Another installment of the USC/Stanford rivalry takes place this Saturday as they open Pac-12 play. On the eve of the weekender we speak with Colton Molesky from SB Nation’s Stanford site Rule of Tree to view things from the Stanford side of things.
1- While we all know about Heisman candidate Bryce Love. Give us another key player that fans should know about and isn’t being talked about enough.
David Shaw compared tight end Kaden Smith to one Zach Ertz at the PAC-12 Media Day. After five touchdowns last season, a defined starter at quarterback and more focused offensive attack that contains some semblance of balance gives Stanford’s no. 1 tight end plenty of opportunities to post big numbers.
2- Last week the Stanford running game was held to under 100 yards, however they still managed to get the job done through the air as well wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Quarterback KJ Costello. Do you believe it came from SDSU really keying on the run a lot?
The threat of an All-Pro running back will help K.J. Costello all season long. However, the game against SDSU showed more willingness to stick with the passing attack and more confidence in their quarterback. Costello responded by dicing up the secondary. There is no reason to think the trend stops this week as Stanford has a height advantage over the USC defensive backs.
3-The Stanford Defense lost quite a few key pieces to graduation and the draft. What can we expect from them this week against an SC team who has some pretty good weapons, yet struggled to get it going against UNLV?
I expect creativity from the Cardinal. They do not boast an intimidating front like years past, but still have plenty of teeth in the secondary, especially with Alijah Holder making his season debut. They also saw great play from linebacker Bobby Okereke, who they can throw all over the line to disrupt. Expect them to throw some changing coverages at the young J.T. Daniels and force the freshman to make mistakes or learn on his ground game.
4- What are some keys to the game for the Cardinal?
-Keep the USC receivers in front of them.
-Give Daniels lots of looks pre-snap that change post-snap.
-Get Osiris St. Brown going.
-Find Kaden Smith in the red zone.
-Let Bryce Love Loose.
5- USC/Stanford has had a long history and some pretty memorable games through the years. What are some of your favorites?
The 2009 55-21 Stanford victory. Stanford’s largest margin of victory over the Trojans in the history of the rivalry.
6- Give is a Prediction for this week’s game?
Stanford wins 45-37 in a shootout that leaves both teams breathless.