Game Of The Week: Stanford at USC
Stanford (7-0) at USC (6-1)
USC players to watch:
Dion Bailey, LB (R-Freshman)
This young rover back leads the Trojans with 48 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 INTs. He is a four down producer with very good instincts finding the football. He is an undersized type who plays much bigger than his size on game day.
Hayes Pullard, LB (R-Freshman)
Another tough, aggressive young defender. Fills hard at the line of scrimmage and doesn't stay blocked long. Also shows very good speed chasing outside plays.
Nickell Robey, CB (Sophomore)
Only 5'8, Robey is one of the more physical DC's in the Pac-12 Conference. He is also a great little cover guy with outstanding quickness and ball skills.
Marqise Lee, WR (Freshman)
Another playmaker in an outstanding recruiting class for coach Lane Kiffin. The true freshman has 27 catches for a 16.3 average and 4 TDs to date. His speed and hands are top notch for a young player. Needs to come up big as the Cardinal could neutralize the Trojan run game.
Matt Kalil, OT (Junior)
The 6'7, 300-pound All-American is a sure-fire Top 10 NFL Draft pick when he decides to come out. If you want to see a textbook left offensive tackle, just watch #75.
Stanford players to watch:
Stepfan Taylor, RB (Junior)
One of the most underrated runners in the country, Taylor is a gifted back who is both powerful and elusive. His 6.3 average per carry and game to game consistency are both top notch.
Ty Montgomery, WR/KR (Freshman)
The dynamic kick returner is averaging an eye-popping 32.5 per return. He constantly puts the Cardinal offense in good field position with his several big returns.
Ben Gardner, DE (Junior)
The 6'4 pass rusher has 6.5 tackles for loss on the year and stands out due to his intense demeanor on the field. He is part of a wave of defensive linemen the Cardinal rotate and adds to the impressive depth on the squad.
Trent Murphy, LB (Junior)
Another tall and rangy defender with a high motor. Is productive both standing up or playing in a 3 point stance on the line of scrimmage. Has ability to knock balls down due to his 6'6 frame.
David DeCastro, OG (Senior)
One of the big reasons Stanford is averaging 219 yards rushing per game, the 6'5, 305 pounder is a mauler as a run blocker and can overwhelm the opposition at the point of attack. He is also athletic enough to pull to the outside and block on the perimeter.
Stanford comes into the game with a 15-game winning streak and #6 BCS national ranking. Not only do the Cardinal have an outstanding pass attack led by QB Andrew Luck, but their running game is very potent as well, averaging 219 yards per game. On the other hand, the Cardinal defense has both talent and depth and is very difficult to run on, as they give up only 75 yards rushing per game, good for 3rd in the nation. They rotate several players in the front seven of their defense and this allows them to stay fresh for an entire game. The Cardinal have won their last 10 games by an average of 25 points as this is the most talented Stanford football team in recent memory. The talent on both sides of the ball makes them very difficult to beat.
The USC Trojans will be the best and most physical team the Cardinal has faced this season and has the talent to come out on top in this match up. QB Matt Barkley is a potential 1st round NFL Draft pick and is an outstanding and accurate passer. He will need help from his ground game and with a big and physical offensive line, the Trojans should be able to produce yards as RB's Marc Tyler and Curtis McNeal are both very capable. Sophomore sensation WO Robert Woods is always dangerous and is almost impossible to contain for four quarters. The Trojan defense has several former five star recruits and the overall skill to slow down the Stanford offense. Don't ever think USC can't pull off a victory here. This should be a close game and come down to the late stages as a key turnover could make all the difference. Also, the special teams will be key as both squads have home run hitting return men. This is a "must see" game for any football fan!
Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).