“What will be the key to beating Stanford this week?”
Garry Paskwietz: The key to beating Stanford will be Matt Barkley being in sync with Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. If that happens, it stands to reason that the USC offense is going to be able to put up some numbers. The Cardinal pass defense has given up close to 300 passing yards per game so far this year in games against San Jose State and Duke. I’m not sure who those two schools had throwing and catching the football but I’m guessing they weren’t Barkley, Woods and Lee.
Greg Katz: The key to beating Stanford will be opening up the offense full throttle. That means a vertical passing game down field with Woods, Lee, and the tight ends; throwing to fullback Soma Vainuku; an exceptional running game blocking and pass protection performance by the offensive line; and Lane Kiffin calling a good game and not going conservative. If they can accomplish all these necessities, then they’ll simply outscore the Cardinal. If they rely on just bubble screens and conservative play-calling, they won’t.
Johnny Curren: Contain the Cardinal ground game. So far in 2012, Stanford has relied heavily upon its rushing attack to allow quarterback Josh Nunes to get his feet under him as a first-time starter. If the Trojans shut down running back Stepfan Taylor and company, the pressure shifts to the new signal caller who’s had his ups and downs -- he passed for just 125 yards in a close call to San Jose State in the opener. To do this the Trojans will need a big-time effort from a front seven that looks to be more than capable of pulling it off. Led by Morgan Breslin, the defensive line has been a pleasant surprise, while Hayes Pullard and Dion Bailey have been stellar as usual at linebacker.