FanPost

Inside the Numbers: Utah Utes vs. USC Trojans

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via cdn3.sbnation.com


A look at the upcoming game using S&P+ and FEI.

S&P+ is created by Bill Connelly. S&P+ is an advanced statistical measure, which combines success rate, explosiveness per play and opponent adjustments. For an explanation of the terms used, see here, here, and here.

How S&P+ sees the game:

S&P says that the offense as a whole improved after the Notre Dame performance. For this game , the USC run offense and the Utah run defense are evenly matched. USC’s defense improved statistically. Of course playing almost a full half against Andrew Hendrix can only help.

Overall When USC Has the Ball… When Notre Dame has the Ball…
Category USC Utah USC Off Utah Def USC Def Utah Off
F/+ Rk 21 12
S&P+ 23 (234.3) 21 (235.3) 75 (94.7) 30 (115.2) 8 (139.6) 15 (120.1)
Play Efficiency 57 (104.1) 31 (111.8) 9(128.5) 14 (122.0)
Rushing S&P+ 24 (118.2) 30 (116.6) 8 (140.0) 10 (136.1)
Passing S&P+ 56 (102.4) 29 (115.0) 17 (124.3) 18 (126.6)
Std. Downs S&P+ 33 (114.5) 35 (112.4) 5 (141.9) 2 (140.7)
Pass Downs S&P+ 64 (99.0) 16 (126.5) 26 (116.9) 33 (115.9)
Drive Efficiency 97 (85.3) 31 (118.7) 7 (150.8) 19 (118.1)
Difference in Net Points 97 (-.025) 57 (-.059) 63 (-.050) 19 (.22)

When USC has the ball…

For this game, the USC run offense and the Utah run defense are evenly matched. Utah’s pass defense is playing at a high level but are not lights out, so USC should be able to make some plays, if the offensive line can find a way to improve. Another key for the Trojan offense is to stay on schedule. While USC and Utah are evenly matched on standard downs (first down, second and less than 8, third and fourth down and less than 5), Utah’s defense bas a significant advantage on passing downs, as they can get after the quarterback, averaging over 3 sacks a game.

When Utah has the ball…

This is the classic strength versus strength battle. Either the Trojan defense or the Ute offense has a clear advantage. The Utah offense does everything well on a per pay basis, including performing at an elite level on standard downs. This can also be said about the USC defense, which ranks 5th on standard downs. Overall, this will be an interesting matchup.

FEI is the Fremeau Efficiency Index, created by Brian Fremeau. FEI is an advanced statistical measure for college football that tracks drive efficiency instead of per play success. For an explanation of the terms used, see here, here, and here.

How FEI sees the game:

USC’s ratings on offense took a hit this week while the defense improved. This is not surprising as FEI is a drive based metric. FEI still respects the offense as it only fell to 30th after opponent adjustments. The Utah offense, FEI loves. The Utes are ranked 4th after opponent adjustments due to the defensive strength of schedule that they have faced.

Overall When USC Has the Ball… When Utah has the Ball…
Category USC Utah USC Off Utah Def USC Def Utah Off
F/+ Rk 21 12
FEI Rk 27 (.141) 6 (.260) 30 (.284) 40 (-.195) 12 (-.540) 4 (.719)
Field Position 22 (.543) 69 (.495)
Raw OE/DE 83 (-.204) 69 (.042) 22 (- .366) 74 (-.066)
First Down rate 65 (.667) 46 (.641) 21 (.583) 104 (.607)
Available Yards Rate 86 (.412) 73 (.472) 11 (.346) 81 (.424)
Explosive Drives 60 (.126) 42 (.103) 62 (.119) 46 (.143)
Methodical Drives 107 (.080) 103 (.192) 37 (.119) 83 (.131)
Value Drives 85 (.347) 65 (.389) 7 (.247) 62 (.403)
Special Team rank 50 (.486) 39 (1.273)
Field Goal efficiency 103 (-.460) 27 (.466)
Punt Return efficiency 15 (.140) 56 (-.073)
Kickoff return efficiency 95 (-.262) 79 (-.217)
punt efficiency 54 (-.100) 29 (-.218)
kickoff efficiency 24 (-.281) 56 (-.194)

When USC has the ball…

FEI sees this matchup as more even than S&P. While the Utes are susceptible to methodical drives, this is not something that USC does well, to say the least. This is the game where USC will have to show that they can grind out some long drives.

When Utah has the ball…

The raw numbers say that this is a big advantage for USC, but as stated above, when opponent adjustments are included, this advantage disappears. According to the raw numbers, the Trojan defense should be able to consistently get three and outs and limit Utah’s time of possession. Allowing the occasional big play will continue to be a concern.

Special Teams…

The raw special teams numbers give Utah the advantage, 1.273 vs. .486, mainly due to USC’s horrible field goal and kick return numbers. What to watch for will be when Utah punts the ball. The Trojans have the 15th ranked punt return unit while the Utes are 29th in punt return coverage.

Prediction…

This is a tough game to call. Both teams are 4-3, coming off of tough road loses, and facing injuries to key personnel. If Travis Wilson, the Utah starting quarterback, does play, is he going to be at 100%? Whether he plays or not, USC will have to hold the ball in order to give the depleted defense a chance to rest and stay fresh. That means giving Cody Kessler time to make plays in the passing game and limiting penalties against the Utah pass rush. The defense should be able to hold the Utah offense in check but can the Trojan offense step up?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Conquest Chronicles' writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Conquest Chronicles' writers or editors.

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