Louisville vs


at San Diego
Wed, Dec 27
5:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 245
Odds: USC +7.5, Total: 58

Game Analysis

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Strong Opinion – Over (58) – USC  30   Louisville  35

Lean – USC (+7.5/+7)

USC will be without likely #1 pick in the NFL draft, Caleb Williams but backup Miller Moss was a highly recruited player out of high school and has been in the system for two years. In two years of mop up duty in Lincoln Riley’s offense Moss has completed 35 of 46 passes and averaged 10.2 yards per pass. Most of that was against bad defensive teams but his compensated numbers are still really good and Lincoln Riley’s non-Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks were 1.7 yards per pass play better than average, which is what I’ll project Moss to be in this game.

Top running back MarShawn Lloyd has also opted out and his 7.1 yards per rush and 232 yards on 19 pass targets will be missed. However, the backup running backs combined for 6.0 ypr. Receiver Brendon Rice also decided to forgo the bowl game and he averaged 11.0 yards on his 72 targets this season. Tahj Washington led the team with 963 yards and 14.2 YPT and is going to play in this game before heading to the NFL. USC’s offense was 2.3 yards per play better than average this season (7.5 yppl against teams that would allow 6.2 yppl to an average team) but I project them to be 1.4 yppl better than average with current personnel (0.9 yppl worse).

Louisville’s defense is 0.5 yppl better than average, accounting for facing Florida State’s 3rd string QB in the ACC Championship Game. LB/S Benjamin Perry is a game-time decision after being injured against Florida State and I’ll assume he’s out. I project 390 yards at 6.6 yards per play in this game.

Louisville’s offense was 0.7 yppl better than average, gaining 6.1 yppl against FBS teams that would combine to allow 5.4 yppl to an average team. Top RB Jawhar Jordan is out but his 5.7 ypr against FBS opponents (he had 135 yards on 7 runs against FCS team Murray State) isn’t much more than the 5.6 ypr that backups Guerendo and Turner averaged against FBS teams (149 runs for 837 yards).

USC’s defense was not as bad as their reputation, as the 6.1 yppl that the Trojans allowed was against teams that would combine to average 6.1 yppl against an average FBS defense. The unit will be worse without S Calen Bullock, who was third on the team in tackles and second on the team with 9 passes defended. Top CB Christian Roland-Wallace has declared for the NFL draft but there is no confirmation that he won’t play in this game. Starting CB Domani Jackson is out, but he only had 3 passes defended in 11 starts (and no sacks or TFL), so his absence isn’t that important (neither is LB Tackett Curtis, who lost his starting job in week 9). If I assume that Roland-Wallace is out then Louisville would be projected to gain 501 yards at 7.2 yppl for the Cardinals in this game.

I think the adjustment for Caleb Williams being out was overblown given how good even Riley Lincoln’s worst quarterbacks have been but the Trojans’ defense has been weakened by opt-outs, particularly if Roland-Wallace is out. I get Louisville by 8.5 points and 67.0 total points, but Louisville applies to a 19-58-2 ATS bowl favorite of more than 7 points situation while USC applies to a 60-23-3 ATS bowl situation that is based on their late season slide. There is obviously lots of variance in my projection regarding how good Moss will be in place of Williams but I’m certainly comfortable enough in my projection for a Strong Opinion on the Over.

The Over is a Strong Opinion at 60 points or less.

Note: The Lean on USC +7.5 was sent out before the additional defensive players opted out for USC. The situation is still strong enough to make the Trojans a profitable play (i.e. 52.5% or better) at +7 or more – so they are still a Lean.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Louisville
  • USC


  • Run Plays 33.6 27.0
  • Run Yards 181.3 127.1
  • YPRP 5.4 4.7


  • Pass Comp 18.3 16.7
  • Pass Att 29.1 30.1
  • Comp % 63.0% 55.4%
  • Pass Yards 230.0 217.1
  • Sacks 2.3 2.7
  • Sack Yards 16.8 19.1
  • Sack % 7.4% 8.2%
  • Pass Plays 31.4 32.8
  • Net Pass Yards 213.3 198.0
  • YPPP 6.8 6.0


  • Total Plays 65.0 59.8
  • Total Yards 394.5 325.1
  • YPPL 6.1 5.4


  • Int 0.8 0.9
  • Int % 2.9% 3.1%
  • Fumbles 0.4 0.4
  • Turnovers 1.3 1.3
  • Points 30.9 19.7
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