It was heartbreak hotel for the Stanford Cardinals the way the game ended in their last meeting with USC, and even more so for quarterback Kevin Hogan. Back-to-back sacks with the second resulting in a fumble recovered by USC to ice the victory when Stanford was in striking distance to tie the game. So in his last game against USC he wanted to leave a better impression in the hopes of getting a different result this time. It would be even sweeter if he could do in front of the hostel crowd of the Los Angeles Coliseum fans.
Stanford was given virtually no chance to come out with a win considering the way they played against Northwestern at the start of the season, many folks were wondering what was going on with their beloved Cardinals. Meanwhile, USC and their Heisman hopeful Cody Kessler were having no trouble racking up points and yards against Arkansas State and Idaho. They were meeting a different type of team on Saturday night and the team that the nation was used to seeing the past few years showed the Trojans a fight.
It was a quarterback duel in the first half between the two senior signal callers. Kevin Hogan went 13-17 for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns; one to tight end Austin Hooper and one to receiver Devon Cajuste, which was huge because it gave Stanford the halftime lead, 24-21. Cody Kessler went 10-12 for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns; one to Steven Mitchell, Jr. and another to JuJu Smith-Schuster for an electrifying 54 yards.
The Cardinal had an answer for every drive that the Trojans had, refusing to allow USC to get too far ahead in the game. The running attack that we have come to know by Stanford was a perfect balance for Hogans efficiency. In goal line situations Stanford made good of their opportunities with three touchdowns by Remound Wright even though he only had seven carries on the game. Three of those seven carries were monumental, because they resulted in scores.
A back-and-forth game in the second half, whenever USC scored a touchdown, Stanford would respond with a touchdown of their own. The difference in the outcome was the fact that USC would score only one touchdown in the second half and Stanford would respond with two.
The most telling stat of the game was in the third quarter. The time of possession was virtually one-sided, the Cardinal possessed the ball for 10:45 in the third, controlling the line of scrimmage and wearing down the defense of USC and it continued in the fourth quarter. Behind the dominance of the offensive line, Stanford was able to rush for 195 yards on 49 carries. Halfback Christian McCaffrey was the work horse for David Shaw’s game plan, going for 116 yards on 26 carries. The fact that USC couldn’t get Stanford off the field affected their tackling in the end.
Redemption was fulfilled for Kevin Hogan finishing 18/23 for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns leading Stanford to another win over the USC Trojans 41-31.