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Final Thoughts: No. 7 USC Football Secures First Road Win At Stanford Since 2014

Sep 11, 2022

Final Thoughts: USC defeats Stanford, 41-28

  1. USC strikes early

    • The Trojans' offense got off to another blazing start Saturday, scoring 21 points in the first quarter. USC was on such a roll that it faced its first third down conversion of the game with just 50 seconds left in the second quarter. Quarterback Caleb Williams finished the night 20 of 27 with 341 yards and four touchdowns. Jordan Addison led USC's wide receivers with seven catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Travis Dye recorded his first touchdown and first 100-plus game as a Trojan Saturday night.

  2. A tale of two halves

    • USC's offense looked unstoppable in the first half against Stanford, but the second half left much to be desired. The Trojans were held to just two field goals and failed to score a touchdown following halftime.

      "Didn't play to our standard offensively in the second half," head coach Lincoln Riley said following the game. "It wasn't very good by me, wasn't very good on offense … Still had too many mistakes, like you're going to have in a second game, but we found ways to win and separate here on the road, which is awesome."

  3. Trojans continue to capitalize on turnovers

    • It wasn't quite the "Pick-six Palooza" that USC displayed against Rice, but the team managed to record four more turnovers Saturday against Stanford. Defensive backs Mekhi Blackmon and Max Williams each came down with an interception, while Williams and Tuli Tuipulotu both recorded forced fumbles. The Trojans' defense has recorded eight turnovers after two games, almost reaching the halfway point of 2021's total for the season (19).

      "This time last year, I was rehabbing from an injury on the sidelines watching and not being able to contribute," Williams said after the game. "So I mean, it just makes me much more appreciative. I'm having fun out there. I'm healthy. And it's just a blessing to be back out there making plays."

  4. Solomon Steps Up

    • Rush end Romello Height exited Saturday's game with an injury in the first half and did not return the rest of the night. His spot was filled by Wyoming transfer Solomon Byrd who filled in the role admirably. The redshirt senior bookended USC's stat sheet by recording the first sack and final sack of the game. Byrd saw a dramatic increase in playing time after limited reps against Rice. The Trojans finished the night with 12 tackles for loss, including five sacks.       

      "We were explosive defensively," Riley said. "The sacks and turnovers were great, but we've got to be more consistent."                                                                                    

  5. An Overdue Victory

    • While USC didn't finish with the same firepower it started with against Stanford, head coach Lincoln Riley made it clear that the "correctables" shouldn't cast a shadow on the night the Trojans' had. Saturday marked the first time that USC has won on the road against Stanford since 2014. Riley also highlighted how the team has grown so much in just a year, citing USC's matchup against Stanford last year.

      "This series has been extremely one-sided over the last 15 years, especially [on the road], so we took that personally," Riley said. "I mean just look at 12 months ago. This is a good Stanford team, and a lot has changed. I'm proud of the way our guys responded."