second or third down, (69.2/69.1/68.8)
– In 2014, the completion rate was significantly higher when USC was behind as compared to being ahead or tied, (78.1%/66.5%)
– In 2014, USC completed nearly three-quarters of its passes within the opponents’ red zone, (73.8%). This compares to only 54.2% for ASU


– In 2012, USC quarterbacks threw an interception once every 23.0 pass attempts, in 2013 it was an interception once every 43.3 pass attempt and in 2014 it was only once every 92.0 pass attempts
– In 2014 home games, the USC offense only threw one interception in 229 pass attempts


– In 2014, USC converted third downs almost 10% more often in losses than in its wins
– In 2014, USC converted almost half of its third down tries during its August and September games
– In 2014, the Trojans converted over 53% of their thirds down chances when they played at home compared to 40% on the road


– In 2014, USC scored a red zone touchdown in 80% of their chances when playing on the road.
– In 2014, USC averaged 3.44 red zone touchdowns per game in their wins and only 2.25 per game in their losses

Defensive Output


– In 2014, the USC defense gave up more points per game to non-conference as to conference opponents, (26.5/24.6)


– For the entire season of 2014, the Trojans did not allow 100 points total in any one quarter.
– Almost one-fourth of all the points USC allowed in the fourth quarter in 2014 was scored by ASU in their Jael Mary win over the Trojans


– Half of the rushing TDs allowed by USC in 2014 happened on first down
– The USC defense only allowed three third down passes to go for a touchdown in 2014


– In 2012, 55% of the plays the USC defense faced were on the ground, in 2013 and 2104, the percentage of plays on the ground dropped to 45%


– In 2014, the USC defense allowed more yards per game against non-conference opponents than it did against conference foes, (424.3/400.7)
– In 2014, the USC defense allowed almost 85 yards fewer per game in home games as compared to those on the road, (362.5/446.9)


– Almost half of the yards the USC defense allowed on the ground in 2014 happened in the first four games of the season
– In 2014, there was a significant difference in the average yards allowed on the ground between the first half and the second of their games, (3.12/4.57)


– In the first quarter of games in 2014, the Trojan defense allowed 5.32 yards per pass attempt, by the fourth quarter the average had increased to 7.55 per pass attempt


– In each successive quarter in 2014, the Trojan defense allowed a greater percentage of opponent passes to be completed
– The Trojan defense only allowed 50 percent of opponent passes to be completed on third down in 2014


– In 2014, the Trojan defense only allowed about one out of every four third down plays to be converted for a first down and on the road the defense allowed over 40 percent of the third downs to be converted
– In the first four games in 2014, the Trojan defense only allowed 25 percent of the third down plays to be converted


– In 2014, the USC defense gave up a red zone touchdown 80 percent of the time when playing at home and only 44 percent on the road
– In 2014, the USC defense allowed a red zone touchdown to ranked opponents only 42% of their opportunities and 60% of the opportunities to unranked opponents


– The number of TFLs by the USC defense decreased nearly 20 percent from 2012 to 2014

– In 2012, the USC defense caused a TFL once every 9.9 plays, in 2013 it was once every 10.4 plays and in 2014, it was once every 12.5 plays


– The number of sacks by the USC defense has decreased over 25 percent from 2012 to 2014
– In 2014, the USC defense registered 2.89 sacks per game in games that they won and only 1.75 sacks per game in games they lost


– The number of interceptions registered by the USC defense has decreased over 25 percent from 2012 to 2014
– In 2014, the USC defense only made one interception in facing 181 passes against ranked opponents and 13 interceptions in facing 367 passes against unranked opponents

What the Numbers Say

The USC offense did a much better job of putting points on the board in 2014 than in the previous two years. They accomplished it by passing the ball better and protecting the ball much better. Additionally, their turnovers went from 34 in 2012 to 17 in 2013 to only 12 in 2014. The one offensive area that seemed to decline was in the vaulted USC running game, where the average yards per carry dipped to only 4.0 in 2014. In 2013, the USC running game scored 29 touchdowns, and then dropped to 18 TDs in 2014, which equaled a touchdown only once every 29-plus carries compared to once every 18 carries in 2013.

The USC defense allowed more points and first downs per game in 2014 than in the previous two seasons. The defense was actually stingier on the ground limiting opponents to less than 4.0 yards per carry, which was the best over the past three years. The percentage of passes the defense allowed opponents to complete and third downs allowed to be converted were in the range of the previous two years. Where there seemed to be a real slippage for the USC defense was in the three aggressive categories of TFLs, sacks and interceptions. Those three categories have seen a steady decline over the past three years.

About Gary Doran

Gary Doran

Gary graduated from ASU many years ago. After careers working in banking, finance and the financial administration of academic research funding, he is now interested in utilizing his passion for numbers towards two things he thoroughly loves; Arizona State University and college football. He is looking forward to finding the “stories” buried within the numbers on a football stat sheet. He has gone to ASU football games all the way back to the days of Frank Kush and the WAC. He has been married to an amazing ASU graduate for almost forty years, and they currently live in Ventura, CA. Although this may disqualify him from talking football, he and his wife enjoy the practice of yoga and dancing the Argentine Tango. Ole!

Recommended for you


  1. Pingback: ASU Devils DenSun Devil Schedule Study: USC - ASU Devils Den

  2. Pingback: ASU Devils DenThree Tines of the Game: USC - ASU Devils Den

You must be logged in to post a comment Login