- KC Joyner, NFL Insider
The Stanford Cardinal's 21-14 triumph against the USC Trojans last weekend vaulted them from No. 21 in the AP Top 25 to No. 9, but it also could have served as something of a blueprint as to why the Cardinal have a real shot at winning the Pac-12 for the first time since 1999.
That blueprint has four cornerstones.
1. A dominant defensive front seven
This group shut down a Trojans rushing attack manned by two of the best running backs in college football in Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal, as USC managed to tally a meager 26 yards on the ground in 28 carries.
That raw total goes a long way toward showing that Stanford's run defense was overpowering, but the game tape and metric review make it clear just how truly dominant this group was.
KC Joyner writes that in their victory against USC, the Stanford Cardinal showed four specific strengths that could lead them to a Pac-12 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl.