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(14) Stanford vs. (6) USC 2017 Preview

Breaking down the biggest PAC-12 matchup of the year

NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The more stats pored over, the more angles reviewed, the more the Stanford Cardinal seem like the favorite. The Cardinal have a 32-59-3 all time record against the USC Trojans, but are 8-3 over the last 11 games and currently have a three game winning streak.

This is when they move to four, with the superior defense and a solid running game. Against Rice, the Cardinal let up a meager seven points, while their running game broke loose. They not only ground away at the Rice defense, but both Bryce Love and Cameron Scarlett ripped off big runs of 62, 31, 29 and 25 yards. With the ability to scare the defense deep, this showed tremendous blocking from the Cardinal offensive line, who consistently got into the second level play after play.

Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst performed exceptionally as well, completing 14 of his 24 attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 10.5 yards per attempt and had three players tally over 50 yards.

The defensive front also looked good, with Peter Kalambayi stepping up right away in game one and recording one of the Cardinal’s two sacks and leading the team in solo tackles with five. The defense also racked up seven tackles for loss and four passes defended.

But the most significant edge the Cardinal have on USC is their secondary. The Trojans no longer have JuJu Smith-Schuster or Darreus Rogers, which is 1,610 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns that walked out with no replacement. The Cardinal, however, brought back cornerbacks Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder while putting safety Justin Reid back in the box. Even when they are faced with the task of keeping Sam Darnold in check, the Trojans do not have enough pieces to compete with the Stanford defense nor the offensive balance they posses.

Stanford Wins this one 31-27