The Trojans entered Palo Alto with all the hype and momentum, but you wouldn’t know it based on the first quarter from Stanford. The Cardinal gave USC a bit if a scare early on, getting pressure on Matt Barkley often and even bringing him down for a sack.
In spite of that though, USC held its ground, drawing first blood by scoring on a 1-yard rush from Silas Redd. Stanford responded by breaking off a huge 50-plus yard running touchdown courtesy of Stepfan Taylor in the first, bringing the score to 7-7.
Though the Trojans struggled to get the ground game going (again) their second touchdown also came from Silas Redd, again from just outside the endzone. At the end of the half, the Trojans had 35 rushing yards.
On the passing front USC had 139 yards, but the Trojans have not been dominating offensively as expected. Defensively, the Men of Troy have been holding it down, minus the big run from Taylor. They have moved Stanford off the field efficiently to get the offense back on the field, but by and large the defense has again been the star of the game.
Barkley threw two back to back picks but was fortunate to have Dion Bailey and Jawanza Starling bail USC out on both of Stanford’s following drives. They both picked of Nunes and got the ball back in Barkley’s hands, but the Trojans did not score before time ran out.
If the offense can shake of its few miscues and recover they can continue to wear down Stanford’s defense and come away from this game with the victory. The Cardinal has given up 189 yards (while earning 179 of their own). The Trojans need to reassert their dominance in the second half, or it will again be a thriller in Palo Alto.