Advanced Stats: USC Offense vs UW Defense
USC Offense Washington Defense Category Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Overall Explosiveness IsoPPP 1.53 7 1.18 51 Efficiency Success Rate 53.5% 3 35.7% 34 Field Position Avg. FP 29.8 70 32.8 116 Finishing Drives Pts per trip in 40 6.45 3 2.86 5 Rushing Rushing S&P+ 134.8 10 117.3 34 Rushing Success Rate 56.1% 5 33.3% 24 Rushing IsoPPP 1.14 41 0.99 46 Passing Passing S&P+ 155.6 2 107.5 50 Passing Success Rate 51.7% 9 38.2% 57 Passing IsoPPP 1.83 11 1.37 53 Standard Downs Standard Downs S&P+ 148.8 1 139 8 Stadard Downs Success Rate 59.3% 2 35.2% 12 Standard Downs IsoPPP 1.26 19 1.01 44 Passing Downs Passing Downs S&P+ 156.3 3 81.6 110 Passing Downs Success Rate 38.6% 11 36.6% 111 Passing Downs IsoPPP 2.57 2 1.55 39
Hopefully you're not thinking "good grief what does any of that mean". The really short version is, this is a matchup of strength vs strength with the USC offense being excellent and the Washington defense being pretty good. I've gone ahead and highlighted what each unit is ranked at in a specific category for everyone to get an idea for the unit's performance to date. The Washington defense is pretty good at stopping the run so I wouldn't be terribly surprised if the USC running game struggles a bit and if they do, for them to take a similar approach as they did against ASU by using the short pass game in lieu of the short running game.
As good as UW is against the run, they tend to struggle against the pass and even more so when it's an obvious passing down. This seems like the way to go for the Trojans, to be as aggressive as possible in the pass game or to run off the success off the pass not the other way around. So look for lot's of Cody Kessler to Juju Smith-Schuster and more Adoree Jackson on the offensive side with Kevon Seymour returning to the other side. What Trojan fans should be really excited about is the fact that it's looking more and more like this is a truly elite offense.
Advanced Stats: USC Defense vs Washington Offense
Washington Offense USC Defense Category Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Overall Explosiveness IsoPPP 1.21 87 1.25 71 Efficiency Success Rate 41.6% 68 39.9% 60 Field Position Avg. FP 31.8 42 24.2 6 Finishing Drives Pts per trip in 40 5.09 47 3.18 9 Rushing Rushing S&P+ 122.3 25 105.2 59 Rushing Success Rate 41.1% 84 41.4% 73 Rushing IsoPPP 0.96 105 1.06 69 Passing Passing S&P+ 106.5 62 104.7 57 Passing Success Rate 42% 48 38% 54 Passing IsoPPP 1.4 84 1.5 75 Standard Downs Standard Downs S&P+ 139.4 4 116.3 29 Stadard Downs Success Rate 45.1% 88 42.7% 46 Standard Downs IsoPPP 1.04 88 1.15 91 Passing Downs Passing Downs S&P+ 97 86 80.6 113 Passing Downs Success Rate 34.3% 38 34.6% 104 Passing Downs IsoPPP 1.67 84 1.48 22
I've again highlighted strengths and weaknesses here as well. Washington will mostly likely try to lean on the run game to help out their true freshman QB -- Jake Browning-- and also due to the fact that it is the strength of their not so great offense. The run game is something the USC defense has struggled with thus far. Hopefully the return of Antwuan Woods helps this although Claude Pelon most likely missing the game with a high ankle sprain will not help. If Washington can maintain their success on Standard downs -- an impressive 4th in the nation -- this might be closer than Trojan fans would hope.
All that being said, I don't see this being a close game and thankfully neither do the projections which have the Trojans beating the Huskies by almost 20 points. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Kessler throw for 3-4 touchdowns and Juju Smith-Schuster having more than 150 yards receiving. What Trojan fans should hope for the most in this game is more turnovers caused by the defense or just a general improvement on that side of the ball.