29. USC 13, Stanford 10 (2014)
Fresh off a season-opening rout over Fresno State, Steve Sarkisian faced his first big test as the Trojan head coach at Stanford Stadium.
It was an ugly game from the get go. Stanford’s first drive ended in a blocked field goal. Buck Allen’s first touch was a fumble which Zach Banner was able to fall on, allowing Justin Davis to finish out the drive with a short touchdown dive.
Despite both teams moving the ball, neither was very efficient at securing touchdowns and they entered halftime with Stanford holding a 10-7 advantage.
In the third quarter, Andre Heidari hit a field goal from 25 yards out to tie the game but senior linebacker and captain Hayes Pullard was ejected for targeting shortly after.
The deadlock was finally broken late in the fourth quarter as Allen’s rushing and a long pass to Nelson Agholor put the Trojans in striking distance once more. Heidari gave USC the lead with a successful 53-yard kick with just over two minutes remaining.
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan took advantage of Pullard’s absence and moved the Cardinal down the field as the clock ticked under a minute.
However, J.R. Tavai ended the contest when he rumbled off the edge and knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hands on a sack. Scott Felix recovered the fumble and the Trojans secured a second straight victory over Stanford in the final seconds..
USC’s offense had been stifled by the tough Cardinal defense and tallied just 291 yards on the day, but 13 points is always enough when defense comes through as the Trojans did. Despite playing on a sprained ankle, Leonard Williams led USC’s defense in a courageous performance holding Stanford to just one touchdown in five red zone appearances.
Even though USC would lose to Boston College the next week, the high of besting Stanford in Palo Alto for the first time since 2008 was one of the top moments of the season.