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#9 Stanford shows #22 USC too much Love

All-World running back Bryce Love and a strong defensive performance help the Cardinal beat the rival Trojans 17-3 on The Farm Saturday night.

USC v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It has been said that “love is all things”, and in a football sense, this certainly holds true. By that measure, senior All-American Bryce Love (22 carries / 136 yards / 6.2 YPC / 1 TD) and the Cardinal (2-0) busted out against a talented USC (1-1) squad Saturday night under the lights at Stanford Stadium. Again, Love served as a key component in pass protection as well.

While “Dr.” Love is well known for surgically dissecting defenses with the ball in his hands, as he did against SC on The Farm this past weekend, it is his selfless nature and complete game that most impress his head coach David Shaw.

“He works so hard, and you want to see him have success. He wasn’t going to get the recognition (he deserved) for last week. Last week we won because of Bryce Love (only 48 all-purpose yards in a 31-10 win over SDSU), as they committed so much to stop the run, and he (Love) did such a great job pass protecting. He’s a great football player, not just a great runner.”

Stanford Junior quarterback K.J. Costello (16 for 27 passing / 183 yards / 1 TD / 71.1 QBR) essentially switched roles with Love from last week, after seeing that the running game would be effective early in the contest. In his own altruistic manner, Costello checked in to several run plays to keep drives alive, and late in the game to keep the clock running. It was an old fashioned win for ‘The Card’, but an impressive one at that. They beat USC up.

Along with “The Doctor”, his QB, receiving corp, and his O-Line, the entire defense also played at an elite level against the Trojans. They swarmed to the ball as a unit all night, as with the tremendous depth they possess on D, the Cardinal are able to sub in fresh bodies seemingly at will. This Stanford team is very capable in all phases of the game.

On the defensive front, four senior linebackers set the tone. Bobby Okereke (10 tackles / 1 fumble recovered / 1 TFL / 1 PD / 1 QBH), Sean Barton (10 tackles / 1 sack / 1 TFL), Joey Alfieri (6 tackles / 1.5 sacks / 1 forced fumble / 1.5 TFL / 2 QBH), and Casey Toohill (7 tackles / 1 sack / 1 TFL / 1 PD / 1 QBH) kept the USC offense in check from sideline to sideline, and were often “partying in the backfield” just the same.

Among the skilled Stanford secondary, senior safety Ben Edwards (10 tackles / 3 PD / 1 TFL / 1 QBH) was a wild animal on The Farm against SC. Of course, in the immortal words of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, “we’re all just wild animals.”

His fellow safeties senior Frank Buncom (6 tackles / 4 PD) and junior Malik Antoine (2 tackles / 2 interceptions / 1 PD) were equally aggressive and effective against the Trojans, containing the back end from start to finish. Cardinal cornerbacks senior Alijah Holder (5 tackles / 2 PD / 1 TFL) and super sophomore Paulson Adebo (5 tackles / 3 PD) also added to that cause measurably with their stellar play on the outside.

Up front, junior defensive end Jovan Swann (7 tackles / 1 TFL / 1 QBH / 1 PD) applied great pressure to the USC backfield, and never allowed their freshman quarterback to get comfortable in the pocket. Likewise, Stanford junior defensive tackle Michael Williams (4 tackles / 1 QBH) was a notable physical presence on the inside.

This coming Saturday the Cardinal host the UC Davis Aggies on The Farm, in what should be a very interesting matchup, considering I know very little about the Aggies.

In any case, as always, Roll Red.