The Trojans started out strong, setting the tone early with defense. However, as we’ve come to expect against Stanford, things took a turn for the worse.
Going into the second quarter, there was still ample opportunity for USC, as Christian McCaffrey had been limited from finding any big holes or breakaway runs. Then one play changed everything. McCaffrey was left uncovered and ran for a touchdown off a 56 yard reception. After that, any momentum the Trojans might have had quickly dwindled.
Outside of a slew of false starts, the Trojans did have some good runs and positive moments. A touchdown from Ronald Jones to start the second half suggested the game might turn around. But the Cardinal came back even harder. A 56 yard touchdown run by Michael Rector took the lead back to 27-10. Stanford never looked back.
All night long, the Trojans couldn’t seem to make the big plays they so desperately needed. Similar to the game against Alabama, JuJu didn’t get many touches. Max Browne failed again and again on third down. Even an Adoree’ Jackson interception that gave the Trojans the ball with 11 minutes left wasn’t enough.
In the closing minutes, Sam Darnold came off the bench and put together a nice drive, only to see it end on a turnover in the end zone. Call it a bad throw or a lucky bounce, either way, it just wasn’t SC’s night.
Tonight was a one-man-McCaffrey show. He led the Cardinal with 260 all purpose yards, boosting his campaign for the Heisman in front of a national audience.
A final score of 27-10 leaves the Trojans 1-2. It was difficult to watch USC tonight, as they struggled on both sides of the ball. So far, they haven’t been able to show their full potential, having only played well against a much weaker team.
After losing to two dominate teams in the SEC and PAC-12, the Trojans will need to regroup and change the tone once again, before hitting the road to Utah next week.