Ed Orgeron’s Trojans toppled the #5 Stanford Cardinal Saturday in a win that didn’t just break a four game losing streak, but launched USC back into real contention for the Pac-12 South title.
It took an Andre Heidari field goal with just seconds remaining to put USC up 20-17. The box score shows how the Trojans got there:
|NET YARDS RUSHING||210||23|
|Average Per Rush||6.0||0.9|
|NET YARDS PASSING||127||288|
|Average Per Completion||9.1||11.5|
|TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS||337||311|
|Total offense plays||60||64|
|Average Gain Per Play||5.6||4.9|
|Third-Down Conversions||4 of 12||4 of 14|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 of 0||1 of 1|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||2-16||0-0|
This week the box score was both balanced and lopsided in key areas. Both teams had equal first downs, successful third down conversions, fumbles and near equal time of possession. However, Stanford’s offense achieved far more balance and thus won the total yards battle with 337 to USC’s 311. The Cardinal’s 210 yards rushing was the most rushing yard’s the Trojans have given up since Arizona State gained 261.
However, USC had the clear advantage in the passing game, most notably in the two key interceptions. Surprisingly enough, USC also won the battle in terms of discipline, with just 45 penalty yards to Stanford’s 70, they’re highest total of the season.
It wasn’t a great night to be a running back at USC. Buck Allen did what he could, and walked in for a touchdown on a brilliantly executed misdirection pitch. However, he was stopped for negative yards with regularity. The Trojans 23 net yards rushing was the lowest total of the season.
Tre Madden got back on the field, but couldn’t do much in his return.
Cody Kessler had the best game of his young Trojan career in what was easily the biggest as well. He showed great ability to avoid the Stanford pass rush, finding his receivers on the run and keeping USC drives alive with 12 passing first downs. His 288 yards might not be his highest total of the season, but he was efficient and made the plays that needed to be made.
His numbers in the second half could have been better, but in going 3/4 for 33 yards on the final USC drive he was a major part of the Trojan victory.
Lee-ve It To Marqise
Nelson Agholor led the team in catches and yards, while Soma Vainuku logged the Trojans lone passing touchdown. However, it was Marqise Lee who stood as the stand out performer in the passing game.
Lee’s six catches included one tip-toe grab at the goal line to set up Vainuku’s score, the two-point conversion that recovered USC’s lost PAT point, and the fourth down conversion that set up Heidari’s game winning kick.
Intercepting the Win
Against a stout Stanford offensive front, the Trojans managed five tackles for loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Anthony Sarao stood out once again in place of Lamar Dawson with a forced fumbled, a tackle for loss and a team-high 12 tackles. The injured Leonard Williams still came away with seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Meanwhile, Dion Bailey was nominated for Pac-12 Player of the Week for his six tackles, one tackle for loss, forced fumble and interception.