- Greg Katz, Columnist, WeAreSC.com
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Notes, quotes, and anecdotes from Stanford Stadium after the Trojans' (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) 21-14 loss to Stanford (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12).
Kiffin comments: “We knew we didn’t play with a lot of discipline today -- two critical personal fouls, and you can’t do that versus a good team on the road.”
On the lack of a running game: “If you don’t run the ball and they’re able to run it -- even though our defense played pretty well for the most part, I thought we put them out there a lot with the lack of third-down conversions.”
On the Stanford defense: “That’s one of the best front seven in the country and they showed it today and they’ve shown it in general.”
Shaw talk: Stanford head coach David Shaw said, “This was a great team effort and that is what we talked about. First and foremost, Derrick Mason and our defensive staff were phenomenal. We were playing a great team and those guys made some plays, but we tried to make them one-dimensional and throw the ball.”
The Stanford Gardener: Stanford’s second-team All-Pac-12 defensive end Ben Gardner said, “We believed in our game plan. We wanted to pressure (Matt) Barkley, rattle him, and take control. It was a great effort and every player had to play his heart out and they did.”
The Streak: The Trojans now have a record four-game losing streak to the Cardinal, and Matt Barkley will leave Troy having never beaten Stanford -- unless he gets one more chance, should the teams meet in the Pac-12 championship game.
The series: The Trojans still lead the series 59-29-3, although the 2005 USC win was vacated due to NCAA sanctions.
It’s offensive: Coming into the Stanford game, the Trojans were averaging 446 yards per game on offense. Against Stanford, the Men of Troy had 280.
The Taylor did it: Talented senior Stanford tailback Stepfan Taylor, who had two killer touchdowns, a 59-yard run and a 23-yard screen pass, said, “Coach basically told us to trust this game. That’s what we did: trust this game. We were going to go down the stretch, going to get tired. We were just going to keep chugging at it.”
Key to victory: The Stanford defense completely dominated the Trojans offense, especially along the line of scrimmage. The Cardinal sacked Matt Barkley five times.
Key to victory Part 2: The Cardinal were in complete command in time of possession in the final quarter, possessing the ball 10:27 compared to the Trojans' 4:33.
Barkley humbled: The Trojans quarterback, near tears afterward, said, “They played better football. They outplayed us. We have to stick together and play Trojans football.”
The last drive: On the Trojans final helpless drive at the end of the game, Barkley quietly said, “We didn’t execute.”
Third-Down Conversions: If you’re looking for a recipe for disaster, the Trojans were 1-of-13 while Stanford was 5-of-14. To put things into perspective, the Trojans were 0-for-7 in the second half while the Cardinal were 4-of-8.
Passing fancy: Coming into the Stanford game, the Trojans were averaging 290.5 passing yards per game. Against Stanford, the Trojans passed for 254 yards.
Nunes time: Replacing the great Andrew Luck seemed like a difficult task, but Stanford coach Shaw had high praise for his quarterback, Josh Nunes. Shaw said, “I can not say enough about Josh Nunes. He did not play a perfect game and has to play much better. He made some unbelievable runs, broke tackles. He made some great throws, as well.”
Getting defensive: Coming to the Stanford game, the Trojans were allowing an average of 359.5 yards per game. Against Stanford, the Men of Troy allowed 417.
On the rebound: Looking to bounce back, Trojans tight end Xavier Grimble lamented, “We’re grown men, and we have to flush it. We knew it was going to be a tough game. They’re a solid defense, and they’ve been together for a long time.”
The message: In the locker room afterward, Grimble said that head coach Lane Kiffin said, “It’s over and we have to come back strong.”
Rush to judgment: Coming into the Stanford game, the Trojans were averaging 169.5 yards per game on the ground. Against Stanford, the Trojans gained only 26 yards on the ground.
The McNeal report: Trojans tailback Curtis McNeal was philosophical about the Stanford loss. McNeal said, “Alabama lost a game last year, and they still won a national championship.”
The good news: The Trojans converted 2 of 3 opportunities in the red zone. On the other hand, Stanford was 0 for 1.
Seeing through the Hayes: Trojans standout linebacker Hayes Pullard was pretty blunt in his assessment of the stinging loss. Pullard said, “We got humbled today. We have to match what we do pound for pound in practice and bring it on Saturday. We have to get better on defense like the offense.”
The thermometer: Temperature at kickoff at Stanford Stadium was 72 degrees.
Redd Zone: Trojans junior tailback Silas Redd, who had two short scoring runs in the first half, said, “Of the three games we have played, this was the most physical game.”
By George: The Trojans started George Uko, normally a defensive tackle, at defensive end. Not a problem for Uko, who said, “I played there my entire high school career.”
SRO: Attendance at Stanford Stadium was 50,360.
2dMark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy
2dKevin Gemmell and Erik McKinney