USC vs Stanford Football game preview, prediction and more. watch USC vs Stanford college football week 2 game live stream free online. One of the best matchups in Week 2 of college football is on the west coast, featuring two perennial powers. The Stanford Cardinal will head down to Los Angeles to face off against the USC Trojans in a fantastic Saturday evening matchup.
Both teams are ranked in the top-15 of all the major national polls and are looking to improve that this week. USC has national championship hopes, but it teetered in their opener against Western Michigan as they were tied through three quarters. The Trojans’ running game and QB Sam Darnold pulled it out for a tight victory.
On the other hand, Stanford played the week prior against Rice. They played down under in Australia and didn’t face much resistance from their opponent. RB Bryce Love ran wild and the Cardinal took the game, 62-7. They’ll be facing a different animal in the Trojans, so let’s take a look at some keys for both teams, the best matchups and a prediction of the winner.
USC vs Stanford Game Preview
Date: Saturday, Sep. 9
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Venue: L.A. Memorial Coliseum
TV Info: FOX
Stanford vs USC Betting Odds
Point spread: USC -10
Moneylines: Stanford +230, USC -275
Stanford vs. USC has been a long-time rivalry that includes 95 matchups in their history thus far. USC leads the all-time series in dominant fashion, with a record of 60-32-3. But Stanford has taken the last three games, so can USC break that streak or will Stanford continue it? Let’s start with the keys for each team.
Keys for Stanford
For Stanford, it’s pretty darn simple. You have one of the better running backs in the nation in Bryce Love going up against a porous run defense. Keep the ball out of Darnold’s hands and run it down USC’s throat.
Last week, Love rushed for a team-high 180 yards on 13 carries, including one touchdown. But as a team, Stanford added on an extra 107 yards, to give them a rushing total of 287 yards for the day. That’s a massive amount of yards to gain on the ground — even against a poor team like Rice.
On the flip side, the Trojans gave up 263 yards rushing to Western Michigan. That’s a lot of yards to give up against a team like Western Michigan. Love is better than all of the running backs that the Broncos have this season.
If I was David Shaw, I would continue to pound the rock with Love and that offensive line. QB Keller Chryst was efficient and didn’t make any mistakes. That’s exactly what I’m going to need out of him again on the road in Los Angeles.
The Cardinal’s defense was really sound last Saturday, giving up zero points in the first three quarters. Darnold is a completely different animal, but they’ll need to limit the big plays and get off the field on third downs. It’ll be a tough test, but I think it’s one that Stanford is up for.
Keys for USC
It was simple to lay out the keys for Stanford, but it’s a little bit more complicated for the Trojans. USC had the 38th-ranked scoring defense in the country last season and it didn’t really get better this weekend, as they gave up 31 points to Western Michigan.
Their pass defense was sound, giving up only 97 yards, but they did allow 263 yards on the ground, which doesn’t bode well against Stanford and their running backs. Their run defense will need to be significantly better than last week to have a good chance against Stanford.
Darnold’s stat line didn’t look great from Saturday, but he made the timely throws when needed. He finished the game 23-of-33 with 289 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. If he has a similar outing, I don’t see USC pulling out another win.
RB Ronald Jones II had a great game and will need a repeat of it this weekend to help USC to victory. He had 18 carries for 159 yards and every one of those mattered for the Trojans.
USC will need to come out and score in loads to slow down a potent Cardinals’ offense. I don’t think the Trojans’ defense will hold up against Love, so it’s going to be up to Darnold and Co. to bring this game home for USC.
They’ll need to win the rushing yards total and also the time of possession battle. Being at home is an advantage, so hopefully the Trojans make use of it and continue on their road to a CFB Playoff berth.
USC vs Stanford Prediction
USC vs Stanford Football is the second-best game of the week, but has the best chance to be an upset. No. 14 Stanford over No. 4 USC, by a score of 41-31.
Final Prediction: Stanford over USC, 41-31