Down by as much as 14 points, the USC Trojans football team defeated their Bay Area foe the Stanford Cardinal in their conference opener. Stanford is the winningest Pac-12 team of the decade, led four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year David Shaw.
Freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis made 28 of his 33 passes for 377 and three touchdowns, sophomore wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown made eight catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Vavae Malepeai had 12 rushes for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore safety Talanoa Hufanga made 10 total tackles and 1.0 tackles for loss for three yards.
Junior quarterback Davis Mills made 22 passes for 237 yards. Junior tight end Colby Parkinson made seven receptions for 89 yards; rusher Cameron Scarlett made 17 runs for 87 yards. Junior corner Paulson Adebo got eight stops and two pass breakups.
Trojans head coach Clay Helton noted how the offensive line is their “best kept secret” this season and that they are playing mature.
“We saw a bunch of pressures. They kept the quarterback up right,” he said. “the quarterback did a nice job of using his legs and creating force and not forcing things.”
Kedon Slovis made big slings to push the USC trojans into the Cardinal Redzone in their first possession, but the Stanford defense would only allow a field goal. Stanford responded with a touchdown of their own when quarterback Davis Mills connected with Connor Wedington for a 15-yard play. On their next possession, the Cardinal scored in the early minutes of the second quarter.
The Trojans fumbled at their 21-yard line and Stanford recovered, but the Trojans defended their endzone and forcing Stanford to kick a field goal. The Trojans battled through their penalties to score, Amon-Ra St. Brown executed a 39-yard touchdown pass.
“When I looked up, I saw that the ball was kind of high and it kind of made me nervous,” St. Brown said about the play. “But it was perfect dropped right into my hands.”
USC thwarted the Cardinal’s rushing game, but Stanford gained yards from their fouls. With a successful field kick, the Cardinal had a 10-point lead.
Slovis made meaningful slings, including a 29-yard play with wideout Tyler Vaughns. This gave Stephan Carr the opportunity to make a 25-yard touchdown rush. A 14-point deficit was whittled down to three points in less than 12 regulated minutes.
“I don’t think it really, really shows how well I am, but shows how good of a team you have around you,” Slovis said. “Just get in their hands and let them do the work, I don’t have to do too much.”
When the Trojan offense returned, Slovis targeted Vaughns for two major gains. On the second-and-goal Slovis found St. Brown to score a touchdown. By halftime, the Trojans had a 24-20 lead over the Stanford Cardinal.
The USC defense continued to stifle Stanford, former Hawkins high