We know you’re still fist-pumpin’ away, holding your head in your hands in total elation, looking for any USC fan to give you anything resembling a dirty look. We know you’re at home, in your underwear, punching anything in everything in your total mania over UCLA beating USC on Saturday.
UCLA’s win over USC was an odd win, to be sure. It entirely mirrored what a UCLA team would do to win — earn 12 penalties, score 38 points, utilize the run game to perfection and allow the passing game to get big plays when the offense needs it.
There’s a lot of numbers to break down here, though, because there’s some anomalies. Here’s some key post-game numbers.
The number of turnovers UCLA forced, with the Bruins just coughing up one (a game-changing fumble after the rain started to pour in).
Not the score, but the average field position for UCLA and USC respectively in the first half. The Bruins were opportunistic on defense, taking turnovers and causing disruptions on USC punts, while often putting USC on the 25 yard line. This did level out over the second half, but UCLA still held the advantage with an average field position of 33 while USC’s average starting field position was 25. This will explain some of the next deceiving stats.
The number of yards of total offense for USC and UCLA respectively. USC managed to score one less touchdown and field goal but still outgained UCLA by over 100 yards (most of which came in the second and fourth quarters). UCLA’s starting field position, however, was much more favorable, and these were due to QB Matt Barkley’s two picks as well as UCLA’s nose for blocking punts and field goals.
The number of first downs for USC and UCLA respectively. This is another deceiving statistic because UCLA’s average field position was significantly better than that of USC’s.
The number of first-quarter points UCLA scored. The Bruins are currently fifth in the nation in points scored in the initial period, while USC is 46th. The rest of the game went exactly as the stats would suggest, with USC storming back in the second quarter (averaging two touchdowns in that period) and both teams struggling offensively in the third quarter (UCLA and USC are 58th and 79th in the nation, respectively, in poitns scored during the third). The Bruins’ first-quarter explosion turned out to be too much of a hole for the Trojans to dig themselves out of.
The number of plays UCLA ran in the contest, bringing their average to 82 a game, ninth-best in the nation. USC has struggled mightily against hurry-up spread offenses and averaged 78 plays for the opposition, bottom ten in the nation. Again, UCLA was able to dictate the pace and force the Southern Cal defense on its heels.
The number of times USC held the lead over UCLA and the number of possessions the Trojans had with a chance to take the lead. UCLA may have received a scare, but the Bruins didn’t allow SC to have the ball in their hands with a chance to tie or lead the game, scoring every time the Trojans approached.
UCLA’s record under first-year head coach Jim Mora. With a win against Stanford next week, the Bruins will advance to 10-2. While this is the first 10-win season UCLA will have since 2005, it’s far more significant to note that this will make Jim Mora’s record the best for a first-year head coach in UCLA history, beating out Terry Donahue’s debut of 9-2-1.
The number of teams that run Los Angeles. That team, of course, is your UCLA Bruins.