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Insider

Questions and answers

LOS ANGELES -- With the Trojans just yards away from possibly handing Andrew Luck and Stanford their first loss of the season and destroying any thought of the Cardinal playing for a national championship, I went back to Friday's "Nickel Package" to see what answers the Trojans gave to the five questions.

Can the Trojans win their one-on-ones?
On both sides of the ball there were one-on-one battles going on the entire game. From cornerback Nickell Robey playing man coverage on Stanford's receivers, allowing USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to be more aggressive with blitzes, to offensive tackles Matt Kalil and Kevin Graf's ability to lock down Pac-12 sack leader Chase Thomas without help from their running backs -- allowing them to release and give quarterback Matt Barkley another outlet -- the Trojans had success in this area.

Can the offense protect Matt Barkley
The Cardinal defense was averaging four sacks a game before Saturday. Stanford finished the USC game without a sack and could drop out of the top spot in the conference in that category. Although Stanford's front seven didn't sack Barkley, there were a few times that the Cardinal had him on the run or on the ground. It was nonetheless a solid performance by all 11 on the field to keep Barkley clean.