USC and Stanford will meet in their annual Pac-12 conference opener this Saturday night. Both teams are coming off victories in their season openers last week, however both are also without their starting quarterbacks. The Stanford Cardinal ruled quarterback K.J. Costello out for Saturday’s day. The junior quarterback suffered a head injury against Northwestern last week. They’re also without their first team All Pac-12 lineman Walker Little which is a huge blow to the Cardinal offense. Stanford is known to have a solid group of players to step up when called upon. Here are three key players that could play a factor in Saturday’s game against USC.
Cornerback Paulson Adebo
A first team All Pac-12 defense selection last year, Adebo is a key player on the Stanford defense. The sophomore cornerback had 5 tackles, two pass defections, and one interception last week against Northwestern. With USC bringing in a freshman quarterback in Kedon Slovis and a pass happy offense ran by new offense coordinator Graham Harrell, look for Adbedo’s name to be called a lot on Saturday.
Tight End Colby Parkinson
One of the lone returning starters on the Cardinal offense, Parkinson is expected to be a huge part of the offense. Stanford tends to rely on the tight end position quite a bit and with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Trent Iwrin gone, Parkinson’s production is expected to grow more. Last week the junior tight end only had 4 receptions for 38 yards. Those numbers could go either way this week with Davis Mills drawing the start at quarterback. Look for Parkinson to be a prime target with young receivers lining up for the Cardinal.
Running back Cameron Scarlett
Cameron Scarlett will have a huge work load on Saturday night. With K.J. Costello and Walker Little out, the Cardinal could opt to turn to their running game to ease some pressure off of Davis Mills. Scarlett had 97 yards off 22 carries in Stanford’s win over Northwestern. The senior running back is a more consistent back between the tackles, however USC has shown that they can battle between the tackles as shown against Fresno State. Could offensive coordinator Tavita Pritchard go with a run heavy offense with a new quarterback under center and an injured offensive line?