USC Passes Its First Test Against Stanford 41-28

The USC Trojans took the field in Palo Alto, California, home of the Stanford Cardinal, and proceeded to put a whooping on them.

Phil Robinson
The USC Trojans opened their 2022-2023 season against the Rice Owls on Saturday, September 3, 2022 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Trojans defeated the Owls 66-14. Photo Credit: John McGillen/USC
The USC Trojans opened their 2022-2023 season against the Rice Owls on Saturday, September 3, 2022 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Trojans defeated the Owls 66-14. Photo Credit: John McGillen/USC

The USC Trojans took the field in Palo Alto, California, home of the Stanford Cardinal, and proceeded to put a whooping on them. Defeating Rice by a large margin was great to see, but it was also expected. Opening its conference schedule against Stanford was a whole different beast in itself.

Superior Performances

Sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams continues to shine for Coach Lincoln Riley and the offense. Williams led the offense to scoring drives on its first six possessions for the second week in a row. The first drive of the season for Williams to not end in a score was due to the clock running out on the half. Williams finished 20/27 for 341 yards and four touchdowns to add to his Heisman Trophy campaign resume in 2022.

Jordan Addison and Mario Williams continue to blossom toward becoming the top tandem receiving threats in the country. Against the Cardinal defense, the two receivers combined for 11 catches, 246 receiving yards, and three touchdowns.

The running game continues to show up for the Trojans as well. Travis Dye, Austin Jones, and Raleek Brown grinded out 162 yards on 26 carries between the committee. Dye was the only Trojan ball carrier to score, a 27-yard parting of the seas to the end zone.

Stanford’s Pop Quiz

Stanford head coach David Shaw came into Saturday’s contest with a plan. A cleverly executed delayed-run game with run/pass option concepts and play-action passes. It worked for a while, but defensive coordinator Alex Grinch made his adjustments. Producing two more interceptions and two fumbles on the season, the Trojan defense has forced eight turnovers and three defensive touchdowns in the first two weeks.

Run defense is a point of contention and something to keep an eye on. The defense is susceptible to getting sucked inside and sealed on the edges. Stanford’s unique rushing attack gashed the Trojans multiple times with really big hitters. At the final tally, the defense allowed 220 yards, a touchdown through the air, and 221 yards with three touchdowns on the ground.

Final Thoughts

It was good to see the Trojans continue to dominate opponents in pass protection and upfront in the run game. It has been a pleasant surprise to see the ball-hawking nature of the defense. They nearly had a fumble scoop and score sequence, which would have given them their fourth score of the season. The pass rush has been inconsistent, but the defense has been a pleasant surprise thus far. Perhaps the Trojans are ready to make a run sooner than later. #FightOn.

The USC Trojans opened their 2022-2023 season against the Rice Owls on Saturday, September 3, 2022 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Trojans defeated the Owls 66-14. Photo Credit: John McGillen/USC
The USC Trojans opened their 2022-2023 season against the Rice Owls on Saturday, September 3, 2022 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Trojans defeated the Owls 66-14. Photo Credit: John McGillen/USC