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USC's young offensive line faces test against Stanford

USC's freshmen offensive linemen will face tough task in Pac-12 Conference opener at Stanford

USC's last trip to Stanford was so traumatic for one young Trojans offensive lineman, he penned and performed a cathartic play about the anxiety he felt making his first start against the Cardinal front seven.

Could there be a sequel?

When the Trojans play their Pac-12 Conference opener Saturday in Palo Alto, three freshmen -- starting guards Toa Lobendahn and Damien Mama and back-up Viane Talamaivao -- will fill large roles on the offensive line.

Their first road game includes a matchup against a veteran defense. Six players among the Cardinal's front seven are seniors.

"We are going to be preparing our butts off for it," Lobendahn said.

The freshmen said they dealt with nerves in the opener against Fresno State.

"I started to calm down by the third series," Mama said.

"All the butterflies in your stomach get out of control a little bit," Talamaivao said. "But once you settle down a little bit, everything becomes familiar to you."

USC did not allow a sack in the opener, but the young linemen know the challenge will be tougher against the Cardinal.

Two years ago, Stanford roughed up former Trojans center and playwright Cyrus Hobbi in a 21-14 victory at Stanford Stadium.

"We are going to be ready," Talamaivao said.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer questions in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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