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Fall of Troy: Stanford knocks off No. 2 USC

USC v Stanford Getty Images

Matt Barkley can still win a Heisman Trophy. He can still lead the USC Trojans to a Pac-12 championship, and perhaps, a BCS championship. The idea of Barkley coming back for “unfinished business” is not completely lost.

But that trio of goals took a major hit Saturday night because USC couldn’t do one thing: beat Stanford with Barkley under center. That business will be left unfinished.

In an upset sure to rattle the Sunday polls and shake up the eventual BCS picture, the No. 21 Cardinal stunned second-ranked USC at home by a score of 21-14. Barkley threw two interceptions, was sacked five times and completed just under 50 percent of his passes in an anti-Heisman performance.

But it wasn’t entirely his fault. Barkley was under duress the entire game. It’s a stretch to think that the absence of center Khaled Holmes had that much of an impact on the Trojans’ offensive woes, but the bottom line is USC’s O-line was bottom-rung. There was no running game (59 yards before sacks) and certainly no protection. Conversely, the Cardinal rushed for 200 yards behind running back Stepfan Taylor (pictured).

It was remarkable how outmatched USC was on both sides of the trenches the entire game. When the Stanford offense needed the run game the most (in the fourth quarter), it got it. David Shaw‘s group ran 14 times in the final quarter, converted four third downs and scored the touchdown that would become the difference in the game. USC’s defensive line depth, already a concern heading into the season, was unable to do anything about it either.

Stanford didn’t need Andrew Luck because it pushed USC around. It’s that simple.

If the Trojans want to get back into the BCS championship picture, they’ll need to start pushing back. It’s been two weeks now (if we’re looking back on the Syracuse win) that USC has not been a real physical team up front. And it’s only September.

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54 Responses to “Fall of Troy: Stanford knocks off No. 2 USC”
  1. clemsonstillsucks says: Sep 15, 2012 11:58 PM

    It’s pretty simple…USC is overrated.

  2. ryanw822 says: Sep 15, 2012 11:58 PM

    This must be a typo. I listen to Colin Cowherd every day and he says its impossible for USC and his boyfriend Lane to lose. 14-0 baby!

  3. 69jaredallen69 says: Sep 16, 2012 12:00 AM

    Better watch out…Lane Kiffin will ban you for reporting they lost! Does any college
    Coach do less with more than Kiffin?

  4. burm61 says: Sep 16, 2012 12:04 AM

    I absolutely love it when a program that was built the right way from top to bottom beats a program with scumbags, “boosters”, and the always straight and narrow Lane Kiffin.

  5. duklover says: Sep 16, 2012 12:04 AM

    Ain’t that a shame!

  6. kiopta1 says: Sep 16, 2012 12:05 AM

    USC falls and ND rises…good weekend so far.

  7. southernpatriots says: Sep 16, 2012 12:06 AM

    Stanford pushed USC around. True. What would Alabama do? What would LSU do?

    The pre-season popularity polls and the West Coast sports readers along with NE and a few other geographically deprived areas writers put USC #1, or 2 or 3, or whatever based upon what?

    Some deceived USC fans here on CFT claimed that USC had the best offense in the nation. That is absurd enough and laughable. But USC does not have a defense. USC fans stop deceiving yourselves. USC was not only over-ranked, but probably should not have been in the top 10. They could well lose 2 or 3 games this season.

  8. mrlaloosh says: Sep 16, 2012 12:11 AM

    The Trojans were defective. OOPS!

  9. houndofthebaskervols says: Sep 16, 2012 12:11 AM

    In my current depressed state I really needed Kiffin to lose this game. Thanks Lane, I feel a lot better now.

    The only thing as overrated as USC is Matt Barkely. God forbid they would have played Florida today.

  10. canetic says: Sep 16, 2012 12:16 AM

    The one constant in college football is that you can count on USC to lose a game every year and FSU to follow suit. FSU looks good so far but their time will come.

  11. normtide says: Sep 16, 2012 12:19 AM

    USC’s recent great teams had great defenses, even if they were underrated at that time. The offense is good enough, but their defense must improve to make a run and beat a team like lsu or bama at the end. Ofc, Stanford is familiar with USC, and that changes things for sure. I have always had my doubts about Kiffen, just from his coaching history. That said, USC can still win it all, but now needs other programs to stumble. They control what they do, but not their own destiny. Best of luck going forward.

  12. dcroz says: Sep 16, 2012 12:23 AM

    Down goes ESPN’s latest “great white hope” to end the SEC’s national title streak. Face it, that’s the only reason USC got so much attention despite their glaring deficiencies.

