USC VS Rice: By The Numbers
Saturday afternoon was the University of Southern California’s first week of football in the Lincoln Riley Era. With that being said he sure did not disappoint putting up points on the offensive end and making sure the defense did their part in a game that ended 66-14. Now Rice University isn’t known as a strong football program or a sleeping giant, but, with live reps against another team, you’re able to see what the team looks like at full speed.
Caleb Williams and company put up 66 points which is a huge sigh of relief because unfortunately that’s going to be the expectation going forward. Now granted, the defense had 21 of those points, leaving the offense to only putting 45 up themselves.
Williams went 19 for 22 and had 249 yards passing with two touchdowns. Williams also had 68 yards rushing to lead the team.
The long awaited debut of the nation’s number one rated receiver last season started off with a bang. Jordan Addison caught both of those TD’s and had 54 yards receiving.
The three running backs Travis Dye, Austin Jones, and Freshman Raleek Brown all combined for over 100 yards rushing with Austin Jones having the most of his position with 48 yards on four attempts.
The offense had 538 total yards, which hasn’t happened since week eight of last season. It’s clear Riley’s offense has no plan on slowing down.
This much improved defense led by Alex Grinch came away with three pick-sixes which have only happened three other times in history. I’d be lying if I said the defense played well the whole game, with the run defense still looking shaky in the first half allowing over 100 yards rushing to a team like Rice.
However, the fact that this defense scored off three interceptions is absolutely incredible. It shows the culture of this defense is to make plays and to be as opportunistic as possible with athletes all over the field.
Alabama transfer Shane Lee, Sophomore stud Calen Bullock, and Senior Ralen Goforth all managed to find the endzone. So 21 of those 66 points came from the defense and with all the hiccups they had, you have to chalk this one up as a major win when your defense contributes that many points.
This USC offense had twenty-seven first downs which would put them in the top 10 out of teams who played only one game. One aspect of the game the Trojans struggled with last season was their ability to string together first downs and keep the drive alive. It was like watching a high octane, fast tempo, monster of an offense, which is what we all expect given Riley’s offensive résumé.
This modified air raid attack allows Williams to get the ball out fast and in space. It allows him to spread the wealth so much that 10 different offensive players had a reception and four of them had three or more receptions.
Another storyline we knew going into this year was the running back situation was definitely backed by the “by committee” theory. Nobody had more than six carries and four different running backs were in rotation to keep the defense guessing.
This was one game, a game on paper that USC should have, and did put up 50 or more points. Rice University was never really in this game and that is still a W for this squad.
With Lincoln Riley coming into this program, every game is going to make or break his legacy until the following week, that’s just what comes with the territory in college football these days. If this game proved anything, USC is back and they’ve kept receipts.