USC Flounders at Home Against Stanford

Photo Credit: Stanford Athletics

LOS ANGELES – USC, coming off a large victory against San Jose State, hosted Stanford University. These two storied programs have a fierce rivalry and this weekend ignited the rivalry again. Stanford came into the weekend after a disastrous loss to Kansas State.

Stanford wanted to show America and the PAC-12 that their last game was a mistake.

Stanford came out the gate in this grudge match looking to strike first. On Stanford’s second possession with a huge 87-yard rush by Nathaniel Peat. The Stanford defense was able to hold back the USC offense in the first quarter.

It looked as if the Trojan offense was unable to get the ball moving either in the air or on the ground. They made some good strides but just could not move the sticks when it really mattered. As the first quarter winded down the Trojans were in great field position to tie the game up. Kedon Slovis was unable to connect with his receivers for the touchdown. So USC decided ‘let’s keep it on the ground and push it into the end zone.’ Keaontay Ingram was handed the ball and forced his way through the Stanford defense to tie the game up at seven all.

In the next possession, Stanford responded in kind with a touchdown pass from Tanner McKee to Elijah Higgins. USC in their next possession marched downfield but fell just short of the end zone and had to settle for a field goal. Stanford took no time in pushing the ball downfield and extend their lead after a huge pass from McKee to Austin Jones for 49-yards, putting them in striking distance. McKee dropped back and connected with John Humphrys in the end zone, putting Stanford up 14-10 at the end of the first half.

As the second half started, the Trojans were set to receive the ball and were looking to implement some second-half changes but Stanford had their own agenda in mind. Slovis and the Trojans’ offense started the first drive of the second half strong. Moving the ball in the air and on the ground. It looked as if the USC offense was finally working as one unit. That was until a fumbled snap caused a breakdown in play and the Trojan offense struggled to find the end zone and was forced to kick a field goal.

The next possession by the Trojans Slovis made a fatal error when passing to Drake London late in the third quarter. The pass intended for London was intercepted by Kyu Blu Kelly at the USC 31-yard line and Kelly easily broke through for a pick-six extending their lead to 28 to 13. The next Stanford possession, McKee went into overdrive taking only a handful of plays to move his team downfield. McKee at the 1-yard line kept the ball and powered through the USC defense to extend the lead making it 35-13 essentially ending the third quarter

The fourth quarter was looking just as bleak for the Trojans as the rest of the game had played out. Stanford opens the fourth quarter moving the chains and finding their way to the end zone. McKee thorough out the whole game looked as if he was playing a different game. He utilized his offensive weapons and it seemed as if the Trojans just could not come up with any kind of answer for the Stanford standout.

The USC offense started their first possession of the fourth quarter with only nine minutes left in the game. The Trojans’ offense was finally able to get a good drive going and was ultimately able to find the end zone. After a quick possession from Stanford, USC was given another chance to close the gap.

Unfortunately for the Trojans, the Stanford defense was not willing to let USC score so easily. With only about three minutes left on the clock, the Trojans start what would be their final drive of the night. Slovis and the USC offense was able to make it into the end zone but it was too little, too late for USC to make a comeback. The final score after four quarters was 42-28 Stanford taking home a big win over 14th ranked USC.

This match-up against Stanford shows that the USC team needs to keep the penalties down to a minimum or better yet none at all. The Trojans were called on nine penalties resulting in 109-yards lost. Although Stanford looked and played like the better team it is clear that USC definitely did not help themselves by committing that many penalties. The big standout in this game would have to be the Stanford quarterback McKee. He was able to connect with all of his offensive weapons while still completing 16 of 23 passes for 223-yards and 2 touchdowns.

Next weekend, the Trojans will head to Pullman to face off against Washington State University.

Written by Robert Henry

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