USC Football Hosts No. 5 Stanford|
Nov. 10, 2013
It is Homecoming as USC hosts longtime foe and recent nemesis No. 5 Stanford, the Trojans' oldest rival (the first game was in 1905). The newly bowl-eligible Trojans are looking to snap a 4-game losing streak to Stanford, their longest skid in the 91-game series. The contest is approaching a sellout. The game will air live nationally on ABC, the BCS crystal ball will be on display on the field, ESPN's College GameDay pre-game show will be here for the 10th time (but the first from the USC campus) and Colin Cowherd's ESPN Radio show will emanate from campus on Friday. Troy is playing its first ranked team of 2013 (it has won only a third of its meetings against ranked Cardinal squads). It is the 19th time that the Trojans meet California and then Stanford back-to-back and they've beaten the Cardinal the last 8 such times. USC is returning home after a successful 2-game road trip. The game features two of the Pac-12's most 50-50, physical offenses and its staunchest defenses. USC, which seems re-energized under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, put up 62 points in its win at California this past weekend as it tied an NCAA game record with 3 punt return TDs. WR Nelson Agholor had 2 of the scoring punt runbacks to tie a Pac-12 game record (his punt return yardage was a USC mark). The Trojan offense is balanced, as QB Cody Kessler (82% completions the past 2 games) finds aerial targets like Agholor and 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner WR Marqise Lee (owner of 24 USC records) or hands the ball to runners like TB Javorius Allen (6 TDs the past 2 games, with a quartet of40-plus yarders). USC's defense--behind such players as OLB Devon Kennard, LB Hayes Pullard, CB Josh Shaw, DEs Leonard Williams and George Uko and S Dion Bailey--ranks among the country's Top 25 in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks, tackles for loss, interceptions, red zone defense and third down conversion defense. Stanford, led by head coach David Shaw (whose uncle was an All-American at USC), posted an impressive home victory over No. 2 Oregon last Thursday. The Cardinal's balanced offense, behind 2012 All-Pac-12 first team OG David Yankey, is directed by efficient QB Kevin Hogan. Workhorse RB Tyler Gaffney, in the national Top 15 in rushing and scoring, keys the ground game, while WR Ty Montgomery is a threat receiving and returning kickoffs as he leads the nation in kickoff returns and is ninth in all-purpose running. Stanford's veteran defense is in the national Top 20 in rushing defense, scoring defense, total defense, sacks and tackles for loss thanks to the likes of ILBs Shayne Skov and A.J. Tarpley, OLB Trent Murphy (he leads the Pac-12 and is in the national Top 10 in sacks and tackles for loss) and 2012 All-Pac-12 first team S Ed Reynolds. PK Jordan Williamson is seventh nationally in field goals. As part of USC's 125th anniversary of athletics celebration (dating to the first football game in 1888), men's and women's swimming, diving and water polo alumni will be honored on the field during the game. Before the game, USC's 5-time defending NCAA champion men's water polo team hosts the Cardinal.