FanPost

Inside the Numbers: USC vs. Oregon State

Steve Dykes


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 regressed against Utah, dropping from #75 to #80. S&P loves the USC defense, ranking the unit #4 in the nation, the best in the Pac-12.

Overall When USC Has the Ball… When OSU has the Ball…
Category USC Oregon State USC Off OSU Def USC Def OSU Off
F/+ Rk 10 38
S&P+ 23 (234.3) 21 (235.3) 80 (93.2) 89 (97.1) 4 (150.5) 30 (112)
Play Efficiency 60 (102.4) 85 (94.4) 3 (136.7) 22 (115.4)
Std. Downs S&P+ 40 (109.6) 85 (96.9) 1 (155.9) 30 (115.1)
Pass Downs S&P+ 69 (99.5) 96 (89) 28 (118) 26 (120.5)
Rushing S&P+ 41 (112.8) 106 (85.4) 7 (138.5) 85 (84.8)
Passing S&P+ 61 (100.4) 69 (98.7) 7 (136.6) 28 (119.0)
Drive Efficiency 99 (83.9) 88 (99.9) 3 (164.3) 32 (108.6)
Difference in Net Points 68 (-.25) 42 (-.85) 52 (-.66) 30 (.41)

When USC has the ball…

For this game, the USC offense and the Oregon State defense appear evenly matched overall. The Trojans hold a slim advantage in play efficiency. The biggest advantage is on standard downs and the run game. Offenses have been successful against the Beavers on downs that are not obvious passing downs and also running the ball.

When Oregon State has the ball…

This is another week where the USC defense will face an offense that is highly rated by S&P. The Trojans are 1st in the country on standard downs and 7th against the run. Oregon State is performing at a high level on passing downs and in the passing game.

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 dropped again in the standings while the defense continues to improve (I feel like I can cut and paste that sentence). The offense fell to 37th after the game against Utah. Oregon State, on the other hand, is currently ranked 23rd overall with the defense and offense ranked similarly.

Overall When USC Has the Ball… When Oregon State has the Ball…
Category USC Oregon State USC Off OSU Def USC Def OSU Off
F/+ Rk 10 38
FEI Rk 20 (.185) 23 (.171) 37 (.210) 31 (-.283) 3 (-.747) 29 (.288)
Field Position 21 (.542) 14 (.548)
Raw OE/DE 89 (-.265) 24 (-.353) 10 (-.535) 32 (.275)
First Down rate 86 (.640) 8 (.552) 13 (.567) 30 (.729)
Available Yards Rate 91 (.400) 8 (.338) 6 (.331) 14 (.568)
Explosive Drives 74 (.110) 44 (.103) 43 (.103) 26 (.176)
Methodical Drives 107 (.080) 14 (.092) 56 (.144) 30 (.188)
Value Drives 91 (.333) 19 (.291) 9 (.253) 23 (.500)
Special Team rank 61 (.027) 52 (.419)
Field Goal efficiency 91 (-.279) 46 (.295)
Punt Return efficiency 18 (.110) 60 (-.066)
Kickoff return efficiency 98 (-.267) 67 (-.179)
punt efficiency 88 (.008) 77 (-.017)
kickoff efficiency 28 (-.263) 48 (-.214)

When USC has the ball…

FEI thinks that the Trojan offense will struggle this game. The Oregon State defense performs well in every category, especially when compared to USC’s offense. The only area if improvement for the Beavers would be in explosive drives but this is not an area that USC has been able to exploit on a consistent basis this year.

When Oregon State has the ball…

FEI says that this is an advantage for USC except for two areas, explosive and methodical drives. Oregon State’s offense can be patient and drive down the field; they can also spring the occasional big play. If OSU is able to get first downs early in a drive, they may hold onto the ball for awhile.

Special Teams…

The most interesting matchup on special teams is when OSU punts to USC. The Trojans continue to have a highly ranked punt return unit (#18) while the Beavers are 77th in punt return coverage. If Nelson Agholor is 100%, and he looked pretty close to that against Utah, he may be able to get a big return.

What it all means…

After a good performance against Arizona, the USC offense appears to be regressing and it all starts with the offensive line. Over the last two games, the o-line has gone from serviceable to bad, especially when it comes to pass protection. The numbers say that the Trojans will be able to move the ball on the ground, but will this be the game where the line gets some much needed confidence against an Oregon State defense that has only recorded 17 sacks? Considering the struggles of the USC passing game, Slias Redd and Tre Madden will need to find success on the ground in order to keep the offense on schedule and setup the play action pass. Obvious passing downs have been USC’s kryptonite throughout the season and need to be avoided.

As noted in the S&P ratings, Oregon State does not run the ball very well and instead relies on Sean Mannion, probably the best passing quarterback USC will face all year, to make plays with his arm. They will also use their wide receivers on end-arounds and their tight ends on screens to get the defense’s eyes in the backfield in order to hit Brandin Cooks on a big play down the field. The depleted USC secondary and linebacking corps will have to be disciplined in order to contain this offense. Mannion is not someone who will beat you with his legs so the defensive line should be able to get some pressure. The Beavers will put together some good drives on offense but the defense will need to limit them to field goals and get some turnovers to pull out the win.

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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