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PAC-12 Championship Stanford vs. USC “Inside The Numbers”

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 28: Christian McCaffrey #5 of the Stanford Cardinal plays in a NCAA football game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 28, 2015 at Stanford Stadium on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Quarterback Kevin Hogan #8 is visible in background. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Christian McCaffrey

Stanford (10-2) vs. USC (8-4) 7:45 pm (Levi’s Stadium San Francisco)

 

Notes:

Stanford beat USC earlier in the year at USC by a score of 41-31.

 

Stanford:

Offense:

The Cardinal are coming off a last second victory over Notre Dame in Palo Alto 38-36. On the year, Stanford is averaging 36.9 points per game and is led by big game quarterback Kevin Hogan. Hogan stepped up last week in leading the Cardinal on a game winning drive and had a great night against the Fighting Irish throwing for 269 yards with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. On the season, Hogan is completing 68.3% of his passes for 2,500 yards with 23 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Running back Christian McCaffrey is a blue collar player that is leading the team with 1,640 yards averaging 5.7 yards per carry with 7 touchdowns. Teammates Barry Sanders and Remound Wright are tough players that have spelled McCaffrey and give the Cardinal the ability to have fresh legs in the game at all times. On the season, both players have combined 17 total touchdowns on the ground and can take it the house every time they touch the football. Wide receiver Michael Rector leads the team with 30 receptions for 474 yards with 5 touchdowns and Devon Cajuste stepped up last week with 5 receptions for 125 yards with one touchdown.

 

Key offensive stats entering this game:

The Cardinal are averaging 50% on the team’s third down attempts and on the road this season have converted on 47% of their third down opportunities. Stanford is averaging 176 passing yards per game on the road this year 29 yards less than their season average. Over the last five games (WSU, Colorado, Oregon, CAL and Notre Dame), the Cardinal have 12 rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Kevin Hogan has not thrown an interception in the last two games or 33 attempts.
Defense:

The Cardinal rely on a blue collar defense that is giving up 24.7 points per game and is allowing 144 rushing yards per game along with 231 passing yards per game. Stanford is -1 in turnover margin and -2 in turnover margin on the road this season. A major difference this season compared to last is the ability to generate a pass rush. Last season, the team recorded 47 total sacks while entering this game on Saturday the defense has registered only 23. The defense is allowing their opponents to convert on 36% of third down opportunities.

 

Key defensive stats entering this game:

Over the last five games-the defense is allowing opponents to convert on 29% on third down situations. On the road this year, the Cardinal are allowing 136 rushing yards per game 8 yards less than their season average. Over the last five games the defense has recorded 15 sacks. However, in last week’s victory over Notre Dame the unit did not have  a sack.

 

 

USC:

Offense:

The Trojans are coming off of a 40-21 victory over arch rival UCLA. On the year, the team is averaging 36 points per game and has a balanced offensive attack led by quarterback Cody Kessler. USC is rushing for 176 yards per game and is passing for 280 yards per game. Kessler has completed 68.4% for 3,128 yards with 27 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. The Trojans have a dynamic running back duo in Ronald Jones and Justin Davis that have combined for 1,666 yards with 12 touchdowns. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster leads the team with 74 receptions for 1,302 yards with 10 touchdowns and can put pressure on the Stanford secondary with his precise route running ability. USC has converted on 39% of their third down opportunities and has been better on the road with a 44% conversion rate. The offensive line has allowed 31 sacks on the season and must be able to give Kessler time to attack the Stanford defense.

Key offensive stats entering this game:

On the road this season, USC is rushing for 145 yards per game which is 31 yards less than their season average. However, the team is averaging 296 passing yards per game which is 16 yards more than their season average. Kessler has thrown one interception in the team’s last six games. In the last five games, the offense has averaged 192.8 rushing yards per game (CAL, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and UCLA).

 

Defense:

USC is surrendering 24.7 points per game and is yielding 137 rushing yards per game to their opponents. The defense is giving up 262 passing yards per game and is +13 in turnover margin on the year. On the road this season, the Trojans are +4 in turnover margin and have recorded 36 sacks on the season.

 

Key defensive stats entering this game:

In the last four games, the Trojans have recorded 19 sacks. The team has registered 6 forced turnovers in the last four games with three of them coming last week in the win against UCLA. On the road this season, the defense has allowed 288 passing yards per game (26 yards more than their season average) and 148 rushing yards per game (11 yards more than their season average). In the last seven games, the defense has allowed 285 passing yards per game giving up 18 passing touchdowns while forcing 10 interceptions.

 

 

Listen to Joe’s show on Yahoo Sports Radio every Saturday morning from 10-11am EST at www.streamysr.com.

Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America),Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor at www.2FiveSports.com.He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson(www.sportsxradio.com). Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network  and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2. Joe has a weekly radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com with former Georgia Bulldogs WR Corey Allen called: THE NCAA WEEKLY BLITZ.

 

 

About Joseph Lisi

Joseph Lisi is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America), the Maxwell Football Club and the National Football Foundation. He is the owner of the website: www.goforthe2.com and hosts a weekly college football radio show on SB Nation Radio and FNSTY Sports Radio from 10-12pm EST every Saturday morning. Listen live at: www.sbnationradio.com or www.fntsy.com/radio. Joseph is a former college football researcher for ABC Sports and has been featured on: SportsXRadio with Ken Thomson, ESPN Radio, Sirius XM Radio, FNTSY Sports Network, the Sid Rosenberg Show (640 AM Sports-South Florida), 1560 AM CBS Sports Melbourne, FL and multiple media outlets throughout the nation. Joe appears every Friday with Ken Thomson on SportsXRadio for the Football Fiasco in which every game on the college board is broken down during the show. Follow Joe on Twitter: @goforthe2

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