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Point-Counterpoint Third and LongHow do you make that next first down vs. How to make your opponent punt?
by: David Purdum
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Heading into December, USC's overwhelming offense was tops in the nation in third-down efficiency. After outlasting Pat Hillís impressive Fresno State squad in November, the Trojans were converting on an amazing 54% of third downs. Having Reggie Bush doesnít hurt. Pete Carrollís explosive bunch was also No. 1 in turnover margin. Itís not hard to figure out why Matt Leinart and company keep rolling.
The third-down efficiency rankings are filled with explosive offenses, including Texas, Notre Dame, Louisville, Fresno State, Auburn and Minnesota. Avoiding third-and-longs is the ultimate goal. Against Fresno State, USC converted 7 of 13 third downs with an average distance of less than five. But they also picked up first downs on third-and-10 and third-and-seven.
No one wants to end up in third-and-long, but it happens. ....The full article can only be seen by subscribers.
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