USC Visits Stanford in Rematch of Last Season’s Pac-12 Title TiltBy David A.
Two ranked teams meet in an early season Pac-12 showdown on Saturday night when the No. 12 ranked USC Trojans visit the No. 13 ranked Stanford Cardinal in a rematch of the Pac-12 Championship game of last season.
Seven of the last 12 head-to-head games between the two Pac-12 rivals have been decided by eight points or less.
Last week, USC’s true freshman quarterback JT Daniels led the Trojans to a 43-21 victory over the UNLV Wolfpack with 282 passing yards and one touchdown. Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello tossed three touchdown passes to wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the Cardinal’s 31-10 victory over San Diego State.
Stanford’s Arcega-Whiteside caught six passes for 226 yards earning the wide receiver the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week award. Cardinal running back Bryce Love, who was the preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, rushed for just 29 yards as the Aztec defense keyed on stopping the talented tailback.
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USC is 16-1 in its last 17 Pac-12 games. Daniels, who is just the second true freshman signal caller for USC to start an opening game of the season, threw often to wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who was Daniels’ teammate in high school. St. Brown caught seven passes for 98 yards and one touchdown.
In USC’s opener place kicker Chase McGrath had five field goals tying a school record, while running back Aca’Cedric Ware ended the game with 100 yards rushing and one touchdown and Vavae Malepeai rushed for a pair of touchdowns. Defensively, linebacker Porter Gustin sacked the UNLV quarterback twice. The USC defense allowed 308 yards rushing against UNLV and must improve if they want to contain Love.
Stanford’s Costello threw for 332 yards and four TDs against the Aztec defense. The offensive line continues to protect the quarterback well and over the past 11 games has allowed just 10 sacks in 308 passing plays.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinal allowed just 113 passing yards, but did give up 158 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground to Juwan Washington.
USC is 62-32-3 all-time against Stanford including last season’s conference title game 31-28 victory over the Cardinal.
Look for Stanford to open holes for Love and the Heisman hopeful to rush for 150-plus yards leading the Cardinal to victory.