The Reign of Troy has returned with a dynamic two-punch running duo and Heisman hopeful at the helm. That’s right, these Trojans who have had so much on their shoulders, so much hype, so much anticipation, with so many questions, they came out on September 9, 2017 and showed up to beat the Standford Cardinals 42 -24.
In Sam We Trust.
Darnold did exactly what he had to do to win this game. He threw the ball when he had to, he optioned out to the run when he saw the defense was vulnerable and he stayed poised. Darnold was 21-26 with 316 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. Burnett topped the charts again with 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. Darnold did not have an outstanding performance, but an outstanding performance was not needed, due to the running game.
USC combined for a total of 307 rushing yards, with the two top dogs leading the pack; Ronald Jones and Stephen Carr. As Matt Leinart tweeted earlier today, “ USC may have the best 1-2 punch at RB in the country.” This may very well be true all season long.
The Trojan defense surprisingly showed up for this game in comparison to last weeks game against Western Michigan. Although there were signs of mistakes, such as when Stanford rb Bryce Love broke for a few 20+ yard rushes, the Trojan defense was able to hold Stanford to 170 yards rushing and 172 yards passing.
From the start, the focus was on the Stanford rushing game. With a history of Stanford establishing a strong run game, that is exactly what they tried to do here. Bryce Love was at the head of this offensive attack, while Stanford qb Chryst was in charge of managing the game. Unfortunate for the Cardinals, aside from some big breaks in the first half, the Stanford offense was held to only 342 total offensive yards with a 3rd down efficiency of 3-12 and 0-1 on 4th downs. Stanford needs someone other than Love to make plays on the offensive side of the ball.
The defense did not do much better. As already indicated above, USC was scoring at will and Stanford did not make the proper adjustments to stop them.
This anticipated game was looked at as a possible preview of the Pac-12 Championship game. Both teams came out hungry and both offenses were running at full power. However, half time adjustments had to be made by both sides, but the Trojans were the only ones who made the changes. USC tightened up the holes that were being created by the Stanford offensive line by loading the box and Darnold threw the ball a lot more.
For the Trojans, things are moving in the right direction defensively. As for the Trojans offense, they just have to keep doing what they are doing. Feed Rojo and Carr and let Darnold throw on the play action or option. This is the recipe for success.