USC vs Arizona: By The Numbers

The USC Trojans and the Arizona Wildcats engaged in a shootout on Saturday. A look at the most important numbers from the game.

Justin Urgo
USC Quarterback Caleb Williams Photo Credit: John McGillen | USC Athletics
USC Quarterback Caleb Williams Photo Credit: John McGillen | USC Athletics

On Saturday evening the USC Trojans traveled to Tuscon to take on the University of Arizona. In terms of the Pac-12 this year Jedd Fisch’s squad is towards the bottom of the standings but by no means does that mean they aren’t able to put up points. The Trojans were able to squeeze by the Wildcats 45-37 in a game that surprisingly turned into yet another shootout under Lincoln Riley and his staff. Nonetheless, the Trojans offensive firepower was too much for the opposing defense, even without their top two receivers.

Six Hundred Twenty-One

What if I told you that in a game without Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison and stud transfer Mario Williams the Trojans were able to put up six hundred and twenty-one yards of total offense? You’d probably think I’m crazy, well what I’m telling you is indeed true. Caleb Williams had a game that should garner a lot of attention from the Heisman Committee, throwing for 411 yards and five touchdowns. These video game numbers put Williams back on the committee’s radar, this just shows that Williams can still have those games where you simply cannot stop him from finding the end zone. It’s inevitable.

Junior Wideouts Tahj Washington and Kyle Ford combined for 232 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The depth in the WR room for USC is truly incredible considering Addison and Williams alone account for 65 receptions and over 1000 receiving yards. To not lose a step offensively without that amount of production is a true testament to the players available for rotation.

Five Hundred Thirty-One

I should set an alarm every week to talk about this Trojan defense. It may feel like every week we’re talking about the struggles of this defense. That’s because they struggle every week. Now against teams like Utah or Oregon State, it’s one thing to allow yards because frankly those offenses are effective and have evidence to back it up.

However, with a team that puts up 30+ points against teams like Colorado and Washington, it’s certainly a problem and not a good look. In the Trojans defense like I stated earlier in the article, the Wildcats actually move the ball extremely well. Jayden De Laura who transferred from Washington State came from an air raid system so he is no stranger to throwing for big numbers.

The Trojans defense allowed De Laura to put up five hundred and thirty-one yards and four touchdowns. This is a defense that coming into this year was already believed to have a weak run defense. This is still most definitely prevalent, but to allow a team to pass for that amount of yards is a huge concern. Simultaneously while all these defensive struggles are occurring this team still has playoff aspirations.

Ninth

USC Trojans are ranked 9th in the nation with the new AP Poll. The team is sandwiched by Oregon who is ranked 8th and UCLA is ranked 10th, so room for error is slim to none. If USC wins out and one of these teams loses again, making college football playoffs are definitely a realistic possibility. However, if the Trojans drop another and those teams stay hot it’s unlikely USC plays in anything but a bowl game.

That’s not to mention there are another two Pac-12 teams who are also ranked in the top 25; Utah and Oregon State. The Pac-12 has as many teams ranked in the top 25 as the SEC does, which if you’re at all familiar with the NCAA is unheard of. The reason the rankings are a big deal is that they’re largely responsible for playoff seeding as much as it is important to have a near-perfect regular season record. Regardless of the outcomes of the other programs, all USC has to focus on is winning these next four games.

The USC Trojans opened their 2022-2023 season against the Rice Owls on Saturday, September 3, 2022 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Trojans defeated the Owls 66-14. Photo Credit: John McGillen/USC
The USC Trojans Quarterback Caleb Williams. Photo Credit: John McGillen/USC