    With their win today, expect the Irish to vault up the polls. Notre Dame-Florida State BCS National Championship Game commercials will begin running on ESPN and ABC tomorrow night.

  13. fotydaze says: Sep 16, 2012 12:25 AM

    Maybe the fact than lane kiffen continues to get high profile jobs despite a history of losing is coming to light. How is he qualified to be the USC coach? His father is but how is he?

  14. thefiesty1 says: Sep 16, 2012 12:26 AM

    You can’t get in the BcS when your no longer in the top 10.

  15. bozosforall says: Sep 16, 2012 12:26 AM

    Hey mamabushleague…hahahahahaha. Time to buy more players.

  16. waynefontes says: Sep 16, 2012 12:39 AM

    normtide says:
    Sep 16, 2012 12:19 AM
    USC’s recent great teams had great defenses, even if they were underrated at that time. The offense is good enough, but their defense must improve to make a run and beat a team like lsu or bama at the end.


    Respectfully disagree. If they could only get 276 yards on offense against Stanford, I’d hate to see what they would look like against Alabama.

    Actually, I’d love to see what they’d look like against Alabama.

  17. manchestermiracle says: Sep 16, 2012 12:39 AM

    Thanks, normtide, for not being just another gloating horse’s ass like the other posters on here. Yes, USC was over-ranked. Last I looked so were several other programs. Anyone who thought the (unfair) penalties imposed by the NCAA wouldn’t catch up with them was deluding themselves.

    On the other hand, it would have been nice if anyone in the Trojan program had showed up for the game in Palo Alto. From the coaching staff on down it was readily apparent the team was utterly unprepared to play a game even faintly resembling one with competence in any aspect.

    The O-line sucked all game. Couldn’t establish the run, couldn’t pass protect. I find it hard to believe that having to go with the second string center could cause the entire offense to become remarkably ineffective. Barkley stunk. Just flat stunk. Crappy under pressure and inconsistent everywhere. Redd fumbled (again). The defense held out as long as they could, but got little support from the offense.

    The announcers on Fox were so pro-Stanford it was embarrassing. The officials on the field missed several calls against the Cardinal including pass interference, face-masking Barkley (resulting in a sack), leading with the helmet into Barkley’s chin (another sack) and various other examples of general incompetence including missing a simple inbounds catch on the Trojans last drive that was overturned on review.

    Kiffin’s game plan lacked imagination, the play-calling pedestrian, the time-management comical. It all just further illustrates the stupidity of pre-season (or even week 3) polls.

    Gloat yourselves silly, haters of USC football. The Trojans have likely thrown the season away. They have little to no chance of a national championship, particularly with Oregon and Notre Dame still to play (and maybe UCLA, too). They may even not make it to the conference championship. You can stop paying any attention to West Coast football because we all know they are just posers and only the SEC is any good. All in all Barkley should have gone to the NFL last year. His “unfinished business” is looking pretty damn finished just three weeks into the season. And, in my opinion, he has no shot at the Heisman.

    No, luck had nothing to do with it. Andrew Luck did, last season anyway, but USC gave this game to Stanford. The Cardinal played well, but there’s no chance they win without USC stumbling around as though they hadn’t even seen a football before. Nunes was nothing special, but he didn’t have to be because the Trojans were busy making the rest of his team look like a top-10 juggernaut.

  18. frank booth says: Sep 16, 2012 1:20 AM


    Keep in mind that many of the “gloating horse’s asses” on the forums were USC fans, who had decided to let everyone know how great and dominant USC was and how jealous everyone was of USC.

    You reap what you sow, and the gloating was started by USC fans before the season started.

    Stanford pushed USC around. Stop with the sour grapes. USC didn’t give the game to USC there, whiney one.

    Stanford didn’t look like a Top Ten juggernaut. They just looked like a middling team beating another middling team.

    Tough toenails, USC

  19. tigersgeaux says: Sep 16, 2012 1:27 AM

    frank booth:

    May I just say simply, “Amen!”?

  20. ampatsisahypocrite says: Sep 16, 2012 1:47 AM

    Frank, speaking of “horse’s asses” wonder where that papabush guy is right now? He seems to average like 55 posts for each SC thread, but tonight he’s nowhere to be found. Go figure!

    All I gotta say after this one, is “that’s karma for trying to profit off the sad Sandusky situation.” How’d Redd look tonight?

    Every year these SC types try and tell us how great their team is, like they’re elite or something. Oh well. Another year, another year exposed as a fraud.

