One of the most irreverent USC blogs on the internet today, Sports by Scondi, has returned to publishing. You should check out his preview of USC at Stanford. A brief snippet is below:
“In their first game against Kansas State, McCaffrey continued where he left off last year, with 210 all-purpose yards. Despite that, Stanford only managed 70 yards and three first downs in the second half as they held on to beat the Wildcats 26–13.
McCaffrey and company will be facing off against a stout USC defense that has fully embraced Clancy Pendergast’s defensive scheme. Last week USC held Utah State’s rushing attack to 49 yards on 29 attempts. Expect Adoree’ to shadow Christian all game and Porter Gustin to pressure the quarterback and contain any outside rushes from the Wild-Caf. His nickname literally translates to feral baby cow. Very intimidating.
This year’s Stanford defense will provide a lot of opportunities for the Trojans to succeed.
For the second year in a row, Stanford is suffering from a lack of talent on the defensive line. Of the six linemen that saw the field last year, four are now gone. With a weakened front, USC’s offensive line might finally show us their potential and open up the rushing attack for Justin Davis, Ronald Jones and Aca’Cedric Ware (someone please teach me how to pronounce his first name).
What they lack in depth on the defensive line they make up for in their linebacker corps, with eight returning players that played a significant role last year. If Stanford decides to pressure the quarterback with blitzes, it could lead to trouble as the offensive line has shown a lack of communication and an inability to adjust to an increased pass-rushing attack from their opponent.
Last year’s secondary were all freshman and sophomores. This obviously resulted in a predictable regression in the pass defense. They return a year older, a year wiser, and a year dorkier with less social skills. The Stanford system doesn’t ask for a ton of aggressiveness from the secondary so expect them to be primarily focused on the Trojan receivers. While it will be a tough matchup, it will be hard for any defense (except Alabama) to cover JuJu, Darreus Rodgers, Steven Mitchell and Deontay Burnett effectively for four quarters.
It would be nice to see the deep ball involved early in the game. It has been fairly absent this whole season.
[. . .]
It’s been about ten years since the Stanford had the biggest upset in college football history, defeating the Trojans 24–23 as 41 point underdogs in 2007. Since then, there has been a shift in dominance as the Cardinal have won six games against USC. Stanford has been to six BCS (or CFP) bowls since the Trojans’ last appearance in the Rose Bowl in 2009.
While Stanford has taken our athletic dominance, we seem to be more focused on improving our academics. Who approved this trade? Leave the books to the nerds. I want my football back!
Stanford is known for being disciplined and fundamentally sound. USC? Not so much. A good start to this game would be to avoid any more ejections until at the least the fourth quarter. I hope I’m not asking for the moon with that request.
Last year USC was riding high on championship expectations and a top 10 ranking, and Stanford came into our stadium and knocked our teeth in. This year has a similar feel to it, but only in reverse.
Stanford has had two weeks to prepare, which may not be as much as an advantage as you would think. With only one game under your belt, you really haven’t seen what issues your team has and how to fix them. Hopefully the Trojans do the Cardinal a favor and expose them in a victory.
This game comes down to one factor; stopping Christian McCaffrey. If the defense can contain #5, the Trojans should be able to pull out a victory.”