Game Day — USC’s Revenge Over Stanford?

USC vs. Stanford Prediction: Trojans’ Open Pac-12 Play on the Road Against Cardinal

Kyle Kensing (Athlon Sports —  USC’s pending Big Ten exit means this is the final installment of conference rivalry with Stanford.

Among the more consequential rivalries in Pac-12 football for the past decade and change has been the Stanford-USC series.

Even in a season of disappointment such as what both the Cardinal and Trojans endured in 2021, the game’s outcome carried significance: USC head coach Clay Helton was fired after Stanford’s romp in the Coliseum last September.

Of course, that paved the way for Lincoln Riley’s hire, a wave of high-profile transfers to Los Angeles, and the return of lofty expectations around Heritage Hall. With Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison hooking up for a pair of touchdown passes in the Trojans’ 66-14 blowout of Rice in Week 1, the enthusiasm about this new-look team appears justified.

Expectations ahead of Stanford’s 2022 were significantly lower after a dismal 2021, but the Cardinal have often been at their best against USC when playing the role of spoiler.

Midnight approaches on this rivalry before USC exits for the Big Ten. Can Stanford rise to the occasion and deliver another classic in the waning days of a relationship dating back to 1905?

No. 10 USC at Stanford

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: ABC
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: USC -8.5
TicketsAs low as $46 on SITickets.com*

When USC Has the Ball

Riley’s spin on the Air Raid offense revitalized Oklahoma upon his hire as offensive coordinator, then produced a pair of Heisman Trophy winners and a few more finalists once he replaced the Hall of Famer Bob Stoops as head coach.

While USC’s previous attempt to implement the Air Raid under the Helton regime never quite soared as anticipated, very early returns in the Riley era are promising. Williams was dynamic against an admittedly overmatched Rice side, spreading the ball among a diverse and talented receiving corps.

Addison, the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner, didn’t disappoint in his debut, and another Oklahoma transplant in Mario Williams is an exciting burner for the Trojans.

Caleb Williams’ mobility forces opponents to play a dangerous guessing game, as USC can unleash a truly effective RPO look. The skill positions are absolutely stacked, but the uncertainty looming as the Trojans open Pac-12 play is the stability upfront.

Beyond tackle Andrew Voorhees (72), USC’s offensive line is largely unknown. While Stanford’s defensive front may not be what it was during the Cardinal’s run of championships last decade, it’s a veteran group with edge rushers Stephen Herron and Aeneas DiCosmo and tackles Tobin Phillips and Anthony Franklin all having some noteworthy experience.

When Stanford Has the Ball

When Bryce Love became Stanford’s fourth different Heisman finalist in eight years at the conclusion of the 2017 season, it marked an unofficial start to the Cardinal enduring some lean years offensively.

Signs of trouble were evident before the 2018 campaign, most notably when Christian McCaffrey missed time in 2016, but Stanford’s dip to the bottom rungs of the Pac-12 across a variety of offensive statistical categories underscored the dramatic turnaround for the worse the program was experiencing. Most notably, offensive line play — once the hallmark of Stanford football — struggled mightily amid a bevy of injuries.

The 2022 unit is experienced and perhaps the most promising it’s looked in a half-decade and has a likely NFL player operating behind it with Tanner McKee. And after finishing around the cellar for rushing yardage the last few years, the Cardinal gained 169 yards at six yards per pop in Week 1.

Optimism around that stat should be guarded: Stanford faced Colgate out of the Patriot League, and E.J. Smith gained 87 of them on a single play.

Still, Stanford should be much improved on that side of the ball compared to a year ago. How much USC improved defensively from last season, now under the guidance of coordinator Alex Grinch, will shape Saturday’s prime-time affair.

Final Analysis

The USC defense rallied from a sluggish start against Rice to dominate in the second half, most notably in generating turnovers. Don’t count on McKee giving away two interceptions, let alone three pick-sixes like the Trojans garnered against Stanford assistant Mike Bloomgren’s Owls.

Stanford’s built to test some of the uncertainties in the USC lineup but ultimately could struggle to keep pace with the outstanding skill-position players that make up an overhauled Trojans roster.

