Like us to subscribe
If you weren't watching Saturday's game between the Stanford Cardinal and the USC Trojans, there's a chance you may have missed the game of the year. And that statement may not even be limited to college football.
After quarterback Andrew Luck led the Cardinal on a late drive in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 34-34, the game headed to overtime, despite the demonstrative objection by Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin, who insisted that USC still had possession of the ball with one second left in regulation.
USC won the coin toss and elected to defend first. Jeremy Stewart scored on a short goal-line run, and the Trojans answered back with a Matt Barkley 10 yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods. The game headed to second overtime with the score still tied, 41-41.
The second OT went much the same as the first. USC opened the scoring this time with another Barkley pass to Randall Telfer. Not to be outdone, Luck answered right back with an 11 yard pass to Levine Toilolo to head into the third overtime period and the start of the two-point conversion scores.
Stepfan Taylor had an easy 5-yard touchdown run up the middle against a weary Trojans defense, and in Stanford's first two-point conversion attempt of the season, Luck completed to Coby Fleener in the end zone to put the Cardinal on top, 56-48. This conversion and Stanford's second OT touchdown were created specifically to take advantage of USC's freshmen, and both plays were executed to perfection.
At this point, it looked like the two teams were prepared to be there all night. USC took possession of the ball and Barkley heaved another pass to Marqise Lee to take the Trojans to the Stanford 4. On the next play, Curtis McNeal -- who had earlier scored two touchdowns for USC -- carried the ball to the line of scrimmage, where he was stopped by Stanford defenders. He struggled against them for a few moments before the ball was stripped and rolled into the endzone, where redshirt freshman Stanford linebacker A.J. Tarpley fell on the loose ball to give the Cardinal the win and keep the team undefeated. It was the most exciting end to what was easily the most exciting game this season.
Luck finished the game 29-for-40 with 325 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Barkley was 28-for-45 with 284 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Great performance from both quarterbacks.
Hang out with your fellow Cardinal fans and talk about how amazing this game was at Rule Of Tree.
The Trojans jumped out in front with a 28-yard Matt Barkley pass to Marqise Lee in the fourth quarter. The Cardinal answered that with a field goal to tie the game again at 27-27. Two minutes later, Andrew Luck shockingly threw a pick-six that was returned by Nickell Robey.
Luck was able to lead yet another Stanford drive that ended in a touchdown run from Stepfan Taylor with less than a minute left in regulation.
After some discussion that may have earned the Trojans another second of regulation time, the game is heading into overtime with the score knotted at 34-34. USC is hoping to pull off a huge upset and turn away the Cardinal with their first loss.
Bite your nails with your other Stanford fans at Rule of Tree.
The Stanford Cardinal have had a lot of detractors this season saying that they have yet to play a tough team. That's very much open for debate, but it is clear through the first three innings that the tough defense of the USC Trojans is serving as something of a wake-up call.
USC's offense came alive in the second half, with Curtis McNeal scoring two rushing touchdowns in quick successions in the third quarter, which put the Trojans on top 20-10 in front of a jubilant home crowd.
As has so often been the case though, Stanford's superstar quarterback Andrew Luck has saved the biggest theatrics and most thrilling plays for the second half. Luck was able to lead a spectacular drive featuring one of the best trick plays in recent memory. The drive culminated in a short Luck touchdown pass to Ryan Hewitt, and followed it up a few minutes later by running it in himself to put Stanford on top, 24-20.
One other interesting note: Stanford has been charged with seven penalties so far for a total loss of 50 yards, while USC has yet to be charged with a penalty. Pretty impressive, considering how strong their offense has looked in this game.
Discuss that play with the other Stanford fans at SB Nation's Rule of Tree. You know the one we mean.
Only through some surprising stats in the first half of this game does it become apparent just how potent this Cardinal offense has been in 2011. In the second quarter, Stanford was forced to punt on two consecutive possessions, the first time they've had to do so in three games. Heading into Saturday's game, the Cardinal had only had three-and-out possessions this season. They've already matched that number tonight.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley has is 14-for-25 so far with 127 yards, both better numbers than Heisman candidate Luck has put up in this game. The key difference between the two quarterbacks is a touchdown for Luck and in interception for Barkley.
The USC defense has showed up in a big way in the first half. It's clear that Stanford has their work cut out for them the rest of the way.
