An offensive lack of defense. The Stanford offense scored all of 6 points against Northwestern in the first week. In the second week Stanford was held to all of 10 points in the first half against the UCF Knights, who lost to Furman and have yet to win a game this year. The USC defense in the first half? They allowed 24 points in the first half alone against the Stanford offense. The Cardinal seemed to be able to score at will for the rest of the game.
At one point USC lead early in the the game 21-10. Stanford came roaring back outscoring USC 31-10 the rest of the way. The defense just could not come up with a stop. No pass rush. No disruption. No press coverage. No stops. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, tight end Austin Hooper, and the explosive Christian McCaffrey were the primary culprits slashing the Trojans' defense with running backs Barry J. Sanders and Remound Wright getting in on the act.
With about 9 minutes left in the game USC trailed by a touchdown but they desperately needed the defense to make a stop. The Stanford rushing attack had other plans. The Cardinal had all the right play calls and proceeded to burn well over 6 minutes driving it into field goal range with Cardinal Kicker Conrad Ukropina nailing a 46-yarder. The Cardinal lead by 10 with 2:27 left to play in the game and held on. The Trojan offense did their best to fight back into the game, but it was ultimately futile.
Stanford defeats USC the ten point favorites, in the Coliseum 41-31. Tough to take a loss in conference play, but there are still plenty of games left. Still, I would not want to be the USC defensive coordinator right now.