This is where the state of college football is in the state of California: a top-ten Stanford team beat an unranked USC team in a convincing fashion, and it wasn’t at all surprising. After all, Saturday’s 27-10 victory was Stanford’s third win over the Trojans in the last calendar year and its seventh in the pair’s last nine meetings.
This win came much like the others: on the legs of Christian McCaffrey. The All-American carried the ball 30 times for 156 yards and a touchdown, caught four passes for 73 yards and a touchdown and returned a kickoff 22 yards — all in all, a ho-hum 251-yard night.
The first score of the night came when Ryan Burns found a somehow wide open McCaffrey for a 56-yard snag-and-dash at the 4:18 mark of the first quarter. McCaffrey’s second score pushed Stanford’s lead to a comfortable 17-3 when he leaped in from one yard out with 2:11 to go before the half.
USC opened the second half with a 9-play, 75-yard drive punctuated by a 1-yard Ronald Jones II run, but Stanford immediately responded with a 5-minute field goal drive, then nudged the lead to 17 when Michael Rector raced in from 56 yards out with 3:26 to go in the third quarter.
The Trojans couldn’t even tack a cosmetic score on the board as Sam Darnold was intercepted by Noor Davis at the Stanford 8 with 1:47 remaining on the clock.
For the night, USC (1-2) averaged 6.7 yards per attempt on 35 combined passes between Darnold and Max Browne, and Stanford (2-0) owned a 291-117 edge on the ground.