Stanford Vs. USC: Cardinal Toppled The Trojan Empire ... Again

The Stanford Cardinal beat the USC Trojans -- even without Andrew Luck -- after having won the last three games in the series.

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Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor, DE Ben Gardner Named Pac-12 Players Of The Week

Two Stanford players are among the three Pac-12 Players of the Week, the conference announced Monday.

Running back Stepfan Taylor (offensive player of the week) and defensive end Ben Gardner (defensive player of the week) played key roles in the Cardinal's 21-14 upset of No. 2 USC Saturday in Palo Alto. Taylor, a senior, logged a career-high 213 all-purpose yards (153 rushing, 60 receiving) and two touchdowns. Those numbers included a 59-yard touchdown run and a 23-yard score on a screen pass to tie the game at 14 in the third quarter.

Gardner, a senior from Wisconsin, helped the Stanford defense hold USC to 26 total rushing yards. His six total tackles included 3.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback sack, as the Cardinal defense recorded 12.0 tackles for loss and four sacks against the Trojans.

Stanford's defense dominated USC after halftime, as the Trojans had minus-13 rushing yards and six scoreless possessions - including four three-and-outs.

California running back Brendan Bigelow was a nominee for offensive player of the week.

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USC Vs. Stanford 2012: Cardinal Fans Excited About Big Upset

The Stanford Cardinal were able to upset the USC Trojans on Saturday night for the fourth time in four tries and, as expected, the Cardinal faithful are pretty excited about once again taking care of business against their rivals. This time was particularly special, however, because the Cardinal didn't need Andrew Luck to do it -- and the Trojans still had Matt Barkley.

Stanford picked up the victory with first-year starter Josh Nunes at the helm of the offense, but our friends over at the Rule Of Tree were more excited about their ability to make USC's offense struggle.

For the first time in school history, Stanford has defeated USC four consecutive times. The Stanford defense played out of its collective mind in tonight's 21-14 win, sacking Golden Boy Matt Barkley five times, picking him off twice, and limiting his vaunted receiving duo to nine catches, 149 yards and zero touchdowns. USC was 1-for-13 -- 1 FOR 13! -- on third downs and managed only 26 yards rushing.

It was obviously a huge victory for Stanford -- they're now ranked ahead of USC in both the USA Today Coaches poll as well the Associated Press' weekly rankings -- and there will likely be even more celebrating coming from Stanford thoughout the early portion of this week.

For more on the Stanford Cardinal, join the discussion over at Rule Of Tree. For more on USC football, join the discussion over at Conquest Chronicles. You can also check out everything we have to offer at SB Nation's college football hub.

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Stanford Vs. USC: Rule Of Tree Provides Keys To Attacking Trojans

The next team up to try and knock off USC from it's lofty perch at No. 2 in the country is the Stanford Cardinal. It's going to be a difficult task, and the Cardinal will need plenty to go right in order to win. Here's one key to an upset, provided by SB Nation's Stanford blog Rule of Tree. It involves making sure to limit yards after catch for USC receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.

Tackling in the secondary. We all know Lee and Woods are incredible talents at WR and are responsible for nearly 75% of the passing game production (37 catches, 399 yards and 8 TDs combined through the first two weeks). Many of those catches are short routes in single coverage and they are able to break tackles and turn those underneath passes into huge gains. That means CBs Barry Browning, Terrence Brown, and the rest of the Cardinal secondary are going to have be sure tacklers and limit the yards after the catch.

The Stanford secondary played well against Duke on Saturday and did a decent job on Woods and Lee in last year's game.

Other keys include pressure on Matt Barkley, the USC quarterback, and scoring red-zone TDs on offense.

Talk about the game with Stanford football fans at Rule of Tree. Talk about the game with USC football fans at Conquest Chronicles.

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