The Stanford Cardinal head south to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans Saturday night in the LA Coliseum. The Cardinal have won the last three meetings and eight of the last 11. Six of those 11 meetings were decided by only one score. Every game between these two teams from 2010-2014 was decided by only one score. In their three meetings since then, however, Stanford has won all three by a combined 46 points.
Since the middle of the 2015 season when Clay Helton became the Trojans’ head coach USC has not lost a game in the Coliseum. Helton, however, is 0-2 against Stanford. One of those trends will obviously have to end Saturday night.
The Trojans were a very trendy pick to make the playoffs and QB Sam Darnold was the front runner for the 2017 Heisman Trophy. The Cardinal was largely picked to once again miss out on the Pac-12 Championship game finishing behind the Washington Huskies in the Pac-12 North division.
Stanford is coming off a bye week following a dominant victory over the Rice Owls in Australia. USC struggled mightily with the Western Michigan Broncos last Saturday before finally taking over the game in the fourth quarter.
Both offenses showed incredible rushing prowess in their opening contests and the rushing attack for both teams figures to play prominent role in determining the outcome of this game. The Trojans rushing defense looked sloppy against the Broncos allowing 263 yards on the ground to Western Michigan. The trio of running backs for the Cardinal —Bryce Love, Cameron Scarlett, and Dorian Maddox — rushed for a combined 268 yards and 4 touchdowns on 29 carries against the Owls.
Darnold and the USC wide receivers did not look particularly sharp in their opening contest while the Stanford defensive secondary is widely considered one of the five best units in the nation. Stanford QB Keller Chryst has looked great after his brutal knee injury last season in the Sun Bowl but on Saturday he will be facing the toughest defense he has encountered since taking over the starting job in October of 2016.
Game info, vegas lines, and computer predictions are below:
Stanford Cardinal (1-0) at USC Trojans (1-0)
How to Watch:
Start Time: Saturday, September 9, 5:30p.m. PST
Location: Los Angeles Coliseum — Los Angeles, California
Radio: Tune In
Live Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Vegas Odds: Stanford +6, 55 O/U
FPI Matchup Predictor: Stanford 60.4% win probability
S&P+ Ratings: Projected 4 point USC victory
Massey Rankings: Stanford win probability of 32% with a projected final score of 31-24
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