It’s a battle of programs from the Pac-12 on the gridiron out in the Golden State as a pair of schools look to start conference play on the right foot. The #10 USC Trojans are on the road as they make the in-state trip to face the Stanford Cardinal Saturday night. USC opened the Lincoln Riley era by demolishing Rice 66-14 at home last Saturday. Stanford kicked off their season by pulverizing Colgate 41-10 at home last Saturday. In the all-time series between the programs, the Trojans own a 61-33-3 advantage but it was the Cardinal earning a 42-28 road victory in the most recent meeting on September 11, 2021. That proved to be Clay Helton’s final game coaching the Trojans as he was fired after the contest.
Trojans Try to Build Off Season Opening WinUSC struggled in 2021, finishing the year 4-8, and made a lot of bold moves in the offseason in an effort to return to prominence in 2022. In the opener, things went their way as they rolled past an overmatched Rice team to start things on a positive note. USC was even after one quarter but outscored Rice 52-7 in the middle two stanzas to take complete control of the game. The Trojans owned a 538-280 edge in total offense, racked up a 27-14 advantage in first downs and forced four turnovers while not committing one in the contest. Those numbers more than overcame a 32:52 to 27:08 disadvantage in time of possession in the game.
Caleb Williams, who came to USC from Oklahoma with Riley, completed 19 of 22 passes for 249 yards plus a pair of scores. He contributed six carries for 68 yards in the contest to lead the team in rushing. Miller Moss was six of seven for 81 yards and added 10 yards on the ground. In the run game, Austin Jones (four carries, 48 yards, two TD), Raleek Brown (six carries, 36 yards, TD), Travis Dye (five carries, 20 yards) and Darwin Barlow (five carries, 16 yards) all had opportunities to run the ball in the contest. Jordan Addison, who transferred from Pitt, led the team with five receptions for 54 yards and two scores. Tahj Washington (four catches, 65 yards), Kyron Hudson (three grabs, 34 yards) and Dye (three receptions, 21 yards) all caught at least three passes in the game. Denis Lynch hit all nine extra point attempts and connected on his only field goal attempt from 25 yards. Calen Bullock, Shane Lee and Ralen Goforth all returned interceptions for scores as the Trojans were firing on all cylinders.
Stanford Cardinal Look to Pull Home UpsetStanford opened the season on a positive note as they took care of business against an FCS program in Colgate. The Cardinal now have to face a stiffer challenge here as they take on a ranked conference opponent that is out for revenge after last season’s beating. Against Colgate, Stanford broke a 7-7 tie in the second quarter by scoring 21 unanswered points before the half to take a 28-7 advantage at intermission. The Cardinal didn’t let the Raiders closer than 18 the rest of the way to earn the victory. Stanford rolled up a 497-218 advantage in total offense, picked up 20 first downs while allowing 11 though they lost time of possession by a 32:06 to 27:54 margin. The Cardinal also overcame turning the ball over four times, including a scoop-six for the Raiders’ lone touchdown, while forcing just one takeaway.
Tanner McKee was sharp under center for Stanford, hitting 22 of 27 throws for 308 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Ari Patu completed two of three passes for 20 yards and a score while adding five yards on the ground in the game. On the ground, E.J. Smith led the way as he ran the ball 11 times for 118 yards plus a pair of scores. Casey Filkins (six carries, 20 yards, TD), Brenden Barrow (three carries, 13 yards) and Caleb Robinson (four carries, 12 yards) each had limited attempts moving the ball on the ground. Smith (37 yards) and Michael Wilson (82 yards, two TD) each caught five balls to share the team lead. John Humphreys (88 yards) and Brycen Tremaine (54 yards) each had four receptions while Mudia Reuben (two catches, 20 yards) hauled in the other touchdown reception. Joshua Karty hit all five extra point attempts while not attempting a field goal in the contest. Emmet Kenney misfired on his lone extra point attempt while not attempting a field goal.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
McKee was good in the opener but he’s facing a tougher matchup here against a USC team that just returned three picks for scores. The Cardinal will have to be more effective on the ground to control the clock and keep the ball away from the Trojans. Sure, Stanford ran for 169 yards in the opener and averaged six yards a carry but more than half those yards came on an 87-yard run by Smith. His other 10 carries netted a total of 31 yards. USC showed how explosive they can be in the win over Rice and while playing a fellow conference foe is a step up in competition, I’m not sold that Stanford can slow the Trojans down. USC is out for revenge and to send a message to the nation that they’re back and relevant. You have to give them the upper hand here as Stanford is a middle-of-the-road conference foe, even with their penchant for pulling upsets in this series. Take USC on the road as they improve to 2-0.
Full-Game Total Pick
USC went over the total in their season opener and did so on their own, without any help from Rice. The teams combined for 80 points, which exceeded the number of 61 that was set for the contest. USC has gone over the total in seven of their last 10 games entering this one. Stanford fell just short of the total in their season opener. The 51 points they combined for with Colgate ended up just short of the 52-point total. It marked the sixth time in the last 10 games Stanford fell short of the total. While the total in this series has gone over the number in two straight, four of the last five and six of the last eight meetings, this number might be a little too high as an overreaction to what USC did against Rice in their season opener. Stanford grinds some clock and keeps this one falling short of the total.