After defeating Utah State last weekend, USC opens Pac-12 play this weekend at Stanford. Here are some of our staff predictions:
Julian Lopez: Another thriller goes the wrong way for the Trojans and Stanford wins 24-21 on a last second thriller. USC gets the running game going early and the Trojans have over 150 yards on the ground.
Myles Pressey: USC: 27 Stanford: 24
USC’s defense sets the tone early. Suffocating the run game by flying around and playing physical defense will help to take Stanford out of rhythm offensively. Look for USC to take a deep shot down the field early to Juju Smith-Schuster or Darreus Rogers early in order to have momentum swing their way. After a thrilling game, USC pulls of the upset!
Nick Dempsey: Stanford - 34 USC -17
USC was flat out embarrassed in the opening week against Alabama but made some huge strides from week 1 to week 2. The Trojans looked much better in week two but it was at home against Utah State. The Trojans go back on the road to Palo Alto, and while Stanford Stadium is a far cry from Jerry World, Clay Helton has only won 2 games away from the Coliseum one was against Cal, the other Colorado and they struggled in both of them. Eking out wins on the road against two of the worst teams in the Pac-12 and then losing all other road games under Helton does not exactly inspire a ton of confidence. USC has struggled mightily away from the Coliseum under Helton and I expect that trend to continue. Having said that, if USC were to pull off the upset it could be a huge statement win for this program.
Steve Walter – Stanford 27, USC 24. It’s another tough road test for the Trojans, and the Cardinal have had an extra week to prepare. USC’s defense shined in Week 2, and should have a better game plan for Christian McCaffrey this time around. If Max Browne and the offense can avoid turnovers, they should make enough big plays to keep it close. But close won’t be good enough in this one. Stanford has the edge.
Matthew Lowry - Stanford 27, USC 24
USC’s first true road trip to kickoff Pac-12 play. USC is going to come in ready to play and wanting to make a statement. The key thing to see is what Clancy Pendergast will do to slow down Christain McCaffrey and force Stanford’s quarterback Ryan Burns to beat the Trojans through the air. If USC’s offense can help the defense by sustaining consistent drives then will win this game, however I don't have full trust that happening and USC tends to struggle in conference openers so I have to give a slight edge to Stanford.
Joseph Kavaloski: Stanford 31 USC 13
The story of this game ends up being similar to week one: physicality at the line of scrimmage. The USC offensive line has struggled this season and that will not change against a talented Stanford front seven. USC will again lose the battle at the line of scrimmage as well as in pass protection. This will prevent the Trojans from picking up any sort of momentum on offense, putting significant pressure on the defense. Stanford is a power run offense that will look to pound the ball on the ground. SC will be without Noah Jefferson and Khaliel Rodgers, two big bodies that could have been difference makers. The Cardinal’s control of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball will ultimately doom the Trojans to a 1-2 start to the season. Stanford will win comfortably in this one.
Lanse Macke: Stanford 34 USC 20
I don't like SC on the road this week at Stanford. Stanford had a bye last week, and that gives them 2 weeks to prepare for the 1-1 Trojans. Stanford has a strong Offensive Line to go along with arguably the best player in the Country, Christian McCaffrey. Along with that SC's weakest spot in their Defensive Line, and I don't think the Trojans will be able to stop the Cardinal running game. The Trojans are very talented and have a chance to upset the Cardinal if they can stop the run on D and get going early and control the ball on O. Fight on.
Ashley Craddock: USC 42 - Stanford 34
The season started off a little rough, but that was an expectation considering the difficulty in this year’s schedule. However, USC is coming off of a “redemption” week after winning against Utah State, who was a much weaker team. Because it’s been a bit of a roller coaster start for the Trojans so far, it’s hard for them to prove how good they truly are. Stanford on the other hand, has won the PAC-12 three times in the past four years. With the Cardinal having a slight dominance over the conference and USC trying to make their point, I believe it will be a closer game than what most think. Stanford’s main weapon is RB Christian McCaffrey (Heisman hopeful). The last meet up between these two teams, McCaffrey came out with 207 rushing yards, 105 receiving yards and a passing touchdown. If USC wants to get back into the poll rankings, they need to get this win over Stanford and the best way doing so is primarily by our defense solving and limiting McCaffrey.
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