Caleb Williams and USC go on a scoring frenzy in blowout win over Stanford

Los Angeles, California September 9, 2023-USC quarterback Caleb Williams scrambles.
USC quarterback Caleb Williams scrambles from the Stanford defense during the first quarter Saturday at the Coliseum.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times )

Caleb Williams passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns despite not playing the entire second half in USC’s win over Stanford at the Coliseum.

Caleb Williams and USC put on a scoring showcase in victory over Stanford

USC running back MarShawn Lloyd stiff arms Sanford linebacker Spencer Jorgensen as he carries the ball
USC running back MarShawn Lloyd stiff arms Sanford linebacker Spencer Jorgensen in the second quarter Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

🏈 USC 56, Stanford 10 — FINAL

This is one parting gift Stanford won’t soon forget.

In the last Pac-12 matchup between longtime conference rivals, No. 6 USC hammered Stanford 56-10, sending the Cardinal into the ACC with its largest margin of defeat in the series since a 42-0 drubbing in 2006. With a spot in the Big Ten waiting next season, the Trojans (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12 Conference) had their best scoring night in the rivalry since hanging 51 on the Cardinal in 2005.

It was the most points USC has scored against Stanford and the 46-point difference marked the Trojans’ biggest win over the Cardinal since 1977 (49-0).

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Stanford scores its first touchdown in closing minutes of game

🏈 USC 49, Stanford 10 — 3:35 left in the fourth quarter

Stanford finally found the end zone in the closing minutes of the contest, with quarterback Justin Lamson scoring on a one-yard keeper.


USC still leads 49-3 heading into the fourth quarter

🏈 USC 49, Stanford 3 — End of the third quarter

After a flurry of scoring under Caleb Williams in the first half, the Miller Moss-led Trojans have failed to find the end zone in what has become more of a learning experience for reserve portion of the Trojans’ roster.


Miller Moss takes over at quarterback for USC

🏈 USC 49, Stanford 3 — 11:56 left in the third quarter

As expected, Caleb Williams’ night is over. Miller Moss took over at quarterback, with the Trojans going three-and-out on their first possession of the second half.


USC tacks on another TD to take 49-3 lead at halftime

🏈 USC 49, Stanford 3 — HALFTIME

Lake McRee scored on a one-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Williams to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive in the closing seconds of the first half.

USC flexing its offensive muscle at will tonight as it takes a commanding lead into the second half.


Brenden Rice scores on 75-yard touchdown pass

🏈 USC 42, Stanford 3 — 6:46 left in the second quarter

Caleb Williams wasted no time extending USC’s lead after Stanford’s field goal.

On the first play of the ensuing possession, Williams connected on a 75-yard touchdown pass to Brenden Rice, who broke away from coverage an sprinted untouched into the end zone.

The rout continues.


Stanford gets on the scoreboard with a field goal

🏈 USC 35, Stanford 3 — 6:57 left in the second quarter

Joshua Karty kicked a 38-yard field goal to get the Cardinal on the scoreboard. It was Stanford’s best drive of the game, but it came against a lot of USC subs.

Justin Lamson is in at quarterback for Stanford after Ashton Daniels was injured in the first quarter.


Dorian Singer joins the touchdown party for the Trojans

🏈 USC 35, Stanford 0 — 10:42 left in the second quarter

The final game of the USC-Stanford rivalry in the Pac-12 era is already a rout.

Dorian Singer caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Williams as USC continues to pile on the Cardinal.

Caleb Williams has completed 12 of 15 passes for 133 yards. It might be time for Lincoln Riley to tell Miller Moss to put on his helmet.


Zachariah Branch scores on punt return to give USC a 28-0 lead

🏈 USC 28, Stanford 0 — 13:43 left in the second quarter

Zachariah Branch scored on a spectacular, 75-yard punt return to give the Trojans a commanding lead early in the second quarter.


Austin Jones scores to extend USC’s lead over Stanford

🏈 USC 21, Stanford 0 — :07 left in the first quarter

The Trojans continue to dominate Stanford.

Austin Jones scored on a one-yard run to end a methodical, 12-play, 93-yard drive for the Trojans.

Caleb Williams has completed 11 of 13 passes for 114 yards so far.


USC extends its lead in the first quarter on another touchdown

🏈 USC 14, Stanford 0 — 9:05 left in the first quarter

MarShawn Lloyd scored on a five-yard touchdown run to extend the Trojans’ lead. Like it did against Nevada last week, USC is wasting no time pulling away on the scoreboard.


Caleb Williams scores on a 21-yard TD run to open scoring for USC

🏈 USC 7, Stanford 0 — 11:59 left in the first quarter

Caleb Williams didn’t waste any time getting USC on the scoreboard.

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback scored on a 21-yard run, capping an eight-play, 75-yard opening drive for the Trojans against the Cardinal.


Amid the Pac-12 ruins, one big question emerges — why does the NCAA still exist?

Dejected Oregon State fans during an NCAA college football game against TCU.
Dejected Oregon State fans look on during a loss to TCU in September 2010. Oregon State is one of two Pac-12 schools that haven’t announced plans to leave the conference after this season.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

As we ponder the end of the Pac-12 Conference, should we celebrate the new Pac-2, or commiserate that so much of college sports has dropped into a giant cesspool? So many questions.

Should we feel bad for the wallflowers, Oregon State and Washington State, who now become the tragic twosome? Nobody wants to dance with them. OK, maybe the Mountain West will flirt, but from the Pac-12 to the Mountain West? C’mon.

