Making his Pac-12 debut is USC coach Lincoln Riley, as the No. 10 Trojans travel to face Stanford on Saturday. This matchup features one of the conference’s newest coaches and one of its longest-tenured coaches: the Cardinal’s David Shaw.
In Riley’s first game, Rice was defeated 66-14 by the Trojans. Eight different receivers had at least 20 yard receiving for the Trojans. The Trojans’ debut was led by Jordan Addison (Biletnikoff winner), who scored two touchdowns from Oklahoma transfer quarterback Caleb Williams.
Stanford won the 41-10 win over Colgate thanks 118 yards of rushing and two scores by running back E.J. Smith. Tanner McKee, the quarterback, added 308 passing yards and two scores to win the blowout. Stanford will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 3-9 season, which saw just two conference wins.
In their last meeting, USC beat Stanford 42-28. McKee scored two touchdowns. Four of the five previous meetings between these two teams at home have been won by Stanford.
USC vs. Stanford: What you need to know
Wave of transfers Although the Trojans finished 4-8 last season (Riley’s first offseason) it was a marked improvement on their roster. The No. 1 transfer class at USC was brought in by Riley. The No. 1 transfer class featured an All-American receiver, a star freshman QB and almost a dozen defenders. Last season, the roster did not include the top passer, the top three rushers, the top three receivers, the top four rushing backs, and the top two Rice tacklers. How those new faces react to USC’s first match against a Power Five rival will tell a lot.
Star pedigree: E.J. Smith was the junior running back. Smith was an outstanding Stanford running back in his debut game. He ran for 118 and two touchdowns, including a 87-yard scamper. It is likely that his name sounds familiar. Smith is Emmitt Smith’s son. Although the younger Smith was only used sparingly in his redshirt freshman season, he seems ready to assume a prominent role. Since Bryce Love left Stanford for the NFL, Stanford has only been 12-19 in the four seasons. Smith becoming the team’s go-to quarterback would be a huge development.
Quarterback battle: Caleb Williams, the USC quarterback, was ranked No. Caleb Williams, the USC starter, was ranked No. 2. He also ranks as a top-10 player for the 2021 recruiting class. After rushing for 442 yards, passing for 1,912 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns in a limited amount of snaps, he earned many freshman honors from the Sooners. However, don’t look past Tanner McKee. Before leaving for a two year mission, McKee was a junior recruit who was borderline five stars. He turned heads last season when he showed real flashes. In his three games against top-15 opponents, McKee completed 67% passes for 636 yards passing with six touchdowns.
How to live stream USC vs. Stanford
Date: Saturday, Sept. 10 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Lage: Stanford Stadium — Stanford, California
TV: ABC | Live streaming: FuboTV (Enjoy a free trial)
USC vs. Stanford prediction, picks
Featured Game | Stanford Cardinal vs. USC Trojans
Riley’s team has high expectations and good reason. The Trojans remain the Pac-12’s best team, having reached the playoffs multiple times. Stanford’s performance should have been better after 2021. However, it is hard to imagine USC not making its national debut. Prediction: USC (-9).
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