"It's going to be a high scoring affair."

USC versus Michigan -- the offenses. Former Michigan staffer Mark Ouimet compares the two teams and concludes, "It's going to be a high scoring affair."


USC's offense is just like Michigan's. Their offenses are very comparable. It's the defenses that separate the two. And I think Michigan's defense is better.

But first, comparing the two offenses.

USC's offense is almost just like Michigan's -- they are very comparable. USC averages 450 yards a game on offense - Michigan averages 457.

I think you're going to see a lot of passing in this game -- that's the biggest offfensive strength of both teams. But for both teams, the running game opens up passing game.

Looking at the two teams' running games:

As I said, both teams use the running game as a tool to open up the passing game.

Michigan averages 4.5 yards per rushing play, USC averages 4.6. And Michigan averages 186.5 rushing yards per game, USC averages 163.2. Michigan basically has one back, Chris Perry. USC uses three backs -- Lendale White, Reggie Bush and Hershell Dennis.

For Michigan, Perry and the offensive line are such a threat -- that's why Michigan is so successful offensively, including getting Perry ball on screen passes as well as rushing.

For USC, Lendale White averages 60 yards a game, Hershall Dennis averages 53, and Reggie Bush 40 ... they add to 153 per game, about on a par with Chris Perry.

The passing attacks:

Again, there are a lot of similarities

Michigan averages 270 yards per game through the air, SC 287.

Both quarterbacks, John Navarre and Matt Leinart, have thrown 9 interceptions, which is good.

Once again in this game, Navarre will be throwing it to Braylon Edwards and Jason Avant ... and don't worry about Avant, he's healthy. And USC's defensive backs are not the strength of their defense -- we'll say more about that later.

But Leinart will have success too. The Pac 10 defenses are only average, not as good as the Big Ten's or some other conferences'. But SC has solid passing attack. They have the same concept with their passing game as Michigan. They have two good receivers in Mike Williams and Keary Colvert. Williams is their main guy, averaging 102 reception yards a game.

Michigan tends to score most in the first two quarters (except in the Minnesota game of course). And the Wolverines will hope to jump to an early lead in this game as well. USC also scores more in first half -- one could argue that's because they jumped to early leads against their weak Pac-10 opponents and then put in their substitutes.

There are a couple differences in the offenses.

One significant difference is time of possession. The Wolverines average 32 minutes a game in time of possession, SC 29. ONe can argue that the reason for this difference is that USC has scored quickly on the Pac-10's weak defenses. The other significance is in third down conversion, where Michigan is an excellent 49%, to USC's 37%.

Both teams should score, and I think it's going to be a high scoring affair. But, I think Michigan's offense is a little better than USC's.


Tomorrow: Ouimet compares the defenses.

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