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Thoughts From the Couch: Trampled by Trojans

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In a very late version of the week's wrap-up, I discuss some weird stats and sad thoughts from the loss.

Yeah I had to heave too.
Yeah I had to heave too.
Jeff Gross

By the Numbers:

10% - Oregon State's third down efficiency.

60 - 2nd half total yards for Oregon State.

10 - 1st down rushes buy the Beavs. They converted on 5 of those chances, which is clearly a 50% 1st down rate when starting with a run (including penalties and turnovers).

18 - 1st down passes. Out of those series 12 were converted for first downs which is 67%. There were 4 penalties in these cases so they did only convert 8 of these.

46.9% - Mannion's completion percentage for the game.

78 - Receiving yardage for Richard Mullaney. The rest of the Beavers could only muster 45 yards.

124 - USC's penalty yardage, which was more than the passing yards by Oregon State.

Turning Point:

The momentum was unsettled in the first half as OSU had only given up one big drive, and the offense looked pretty darn good on the ground. They had gone back and forth with nothing being decided just yet. USC started up one more drive before the half and they looked threatening, but the Beaver defense stood tall. The Trojans ran down the clock to 1 second and took a timeout. On the last play of the half Cody Kessler scrambled around, evading OSU defenders and launching a pass into the end zone that Darreus Rogers came down with, leaving the score at the half 21-10.

There have been discussions all week about what happened. That OSU should have taken a timeout to avoid letting the clock run down all the way, which may have eliminated the hail mary attempt. Riley offered that USC would have gone for it and would have had an easier time with more seconds on the clock if they converted the 4th down, but the risks would probably have been too high for that.

There still could have been a timeout to organize the defense, as they were out of position. Every Beaver defender was moving away from the ball and the USC receiver came forward and skied for the ball. Ryan Murphy had gotten injured and Justin Strong as well, so the coverage package was a little different as well. There was also no hustle to get the receiver after he caught it, I have not had the heart to rewatch after the multiple replays in game, but he appeared to my eye to catch the ball outside of the end zone and then get in. Maybe a bit of extra hustle might have stopped that as well.

Thoughts:

  • This game was sad. The game plan seemed to be desperate. It seemed like they could not believe that the running game was working and decided to throw because it must be needed. Hopefully the coaching staff sits down and realizes that this is the most talented team they are going to have in this current cycle. The game plan cannot be fearful. When OSU beat USC in 2008 that was an aggressive team. They went after the Trojans and won most of those battles. Unless the mindset changes there will be more terrible losses like that.
  • At least the team flashed the ability to run the ball, both Woods and Ward have the ability to run the ball and the offensive line is showing some strength. This should be the focal point of the team, and that should open things back up for Sean Mannion.
  • There have been some discussions about the cut blocking by USC, including a great write-up over at Conquest Chronicles. While legal, and with a strangely high number of them it is not clear why it happened. The Jalen Grimble injury I did not find particularly egregious and things just went wrong. The Noke Tago injury could and should have been avoided though. The cut block did not help the play and it blew out his knee. The whole thing is a little muddy. Legal, but a little dirty.
  • Mannion was skittish. He was rushing his reads and making bad throws, rarely stepping into his throws. On the only real drive of the game he kept lofting up pass after pass for Mullaney to snag out of the air. Eventually he tried to force it into a double team and it got picked. San Diego State was his best game of the year so far. This was the worst.