No. 11 USC Football Hosts No. 25 Stanford To Start 3-Game Homestand
Nov. 8, 2009
It's Homecoming for No. 12 USC, which is especially appropriate because the road-weary Trojans are starting a 3-game homestand to conclude the regular season. First to visit is hot No. 25 Stanford, which just beat the same Oregon team that dominated USC 2 weeks ago. And USC surely will remember the Cardinal's last visit to the Coliseum, a stunning upset in 2007 that snapped the Trojans' Pac-10 record 35-game home winning streak. Troy has won its last 12 home games since then, including its past 9 Pac-10 home games. Stanford is USC's oldest current rival, with the first meeting held in 1905. Carroll, college football's winningest active coach (84.8%), has won 81.4% of his games against AP Top 25 teams. He has never lost a game in November (28-0), nor has he lost any of his 8 Homecoming games. USC, which has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for its last 100 games, still has a shot at extending its streaks of 7 consecutive Pac-10 titles, AP Top 4 finishes, BCS bowl trips and 11-win seasons. The Trojans--who have a bye next week--are playing one of the nation's most challenging schedules. USC will be trying to get a good showing from both sides of the ball for the first time in several weeks. Last week in a tight, low-scoring win at Arizona State, the Trojan offense struggled but their defense stepped up big (it was the other way around in the previous game). USC's defense--behind the play of 2-time All-American S Taylor Mays, LBs Chris Galippo and Michael Morgan, and CB Josh Pinkard--is still posting some stingy numbers, particularly in sacks and tackles for losses. The Trojan offense is guided by true freshman QB Matt Barkley, who is joined by the likes of TBs Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford, WR Damian Williams (he is also among the nation's top punt returners) and OG-C Jeff Byers. Under third-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, Stanford is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2001. Stanford's balanced, nationally-ranked offense features the Pac-10's leaders in rushing and scoring (TB Toby Gerhart) and in passing efficiency (redshirt freshman QB Andrew Luck). Gerhart, second nationally in rushing, broke his 2008 school record for season rushing yards (he has 1,217), tied the Stanford career mark for 100-yard rushing outings and is third on the Cardinal's all-time rushing list (2,868 yards). Luck, who is ninth nationally in passing efficiency, gets great protection from a line that has allowed just 6 sacks in 2009. He throws to a pair of dangerous pass catchers in WRs Ryan Whalen and Chris Owusu (he is the nation's top kickoff returner and tied the Pac-10 season mark with 3 scoring runbacks). Top Stanford defenders include MLB Clinton Snyder, FS Bo McNally and DE Thomas Keiser. The game--approaching a sell out--will be televised live nationally on FSN cable. Before the game, the top-ranked USC men's water polo team will host No. 3 Stanford, while the Women of Troy volleyball team has a Top 25 match against Washington State immediately after the football game.