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Trojans Prepare For Hostile Environment

USC is heading on the road this week to take on the Stanford Cardinal in a hostile environment. How are the Trojans preparing for Saturday?

Jeff Gross

It's game week, and on Saturday the USC Trojans will be entering a hostile environment in Palo Alto against the No. 13 team in the country, the Stanford Cardinal.

Unlike in the Coliseum where fans are quiet while the Trojan offense is at work, the fans in Stanford Stadium won't be as kind this weekend. The Cardinal have been fantastic at home, sporting the nation's longest home winning streak at 17 games, including back-to-back home wins against USC.

Even if many of Stanford's students will be spending Saturday afternoon in the library instead of at the game, they call it home field advantage for a reason, and in a tightly fought battle with the Cardinal that could make the difference in the game.

But head coach Steve Sarkisian is not worried about the fans affecting his offense, especially with the fans not having time to rest when facing a no-huddle offense.

"Umm, I think it can have a little bit of an effect. I think when you are a huddle team, on the road in a hostile environment, you give the crowd a chance to rest for 30 seconds and then get loud again. When you are a no-huddle, up-tempo team, it puts pressure on the crowd...We'll be prepared for it, when it happens."

The uptempo offense will not only exhaust the Stanford defense, but it will wear down the crowd too. If Cody Kessler and the offense can make some plays early and get a quick score, they can take the crowd out of the game in the first half.

USC matches up well against the Cardinal, and the Trojans' stingy run defense will put the pressure on the mediocre Kevin Hogan to move the ball down the field and give the secondary an opportunity to capitalize on his mistakes. If the Trojans can mute the fans, their offense will have success, and it will be a long and shocking day for the Cardinal.