  21. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Sep 16, 2012 3:40 AM

    Didn’t want to have to say it, but y’all did hear it here first (papa, manches, and all y’all USC fans).., I’m scratching my head bald trying to figured out the sports writer’s love with USC….,
    Sure they looked good down the stretch, so did Georgia.
    They have like 17, 18 starters from last years offense returning for one more run..
    Those were the same 17 or 18 starters that lost to the same Stanford minus Luck, the same group of guys that lost to Arizona, and the same group of starters that struggled with over half of their winnings…, they by now mean looked like the USC of 2004, no where near it!!
    Yet all the writers and looney fans marking off victories before the season even kicked off…
    Forks … Listen to the crazyasian, he might say things that may hurt your feelings, but he’ll never lie to you or to sell you the Golden Gate Bridge that his great great grandfather once walked over.
    Anyway heads up and keep supporting your teams, season is still young and it is better to lose early whether then later, God Bless and lets Geaux Tigers!!!

  22. beerbudsnbevo says: Sep 16, 2012 4:18 AM

    Que USC fans crying about bad calls in 3,2,1….

    Oh, by the way USC, Texas won tonight….

  23. v2the4 says: Sep 16, 2012 5:00 AM

    USC got pushed around tonight by an agressive effort from the Stanford Cardinal. the lack of quality depth at key positions showed up tonight, and if USC cant keep their players healthy, then they are headed for trouble the rest of the way.

    I dont agree with everyone that their season is over….they still have plenty of top 25 teams on their schedule, and because they lost so early in the season, they will have a way to work their way back into the mix…but SC was exposed tonight….a power running team can exploit their defense… attacking defense can make fools of their offense…..SC has a lot of work to do, and they have Cal next week, who should have beat Ohio St today, but left the horseshoe with a 35-28 loss.

  24. ninjapleazee says: Sep 16, 2012 7:38 AM

    Karma’s a b*tch huh Silas Redd?

  25. tmac4454 says: Sep 16, 2012 8:12 AM

    Great job Stanford, if it was not for Bama the sportswriter would have ranked SC #1. I do not know why they jump on the bandwagon on SC, they have alot of weapons in place and no one will beat them. This is college, (any given Saturday) please sportswriters do not forget this. Lane did not do anything in Oakland and he will not be doing anything at SC.

    I believe in Noles…

  26. cometkazie says: Sep 16, 2012 9:17 AM

    Looks like there were a lot of overrated teams after three weeks: U$C, Arkansas, Michigan.

    A reminder that LSU had three losses the two times they won the BCS glass football and lost the time they were undefeated.

    Me, I will root for the Ducks in that conference out west. They have some class and much less stupid fans.

    The character of U$C will show in how they respond.

  27. addict2sport says: Sep 16, 2012 9:31 AM

    This had nothing to do with bad calls or anybody giving anything away. USC took a beating. Stanford played a great game and exposed the lack of depth on the Trojan sideline. Character is defined by how you handle adversity. There’s a lot of football to be played. It’ll be interesting to see how they bounce back. USC will be fineFight On!

  28. polegojim says: Sep 16, 2012 9:53 AM

    There are who we THOUGHT they were.

    Too many USC fans counting those unhatched chickens and drinking the cool aid.

    Don’t be angry at us for being right.

    It’s not hate, it’s truth.

  29. florida727 says: Sep 16, 2012 9:53 AM

    I wouldn’t feel too badly for Matt Barkley, even if he has gone 0-4 v. Stanford. Remember, Peyton Manning never beat Florida in his four years at Tennessee, and things seemed to have worked out okay for him.

    There was a lot of woofing by USC fans when they were dropped behind Alabama in the polls. Just wondering where those USC fans are today. Sleeping in a little late boys? Haven’t seen too many of you posting on CFT this morning :)

  30. andrewproughcfe says: Sep 16, 2012 10:00 AM

    hmmm….. Texas

  31. stairwayto7 says: Sep 16, 2012 10:10 AM

    Hey Silas Redd, Penn State won..DID YOU? LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

  32. kozbee says: Sep 16, 2012 10:26 AM

    Stanford has a good defense with great plays all night long.Matt stumbled all night trying to find the way to the end-zone but couldn`t get around the Stanford defense(great job).Wait till the Ducks pull them into deep water and drown them.Kiffen i loved the look on your face in the fourth quarter almost like the way you used to look at Tenn lol.Well now looks like your gonna have to put out some more cash and houses and a couple pimp rides to get what you want.Stanford i applaud your team in what you did and congrats goes out to the team,fans of Stanford in proving USC WRONG they do not rank where the SEC owns #1 ranking in the country.6 national Championships in a row says we are the best conference in the country.Go SEC..

