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USC vs. Stanford: It All Comes Down To The Trenches

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Trojans are rolling with confidence, playing well on all three sides of the ball and still have plenty of injury concerns to fight up and down the roster heading into Saturday's tilt.

Much like the way players battled it out back and forth during Fall Camp, facing a monstrous line from Stanford comes as nothing new for Coach Orgeron's bunch. In the midst of a tough stretch of games with two top-25 teams, the Trojans understand that in order to be the best you actually have to play better than them.

Currently in the midst of a three-game winning streak in which the defense has allowed only 14 points in the combined second halves, this confident group of players are excited to avenge last years seven-point loss.

"It does excite you. It's a challenge," Orgeron says, whose been salivated all week about his defensive line unit and the entire team for that matter, facing up with the physical Stanford Cardinal. "Nothing real fancy, just them doing it with really good players and doing it very well."


In last week's upset victory over Oregon and its high-flying offense, the Cardinal ran the ball an incredible 66 times to nearly triple the time of possession and thus pound away at the smaller and more agile Ducks defensive front.

"They're a run heavy team but you have to be disciplined with your eyes to watch for the play action. As long as we have great eyes and great physicality, we can have a great night as a defense," said Bailey.

Not only is the defense prepared to attack this Stanford defense, Oregon has mentioned how his players understand that in order to beat Stanford you must neutralize the running game.

Interestingly enough, Stanford is 3-0 all-time when Kevin Hogan completes 10 or less passes in a game.

That being said, Orgeron calls this game a war in the trenches and is confident his team can also provide a good punch of their own against a rushing attack averaging over 200 yards per game.

"It all depends who is taking the tole," says Oregon, defending his rigged defense. "Whoever wins the war upfront is gonna win. We don’t know who is gonna win the battle, but we are very prepared."


Coach Orgeron did not provide any updates on the injury front but said that his players will be ready to go for Saturday and that many of the questionable players from early in the week continue to improve.

That being said, Leonard Williams (shoulder), Randall Telfer and Josh Shaw sat out of practice along with Silas Redd during "No Turnover Wednesday" and a third-down conversion heavy day with the football.

According to the most injury report from earlier in the week, Silas Redd and Randall Telfer are listed as questionable while Xavier Grimble and Leonard Williams are probable. The Trojans second-leading tackler Williams, who took a PRP shot on Tuesday, says he will need surgery after the season but looks to play Saturday after not going against Cal.


These players vividly remember the 3OT loss against Stanford two years ago, and want nothing more than to ruin Stanford's championship hopes this time around. "It's a primetime game, five o'clock, ABC, on the national stage. It's a great opportunity for us to put on tape what type of team we've become under Coach O," Dion Bailey said.

While the defense has certainly come to play, the Trojans offense wants to do what Oregon could not last week through three-plus quarters by scoring some points. With Nelson Agholor and Marqise Lee on the outside demanding to make more plays this week in practice, Kessler expects the offense to come out firing from the Coliseum.

"We want people to get excited about USC football like that again. I think we really have this team on the right track. These guys have bought in 100%. Hopefully the Coliseum will be packed. Hopefully it will be like the old days."