5 key numbers from USC’s loss to Stanford – Daily News

Editor’s note: This is the Sunday, Sept. 12 edition of the Troy Story USC sports newsletter from reporter Adam Grosbard. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

Well, that was ugly.

Honestly, ugly is probably one of the kinder descriptions for USC’s 42-28 loss to Stanford, a team that looked hapless in Week 1 and then like a Pac-12 contender due to the Trojans’ incompetence. If you’d like a more in-depth breakdown of the disaster, here is my game story. And columnist Mark Whicker wrote about how it seems clear that head coach Clay Helton’s days at USC are numbered.

Here are five key numbers from from the game.


That’s how many yards USC gained on average on third down. The Trojans could not extend drives, going 4 for 14 on third-down conversion attempts, allowing Stanford to put the game out of reach without USC putting up any fight.


That’s how many sacks USC has through two games this season. The pass rush was supposed to be the great strength of the USC defense. But after applying heavy pressure against San Jose State, USC was unable to make Stanford QB Tanner McKee uncomfortable in the pocket.


That’s how many first downs Stanford gained by USC penalty. USC also had a costly false start on third-and-three that led to a first-quarter punt, and a neutral zone infraction on a Stanford field goal that gave the Cardinal the opportunity to go for a touchdown instead. Any way you cut it, penalties killed USC on Saturday.


That’s how many points USC has averaged over the course of its last eight third quarters. USC has scored a touchdown in just one of those third quarters, a stretch that dates back to the start of the 2020 season.


That’s how many three-and-outs the Trojans had in the loss, despite gaining 6.6 yards on average on first down. With Stanford only tackling USC for a loss for a total of four yards all game, USC struggled again with running on short yardage situations and came up empty on second and third down repeatedly.

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