Less than two weeks after a huge win over the Oregon Ducks, Stanford fell 20-17 in a close game to an explosive USC team. USC won it on a 47-yard field goal by Andre Heidari with 19 seconds remaining.
Trojan receivers Nelson Agholor and Marqise Lee both eclipsed 80 yards receiving and two long Tyler Gaffney touchdowns were not quite enough to pull out the victory.
The Trojans struck first when quarterback Cody Kessler hit Soma Vainuku for a 1-yard touchdown pass. However, USC missed the extra point and took a 6-0 lead.
Tyler Gaffney answered right back with a long 35-yard run to give the Cardinal a 7-6 lead. The lead was short-lived, though, as Javorious Allen punched in a 1-yard run, and the Trojans successfully went for a two-point conversion to take a 14-7 lead before the end of the first quarter.
Each team kicked a field goal in the second quarter, and USC took a 17-10 lead into the break.
The third quarter was less eventful, as the only score came in the form of a third quarter touchdown by the Cardinal. It was another great run by Gaffney, this one from 18 yards out.
Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan struggled throughout the game, throwing for only 127 yards and two interceptions against a young USC secondary. Gaffney was terrific for the second straight week, though, posting 158 yards and those two scores.
Meanwhile, the defense allowed an uncharacteristically high 288 passing yards but managed to hold the Trojans to only 23 rushing yards. Still, the Cardinal offense could only help so much as it remained completely one-dimensional, due to Hogan’s struggles.
With this loss, Stanford no longer controls its own destiny in the Pac-12. With the Cardinal saddled with two conference losses, Oregon is back in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 North and the Cardinal will hope for another Duck loss to regain control.
Next week, Stanford will take on Cal at home in the “Big Game,” one of the most prestigious rivalries in college football.