USC vs Stanford Reactions and Recap
The USC Trojans suffered their first loss of the season to the Stanford Cardinal 42-28. In a game where USC could’ve and probably should’ve dominated, they did everything but Saturday night.
One thing that looked to be effective was the Trojans ground game. Vavae Malepeai and Keaontay Ingram had 24 carries for 118 yards combined. TCU transfer Darwin Barlow had only three carries for 22 yards but managed to get in the end zone.
Star wide receiver Drake London having only four catches for 68 yards still managed to save his night with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Aside from a long 87-yard run by Stanfords Nathaniel Peat in the first quarter the defense looked solid against the run. Unfortunately, when you let a running back break off a long run for a touchdown, the night seems to be clouded by that, for good reason.
Kedon Slovis went 27 for 42 for 223 yards which is not a bad stat line but it’s certainly not good. Slovis only managed to throw one touchdown and threw a pick six in the third quarter.
A quarterback who’s usually polished and calculated did not look sharp at all. There were about six or seven passes where Slovis just flat out missed. Whether it was a bad read, sailing over the receivers head , or just short, he looked lost.
Penalties for the Trojans hurt them just as much as Stanford did. USC committed nine penalties for 109 yards, which helped put Stanford in opportune areas to get points where there shouldn’t have been.
Turnovers and penalties kept the Trojans from keeping this one close.
Tanner McKee, who was surgical all night, went 16 for 23 for 234 with two touchdowns.
You can maybe chalk that up to scheme or audibles made by the offense, but USC’s secondary had no answer.
Isaac Taylor-Stuart and Chris Steele were picked on all night. Stanford’s receivers are big and physical and the Trojans just didn’t have the size or strength to match up well. Elijah Higgins is 6’3 235 and Brycen Tremayne is 6’4 205; that’s no excuse but if you were to get boxed out by a guy, it’s understandable with these guys.
USC wasn’t able to get to McKee or pressure him if at all. Drake Jackson was non-existent and that allowed Stanford’s running backs and receivers to expose our linebackers. The Trojans allowed a 54-yard catch and run by running back Austin Jones in the second half that seemed to be the breaking point for the defense.
Overall the Trojans were just down-right outplayed in the Coliseum. Coach Clay Helton seems to always seemed to find himself on the hot seat and it eventually led to his departure.
USC athletic director Mike Bohn let the team know they’d be making a leadership change. Cornerbacks coach Donte Williams is now the interim head coach as they look for a replacement.
As of right now a few coaches rumored to be interested are current offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs Eric Bieniemy and current head coach of Ole Miss Lane Kiffin (who formally had a failed stint with USC).
Either way, USC will be upgrading in the leadership department whichever way they decide to go.
USC looks to rebound against Washington State next Saturday.