Week 9 USC Notebook

Lots of national notice and potential awards on the line for Trojans and Pac-12'ers. After nine games, it's time to take a look at what the numbers are telling us.

No game this week, time for a Monday notebook. Here we go:

9 games enough to know

Amazing how dominant Pac-12 quarterbacks have been this season when you take a close look at the NCAA stat leaders. Look at passing TDs. Five of the top six including the top four starting with last week's USC opponent, top-ranked WSU injured QB Connor Halliday (32 TD passes), next week's USC opponent Jared Goff of Cal (27), the week after USC's opponent Brett Hundley (26 TD passes) and in fourth spot, Cody Kessler with 25, the same as Colorado's >b>Sefo Liufao and Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty.(25).

Hundley (191/269, .710), Kessler (207/297, .697) and Mariota (169/248, .681) are 2-3-6 in completion percentage nationally.

And Mariota (187.2 passing efficiency rating) and Kessler (168.2), Nos. 2 and 6 in passing efficiency also stand out in another way: They've thrown only two interceptions each, unmatched among any other seasonlong starting QBs.

And four of the players most responsible for points this season are Pac-12 QBs: No. 1 Mariota (204 points), No. 2 Halliday (192), No. 5 Goff (164) and No. 6 Kessler (162). No. 3, Notre Dame's Everett Golson (176) is coming up as well for USC.

The only place Cody falls down is in yards-per-completion where his average of 12.31 is down at No. 47 although Saturday's 19.0 average at WSU is certainly moving in the right direction.

Nelson Agholor is tied for second in the nation in punt return TDs with two other Pac-12 guys -- Charles Nelson of Oregon and Ty Montgomery of Stanford. Agholor is also No. 7 in the nation with eight pass reception TDs.

They're not alone. Adoree Jackson is now No. 6 in the nation in kickoff return yardage with a 31.3 average and Buck Allen is No. 7 nationally in all-purpose yards with 162.0 a game, tops in the Pac-12. Buck is also No. 9 in total rushing at 1,124 yards and No. 10 in rushing yards a game at 124.9.

Pray for 7-2 times 3 with UA, ASU

OK, as has been suggested and now confirmed by the Pac-12, here's what USC must hope for to survive the Pac-12 South. Thanks to honorary correspondent Mark K. for getting this confirmation back from the Pac-12:

Based on your assumptions, yes, USC would win tiebreaker. That’s based on a lot of “if this happens, and this happens, and this happens." Here are the assumptions:

*** Utah (which still faces Oregon, Stanford and Arizona) finishes with at least one more conference loss than UCLA.

*** Arizona regains its offense and wins the rest of its games (Colorado, Washington, @ Utah, ASU); and

*** USC wins its last two conference games (CAL, @ UCLA).

Assuming the above, this leaves Arizona, ASU and USC in a three-way tie in the South. The tiebreaker is the record against the fourth-best team, which in this case would be UCLA, and only USC has a victory over UCLA under this scenario.

Trojans alive for awards

*** HORNUNG AWARD: USC's Agholor joined two other all-purpose players -- South Carolina's Pharoah Cooper and UAB's JaMarcus Nelson -- who combined for a total of 747 yards Saturday to earn a spot on the Hornung Award Honor Roll for the nation's most versatile player. Agholor was just the second player in the last 10 seasons to record more than 200 pass-receiving yards and a punt return TD in the same game for his 291 all-purpose yards.

*** BUTKUS AWARD: USC's Hayes Pullard is one of five Pac-12 linebackers along with UCLA's Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks and Washington's Shaq Thompson and Hau'oli Kikaha among the 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award given the nation's top linebacker.

*** BEDNARIK AWARD: Leonard Williams moves on as one of 22 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award given to nation's best defender at the line of scrimmage. Other Pac-12ers here: Arizona's Scooby Wright, Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Utah's Nate Orchard and Washington's Danny Shelton and Kikaha.

*** MAXWELL AWARD: USC's Allen is one of just three Pac-12ers -- along with UCLA's Brett Hundley and Oregon's Marcus Mariota -- among the 21 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award given the nation's top college football player.

*** MANNING AWARD: Matt Leinart was the first Manning Award winner back in 2005 and one of the top eight Stars of the Week from last weekend is USC's Cody Kessler. College football fans can now go to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page to vote for what they think was the best performance from this past weekend. Vote here. This week’s eight Manning Award Stars of the Week are: Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (23-of-40, 301 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 85.4); Golson, Notre Dame (18-of-25, 315 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 94.0): Kessler, USC (21-of-32, 400 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 80.6); Trevor Knight, Oklahoma (22-of-35, 230 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INT, QBR: 92.5): Mariota, Oregon (19-of-30, 258 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 97.8); Nick Marshall, Auburn (15-of-22, 254 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 96.2); Johnny McCrary, Vanderbilt (20-of-29, 281 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 80.6); Tyler Murphy, Boston College (8-of-15, 110 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 89.7).

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.

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