  33. AlohaMrHand says: Sep 16, 2012 10:49 AM

    69jaredallen69 says:
    Sep 16, 2012 12:00 AM
    Better watch out…Lane Kiffin will ban you for reporting they lost! Does any college
    Coach do less with more than Kiffin?


    someone call us?

    Frank Beamer

    Bo Pelini

    Jeff Tedford

  34. texasbornlsufan says: Sep 16, 2012 11:15 AM

    Oops make believe world of Hollywood will have to write a new script!
    USC couldn’t hold Alabama or LSU’s jock strap! Oregon will pound these guys. WAY OVER RATED FROM THE BEGINNING!

  35. lurch61 says: Sep 16, 2012 11:58 AM

    From the outset, as usual, USC was way overrated and their pretty boy QB was as well. He has NEVER showed the potential of true NFL ready QB’s and when getting into the NFL he will become just another average or USC QB bust. Think Matt Cassel, Matt Leinert, Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez etc etc.
    In the meantime writers have NEVER given Stanford enough credit and this year was ni different. GO CARDINAL!

  36. miserynmossouri says: Sep 16, 2012 12:02 PM

    I am so tired of the lame USC fans who gloat and gloat until their team gets it handed to them. Them they turn into apologists. I wasn’t a Texas fan until every USC fan and media person handed the rose bowl to USC before the game was played (2006). USC will figure out that real football is played east of California….southeast to be

  37. tigersgeaux says: Sep 16, 2012 12:17 PM

    miserynmossouri says:
    Sep 16, 2012 12:02 PM
    I am so tired of the lame USC fans who gloat and gloat until their team gets it handed to them. Them they turn into apologists. I wasn’t a Texas fan until every USC fan and media person handed the rose bowl to USC before the game was played (2006). USC will figure out that real football is played east of California….southeast to be


    Well, very well put!

    From a bayou tiger.

  38. sisqsage says: Sep 16, 2012 12:44 PM

    Recruiting sanctions over the last few years do take a toll. Witness SC’s line on both sides of the ball at Stanford.

    Makes you marvel at the b.s. Kiffin has fed some of the small amount but topnotch blue chip recruits who have chosen SC over like BAMA (no sanctions and in line for another national title) in this last recruiting year alone.

    Barkley has been inconsistent his whole career. Last night’s performance shouldn’t shock anyone. Even without O. Luck, Stanford still had a good ground game and defense coming back and are a legit top 20 team.

  39. ampatsisahypocrite says: Sep 16, 2012 1:00 PM

    I bet Redd wishes he were back at Penn St. right now.

  40. roltyd says: Sep 16, 2012 1:10 PM

    “Stanford didn’t need Andrew Luck because it pushed USC around. It’s that simple.”

    Trojans are good for only night. Certainly, last night was not THAT night.

    To those Trojan fans who blow up this website with the statement of how they are the best, at least you still look good in your mirror.

    Now USCw can focus on beating their little brother (UCLA) and Duck hunting.

    If it wasn’t for Ole Mess, I’d be chanting “SEC!”

  41. irishdodger says: Sep 16, 2012 1:51 PM

    dcroz said:

    “With their win today, expect the Irish to vault up the polls. Notre Dame-Florida State BCS National Championship Game commercials will begin running on ESPN and ABC tomorrow night.”


    Do u even watch CFB? ESPN/ABC is no fan of ND. As a company it’s b/c there’s no money in it for them compared to their deals w/ the SEC. As analysts, only Holtz picks them to win & he & Mark May’s back & forth is a scripted circus act. ND has a long way to go before competing for a NC. They start too many freshmen & their schedule is ridiculous.

    Now FSU should have a legitimate shot if they can win out playing their seemingly pedestrian schedule. Fisher has been stockpiling talent so he has no excuse not to get it done this year.

    ESPN is just as much in bed w/ the SEC as they are USC….probably more from a corporate standpoint. The analysts play the audience like a the cheap fiddle they are.

  42. ajonesmc931 says: Sep 16, 2012 2:39 PM

    Thank god they lost matt Barkley is a doucher

  43. boycaught says: Sep 16, 2012 7:10 PM

    “They just looked like a middling team beating another middling team.”

    I’ve seen every top 25 team play this season, and all I’ll say is this: after Alabama and LSU, and maybe Oregon (who’s yet to play anyone signficant) they all look like “middling” teams to me. It’s the third week of September, maybe you want to give some of these teams a chance to develop their identities… these are college players, not professional athletes.

