Simply put, it was Stanford’s game. They controlled both sides of the ball and looked much better against USC than Kansas State. Stanford made no stupid mistakes and had a comfortable lead throughout the game, and against USC, Stanford looked like the PAC 12’s best and a top ten team.
The first half was the Christian McCaffrey show. He led both teams in rushing, receiving, and touchdowns, and with 195 all purpose yards in the first half, McCaffrey looked really good and helped Stanford build a 17-3 lead. USC’s defense kept missing Christian McCaffrey, and Christian made them suffer. Stanford’s first touchdown resulted from a Ryan Burns to Christian McCaffrey 56 yard touchdown when McCaffrey got lost in the USC defense and was left wide open. How do you lose track of Christian McCaffrey? The second touchdown was set up after a good run by McCaffrey. After not converting for three downs inside the ten, Stanford went for a touchdown on the one yard line and succeeded; McCaffrey took the ball and jumped over the line for his second touchdown of the night. The defense dominated their side of the ball as well and never even allowed USC enter the red zone. The defensive line controlled the line, and the secondary stopped USC’s star receivers.
USC started the second half on a high note. They drove down the field and scored, but Stanford answered with Ukropina’s second field goal of the night. Stanford 20. USC 10. On Stanford’s next offensive drive, it took two plays to score, and Michael Rector showed off his speed. On a receiver sweep, Rector got to the outside and ran for a 56 yard touchdown pretty much untouched. 27-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, USC was approaching the end zone and threatening to score. Instead of opting for a field goal, USC went for it on fourth and one but came up short. On the next drive, Adoree Jackson intercepted a Ryan Burns pass, but Stanford’s defense made another stop. USC looked like they would score again before the end of the game, but Noor Davis intercepted USC on a deflection. In the fourth quarter, both defenses stepped up, and the game ended 27-10.
Although Stanford didn’t beat USC by 46, their win was still convincing. The defense looked stout, and the offensive looked promising. On defense, Stanford only allowed ten points and continuously made important stops. On offense, Stanford constantly drove on USC and never made any turnovers. It was a great win by Stanford to gain momentum before UCLA.