USC Football: Trojans will beat Stanford if...

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Sep 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; USC Trojans center Khaled Holmes (78) is taken from the field after an injury against the Syracuse Orange during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. USC defeated Syracuse 42-29. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

…Khaled Holmes (or his replacement) rallies the offensive line.

If the Trojan offense has a weakness right now, it’s on the offensive line which has struggled to open holes in the running game and looked overwhelmed against Syracuse early. That situation is not helped by the injury to Holmes, the senior leader of that unit. Holmes handles the reads on the line and in a hostile stadium his presence is a great advantage. If he can’t go, then senior Abe Markowitz or freshman Cyrus Hobbi will be called on to step up their game. The performance of the replacement could make or break the Trojans. Whether it is Holmes, Markowitz or Hobbi lined up at center on Saturday, the offensive line will need to assert themselves against a Stanford defensive line that lost only one player from a unit that last year finished sixth in rushing defense and 11th in sacks nationally. USC provided great protection for Barkley against Hawaii and found some success on the ground against Syracuse, but they’ll need to put those performances together against the Cardinal. If the O-line opens holes for the running backs and Matt Barkley gets protection, the Trojans will be in control.

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