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Sunday, September 16, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Stanford 21, USC 14

By Johnny Curren

A look at the positives and negatives from USC’s 21-14 loss on Saturday to Stanford.

THREE UP

1. USC linebackers

Led by Dion Bailey’s all-around standout play for the second game in a row, this unit was certainly one of the few bright spots for the Trojans. Bailey filled the stat sheet in racking up nine tackles, one for loss, a pass breakup and an interception, while Lamar Dawson was the game leader in stops with ten.

2. Marqise Lee

With Matt Barkley constantly under siege, Lee didn’t get the number of touches that he normally might, but as usual, he was electric with the ball in his hands when he had the opportunity. He finished with 8 receptions for 100 yards, and he had a clutch fourth down reception to keep the Trojans’ final drive of the game alive.

3. T.J. McDonald

No Trojans’ player will take the loss to Stanford harder than McDonald, and it’s safe to say that the senior safety left it all out on the field. The consummate team player, he made nine tackles while also blocking a field goal on special teams.

THREE DOWN

1. USC offensive line

Hit hard by the absence of regular starting center Khaled Holmes due to injury, USC’s offensive line was flat-out overpowered and dominated by a Stanford front seven that sacked Matt Barkley four times and held the Trojans’ rushing attack to just 26 yards. With Cyrus Hobbi filling in at Holmes’ spot, this unit just couldn’t seem to cope with all of the different looks that the Cardinal defense threw at it.

2. USC rushing defense

In its prior two games this season, the Trojans’ defense held its opponents to an average of less than 100 yards a contest on the ground and just 2.6 yards per carry. On Saturday though, the Cardinal battered the USC front seven in typical Stanford fashion, racking up 202 yards with an average of 5.5 yards a rush.

3. USC ground game

One week after finally getting their rushing attack going against Syracuse, the Trojans’ offense took a giant step back against Stanford, averaging a meager 0.9 yards a carry. Neither of the big-name tailbacks ever got going, with Curtis McNeal picking up 37 yards on the ground, and Silas Redd accounting for just 17.