The 1-0 #10 Lincoln Riley - Caleb Williams lead USC will take on the 1-0 David Shaw lead Stanford Cardinal on the Farm in Palo Alto, California today in a primetime Pac 12 matchup on ESPN at 4:30 PM PT. The Trojans faced Rice in their week 1 matchup and a 31-14 lead at half, the Trojans went on a 35-0 run in the second half to beat the Owls 66-14 in a defense dominated game for the Trojans whose defense forced 4 picks, 3 of which were returned the other way for USC TDs. Calen Bullock, Shane Lee and Ralen Goforth had the pick 6s and Xamarion Gordon made the 4th pick which gave the Trojans great position. Caleb Williams went 19 for 22 for 249 yards and 2 TDs while rushing 6 times for 68 yards. Tahj Washington had 4 catches for 65 yards for the Trojans. Stanford transfer Austin Jones had 4 carries for 48 yards and 2 TDs while freshman Raleek Brown had 6 carries for 36 yards and a TD. Darwin Barlow had 5 carries for 16 yards and a TD. Belitnikoff Award Winner Jordan Addison had 5 receptions for 54 yards and 2 TDs. The USC defense had 4 sacks and 8 TFL.
Stanford took on Colgate on the Farm and routed the Raiders 41-10 with Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmett Smith's son EJ Smith running the ball 11 times for 118 yards and 2 TDs. Casey Filkins had 6 carries for 20 yards and a TD. Tanner McKee was 22 for 27 for the Cardinal for 308 yards, 2 TDs and a pick. John Humphreys lead Stanford in receving with 4 catches for 88 yards. Michael Wilson had 5 catches for 82 yards and 2 TDs. Ari Patu came in late in the game and was 2 for 3 for 20 yards. He threw his only TD to Mudia Reuben who had 2 receptions for 20 yards and a TD. Stanford's defense had 3 sacks and 4 TFL.
The main factor that will come into play for Stanford will be protecting the ball because they turned it over against Colgate, an FCS team that was 5-6 last year, 4 times and Colgate only turned it over once. Stanford also needs to be more efficient on 3rd Down, going 4 for 9 on conversions in the game. USC needs to focus on locking down the Stanford run game and limiting penalties on the offensive line. The O-Line gave Williams a ton of time and made holes for the running backs so they just need to focus on penalties. If USC locks up the run game and is as good in pass defense as they were last week, they'll win this game.
A big player in this game for SC is RB Austin Jones who transferred to SC from Stanford this past year and has been an instant impact player much like the rest of the roster. This game is Jones's homecoming back to Stanford and Northern California where he grew up. Jones grew up in Antioch in the East Bay and went to a top sports private Catholic School in Oakland, Bishop O'Dowd. In 3 seasons, Jones had 795 carries for 5342 yards and 63 TDs in 42 games. Jones had 32 100+ yard runs in his career at BOD and averaged 6.7 yards a carry. He was a 4 star recruit in 2019, was an All American, was #7 RB in the nation and committed to Stanford. Under Clay Helton, USC recruited and signed #30 RB in the nation 3 star recruit Kenan Christon who had some good seasons with the Trojans before leaving for San Diego State. Jones is going to be a big player in his homecoming to the Bay Area.
Other Homecoming Players:
Mekhi Blackmon (DB, SR) From East Palo Alto, Calif., Menlo-Atherton High School, College of San Mateo: Mekhi made a great impact against Rice and was a lockdown DB against Rice's top receivers like Luke McCaffrey (Christian's brother), totaling 4 tackles and 2 pass breakups. He will be crucial to pass defense today.
Prophet Brown (DB, Freshman) From Sacramento, Calif., Monterey Trail HS: Brown had 7 tackles last year, but it seems like he will be redshirt this year so he won't play.
Devan Tompkins (DE, Freshman) From Stockton, Calif., Edison HS: Tompkins won't play this year, but has a lot of potential at USC.
Jamar Sekona (DL, Sophomore) From Fairfax, Calif., Marin Catholic: Sedona comes from my section. My school and Marin Catholic are bitter rivals, meeting each other in the NCS D4 Championship almost every year. Marin Catholic is home to top QBs like Jared Goff and Spencer Petras. Sekona was produced by Marin Catholic and has performed amazingly for USC. He had 2 tackles and a sack against Rice.
De'jon Benton (DL, Junior) From Pittsburg, Calif., Pittsburg HS: Benton comes from one of the top football high schools in the Bay Area. It is currently home to 4 star QB Jaden Rashada and 4 star WR Rashid Williams. Benton had 5 tackles against Rice and was crucial in stopping the run, so he should see some good time playing today.
Josh Falo (TE, Senior) From Sacramento, Calif., Inderkum HS: Falo is questionable for the game today and hasn't played since 2019, but before that, he showed to be very good. He is in his 6th year and if he sees the field, he should be good for the Trojans.
Last year, USC lost to Stanford 42-28 and the loss resulted in the firing of USC Coach Clay Helton, causing a change over to interim Donte Williams. USC leads all time meetings though with a 62-34-3 record against Stanford. The Cardinal are looking to spoil the Trojans chance at a CFP spot in December while the Trojans are hoping to return to their former years of dominating the Pac 12 and as one of the best teams in College Football.