The No. 17-ranked USC Trojans will be in Palo Alto on Saturday to take on the No. 10 Stanford Cardinal in a Pac-12 Conference game. In their last 13 meetings, Stanford holds a 5-8 edge in the series. This is the 99th meeting between the two programs, the Trojans’ longest rivalry. They lead the series 63-32-3 (one victory is vacated by the NCAA). Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. Join us here for live updates of the game by Times staff writer Blake Richardson.
JT Daniels’ second straight interception seals Stanford’s 17-3 win
As JT Daniels lined up for an offensive drive with 38 seconds remaining, he threw his second straight interception, setting up Stanford to complete a 17-3 win over USC.
Malik Antoine intercepted both passes, the first off an attempt to Amon-ra St. Brown in the end zone. Daniels had never recorded an interception in his collegiate career before the consecutive picks.
Daniels completed 16 of his 34 attempts, tallying 215 passing yards. His primary target for the evening was Tyler Vaughns, who made seven catches for 84 yards.
USC’s offense was balanced against the Cardinal. The Trojans tallied 114 rushing yards, lead by Aca’Cedric Ware and Stephen Carr.
But Stanford’s defense was too stifling for USC to convert its drives into scores. With the loss, the Trojans fell to 1-1.
JT Daniels’ pass intercepted in end zone
JT Daniels threw a pass to Amon-ra St. Brown in the end zone, but his throw was intercepted by Malik Antoine.
Daniels had connected with St. Brown on the previous play — a 28-yard pass that put USC on Stanford’s 15-yard line. The interception was Daniels’ first of his career and allowed Stanford to eat time off the clock with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Daniels was sacked on the drive, but completed all three of his attempts before the interception. St. Brown recorded two receptions for 39 yards in the game.
Stanford extends lead to 17-3 with 30-yard field goal
Stanford extended its lead to 17-3 over USC with a field goal in the second half.
On the second play of the drive, Brandon Love bolted for a 59-yard run, and Stanford reached USC’s 31-yard line. K.J. Costello later put Stanford in the red zone with a 25-yard pass to Kaden Smith, one of two completions on the drive.
With two incomplete passes and rushing attempts cut short, the Cardinal could not finish for the touchdown. Jet Toner completed the 30-yard field goal.
USC opens second half with field goal, trails Stanford 14-3
USC converted a field goal attempt on its opening drive of the second half to trail Stanford 14-3.
The Trojans were on their own 41-yard line when JT Daniels threw a 45-yard pass to Michael Pittman, putting the Trojans in the red zone. The deep throw and a 13-yard pass to Tyler Vaughns were Daniels’ only completions of the drive.
USC could not finish its chance at a touchdown. The Trojans’ best shot came when Daniels threw a pass to Amon-ra St. Brown as he stood in the end zone, but St. Brown was out of bounds. Daniels threw seven passes to St. Brown for 98 yards in the Trojans’ 43-21 win over Nevada-Las Vegas, but the two have not connected against Stanford.
Chase McGrath, who set a program record with five made field goals the week before, made the 35-yard field goal to give USC its first score of the game.
Stanford takes 14-0 lead at halftime with late scoring drive
After gaining possession following JT Daniels’ fumble, Stanford strung together a quick touchdown drive to extend its lead over USC to 14-0 at the half.
Stanford started the drive on its own 49-yard line, and K.J. Costello opened the drive with a 26-yard pass to Kaden Smith.
Costello continued to dominate against the USC defense, completing his next two throws to put Stanford in scoring position, and ended the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Colby Parkinson. Costello completed 13 of his 16 attempts in the half.
Stanford’s scoring drive took 44 seconds to take a convincing lead at halftime. USC has struggled to string together offensive chances. The Trojans tallied 76 rushing yards, but Daniels completed only seven of his 15 passing attempts.
Stanford recovers JT Daniels’ fumble late in 1st half
JT Daniels fumbled the ball with less than two minutes left in the first half, and Stanford recovered on its own 49-yard line.
On 4th-and-2, USC decided to go for it, and Daniels faced pressure immediately when he dropped back in the pocket. As Daniels was sacked, the ball was stripped from his hands.
The fumble was the first turnover of the game and USC’s first of the season. The Trojans trail Stanford 7-0.
JT Daniels is back after sustaining hand injury
JT Daniels returned to the game in the second quarter, after leaving the game with a hand injury early.
Daniels missed one drive for the Trojans after taking a hit that sent him to the injury tent. Daniels struggled early under Stanford’s pressure, completing just one of his four passing attempts before he left the game.
USC’s run game picked up the slack in the passing struggles, totaling 54 rushing yards in the first two drives, which saw Daniels and Matt Fink at quarterback.
JT Daniels leaves game with hand injury as USC trails 7-0
JT Daniels left the game in the first quarter after sustaining a hand injury when he took a hit.
Matt Fink replaced Daniels, and USC turned to a rush-heavy approach in the freshman quarterback’s absense. Aside from a 3-yard pass to Tyler Vaughns, each of the Trojans’ plays without Daniels was a run.
Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepaei each got two carries for 11 yards and 15 yards, respectively, while Aca’Cedric Ware ran five times for a net gain of 10 yards.
The Trojans trail Stanford 7-0. After briefly going to the locker room, Daniels was seen throwing the football on the sideline, but he has not returned to the game.
Bryce Love makes explosive runs in opening drive to give Stanford 7-0 lead
Bryce Love made a series of explosive runs in Stanford’s opening drive against USC, ending in a touchdown to give Stanford a 7-0 lead.
Love rushed 37 yards on the eight-play, 83-yard drive, including a 28-yard run that put Stanford on USC’s 18-yard line. He completed the scoring drive with a 6-yard run to the left, hardly contested by the Trojan defense as he bolted into the end zone.
K.J. Costello had a similarly strong start in the opening drive, completing all three of his throws to gain 46 passing yards.
Trojans-Cardinal clash is an early litmus test for Pac-12 supremacy
In the heyday of the Pete Carroll years, the idea that in 2018 the USC football team would measure itself by how it competes against the Stanford Cardinal would have led to some hearty laughs among the Trojans and their faithful.
Entering the 2007 matchup, USC had won 23 of the last 30, including five of six games under Carroll. Stanford’s historic 24-23 upset of the Trojans that year in the Coliseum, engineered by first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator David Shaw, led to a decade-long shakeup in the rivalry from which USC didn’t recover until beating the Cardinal twice last season on the way to the program’s first Pac-12 championship since 2008.
Shaw, now in his eighth season as Stanford’s head coach, has been the one constant during this defining stretch of what has become the Pac-12’s signature rivalry. USC coach Clay Helton has been a part of the last 10 meetings. They have been tenure-shaping for Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and Helton himself.
“In my nine years here, it’s just increased each and every year,” Helton said, “and it’s always been a close game. It’s been some of my favorite memories and some of my favorite heartbreaks. I’ve been a part of a triple-overtime loss [in 2011], I’ve seen Andre Heidari kick a 53-yard to win one at their place [in 2014]. It just seems like an extremely physical contest. Both teams take a lot of pride into this game.”
Every rivalry has its distinct place among its peers. Since 2007, the Stanford game has risen above UCLA and Notre Dame in competitiveness (USC is 5-8 against the Cardinal, 6-5 against the Fighting Irish and 8-3 against the Bruins). Plus, the stakes of this one are heightened by its now-annual September placement on the schedule, which has set Stanford up as the early-season barometer for USC.
Trojans vs. Cardinal: How the two teams match up
No. 17 USC (1-0) at No. 10 Stanford (1-0)
Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Stanford Stadium. TV: Channel 11. Radio: 710.
USC defensive front vs. Stanford offensive line. The Cardinal return all five starters on the offensive line from a group that nearly paved the way to a Heisman Trophy for speedy tailback Bryce Love. Meanwhile, USC’s defensive line spent the offseason trying to become bigger, deeper and more physical in the trenches. This is the backbone of Stanford’s identity under coach David Shaw, who would line up seven or eight linemen at one time if he could (he actually has been known to do that in short-yardage situations). The Trojans believe they have a legitimate two-deep inside with Jay Tufele, Brandon Pili, Marlon Tuipulotu and Malik Dorton, and their hope is that staying fresh by rotating players often will not be as much of an issue as in past seasons. Having a healthy Porter Gustin at outside linebacker should be a key here; in Clancy Pendergast’s 2-4-5 scheme a lot is asked in the run game of the two outside linebackers to be able to set the edge. To win this battle, USC will need more from Christian Rector, who was too quiet against Nevada Las Vegas.