For USC to win they're going to need Robert Woods

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Robert Woods #2 of the University of Southern California Trojans can't reach a pass as Robert Blanton #12 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defends at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As anyone has seen this season Robert Woods has taken his fair share of shots.

Woods has seen his fair share of bumps and bruises this season...but are those injuries starting to take their toll?

Neither he nor USC coach Lane Kiffin will specify what exactly is ailing him. He has been sidelined by ankle and elbow injuries at various points this season.

"I hope so," Kiffin said Thursday when asked if Woods will play against the Cardinal. "Yesterday he did some stuff, the day before he didn't do anything, so it's just kind of going back and forth."

Kiffin characterized Woods' Thursday participation as "very limited." Woods said he was "full-go." Kiffin's description was closer to the truth, but the truth is that Woods is not in danger of not playing.

He is danger, though, of not being 100 percent -- or, at least, reasonably close to it. And if he isn't, USC is going to feel the effects. The Trojans need him on the field for 60 snaps, functioning well, to have any sort of hope of upsetting Stanford.

He is their only legitimate every-down receiving option.

This is the flip side to the Robert Woods coin.

Opposing defense key on him when he doesn't get the ball as much as they try to tee off on him when he does.

It is hard to argue that next to Barkley, Woods is this teams most important player.

Woods played well against Stanford last season and he looks to repeat it this weekend...

Woods caught 12 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns in the Trojans' 37-35 last-second defeat at Palo Alto. The effort propelled him into the national spotlight and helped Woods garner Freshman All-America recognition.

On Saturday, Woods faces fourth-ranked Stanford again.

The sophomore from Carson was limited in practice this week because of soreness but is expected to be at full speed against the unbeaten Cardinal.

Last week, Woods rebounded from a season-low five-catch performance against California and caught 12 passes, two for touchdowns, in the Trojans' victory at Notre Dame. It was the third time this season he'd caught at least 12 passes.

I would love to see Woods with a repeat performance.

If Woods is not 100% then Marqise Lee, Brice Butler and Brandon Carswell need to play out of their minds tonight. George Farmer is not playing either so unless Kyle Prater all of a sudden explodes one those three really needs to step up.

We will find out tonight...

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