USC vs. Stanford 2013 Gameday Preview: Lineups and Links


Oct 10, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of fireworks during the playing of the national anthem before the NCAA football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford Cardinal vs. USC Trojans

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum | Los Angeles, California

5:00 PM Pacific | ABC

All-Time Series: 58-29-3

Last Meeting:  USC 14, Stanford 21 in 2012

It’s homecoming for the Trojans at the Coliseum tonight and the football gods couldn’t have picked a better game for USC. Even ESPN College Gameday has joined in on the festivities as the #5 Stanford Cardinal come to town. The Trojans are not ranked, yet they’re the trendy choice to upset. That’s mostly because Ed Orgeron has revitalized the team and has USC playing with passion.

Is passion enough to beat a Stanford team that just knocked off the #2 Oregon Ducks? One that is in pole position to sneak into the national championship game if the undefeateds drop? On that thrives in the trenches? It’ll be a tough match up, but at the very least the Trojans are primed to give the Cardinal everything they’ve got.

Gameday Links:

When Stanford has the ball…

The Cardinal know their strength and their strength is up front. So just as they did last week against Oregon, Stanford will use heavy doses of Tyler Gaffney to wear the Trojans into submission. Early success in the run game would open up the play action pass for Kevin Hogan, who is also a threat to scramble if the opportunity is presented. Ty Montgomery, Stanford’s most explosive playmaker, will be tough to contain in the secondary and, if Hogan is given enough time to throw, could be a major factor.

For the Trojans, everything starts on the defensive line. Injuries to Morgan Breslin and Leonard Williams are massive concerns. With Breslin out, J.R. Tavai and Jabari Ruffin will be called upon to build on some strong performances in relief of injured teammates. Leonard Williams is likely to play, but his effectiveness could be hampered. Antwaun Woos, George Uko and Devon Kennard need to pick up the slack in order to keep Gaffney at bay and give Josh Shaw, Dion Bailey and Su’a Cravens a chance to make game changing plays in the secondary.

Cardinal Projected Starting Offense:

WR #89 Devon CajusteLT #70 Andrus PeatLG #54 David YankeyC #65 Khalil WilkesRG #76 Kevin DanserRT #73 Cameron FlemingTE #86 Charlie HopkinsQB #8 Kevin HoganRB #25 Tyler GaffneyFB #85 Ryan HewittWR #7 Ty Montgomery

Trojan Projected Starting Defense:

OLB #42 Devon KennardDE #94 Leonard WilliamsNT #99 Antwaun WoodsDE #90 George UkoOLB #58 J.R. TavaiMLB #10 Hayes PullardWLB #56 Anthony SaraoCB #6 Josh ShawFS #18 Dion BaileySS #21 Su’a CravensCB #13 Kevon Seymour

When USC has the ball…

The Trojans have an advantage over Stanford in terms of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, however, those playmakers won’t have a chance to have an impact on the game if Cody Kessler can’t get the ball in their hands. Cody Kessler won’t be able to get the ball in their hands if he is met with the same unrelenting pressure that harried Matt Barkley in this game last season. Everything comes down the the USC offensive line. They’ve shown great improvement over the past two weeks. However, struggles against Utah and Notre Dame spell trouble as Stanford’s defensive line compares favorably to those units.

The Cardinal will be primarily concerned with terrorizing USC in the backfield. Josh Mauro and Trent Murphy are tackle for loss machines and their job tonight will be keeping Tre Madden and Buck Allen out of the second level where they can do real damage. Much like USC, a strong pass rush is also the key to Stanford’s pass defense. With a secondary that has struggled this season, the last thing the Cardinal will want to see is Marqise Lee of Nelson Agholor running in the open field.

Trojan Projected Starting Offense:

WR #15 Nelson AgholorLT #72 Chad WheelerLG #75 Max TuerkC #66 Marcus MartinRG #70 Aundrey WalkerRT #77 Kevin GrafTE #86 Xavier GrimbleWR #9 Marqise LeeQB #6 Cody KesslerFB #38 Jahleel PinnerOR #31 Soma VainukuTB #37 Buck Allen

Cardinal Projected Starting Defense:

DE #90 Josh MauroDT #58 David ParryDE #91 Henry AndersonOR #43 Blake LuedersOLB #93 Trent MurphyILB #17 A.J. TarpleyILB #11 Shayne SkovOLB #9 James VaughtersLC #25 Alex CarterFS #29 Ed ReynoldsSS #8 Jordan RichardsRC #2 Wayne LyonsNB #15 Usua Amanam