Why Stanford is a good pick over USC

Why Stanford is a good pick over USC

USC hosts Stanford in a primetime Pac-12 matchup.

The Trojans did it with natural, unforced run-pass balance that accentuated the strengths of Sam Darnold, Ronald Jones and Stephen Carr, rather than heavy handed force feeding to try and make something out of nothing.

At this point, the Stanford Cardinal could travel anywhere to play football at a neutral site.

"We take a lot of energy from the fans", Darnold said. "I've built up this rivalry with Stanford in my head". I thought we ran it pretty well and they ran it better than we did tonight. "But the bottom line today is we weren't good enough on the field". In last season's encounter, Stanford posted a 27- 10 victory. Stanford won four of the previous five here since 2007.

Jones and Carr may have trouble getting their feet going against Stanford, whose defense allowed only 146 yards against Rice. Needless to say, this is a huge test for the revamped offensive line. I'm not used to saying things like that. "They believed in what we were doing, and they executed it". Even though Stanford plans to lean on its ground game, Chryst will have his share of opportunities through the air. They're 1-1 on the season, including a Week 1 upset at the hands of Maryland. The game kicks off at 8:30 PM EST in Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California.

The Stanford offense found some momentum after USC scored with 10 minutes left in the game.

Junior running back Bryce Love is taking over full time for running back Christian McCaffrey, who was a first-round selection of the Carolina Panthers in April.

Stanford trucked Conference USA foe Rice, 62-7, in its Week 0 season opener in Australia late last month, while USC went into halftime tied with Western Michigan, one of the top squads in the Mid-American Conference, last week before pulling away for a 49-31 win.

But the combination of stiffened run defense and productive offense kept the Cardinal at bay.

It doesn't always work as Darnold forced a couple passes and threw two interceptions.

In Week 1, dropped passes prevented USC from pulling away early.

A loss on Saturday would not be crippling for the Trojans. Last week, the Trojans tried to make Darnold stay in the pocket. "The high expectations for this team, and for myself, I'm aware people are going to scrutinize".

When Smith entered for the Trojans to start the third quarter, their run defense improved.

Darnold made some dazzling throws on the run to his receivers, including a diving touchdown grab by Trojans wide receiver Deontay Burnett in the second quarter.

Series record: USC leads 61-32-3.

Those interceptions were overshadowed by Darnold's magical passes that completely changed the momentum of the game. But many of those yards and the second touchdown came with the game all but decided. He was 15 of 28 for 172 yards - a lot of his yards coming in the fourth quarter - and two touchdowns.

"Honestly, though, this could be the best thing that happens to our team", Stanford safety Justin Reid said.

We'll have up-to-the-minute scoring and stats here throughout the game. Keller Chryst was 14-of-24 for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

With a game under his belt, look for Darnold to be sharper in Week 2. He lobbed a 39-yard bomb to Mitchell.

A few months after losing all-purpose supernova Christian McCaffrey to the National Football League in the first round of the 2017 draft, Stanford rode juniors Bryce Love and Cameron Scarlett to 287 rushing yards and five touchdowns, racking up eight yards per carry.

The more encouraging sign for USC might have been the production Darnold got around him. USC has the chance to break a three-game skid against the Cardinal, who are bouncing back from their second-worst season in coach David Shaw's first six years in charge. Stanford RB Bryce Love has now reached 100 yards rushing in every game he has started in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.



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