  44. tigersgeaux says: Sep 16, 2012 7:36 PM



    Maybe in another 4 – 6 weeks we will have a fair evaluation of the teams when BCS actually starts ranking them.

  45. boycaught says: Sep 16, 2012 7:46 PM


    Cool. Absolutely, let’s wait a few more weeks before throwing dirt on teams’ graves, or anointing national champions. I’m a Stanford fan. I was at the game last night. We definitly beat USC. But we have a lot of work to do. So does SC, and a lot of the other Top 25 teams. It’s just too early to know who’s really going to be running on all cylinders in January.

  46. tigersgeaux says: Sep 16, 2012 7:53 PM


    I watched that game with GREAT interest pulling for Stanford all the way. I work with southernpatriots’ family often with their Neighborhood Watch and now Hurricane Isaac Relief work and the doctor in that family often predicts the weekly contests.

    He was the only one who actually predicted that Stanford would beat USC, that I know of on CFT and in south Louisiana. Some were hoping but none would go out on a limb and say they would. He did. He said the reason was Stanford knew how to do it. They had figured out what to do to beat USC. He was very correct. So many ESPN and the like prognosticators said Stanford had lost Luck and USC had the Heisman candidate Barkely and that Stanford did not have a chance.

    Most people I know were so aggravated with the arrogance and attitude of USC fans that we sat on the edge of our seats hoping that Stanford would hold USC and they did! What a great game.

  47. jko54 says: Sep 16, 2012 8:05 PM

    @manchestermiracle …hmmm, guess it’s a bitch rooting for your “POWDER PUFF TROJANS”…your comments for 3 weeks were straight from your @ss…same place your head was…the same place that got handed to ya! Mighty USC my @ss!

  48. jko54 says: Sep 16, 2012 8:08 PM

    @roltyd …nope the Rebs didn’t fare well at all against the longhorns…but not near the embarrassment the SEC had with Kentucky.

  49. jkaflagg says: Sep 16, 2012 9:16 PM

    A few non-hysterical comments from a non-Trojan fan:

    – really surprised that USC made no discernable halftime adjustments – Stanford really let them off the hook in the first half, and I expected the Trojans to come out in the 2nd half and take control. Instead, the opposite occurred, and that’s on the coaches; those who were relieved when Harbaugh left and Shaw took over may need to think again…..

    – as some commentators have pointed out, if you’re going to lose a game, do it early; plus there are no more smash-mouth teams on the USC schedule that can emulate Stanford’s game plan. They can also reasonably expect teams like Oklahoma & FSU to probably lose a game they shouldn’t along the way, but to get to a BCS championship game, it looks like they’ll need a monumental upset in the SEC, or enough voters who just don’t want to see Alabama-LSU again……

  50. jintzforever says: Sep 17, 2012 6:06 PM

    Barkley 0-4 vs Stanford
    1-2 vs Oregon – soon to be 1-3
    DAT chose Ducks over Condoms. Would that ever be thought possible a few years ago? DeAnthony Thomas for those who are unsure who DAT is.

    The mystique is gone and I love it.

  51. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 17, 2012 7:17 PM


    I think you have it exactly right:

    “The mystique is gone…” Yep. The mystique and the downright deception of ESPN and all other national prognosticators and CFT posters who thought that:

    1. USC had the best offense in the nation–ha.

    2. Were going to reverse the Stanford hegemony which they are suffering, now ongoing..–ha.

    All LSU fans I know love Oregon Duck fans! The Ducks we have met are classy, knowledgeable, and wise. They also love our Cajun food!

    So far things are working out. Stanford beat USC, now for the Ducks to beat Stanford, then for LSU to beat Alabama and both the Ducks and LSU win out, LSU will play the Ducks! I know almost an eternity is between now and then but it is a dream.

  52. floridacock says: Sep 20, 2012 1:20 PM

    USC plays Mizzou this week and So Cal is probably going to lose to Oregon, Notre Dame and UCLA. Monte should go back to the NFL as Lame will be “pumping gas on Sundays” after this year. And So Cal fans wonder why we gloat

  53. tigersgeaux says: Sep 20, 2012 1:28 PM


    NO ONE GLOATS LIKE SOUTHERN CAL FANS! And without cause. That’s what makes it so pitiful.

    I hope you are right. At least 2 of the 3, if not all 3.

  54. steve3211 says: Sep 20, 2012 2:28 PM

    they are done. After the way Cal performed last week don’t think that they couldn’t beat this soft usc team as well. I think they will.

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