Stanford and USC: No Love Lost

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It’s already Week 3 and Stanford is down in Southern California finishing up final preparations to play USC in The Coliseum on Saturday at 5 PM pacific. A road game against a bitter rival is a brutal way to open up PAC-12 play, especially for an offense that is still finding its sea legs. But as I always say, rivalry games are the like the third movie in a trilogy: the rules don’t apply. Despite being 9-point underdogs, Stanford won’t go down without a fight against the Men of Troy. And, as usual, this will be the type of unscripted drama that we’ve come to expect when these teams face off.

Stanford and USC: No Love Lost

The Stanford and USC rivalry is never short on entertainment, both on- and off-the-field. Last year, in the days preceding the game, USC cornerback Josh Shaw got into a little hot water for reasons surrounding his recently sprained ankles. His original version of events featured him as the protagonist who selflessly jumped from a balcony to save his nephew from drowning in a pool. In actual fact, Shaw had jumped from the balcony evading the cops after getting into an argument with his girlfriend. Shaw was suspended for most of the season. I knew USC didn’t stand for the “University of Saving Children.”

This year, the off-the-field drama continues, but this time the perpetrator isn’t a senior, but part of the senior leadership. In late August, head coach Steve Sarkisian decided to unleash his inner frat boy at the annual Salute to Troy event. The one I now call Seven Win[e] Steve had a liiiiitle too much of the liquid courage and said naughty words in front of the team and prominent donors.

Now for the on-the-field excitement: here’s the story of the past 8 years:

  • 2007: Despite being 41-point underdogs and led by their backup quarterback, Tavita Pritchard, Stanford beat USC on a late touchdown and interception to win the Biggest Upset Ever 24-23.
  • 2008: The game was tied at the half, but Pritchard and Stanford couldn’t repeat. USC trounced them in the fourth quarter, and won 45-23.
  • 2009: Dubbed the infamous, “What’s your deal?” game, Stanford handed USC their worst loss since Lyndon B. Johnson was in office. The final score was 55-21, which was, at that time, the most points scored on any USC team ever.
  • 2010: Stanford kicker Nate Whitaker kicked the game winning field goal as time expired. The final score was 37-35.
  • 2011: Things looks grim for undefeated Stanford at the beginning of the third quarter, but they fought back to tie the game with less than a minute to go. Three overtimes later, and Stanford left The Coliseum as winners.
  • 2012: Matt Barkley returned for #OneMoreYear and USC strutted into Stanford stadium ranked #1 in the nation. Barkley was looking for revenge after the last three years. Stanford finally took the lead with about 10 minutes to go, and the defense held on to a 21-14 lead. USC scurried out of Stanford Stadium with a loss, and was ranked #1 for only #OneMoreDay.
  • 2013: USC’s Cody Kessler outdueled Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, and USC’s Andre Heidari kicked a field goal with 19 seconds left.
  • 2014: USC wins a defensive struggle 13-10 in the final minutes on another Heidari field goal.

What in the world will happen next? I know I can’t wait to see the latest chapter in the Stanford v. USC legacy.


Other Stanford news this week:

  • Kicker Conrad Ukropina has earned a scholarship.
  • Former full back/linebacker/helmet smasher, Owen Marecic, is doing super cool science-y things. Healing broken bones with stem cells? Just another day in the life.