Tight end Zach Ertz was forced to leave the game following the opening kickoff. It looks to be a knee injury. Ertz was seen on the bench icing his knee and is currently using a brace and crutches, Jon Wilner of the Mercury News reports. He is not expected to return to play in the game.
Ertz is one of quarterback Andrew Luck's favorite targets. He is third overall on the team in receptions, and fourth on the team in total yards.
Also apparently injured in the game was USC running back Marc Tyler, according to the official USC Trojans Twitter feed.There is no further news on this injury, but Tyler was seen heading to the USC locker room.
To discuss the injuries or the Cardinal in general, please visit Rule of Tree.
The Stanford quarterback is dismantling the secondary, completing six of his seven passes and averaging over 10 yards per pass.He threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Gaffney midway through the first quarter.
The USC defense is doing a fine job at containing Stanford rushers, holding them to only 43 yards in the second quarter.
As the first quarter wound down, the Trojans tried to tie the game with a short pass from Matt Barkley to Xavier Grimble on third down. The Southern California crowd was livid that the play was ruled an incomplete pass and not pass interference on Grimble, and had to settle for a 22 yard field goal to get on the board.
Root along with your fellow Cardinal fans over at SB Nation's own Rule Of Tree.
Editor's Note: Check out our story stream coverage of a fantastic Stanford-USC game.
For the second week in a row, the Stanford Cardinal will be tested against a ranked conference foe. After dismantling the Washington Huskies last Saturday, Andrew Luck, Stepfan Taylor and the Cardinal are preparing for the USC Trojans in a primetime showdown.
Here is all of the coverage you need for game day:
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. EDT / 5:00 p.m. PDT
Weather Forecast: It should be a perfect night for football in Los Angeles. Temperatures will be right around 70 at kickoff and will hang in the mid-60's throughout the game. No rain is in the forecast.
TV Coverage: ABC will air the game nationally. Brent Musburger will handle the play-by-play duties, Kirk Herbstreit will serve as the analyst and Erin Andrews will report from the sideline.
Radio: Stanford's flagship station, KNBR 1050 AM, will have the game locally, with Dave Flemming (play-by- play), Todd Husak (analyst) and John Platz (sidelines) on the call. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN radio across the country.
Opening Line: Stanford opened as 8-point favorites.
All eyes will be on SoCal tonight and fans should expect a terrific game between two of the better programs in the nation.
For more on the Stanford Cardinal, check out Rule of Tree.
Heading into Saturday night's showdown with the USC Trojans, the Stanford Cardinal are a healthy team with minimal injuries. According to Ted Miller's final injury report, only two players (Delano Howell, Wayne Lyons) are unlikely to play. That has to bode well for the Cardinal.
The Trojans are dealing with quite a few injuries, including an ankle injury to star wide receiver Robert Woods. He is listed as questionable for the game, though every report is indicating he will play. This could be a problem for Stanford.
Robert Woods has been Matt Barkley's No. 1 target all season long and opposing defenses have paid for it. In just seven games, Woods has 902 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions. He can beat you deep, he can beat you on a screen pass and he can run solid routes across the middle of the field.
If the Cardinal do not slow down Woods, it could be a long game for the defense. He has a knack for breaking tackles and continuing a play once most feel its over; the secondary needs to ensure this does not happen on Saturday night.
For more on Stanford, check out Rule of Tree.
Rick Eymer of Palo Alto Online wrote a great piece Thursday about the Cardinal's front line and it's importance to the team's success, which was more than evident in last week's 65-21 beat down of the then No. 24 Washington Huskies. The O-line played a crucial part in the team setting a school record with 446 total rushing yards, with both Gafney and Taylor rushing for more than 100 individually. Even though that is really, really good, junior Jonathan Martin still thinks they can achieve more.
The perfect football game, according to Stanford redshirt junior Jonathan Martin, would be one in which the Cardinal takes a lead into the fourth quarter and then holds on by running the same play over and over again. There's one small thing Martin would add to this scenario: after the game, Andrew Luck's jersey would look like it was freshly laundered and his hair would be perfect.
There were points in Saturday's game against the Huskies that looked like this could be a reality, because they absolutely took over for a majority of the game. Andrew Luck has been sacked only twice all season by the way.
