Charlie: Both Max Browne and Sam Darnold have seen playing time this year, what can Stanford expect to see at the qb position?
Julian: Stanford can expect to see Max Browne for most of the game. He is the clear starting quarterback for the Trojans. However, because of his size and speed, Sam Darnold has the potential to be a defensive nightmare and the Trojans used him in the red zone last week against Utah State and it was pretty successful. I see Darnold as the red zone option running quarterback and Browne doing everything else.
Charlie: Ronald Jones II got banged up vs Utah State. What will his availability be versus Stanford? If he plays, will he be limited, and how will he contribute? If he doesn't play, who will step up?
Julian: Ronald Jones II is healthy. He got banged up against Utah State early and did not come back in the game. I think USC took him out as a precaution so that he would be 100% healthy for the Stanford game. He was a full participant during Tuesday’s practice and I think Stanford can expect to see a lot of Jones II as well as Justin Davis on Saturday.
Charlie: Juju Smith-Schuster was considered one of the nations best WR heading into this year, but he hasn't really had a standout game yet. Do you think he could have a breakout game versus Stanford despite their good secondary?
Julian: Yes. Smith-Schuster had two touchdowns against Utah State so it was a nice bounce back game for him after being virtually a non-factor against Alabama. I think it was a huge positive that Max Browne and Smith-Schuster were able to develop a little chemistry against the Aggies before Saturday’s showdown. I would love to see more deep 1 on 1 balls for Smith-Schuster.
Charlie: How will USC stop Christian McCaffery?
Julian: I wrote yesterday that you can’t stop McCaffrey, you can only contain him. That means give him the small plays without giving up the home run type plays. Crowd the box and force him to the sidelines. Cameron Smith being back in this game after not playing in the Pac-12 Title Game is huge. He is USC’s best defensive player and tackler. I still think McCaffrey gets over 200 total yards.
Charlie: X-factor and Prediction.
Julian: X-factor will be the defensive line. If Stanford pushes them around, the game is over. If they can pressure the quarterback and force Stanford to throw the ball more than they usually do, it will be a successful day. Prediction 24-21 Stanford as a FG on the last play of the game wins it for the Cardinal
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