Last year USC running back Curtis McNeal (Venice High School) rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns against Stanford, but a costly fumble late in the game hurt their chances to win it. McNeal, a senior, has never been on an USC team that defeated Stanford. Photo by Jeff Lewis
Stanford has defeated USC in football the last three years. For USC’s seniors, it is now or never.
USC seniors need to play their ‘A’ game this Saturday in Palo Alto, or they run the risk of graduating from USC without a victory over Stanford, who has beaten USC the past three years.
Andrew Luck was Stanford’s quarterback for all three of those games, but he is now in the NFL. Thankfully for USC, quarterback Matt Barkley is not.
Stanford blew out USC three years ago. Two years ago Stanford pulled the game out at the end, and last year was the triple overtime game.
USC is fielding a much better team this time around, and Stanford does not look like world-beaters anymore without Luck. They are No. 21 in the nation, but they struggled to beat San Jose State in their opener. A week later they routed Duke.
It is somewhat hard to know how good this USC team is because they have not played anybody of note yet. Their easy victories over Hawaii and Syracuse have not answered questions about a lack of depth on the roster or the lack of experience on the defensive line. But the polls have been giving their reviews, and they are not in USC’s favor.
For the second week in a row USC dropped after winning a game. After the Hawaii victory, they dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the AP Poll, and after defeating Syracuse, they dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 in the Coaches Poll.
Well USC will be tested against Stanford. They are not going to be as good as they were with Luck, but they certainly are no pushovers.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin has not been happy after either of USC’s wins, which means that he will be driving this team hard so that there are no let downs. As fans are excited over all of the playmakers that USC has, Kiffin sees the bigger picture. That is one game can end their national title hopes, and when they play tougher opponents, the mistakes will cost them, unlike against teams like Hawaii and Syracuse.
USC and Stanford will kickoff at 4:30, and the game will be televised on Fox.