Prediction: USC 34, Stanford 27

athlonsports.com

________

TrojanDailyBlog members  —  Always feel free to add information or new topics to the TDB which don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post or member comment.

 

SUBSCRIBE HERE TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF NEW COMMENTS OR REPLIES.
Notify of
266 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jamaica
Genius Member
Jamaica
Offline
September 10, 2022 10:17 pm

Game was never in doubt as the USC offense scored its first 5 possessions. Seemed unstoppable the first half but slowed down the 2nd half settling on field goals instead of TDs. I don’t see anyone in the conference slowing it down unless it stops itself. Just too many weapons LR can dial up on his playcalling. I was very encouraged how well the OL gave Caleb enough time to find open receivers. But the refs turned a blind eye on the holding going on by Stanford defenders.The defense had its moments getting in the Stanford backfield for losses. Right… Read more »

RialtoTrojan
Noble Genius
RialtoTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:55 pm

There has been left no doubt why USC is leaving the PAC 12. Just looking at the refs in the second half, shows the real problem. They basically gave Stanfurd 14 points. Missed several calls against Stanfurd, and almost changed the game.
Riley might just protest some of the calls. (Helton would never do such a thing)
Outside of ABC’s terrible commercial ridden broadcast, the game was pretty good.

Golden Trojan
Noble Genius
September 10, 2022 8:49 pm

Got the win by 13, good for me and all the others that took SC and the points. 2nd half was not pretty, need to play all 4 qtrs. Great day for the Sun Belt, give credit to Helton or Nebraska is really bad. I am up 5500 for the day. Time to relax with a little single malt night cap!

alfa1
Genius Member
alfa1
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:33 pm

The Cat pulls it off, beats Nebraska. The Cat is in Heaven, Scott Frost is in Trouble.

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:41 pm
Reply to  alfa1

Happy for Helton. Should never have been hired by SC.

ATL D.D.S.
Noble Genius
ATL D.D.S.
Offline
September 11, 2022 6:57 am
Reply to  TrojanMPA90

I tried to watch some of the NE-GSU game, but I could not take more than a couple of plays at a time. The sight of gomer kept putting me into a PTSD-type reaction. How bad is Scott Frost feeling this morning to know he got beaten by a team coached by helton?

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:47 pm
Reply to  alfa1

Frost will just get a cut in pay, probably nothing more.

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
September 10, 2022 9:22 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

True, and if he doesn’t win a game before October he will get another pay cut.

USC1988
Noble Genius
USC1988
Offline
September 11, 2022 6:37 am
Reply to  Steveg

He is gone. That’s a disgusting loss to a miserable coach.

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:15 pm

Offense was good in the first half but needs to work on the 2nd half. Defense was good but needs to work on stopping the run and allowing receivers to break out. Gotta stop the penalties.

Chris
Noble Genius
Chris
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:12 pm

That was fun. See you next week.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:13 pm
Reply to  Chris

A lot more fun than it has been for a while.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 8:12 pm

OK Win ………..Things to work on tho …..Fight On !!!!!

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:09 pm

Are you kidding me? Can or DB’s stop grabbing?

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:04 pm

Okay this is getting a little too close for comfort. Time for defense to stop them.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:05 pm
Reply to  TrojanMPA90

There hasn’t been much of that this half.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:03 pm

We’ve done a hell of a job making a game of this.

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:05 pm
Reply to  UtahTrojan

Taken our foot off the gas pedal.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 8:06 pm
Reply to  TrojanMPA90

That never works.

John Weld
Admin
Noble Genius
John Weld
Online
September 10, 2022 8:03 pm

USC only two field goals in the second-half so far. If you bet USC -9.5 your bet is suddenly in jeopardy.

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:56 pm

Let’s get a TD now

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:56 pm

Call that a TD by DB stupidity

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:58 pm
Reply to  UtahTrojan

I’m sure LR and Grinch will have a talk with the defense about that.

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:54 pm

Pass Interference penalties is something to work on

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:53 pm

Allen is gonna Nail the freakin score .

