Cardinal sin

Stanford dominated Oregon in week 11 and took control of the Pac-12 north.  So… what happened when they went down to play USC on Saturday?  Of course, they lost and handed the lead for the Rose Bowl back to the Ducks.  Ouch.

USC started fast, scoring on their first three possessions (TD, TD, FG). Stanford was able to get a TD and a FG before halftime to make the score 17-10.  Despite looking sluggish in the first half, the Cardinal adjusted, got a stop on USC’s opening drive of the second half, and tied the game at 17 on a 10 play 92 yard drive.  It looked like Stanford would take the lead when the ensuing USC drive ended on a sack and a fumble recovered by Shayne Skov at the USC 19. But not only did Ty Montgomery drop a TD pass on 3rd and 3, but also the FG attempt was blocked.  The teams traded punts and then Stanford had a 9 play drive from their own 15 to the Trojan 10 … and failed to score again when Hogan threw a horrible pass that was picked off.  Neither team could move very well after that and it looked like overtime was looming when Stanford took a punt on their own 32 with 3:40 to go.  But Hogan threw another pick on 2nd and 3, giving the Trojans the ball on their own 44.  I don’t understand how shoving Montgomery out of bounds wasn’t interference, but the refs were mysterious all night, and Stanford benefited from some strange calls as well.  USC managed to complete two passes to get to the Stanford 21 and then almost blew it by losing yards on running plays to turn a 38 yard attempt into a 47 yard attempt. But the Trojan kicker put it through the uprights and that was pretty much the ball game.

The keys to the game

  • USC was outgained 337 – 311 and gave up 6 yards per play rushing, but that stat is deceptive. The Trojan linebackers gambled and won enough to keep Stanford from having the kind of dominance in time of possession that we had against the Ducks.  There were more negative rushing plays than usual for the Cardinal
  • USC’s wideouts are much better than Oregon’s.
  • Hogan’s judgement on the turnovers, plus Montgomery’s drops.  I kept thinking: Manziel might have thrown the INTs, but he would have completed enough passes and scrambled to keep drives alive. I also thought that Evans, Labhart or Kennedy would have caught the ball in the endzone.

The Aggies were off this weekend and travel to Baton Rouge to face LSU in Death Valley. The Badgers stomped Indiana in bad weather. Elsewhere

  • Crazy ending of the year was when Auburn scored on 4th and 18 with 25 seconds to go to beat Georgia, on a pass that was deflected by two defenders into the hands of a sprinting receiver who went untouched for the score.  The play covered 73 yards.  The Dawgs almost came back in the last few seconds, but couldn’t pull it off.
  • Duke beat Miami and could win the ACC Coastal division.
  • Baylor remained unbeaten by running away from Tech
  • OK State crushed Texas in Austin.