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Couch-Side Scouting Report

Sitting down with reporters for the opposition and trying to learn a thing or two on game day

Pac 12 Championship - Stanford v USC Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Every game day this season, I will be interviewing a beat reporter covering the opponent, who will give us the inside scoop on the opposition. This week, I talked with Matthew Lowry, who writes about the USC Trojans for SB Nation’s Conquest Chronicles page.

Colton Molesky - Exactly how worried should Stanford be about Daniels with their lack of a consistent pass rush?

Matthew Lowry - USC did a pretty good job with their pass protection last week. If they can avoid a slow start on offense, Stanford’s pass rush should be worried, especially if Daniels timing with the rest of his receivers improves.

CM - With all the hype around Daniels, people may forget who he’s throwing to. Just how loaded is this receiving core?

ML - The receiver core is pretty talented. Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman were solid at the receiving position last season while Velus Jones Jr. has shown improvement. Amon-Ra St. Brown was everything as advertised and showed it last week. Two names that fans should keep an eye on are Trevon Sidney and Freshman Devon Williams. Sidney showed significant improvement and worked his way into the rotation, while Williams has shown his ability to be a deep threat during camp. He could see some time during Saturday’s game.

CM - If the Cardinal can throw off the passing attack, is the USC rushing game strong enough to pick up the slack?

ML - That at this time is a big unknown. The reason I say that is because the USC offensive line struggled to open holes and missed blocks which hurt the Trojans run game. Aca’Cedric Ware still managed to get 100 yards, but most of those came from missed tackles. With senior center Toa Lobendahn returning, the run game could improve this week.

CM - Bryce Love struggled against SDSU, is there anyone on the USC defense that can keep that struggle going in week 2?

ML - Senior linebackers Porter Gustin and Cam Smith will be the guys to do that. The USC defensive line did a good job allowing the linebackers to make plays against the run. I’d look for those two to cause problems for Bryce Love.

CM - Who are your top performers for USC on defense and offense, along with a prediction?

ML - Top performers are linebacker Porter Gustin and Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. For a prediction, I have to go with Stanford 27-20. I didn’t see enough from the USC offense that convinces me that they can do sufficient to get it done this week. I do think it will be pretty close and not as high scoring. This is a 50/50 toss up game.