USC vs. Stanford Game Preview: Matchups, Injuries, Lineups and Links


USC vs. Stanford

LA Coliseum | Los Angeles, Calif.5:00 PM Pacific | ABCAll-time Series: USC leads 61-29-3Last meeting: USC 13, Stanford 10 in 2014

Few series have been as tight as USC vs. Stanford over last five years. With an average of just over four points decided the annual meeting between the Trojans and Cardinal in that span, drama should certainly be expected this time around.

For both sides this contest could be pivotal. The Cardinal have already suffered a set back in the form of their Week 1 upset to Northwester. Another one would put them behind the eight-ball when it comes to contending for the North.

From the USC perspective, the Coliseum will be a proving ground tonight. After two outstanding showings against Sun Belt opposition, the Trojans will get their first crack at respected opposition. In many ways it is a put-up-or-shut-up moment for Steve Sarkisian’s squad.

This historical rivalry game kicks off at 5:00 p.m. Until then, here’s everything you need to get ready for the game:

Preview Podcast:

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When Stanford has the ball:

Kevin Hogan leads the Cardinal offense in his final season, with one last chance to knock off the Trojans after failing in his first two attempts.

That Hogan has put in two less-than-impressive performances against USC places extra importance on him showing up in 2015.

Showing up will certainly involve producing more points in the red zone than the Cardinal have managed this season or last.

He’ll have to do without last year’s favored target Ty Montgomery, but sizable targets like Devon Cajuste and Austin Hooper will no doubt test the Trojan secondary, who have not faced such big receiving options yet this season.

On the ground, USC’s defensive front will test their mettle versus a veteran Stanford line. Though they generated good pressure in the first two weeks, the quest for sacks will be an uphill battle this time around.

At running back, Christian McCaffrey is the playmaker, but the Cardinal have yet to reestablish their traditionally dominant rushing attack.

Click here for a full offensive preview and statistical analysis of the Cardinal.

Gameday Links:

When USC has the ball:

Cody Kessler and the Trojan offense have sparked against the Sun Belt defenses they have faced, but the Cardinal offer a completely different level of opposition.

Of course, this is not the same defense which limited USC to 13 points in 2014, with nine starters departed across the unit.

USC’s offensive line made a point of improving after giving up five sacks to Arkansas State in the season opener. Though challenge of keeping Kessler’s jersey clean will be much more daunting, Stanford’s defensive front is as a big a question mark as the Cardinal have in 2014.

Injuries to Harrison Phillips and Nate Lohn mean the up front is as thin as could be. Aziz Shittu and Solomon Thomas are talented players, but a heavy dose of the Tre Madden and the Trojan running attack could leave the Cardinal vulnerable late on in the contest.

The new-look secondary is actually one of the more experienced units. Thus far, no opposition receiver has been allowed to generate more than 52 yards receiving. JuJu Smith-Schuster, fresh off a monster performance against Idaho, will be looking to change that.

Click here for a full defensive preview and statistical analysis of the Cardinal.

Injury Updates:


  • Out for season: WR Ajene Harris (hip)
  • Out: DL Jordan Simmons (knee)
  • Questionable: CB Kevon Seymour (knee)
  • Probable: LB Lamar Dawson (ribs)


  • Out for season: DL Harrison Phillips (knee)
  • Out: DL Nate Lohn (undisclosed), LB Noor Davis (Leg)
  • Probable: N/A

Projected Starting Line Ups:

Stanford Offense

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USC Defense

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USC Offense

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Stanford Defense

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Sep 12, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans players Soma Vainuku (31) and Jabri Ruffin (40) lead teammates onto the field before the game against the Idaho Vandals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports