USC’s Robert Woods wouldn’t mind repeat against Stanford
The gloves he wore during his breakout performance against Stanford last season are long gone.
Their memory, though, sticks with USC receiver Robert Woods.
“We get new gloves every game,” Woods recalled this week. “And it was just like, ‘Man, these gloves feel stickier today.’
“It was crazy how I just happened to have a great game.”
Woods caught 12 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns in the Trojans’ 37-35 last-second defeat at Palo Alto. The effort propelled him into the national spotlight and helped Woods garner Freshman All-America recognition.
On Saturday, Woods faces fourth-ranked Stanford again.
The sophomore from Carson was limited in practice this week because of soreness but is expected to be at full speed against the unbeaten Cardinal.
Last week, Woods rebounded from a season-low five-catch performance against California and caught 12 passes, two for touchdowns, in the Trojans’ victory at Notre Dame. It was the third time this season he’d caught at least 12 passes.
Woods lined up wide, in the slot and in the backfield, confusing Notre Dame and giving Stanford something to ponder as the Cardinal prepares to play No. 20 USC on Saturday at the Coliseum.
“It was just a surprise for the defense, not something I asked for,” Woods said. “That’s just Coach [Lane] Kiffin using his head.”
Stanford Coach David Shaw called Woods “as good of a route runner at this age as I’ve ever seen. For a guy like that you don’t say you’re going to shut him out.
“You just try to corral him and try to minimize the yards he gets after the catch.”
Woods wouldn’t mind duplicating last season’s individual performance against Stanford, but he’d trade it for a victory.
As for the gloves he will wear…
“It’s not really gloves that make the catch,” he said, laughing. “But that was a lucky pair I wore against them last time.”
Kicker Andre Heidari’s right ankle remains sore from an injury he suffered last week on a kickoff return for a touchdown by Notre Dame.
Heidari had made 10 of 12 field-goal attempts before he missed a 32-yard attempt against Notre Dame after he was injured.
Kiffin said Heidari’s status for Stanford would be a game-time decision.
Walk-on Craig McMahon is the backup, but Kiffin said he asked players whether any of them had experience kicking in high school.
“[Defensive lineman] DaJohn Harris was first to raise his hand,” Kiffin said. “We’re not going to do that.”
Running back George Farmer, in a boot to protect an injured ankle, did not practice but said he planned to play Saturday. …Less than 1,000 tickets remained available for Saturday’s game, USC said.
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