TALE OF THE TAPE

College Football Week 3: #2 USC At #21 Stanford

#2 USC
#21 Stanford
(credit: Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Coaching
Winner Lane Kiffin and his talented staff usually have the best players on the field, which always helps. But Kiffin has brushed aside detractors who feel he didn’t earn the USC head coaching job (he didn’t) by winning games.
Even without Andrew Luck, David Shaw has his team at 2-0 heading into this huge matchup with Pac-12 favorite USC.
Offense
Winner Can anyone stop the USC offense? The Trojans had balance against Syracuse last week: they threw 30 times (completing 23) and ran 33 times (for nearly eight yards a carry). Matt Barkley set a school record with six touchdown passes.
The Cardinal offense looked completely transformed from Week 1 to Week 2. Josh Nunes threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns against one interception and Stepfan Taylor found the end zone as Stanford put up 50 points against Duke.
Defense
Winner The Trojans have given up plenty of yards, but they’ve forced six turnovers and registered seven sacks. Considering the offenses they’ve faced—Hawaii and Syracuse—it is safe to say this is an above-average unit.
Stanford’s improvement was noticeable on the defensive side as well. The Cardinal held Duke to just 27 rushing yards and forced three turnovers. It will need a similar effort against USC.
Special Teams
Winner Marqise Lee returned a kickoff for a score in the opener and Robert Woods was exceptional returning punts last week. The Trojans don’t seem to have a weakness right now.
Drew Terrell returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown on Saturday and Jordan Williamson converted three out of four field goals.

The Winner Is

Winner #2 USC
4 out of 4

USC has lost to Stanford three years in a row. Don’t expect the streak to run to four, as USC is not only more talented but should play with a chip on its shoulder.

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