"I always felt like we had a great offensive line here," Luck said. "I don't know how they compare across the nation but they do great things and they work hard every day."
Luck currently leads the Pac-12 with his mind-blowing 180.0 pass efficiency rating, as well as being fifth in yards per game in the conference. Not only that, he's completed 72 percent of his passes thus far, which is undoubtedly helped out by the long bouts of time afforded him by his linemen. The Cardinal's 15 game win streak hinders greatly on the play of the offensive line, which will have it's hands full with USC who's defense ranks second against the run in the Pac-12. Should be quite the showdown at the Coliseum this Saturday.
For more on the Cardinal, head over to Rule of Tree.
Despite the fact that the Stanford Cardinal has laid 10 consecutive teams to rest by a 25 point margin or greater mean nothing to them this week as they prepare for a difficult test down south against the USC Trojans. Head coach David Shaw and his squad are well aware of the pitfalls before them with the Trojans, starting with wide receiver Robert Woods.
"For a guy like that you don't say you're going to shut him out," Shaw said. "That's the one things you don't say. What you do say is you want to limit him. You want to make sure when he catches the ball you have guys around him, you gang tackle him. You keep him from making the big play and the momentum-changing play."
Even though Woods has been limited in practice this week with an ankle problem, the Cardinal are still getting prepared like he's ready to go off like he did last year against Stanford (12 catches, 224 yards, three TD's). And believe you me, those who were around for it last season haven't forgot:
"Let's be real, it's out there. He torched us last year," said safety Michael Thomas. "That did motivate us to play better. We want to think we're not the type of secondary to give up big yards and allows any type of receiver to come in and destroy us like that. It's motivation this week."
What worries coach Shaw the most is the fact that the USC ground game has been ramping up the past few weeks, giving the Cardinal even that much more to prepare for this week. After averaging 33 rush attempts for 142.5 yards through their first four games, USC has bumped that up to 38 carries for 155 yards since, including last week's win over Notre Dame where they set season highs in rush attempts (44) and rushing yards (219).
They've been more balanced. That's what makes them dangerous."
Lot's of things to think about if you're David Shaw this week.
For more on the Cardinal, head over to Rule of Tree to get in on the action.
The Stanford Cardinal are gearing up for their biggest road game of the season as they prepare for the USC Trojans on Saturday According to Kyle Bonagura of CBS Sports, the Cardinal will likely be without strong safety Delano Howell for the game:
Howell, a regular starter in the Cardinal secondary, has been limited by a hand injury. He missed last week's game against the Washington Huskies and appears destined to sit out this game as well.
Howell's injury opens up playing time for sophomore Devon Carrington and freshman Jordan Richards. The two helped fill in for Howell alongside senior Michael Thomas last weekend against Washington, limiting the Huskies to 258 passing yards and 6.8 yards per attempt.
The trio will be called upon again this weekend against USC's Matt Barkley, who is averaging just under 300 yards per game (286.57). Stanford will also have to limit Trojans leading wide receiver Robert Woods, one of the top receivers in the Pac-12.
Needless to say, Stanford's safeties will have their work cut out for them on Saturday without Howell. How they perform could go a long way in determining the game's final outcome.
The Stanford Cardinal travel down to Los Angeles to face the USC Trojans this Saturday on ABC and as expected the Cardinal opened as decent sized favorites, at approximately 9 1/2 point favorites. However, following USC's 31-17 victory over Notre Dame, Trojans are apparently getting a little bit excited about their team. The line has dropped two points over the last two days and Stanford now sits as a 7 1/2 point favorite.
The Cardinal have faced a relatively weak schedule to date, although it was expected to take a turn for the difficult this past Saturday against Washington. After being challenged into the early part of the second quarter, Stanford put their running game and defense into another gear and steamrolled the Huskies.
While Andrew Luck is having a very solid 2011 season that will end up with at least a Heisman finalist position, the Cardinal offensive line and rushing attack is simply overwhelming opponents. While they have specific tweaks in the game plan for each opponent, one would imagine Stanford will look to once again line up and bowl over another opponent.
It will be interesting to see if the line readjusts between now and Saturday. USC is a solid enough football team, but are gamblers giving them a bit too much credit at home?
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of SB Nation Bay Area to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Bay Area. You should read them.
You must be a member of SB Nation Bay Area to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Bay Area. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.
In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.