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Pac-12 Championship Game: USC Trojans fall short against Stanford

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The USC Trojans could not complete the storybook ending to an emotional season.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

For USC the first quarter was a penalty filled one. Stanford's first touchdown came quickly, but it was ruined by a holding call. However, by halftime, the Cardinal had 13 points.

Stanford was dominant through the first half. USC only ran six plays in the first quarter and were only able to score three points. Stanford controlled the ball for over 12 minutes during the first.
Stanford had 193 yards rushing to USC's 38. Overall, it was the perfect mix of pain and suffering.

Christian McCaffrey was perfect for the Cardinal. He had 155 yards rushing, a Pac-12 championship game record for most rushing yards in a half. His team played with power. USC got frustrated. It was followed by emotion. JuJu Smith-Schuster got an unsportsmanlike for punching an opponent who tried to help him up off the ground. Then, he got into it with teammates on the sideline.

USC came into the third quarter refreshed. They were inside Stanford's 10 within minutes and scored a touchdown to bring it to 13 to 9.

The third quarter offered several other highlights, including, Justin Davis' 40 yards on four carries and Cody Kessler's membership to the 10,000 passing yards club being approved.

Ronald Jones II ran 27 yards to bring USC into the game and give them the lead for the first time. McCaffrey answered with a 67 yard run. Kevin Hogan would reward his effort with a touchdown.

By the end of the third quarter, McCaffery was a full out savage. He was making sure he gets a trip to New York City next week.

USC started the final quarter with a touchdown run by Kessler. He ran the final 12 after faking a handoff to Justin Davis that beat the Stanford defense. It brought the game to a respectable 27 - 22.

Nothing could get in the way of McCaffery's destiny. The end zone was calling to him and the Trojans couldn't deny the will of the football gods as much as the defense tried.

McCaffrey ended the game with 461 all-purpose yards. He and Hogan did a little bit of everything. The game ended 41 to 22 for the Cardinal.