USC impresses in win over Stanford, 42-24: 3 takeaways

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Harrison Phillips
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Harrison Phillips /

USC was coming into their matchup against Stanford as seven-point favorites and easily covered, defeating Stanford 42-24.

The Stanford Cardinal and USC Trojans were on collision course for a great Saturday night game after winning their openers in very different fashions. Both teams had great running games and young defenses, but the advantage for USC was with their quarterback and home field.

The Trojans sure made good use of it, as they defeated Stanford, 42-24, at L.A. Memorial Coliseum behind QB Sam Darnold and RB Ronald Jones II. Let’s take a look at three takeaways from the USC-Stanford matchup.

3 Takeaways:

1. Stanford won’t miss RB Christian McCaffrey with RB Bryce Love in the building.

Two weeks in a row where Stanford RB Bryce Love has a monster week. In their 62-7 win in Week 1, Love had 180 yards rushing and while he didn’t have as great of a week against USC, he was still dominant nonetheless.

Love had 17 carries for 160 yards, with one touchdown. His long for the day included a beautiful 75-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter. It was a simple handoff on the first play of the drive and Love took it home for the score.

Stanford’s been blessed with good running backs, with McCaffrey and now Love. He has 340 yards in his first two weeks and I expect him to continue to dominate in the coming weeks.

2. QB Sam Darnold is a gunslinger — regardless if it means a touchdown or interception.

One of the biggest takeaways from Sam Darnold’s play last season was his gun-slinging mentality. Darnold would let the ball fly regardless of what the result was, which is something most pundits applauded.

After the Trojans’ QB had an average performance in Week 1 against Western Michigan, he came back to have a line of 21-of-26, 316 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Stanford’s defense isn’t elite by any measure, but Darnold looked more in command of the offense tonight. As USC continues to make a push for a National Championship run, expect Darnold to be improving his game weekly.

3. USC RB Stephen Carr could make Jones II-Carr a solid one-two punch in the backfield.

Coming into this game, Stanford and College football experts knew that USC’s RB Ronald Jones II would be a huge threat out of the backfield. His rushing and play-making ability opens up a lot of things for Darnold and the passing game.

Next: College Football Week 2: NFL Draft big board – Josh Rosen takes command

What we didn’t see is RB Stephen Carr having an efficient day from the backfield and adding to Jones’ big day. Carr had 11 carries for 119 yards, including a high of 52 yards.

If USC can continue to get production out of their backup running backs, just watch out because the offense will only continue to get more efficient.