Stanford (1-0) at No. 6 Southern California (2-0), Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
Line: USC by 29 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: USC leads 64-34-3.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The West Coast’s two preeminent private schools meet to kick off conference play in the final season of the Pac-12 before departing for other leagues. The Cardinal started the Troy Taylor era with a comfortable 37-24 win at Hawaii, looking at ease running a more modern spread offense. The Trojans played what amounted to a live scrimmage in a 66-14 thrashing of Nevada in their last trial run before reaching the heart of their schedule.
Stanford tight end Benjamin Yurosek vs. USC’s inside linebackers. Bully ball is gone, but the Cardinal still have a dominant tight end to run their passing game through in Yurosek, who had nine receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown against the Rainbow Warriors. He is the kind of target that gave the Trojans fits last season, so the middle of the USC defense will have to be better. Mason Cobb and Eric Gentry did not play against the Wolf Pack because of undisclosed injuries, and freshman Tackett Curtis was ejected in the first half for targeting, so Shane Lee and former touted recruit Raesjon Davis stepped up to combine for 14 tackles and one sack.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Stanford: OLB David Bailey began his sophomore season in impressive fashion with six tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks against Hawaii. The Cardinal will need Bailey’s athleticism against Trojans QB Caleb Williams.
USC: RB MarShawn Lloyd had 76 yards rushing and a touchdown on seven carries and 59 yards receiving on two catches as the Trojans made a point of trying to better highlight the South Carolina transfer’s speed and athleticism.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Cardinal and Trojans first played each other in 1905. Since 1925, only World War II (1943-45) and COVID-19 (2020) have kept the schools from facing off. ... Stanford QB Ashton Daniels made his first career start against Hawaii, throwing for 248 yards and two touchdowns. … Williams made his first road start for the Trojans at the Cardinal last year, going 20-of-27 passing for 341 yards and four touchdowns. ... Stanford allowed minus-5 yards rushing against Hawaii, its best defensive performance since holding Arizona State to minus-26 yards on the ground on Oct. 10, 2014. … Taylor went winless in four games against USC in 1986-89 as the starting quarterback for California.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll