USC will try to beat Stanford again at the on Friday afternoon in Santa Clara (5 o’clock ESPN), but this time it will be for the Pac-12 championship.
On Sept. 9 at the Coliseum, the Trojans won big, 42-24.
The problem is Stanford has gotten better, and the Trojans have stayed the same.
USC is ranked No.11 in the nation and Stanford is No. 21.
For the showdown at Levi’s Stadium, the Trojans are 10-2 and the Cardinal is 9-3.
The biggest difference is Stanford has found a consistent quarterback in K. J. Costello.
He threw four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter last Saturday against Notre Dame in a 38-20 win.
Stanford this year is a lot like USC was last year. They started the season 1-2, and everyone said David Shaw’s team was not regular Stanford team that we have been accustomed to seeing.
Last year USC started 1-3 but ended the season with a Rose Bowl win over Penn State.
To beat Stanford for the second time this year, USC quarterback Sam Darnold will have to play his best game. His receivers will need to run near perfect routes .
USC’s running game is in good hands with Ronald Jones II, Stephen Carr and Aca’Cedric Ware. The offensive line has been consistent, so that won’t be a problem.
Defense may be a problem. They have played a bend-don’t-break style, and that might not be able to stop Stanford all-American running back Bryce Love.
Mr. Finley may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org