The Stanford Cardinals (0-1) travel to take on the #14 USC Trojans (1-0) to kick off Pac-12 action. Stanford opened up the 2021 season with a 24-7 loss to Kansas State, while the Trojans defeated San Jose State 30-7.
Saturday night’s action kicks off at 10:30 p.m. EST inside Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. The contest will be aired nationally on FOX. According to oddsmakers, USC is a 17-point favorite, and the total point over-under is pegged at 53.
What to Know – Stanford Cardinals
The Cardinals weren’t favored in their opener against Kansas State but looked far worse than the talent level on the roster. Stanford was held scoreless for the first three quarters and tallied only 39 yards on the ground. Head coach David Shaw is in his 10th season as head coach at Stanford.
Senior quarterback Jake West started under center and completed 8-of-12 passes for 76 yards with a pair of interceptions. West was replaced by sophomore Tanner McKee, who faired much better, throwing for 118 yards and one touchdown on 15-of-18 passing. The showing earned McKee the starting nod this week under center.
The Cardinals got 194 yards through the air, lead by senior wide receiver Brycen Tremayne (5 receptions, 62 yards, one touchdown). Tremayne hauled in a 14-yard pass late in the fourth quarter to get Stanford on the board for the first time.
Stanford’s defense surrendered 344 yards of offense but held the Wildcats to just 2-of-7 on third down. Kansas State gashed the Cardinals’ front seven, rushing for 200 yards and averaging an eye-popping 6.5 yards per carry.
What to Know – USC Trojans
Last week, Southern Cal took down a tough San Jose State club to begin the season on the right foot. The Trojans’ defense looked solid, holding the Spartans to 68 yards on the ground. Fifth-year head coach Clay Helton has the Trojans primed for a Pac-12 title run.
Junior quarterback and Heisman-hopeful Kedon Slovis tossed a pair of touchdowns, completing 24-of-36 passes for 256 yards. Slovis was First Team All-Pac-12 in 2020 and is currently ninth-favorite to hoist the Heisman trophy.
Senior running backs Keaontay Ingram (15 carries, 86 yards) and Vavae Malepeai (14 carries, 65 yards) split time in the Trojan backfield provided USC with a formidable one-two punch. USC churned out 160 yards on the ground behind 4.7 yards per carry.
Drake London was unrecoverable in the passing game, snagging a career-high 12 passes for 137 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Tahj Washington and senior tight end Erik Krommenhoek each caught a touchdown pass in the opener.
The Trojans got a defensive touchdown from senior safety Greg Johnson who picked off a screen pass attempt and took it 37 yards to the house.
The Pick is In
Stanford is much better than what they showed last week, and the Cardinals offense will try and move the ball better with a change at quarterback. USC is more talented, but a late touchdown by Stanford covers the spread here.
Betting Pick: Stanford Cardinals +17