The Southern California Trojans traveled up the beautiful California Coastline to take on the Stanford Cardinal in a game that would become an almost instant classic.
This game was hard fought and tough from the very beginning. But, if you are a fan of high scoring offensive ball games maybe this game wasn’t for you. There was some offense in this game, but the game was a battle in the trenches from the opening whistle till the very end.
Thanks ABC, ESPN, and the new SEC Network for Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit announcing this game and moving your old favorite announcer solely to the SEC Network.
This game, along with Oregon versus Michigan State, were the ones I had been excited about for months.
This game did not disappoint. It was a war.
Stanford Quarterback Kevin Hogan was 10-1 against top opponents, coming in. This guy is one of the more experienced and underrated Quarterbacks in the nation. He is big, fast, strong and he appears to be a good leader. Hogan throws a good deep ball, but has an overall good arm and is a potential long time NFL QB in my opinion. He’s not Andrew Luck, but he’s deceptively good and Stanford hasn’t fallen off that much since the Indianapolis Colts took Luck with the very first pick.
He won’t be all conference because of Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, Sean Mannion and Taylor Kelly. I probably write this every time I see Kevin Hogan play because he impresses me so much.
Leonard Williams injured his ankle in practice on Tuesday and he was a bit ineffective early on. Obviously, he was not himself. Hayes Pullard was himself, it was obvious, and he was all over the field until a perceived hit to the head on a Stanford player which got him ejected. The best corner back for USC was Josh Shaw and he’s out at least temporarily.
Because of the absence of Shaw, USC played true freshman Adoree Jackson on Ty Montgomery. That is amazing considering that Montgomery is one of the best Wide Receivers in the entire country and Jackson is right out of high school. Montgomery did finish with 9 catches but only for 82 yards. Montgomery is also 6-2, 220 and runs the 40 in the 4.4s so he is a load. He is a tough runner with the ball in his hands, so slowing him down is a nice accomplishment.
Andrus Peat is probably the top Left Tackle in the nation for Stanford and they played him at TE at times. Stanford has an almost brand new Offensive Line other than Peat and the rest of them have stepped up nicely. Joshua Garnett has played some at Guard and is the current Left Guard for the Cardinal and might should be an All American candidate. He is outstanding and huge at 6-5, 325.
USC drove the ball right down the field on their first drive and scored in 12 plays and looked like they were going to run away with this game. They start 2 true freshman in their Offensive Line, one at each guard position in Damian Mama and Toa Lobendahn and they are playing like seniors.
This was a game that matched two offensive lines that love to run the ball down your throats and mix in a few passing plays
The Stanford defense stiffened up dramatically after that first drive and USC did very little offensively outside of a few good runs by Trojan Running Back Buck Allen.
Other than their very first drive and their very last drive and a few good runs by Buck Allen in between, the USC offense could do very little against the stout Stanford defense.
Stanford threatened to take this game over several times but drives stalled and they missed Field Goals and credit has to go to USC and Steve Sarkisian. They came to a fight prepared to actually fight. They refused to be knocked out by Stanford and came in trying to land their own knockout blows.
I am having a hard time getting over the talent of Adoree Jackson for USC.
He is a true freshman and a 5 star recruit and he played corner against Ty Montgomery. Incredible young player goes both ways and played well against Montgomery. This guy is going to be a super player before he is done if he’s not already. One of the best Trojans on defense before the season started was Josh Shaw at CB and he’s out because of all that nonsense before the season started and Jackson has stepped up.
He’s definitely going to be a Freshman All American this season and will be one of the Trojans’ best over the next few years.
When the smoke finally cleared after this battle, the USC Trojans walked away with a hard earned 13-10 victory over a very good Stanford Cardinal team.
Will this hurt Stanford’s chances of making the playoffs? It might, but if they win out they might still have an outside shot at it.
I still think they will be the best team in the Pac 12 and will prove it when all is said and done.
Don’t discount the USC Trojans come playoff time, either. They are young and still lack some depth after NCAA reductions but they proved Saturday that they are a really good team as well.
This game definitely lived up to any early hype and was a fun game to watch.