Friday, November 18, 2011
Digging deep on USC-Oregon
By Pedro Moura
EUGENE, Ore. -- As usual, the crack staff at ESPN Stats & Information has uncovered several good tidbits of statistical information relating to Saturday's much-anticipated matchup between the USC Trojans and Oregon Ducks. The following numbers are all courtesy of Stats & Info:
- Matt Barkley has thrown more touchdowns on passes of 15-plus yards this year than he did in the last two seasons combined. He is yet to turn the ball over in 86 pass attempts of this distance after throwing five interceptions last year. One reason for his success this season is the threat of both Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, who have combined to catch 12 of his 13 touchdowns thrown 15 or more yards downfield.
- Barkley is also completing 76.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions outside of the pocket this season. He has been most successful on designed play-action bootlegs, which USC runs almost five times per game. On 46 bootleg attempts this season, Barkley has completed 40 -- good for an incredible 87 percent clip. He's thrown three touchdowns and no picks off those plays.
- Woods was targeted 64 more times than Lee in USC’s first eight games (101 for Woods vs 37 for Lee). But Woods has been banged up in recent weeks, which has allowed Lee to emerge as a viable second option for the Trojans. In the past three weeks, Lee has more receptions (25 to 20), touchdowns (4 to 3) and yards (292 to 224) than Woods, which will force Oregon to respect both sides of the field on Saturday.
- USC has only gone three-and-out on 11 of its 128 drives this season. Only Stanford has been better at avoiding those possessions. In the Trojans’ last two road games (Notre Dame and Colorado), they did not have a single three-and-out over the duration of the contest. On the year, the Trojans have gotten at least one first down on 91.4 percent of their drives.
- And one key stat on the Ducks: Oregon leads the FBS since the start of last season with 78 touchdown drives that lasted two minutes or less. The Ducks had five such drives against Stanford last week. It was the eighth time since the start of last season that the Ducks had five or more such drives in a game, most in FBS. Oregon had three touchdown drives against USC that lasted two minutes or less in last season’s meeting. It is the only game in which the Trojans allowed more than two such drives in regulation since the start of last season.
Join us live from Eugene on Saturday for Trojans! Live on ESPNLA.com beginning at 5 p.m. PT for an interactive live chat throughout the USC-Oregon contest.