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:53 pm

Really need to stop Stanford. Want a 20 point win.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:52 pm

Your 2022 National Champ ????? ……Kentucky .

Chris
Noble Genius
Chris
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:48 pm

lets see if our 2’s and 3’s on D can make some plays.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:48 pm

Guarantee you after this game LR says “We are not there yet ” …..Fight On !!!!!

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:46 pm

Two terrible misreads with receivers in a row.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:46 pm

He ain’t looking happy right now .

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:41 pm

Still need to score one more TD to rub it in.

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:58 pm
Reply to  TrojanMPA90

And go for two.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:37 pm

From earlier today >>>>> Allen Wallace
#69406
I’m predicting USC 42-27 at the Farm!

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:33 pm

Blackmon needs to stop with the pass interference penalties.

Chris
Noble Genius
Chris
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:24 pm

That under may hold up.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:22 pm

Their DB’s are doing a better job on our WR’s .

John Weld
Admin
Noble Genius
John Weld
Online
September 10, 2022 7:20 pm

Pujols hits 696 and ties A-Rod

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:20 pm

Lets run the ball rest of the game .

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:16 pm

Correct call.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:16 pm
Reply to  UtahTrojan

Wish the D could have gotten the TD though.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:14 pm

Could these announcers be any more pro Stanford?

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:18 pm
Reply to  UtahTrojan

You will never get announcers who are pro USC.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:13 pm

That ball was out.

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:13 pm

Fumble TD!

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:10 pm

28 rush, 22 pass. Great balance in the offense.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:08 pm

Stanford make some defensive adjustments or something ?

USC1988
Noble Genius
USC1988
Offline
September 11, 2022 6:40 am
Reply to  HOF19

Not really … couple misreads by CW. LR stopped going misdirection which they had no clue how to stop. The BS O and 3rd and forever PIs were a 14 pt swing.
No biggie keep them hungry.

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:08 pm

Okay we need to work on our FG game

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:08 pm

How wet is that field with all of the players slipping? I know it is not from rain.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:07 pm

Damn.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:07 pm

(This is just me) BUT …..Our QB is getting hit a bit too often .

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 7:06 pm

Taking all of this time off of the clock we need to score. Game will be over with this lead.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:04 pm

WR’s C’mon ….Get open !

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 7:01 pm

Dye injured ?

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 6:57 pm

Like this shot of LR as the game is ongoing .

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 6:50 pm

Really wanted a TD to put distance between the trees.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 6:49 pm

OK …..FG Kicker got some work .

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
September 10, 2022 6:45 pm

USC 3 penalties for 25 yards. What a difference.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Online
September 10, 2022 6:39 pm

If circumstances allow ….2nd-teamers in the 4th quarter (Tho Caleb might be hard to keep off the field) ….. Fight On !!!!!

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 6:32 pm

Does ND have another Charlie Weiss for a coach again?

John Weld
Admin
Noble Genius
John Weld
Online
September 10, 2022 6:34 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Are you fat shaming poor Charlie   :wpds_lol: 

John Weld
Admin
Noble Genius
John Weld
Online
September 10, 2022 6:25 pm

Oklahoma St 17
ASU 3
Halftime

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 6:29 pm
Reply to  John Weld

ASU is going to be a dumpster fire this year.

John Weld
Admin
Noble Genius
John Weld
Online
September 10, 2022 6:23 pm

Georgia So. 28
Nebraska 28
Halftime
Scott Frost must really stink to be tied up in this game at home.

UtahTrojan
Noble Genius
UtahTrojan
Offline
September 10, 2022 6:24 pm
Reply to  John Weld

Who is really coaching Georgia Southern?

TrojanMPA90
Noble Genius
TrojanMPA90
Offline
September 10, 2022 6:28 pm
Reply to  John Weld

Nebraska loses that game and Frost is done.

John Weld
Admin
Noble Genius
John Weld
Online
September 10, 2022 6:33 pm
Reply to  TrojanMPA90

You would think so; he has had enough time to show some growth but he hasn’t.