The Trojans Chop the Trees

Joseph Rodriguez, Staff Writer

A Surprise Start

The USC Trojans had a convincing 45-20 win over the No. 23 ranked Stanford Cardinal on Saturday. The game ended up as a battle of the backup quarterbacks as USC and Stanford both had their starters hurt in week 1. Many Trojan fans were worried about how the rest of the season would play out since J.T Daniels has been ruled out for the year. All of that worrying slowly faded throughout the game as backup QB, Kedon Slovis, carved up the Stanford defense. In his first-ever collegiate start, he threw for 377 yards and 3 touchdowns along with completing 84% of his passes. Slovis showed great poise as he stayed in the pocket, made short throws, ran for 1st downs, and read the defense well.

Firepower

USC’s top 3 receivers combined for most of the receiving yards. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tyler Vaughns, and Michael Pittman Jr. had  200 yards and 3 touchdowns amongst each other.  The running game got off to a slow start despite the fact that both starting running backs were able to find the endzone. Stephen Carr scored the first rushing touchdown of the night off of a 25-yard run followed by 2 late rushing scores from Vavae Malepeai. USC ended the first half only leading by 4. By the end of the game, their lead rose to 25 with the help of the 6 touchdowns scored by the Trojan offense.

Halftime Adjustments

The Trojan’s defense had a tough time stopping the Cardinal’s run game along with their short passes through the first half. Davis Mills, Stanford’s QB, was having an easy time marching up the field. He played similar to Kedon Slovis in the first half due to his running backs being able to open things up for him. Stanford’s new starting running back, Cameron Scarlett, was able to find his way through gaps and break for long runs. 6’7 tight end Colby Parkinson was a big factor in the Cardinal passing game with 7 catches for 90 yards. Stanford put up 20 points in the first half on a lost USC defense.

As the second half rolled around the Trojans defense came up big by shutting them out. Passes were being swatted down, players were making tackles for losses, and Stanford was having a hard time with the pass rush. USC’s Olijiah Griffin had himself a game. He had multiple pass breakups and was making tackles in space. He also did a very good job covering Stanford’s tall receivers whenever the ball was thrown his way. The icing on the cake was Greg Johnson’s late 4th quarter interception to give the Trojans great field position to score another touchdown and seal the victory.

Next Up

USC is now 2-0 and has found themselves a spot in the rankings at number 24. They will be traveling to Utah to take on BYU in a tough road environment. The game will be at 12:30 pm on ABC.

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