Home » College Football » USC and Lincoln Riley determined to halt Oregon State’s perfect red-zone streak

USC and Lincoln Riley determined to halt Oregon State’s perfect red-zone streak

USC head coach Lincoln Riley watches the Trojans warm up before the team’s season opener against Rice at the Coliseum. USC’s defense is expecting a test against Oregon State on Saturday night. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Less than two minutes remained on the clock — a comfortable, four-touchdown win over Fresno State long ago secured — but as USC lined up for one final stand with its back against the end zone last Saturday, no one seemed to have told its defense.

Instead of coasting to the finish line, USC mounted one of its strongest defensive stands of the season, stopping three straight rushes inside the two-yard-line to force a turnover on downs. Afterward, Trojans coach Lincoln Riley called it his favorite sequence of the game.

“That’s what we’re about,” Riley said. “No matter who thinks the game is over, it all matters to us. If you’re going to be a champion, it’s gotta all matter. For our guys to get that stop right there at the end to close the game was as meaningful as anything that happened tonight.”

A similar effort near the goal line could prove especially meaningful Saturday, when USC meets Oregon State in Corvallis for a crucial early Pac-12 tilt. The Beavers have scored on all 14 red-zone trips this season. Only four schools (Michigan, Clemson, Vanderbilt and Tennessee) have more red-zone conversions, while still boasting a perfect conversion rate.

On account of their defense’s struggles between the 20s, the Trojans already have weathered 13 trips into the red zone. But while opposing offenses have had no trouble getting there, USC’s effort inside the 20s has kept them from accomplishing much when they do.

Just seven of those 13 trips (54%) have resulted in points, a rate that sets USC apart as one of the top red-zone defenses in college football through three games. No other…

Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/usc-lincoln-riley-determined-halt-110030113.html?src=rss

Author : LA Times

Publish date : 2022-09-23 11:00:30

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