Stats & Info: Lane Kiffin

USC Struggles in Lane Kiffin Era

September, 29, 2013

Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports
Lane Kiffin has been let go as head coach in the middle of USC’s worst stretch of games in years.

Lane Kiffin has been relieved of his duties as USC's head football coach, Trojan athletic director Pat Haden announced early on Sunday.

Kiffin, who left as head coach at Tennessee after the Vols’ 7-6 season in 2009, has since accumulated a 28-15 record for the Trojans. However, this storied program has lost seven of its last 11 games and is on its worst stretch since the 2001 season, the last time that the program didn’t manage a winning season.

Let’s take a closer look at USC’s struggles during the Kiffin Era.

On-field Struggles

In the last two seasons, USC is 5-6 in the Pac-12 and have lost all four of its games against ranked opponents.

They are 0-2 in conference play this year and have lost three out its last four road games, both firsts for the team since 2001, the first season under Pete Carroll.

Offensively, USC has compiled a 30.6 QBR this season, which ranks 113th out of 126 FBS schools. On the other side of the ball, the Trojans have allowed 62 points twice in their last ten games, a feat which no other FBS team has done in the same span.

For the first time in the Lane Kiffin era, this season’s Trojans have a higher percentage of 3-and-outs (in 34 percent of offensive possessions) than scoring drives (29 percent).

Off-field struggles

USC’s on-field struggles could be largely due to off-field issues with recruiting and NCAA sanctions, both of which have made it difficult to field the national powerhouse team that USC fans have become accustomed to.

In 2011 USC landed the fourth best recruiting class despite NCAA sanctions. Quarterback Max Wittek was the prized possession of that class.

USC's 2014 recruiting class is not in the top 40 right now according to (Tennessee, Kiffin’s previous team, is third).

The Trojans were hit with severe NCAA sanctions in June of 2010, a few months after Kiffin arrived, making it difficult for him to field the best team possible.

Each year for three years, USC's annual scholarship limit was reduced, limiting the Trojans to 75 scholarship players on the roster each season, 10 fewer than the maximum allowed for an FBS team. The penalties end after the 2014 season because USC delayed implementation by appealing.

USC played at Arizona State on Saturday night with 56 recruited scholarship players, compared to the 85 that most FBS schools field each week.
Here's some quick notes on the mid-afternoon action of a busy college football Saturday:

No. 1 Alabama 24, No. 10 Arkansas 20
• The Alabama Crimson Tide took advantage of two Ryan Mallett interceptions in the fourth quarter to rally and beat the Arkansas Razorbacks, remaining unbeaten.

• Arkansas led 20-7 in the third quarter, but gained just 48 yards the rest of the way with a pair of turnovers, allowing Alabama to rally for its 18th consecutive win (the longest active streak in the country).

• Mallett threw for 250 yards and a score and rushed for another in the first half as Arkansas led 17-7. He finished with 357 passing yards and three interceptions, a career high.

Mark Ingram had a 54-yd TD run in the first quarter. It's his third run of over 45 yards this season after having two all of last year. He finished with 157 yards and two TD.

Greg McElroy completed six-of-nine pass attempts in the fourth quarter and is now 17-of-23 in the fourth quarter when trailing in his career.

• Alabama is now 4-0 vs. Arkansas under Nick Saban and has won 17 consecutive SEC regular-season games.

• Arkansas falls to 0-12-1 in its last 13 games involving top-10 teams.

No. 2 Ohio State 73, Eastern Michigan 20
• The Ohio State Buckeyes scored on their first six drives and finished with their most points in a game since 1950, when they scored 83 vs the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Dane Sanzenbacher caught four TD, tying a school record he now shares with Terry Glenn (1995) and Bob Grimes (1952).

Terrelle Pryor threw four TD passes, ran for a TD and also caught a TD pass. He's the only FBS player in the last seven seasons to reach each of those totals in a single game. In fact, only three other players have thrown three TD passes while also catching a TD and running for a TD over that span. Most recently, Mike Kafka did it last year for Northwestern.

• Eastern Michigan has lost 16 straight, spanning the entirety of Ron English's tenure as head coach.

UCLA 34, No. 7 Texas 12
• The Texas Longhorns committed five turnovers and were outrushed by 206 yards. Texas suffered its worst home loss of the Mack Brown era (since 1998).

Johnathan Franklin rushed for 118 yards and a TD for the UCLA Bruins, who defeated a top-10 team on the road for the first time since a win over the 10th-ranked Arizona Wildcats in 1998. It is their first win over a non-conference top-10 team since 2000 (Michigan Wolverines) and only the fourth non-conference home loss for Texas under Mack Brown.

• In their last 2 visits to Austin, the Bruins have outscored Texas 100-15. 264 of UCLA's 290 yards came on the ground.

No. 16 Stanford 37, Notre Dame 14
Stepfan Taylor ran for 108 yards, while Andrew Luck threw for 238 yards and a TD (but throws his first two interceptions of the season) as the Stanford Cardinal win in South Bend for the first time since 1992. That day, the opposing coaches were Bill Walsh for Stanford and Lou Holtz for Notre Dame.

• The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have now lost 11 straight games vs. opponents ranked in the AP Top 25 (five straight at home). The last time Notre Dame beat a ranked team was Sept. 9, 2006 when it beat No. 19 Penn State, 41-17, in South Bend.

Dayne Crist threw for 307 yards, a TD and an interception (which was returned for a TD by Owen Marecic) and Michael Floyd caught eight passes for 112 yards for the Irish, who lose their 3rd straight game overall.

• At 1-3, Notre Dame is off to its worst start since 2007, when it began 0-5.

• Stanford has now defeated Notre Dame two games in a row for the first time in the history of the series.

No. 20 USC 50, Washington State 16
• Lane Kiffin improves to 4-0 as the USC Trojans' head coach, and becomes the fifth coach in USC history to start his tenure with four straight wins.

• The Trojans piled up season highs of 50 points and 613 yards.

• It's the first 4-0 start for USC since 2007 and its eighth straight win over the Washington State Cougars.

• Washington State has now lost 12 straight to FBS opponents.

No. 23 Penn State 22, Temple 13
• The Penn State Nittany Lions trailed 13-9 at the half, but shut out the Temple Owls in the second half on the way their 28th straight win over Temple.

• Penn State's 28-game win streak vs. Temple is now two shy of the FBS record for most consecutive wins over an opponent in a non-consecutive series (held by the Clemson Tigers over the Virginia Cavaliers). Penn State's streak of 16 consecutive double-digit wins over the Owls is, however, snapped.

Evan Royster ran for a career-high 187 yards on 26 carries (matching a career high) for Penn State. He had just 110 yards on 31 carries in his first three games this season. His performance moved him into sixth on the Penn State all-time rushing list. He's just 105 yards behind Tony Hunt for second on the list, and 183 behind Curt Warner for the school record.

• Senior kicker Collin Wagner had a career-high five field goals for Penn State.

• Temple drops to 1-14-1 all-time against Big Ten teams, with the only win coming vs. Wisconsin in 1990.