USC Football 2013 Bowl Capsule

USC Trojans


USC has had an interesting year.  It was a season in transition without them knowing it until the end of the season.  Lane Kiffin was fired after a 3-2 start having not lived up to the hype surrounding his hire four years ago.  USC was supposed to climb back to the top of the Pac-12 hierarchy under Kiffin, but they never really took off.  Ed Orgeron stepped in as interim coach.  He led the Trojans to a strong finish to the season.  After a five game win streak at the end of the year they lost their final contest against crosstown rival UCLA.  Despite a great effort, USC hired Steve Sarkisian away from Washington and Orgeron resigned.  Sarkisian inherits a team that can find its way back to the top of the talent pool if he keeps things on track.

2013 Record: 9-4, 6-3
Head Coach: Ed Orgeron (interim)
Coach Bowl Record: 0-0

Big Wins: 11/1 Oregon State (31-14), 11/16 Stanford (20-17)
Bad Losses: 10/19 at Notre Dame (10-14), 11/30 UCLA (14-35)

USC’s defense was outstanding this season.  They were near the top of the conference statistically in a lot of areas.  They only allowed 127 yards on the ground and just 341 yards overall.  They really tightened up in the red zone too.  They were tops in the Pac-12 at keeping opponents from scoring touchdowns when in close range.  They were ferocious on the pass rush and averaged 2.69 sacks per game and created havoc in the backfield.  Most importantly, USC was able to hold teams to just 21 points per game.  In their two games where they gave up more than 31 points, they lost handily.  But their losses in closer games tended to be low-scoring and the Trojans were right there in the end.  The defense kept them in games this season when their offense was not always going to help them win.  This team is also good at ball control.  They only had 15 turnovers the whole season, which is the best mark in the Pac-12.

Offensively, this team still has some things to improve upon.  Cody Kessler is a decent quarterback, but the offense has some issues moving the ball.  Their rushing offense was in the bottom half of the Pac-12.  They no longer have an elite runner like Reggie Bush in the backfield.  Kessler only throws for 218 yards per game, which is not a lot considering how much the Pac-12 whips the ball around.  It is a bit surprising considering he has an incredible talent in wide receiver Marqise Lee on the outside.  Lee only has two touchdowns this year with less than 700 yards receiving.  He has battled injuries, but this is easily his worst season as a Trojan.  Kessler had some trouble staying upright this year, which did not help.  He was sacked 2.5 times per game.  He is a prototypical pocket passer, and his line did not do him any favors.  All in all, their 392 yards of offense was second worst in the conference.  They will need the defense to help out their offense in their bowl game.  

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Tre Madden, RB, 703 yards
Passing: Cody Kessler, QB, 2,623 yards
Receiving: Nelson Agholor, WR, 824 yards
Tackles: Hayes Pullard, LB, 89
Sacks: Devon Kennard, LB, 9.0
Interceptions: Dion Bailey, S, 5

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 174.2 (59th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 218.1 (77, 10)
Total Offense: 392.3 (79, 11)
Scoring Offense: 28.5 (68, 10)
Rushing Defense: 127.1 (20, 2)
Pass Defense: 214.5 (32, 1)
Total Defense: 341.5 (16, 2)
Scoring Defense: 21.3 (23, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.5 (34, 5)
Sacks: 2,69 (25, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.54 (96, 9)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2012    Sun Bowl    Georgia Tech (7-21)
2009    Emerald Bowl    Boston College (24-13)
2008    Rose Bowl    Penn State (38-24)
2007    Rose Bowl    Illinois (49-17)
2006    Rose Bowl    Michigan (32-18)
2005    Rose Bowl    Texas (38-41)

*all team stats through 11/30


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