Can the jilted pair look past their rejection, claim their sovereignty, and simply demand all the Pac-12 assets left behind? Or can they play each other every weekend, home and away — or maybe at the Rose Bowl, Coliseum, or Husky Stadium overlooking Lake Washington? Fans in those places might be starved for some real football after doses of Rutgers and Nebraska.

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Could Caleb Williams return to USC in 2024? Dad says it’s possible QB skips NFL draft

USC quarterback Caleb Williams is expected to make himself available for the 2024 NFL draft, but his father says not so fast.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Caleb Williams already has a Heisman Trophy.

He very well could have another in a few months.

After that, the star USC quarterback is expected to enter the 2024 NFL draft, where he most likely would be snatched up by the first team on the clock.

But what if he doesn’t want to be selected by the first team?

Williams has options, one of which would be returning to the Trojans for his senior season — a possibility his father, Carl Williams, put on the radar in a GQ article that published Wednesday.

“He’s got two shots at the apple,” Carl Williams told the magazine. “So if there’s not a good situation, the truth is, he can come back to school.”

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Which USC freshmen are in position to earn bigger roles?

USC running back Quinten Joyner embraces receiver Duce Robinson after Robinson scored a touchdown.
USC running back Quinten Joyner (21) celebrates with receiver Duce Robinson (19) after scoring a touchdown against Nevada on Saturday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

It wasn’t just getting to watch Duce Robinson sprint down the field for the first touchdown of his career that sent the USC sideline into a frenzy. It was that the freshman receiver showed just how quickly he could improve by high-stepping through a tackle to leave defenders on the field on his 71-yard touchdown catch.

“We really ain’t get to see Duce pick up his knees,” fellow receiver Mario Williams said with a wide grin, “but he finally did this Saturday, so congrats to him.”

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Raleek Brown still could be ‘a big part’ of USC football while exploring redshirt

USC running back Raleek Brown strikes a Heisman Trophy pose after scoring a touchdown against Rice in September 2022.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Raleek Brown flashed the Heisman pose during his first college game. A year later, the dynamic sophomore wasn’t even on the sideline during USC‘s second game of the season.

After limited playing time in the opener while switching from running back to receiver, Brown is “looking at the possibility of redshirting,” coach Lincoln Riley said Tuesday after practice.

“That’s part of the world right now,” the coach said. “I can still certainly foresee him being a big part of the team this year. You just never know week-to-week and you never know as years go on, different opportunities present themselves, so he’s going to continue to work, we’re going to continue to develop him like crazy.”

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USC tailback MarShawn Lloyd can run, but his elite blocks are firing up teammates

USC running back MarShawn Lloyd runs the ball Nevada Saturday
USC running back MarShawn Lloyd (0) carries the ball against Nevada Saturday at the Coliseum.
(Ryan Sun / Associated Press)

Scouting eighth grade football is no science, but Bill McGregor knew it didn’t take a genius to tell MarShawn Lloyd was a no-brainer. The running back checked off the basics of speed and size. Even in middle school, he possessed exceptional ball skills, vision and work ethic.

The coach who turned Maryland’s DeMatha Catholic High into a national power knew Lloyd was outstanding already. What excited McGregor the most was not knowing exactly how good Lloyd could be in the future.

“It was just the tip of his iceberg,” McGregor said.

Lloyd is still only beginning to show his talents. The South Carolina transfer is making his case as No. 6 USC’s lead running back after 76 rushing yards and one touchdown and 59 receiving yards against Nevada last week. He led the Trojans (2-0) in rushing attempts in each of his first two games after USC plucked the Delaware native from the transfer portal. With College Football Playoff hopes, the Trojans needed a replacement for leading rusher Travis Dye.

“This year,” Lloyd said, “is the year that I feel like I’ve been able to showcase everything I can do.”

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Looking back at the five greatest games in the USC-Stanford football rivalry

USC quarterback Cody Kessler celebrates with fans after the Trojans’ victory over No. 4 Stanford on Nov. 16, 2013.
(Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

With USC and UCLA playing their final season in the Pac-12, The Times is revisiting the top five games in the history of each series. This week: USC-Stanford.

Oct. 13, 1979: USC 21, Stanford 21

One of the most consequential games in the rivalry didn’t even result in a win for either team. Stanford’s 21-point, second-half rally was the only blemish on USC’s 11-0-1 record, costing the Trojans a national championship in the polls. The Cardinal scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the score, and on the last play of the game, USC botched the snap on a field-goal attempt. Alabama (12-0) finished No. 1 despite USC’s season-ending win over previous No. 1 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

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USC vs. Stanford five things to watch: End of an era for the Trojans

USC wide receiver Zachariah Branch celebrates with teammate Dorian Singer after making a touchdown catch.
USC wide receiver Zachariah Branch celebrates with teammate Dorian Singer after making a touchdown catch against Nevada on Sept. 2.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

For USC’s last year in the Pac-12, it seems fitting the Trojans would start with their first rival.

As college football’s landscape prepares to shift, future Big Ten member USC hosts soon-to-be ACC team Stanford on Saturday. The teams first met in 1905 making the Cardinal USC’s oldest rival. Since 1924, World War II and the COVID-19 pandemic were the only things that stopped the California rivals from playing each other. With conference realignment, there’s no telling when they’ll meet again.

“That’s crazy,” USC safety Calen Bullock said of the indefinite pause on the rivalry. “Knowing the history of Stanford and USC ... we gotta go out there and make it a good one.”

Here are five things to watch for USC’s game against Stanford at the Coliseum on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (FOX):

Tahj Washington gets cooking

Tahj Washington serves soul food classics out of his kitchen and dishes out touchdowns on the field. The redshirt senior receiver leads the Trojans with 160 receiving yards and three touchdowns on five catches this season. He had six touchdowns all of last season.

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