Sports

Cameron Smith's experience invaluable for USC against Stanford

Cameron Smith's experience invaluable for USC against Stanford

The USC Trojans defeated the Stanford Cardinal 42-24 on Saturday night, marking the second consecutive week the team was challenged at home to open the 2017 season but ultimately pulled away. The two teams scored touchdowns on their next five combined possessions, with the Trojans finding the end zone on four of their five first-half possessions. Keller Chryst is completing 58.3 percent of his passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The Cardinal will have to rebound with another road game next weekend as they take on the San Diego State Aztecs. Even so, he helped lead the Trojans to a win.

With USC's offense firing on all cylinders, Stanford turned to its most dynamic playmaker to keep the game close. In the past nine matchups in the series, the team that had the most rushing yards won. He also threw two interceptions against Western Michigan.

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Just like that, USC had an 11-point lead and Darnold catapulted back into the Heisman race that began with Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson becoming the favorite again after he passed for 393 yards and rushed for 132 against North Carolina. Jones ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns in their opening contest, while Love rushed for 180 yards and also had three scores.

Darnold can not afford any miscues this weekend as Stanford looked sharp on defense in their opener.

The Cardinal will face a USC defense that gave up 263 rushing yards to Western Michigan in the season opener.

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But Darnold threw a flawless 49-yard pass to wide receiver Steven Mitchell, who probably made the the nicest catch of his career.

On a scoring drive late in the second quarter, Mitchell also snagged a 49-yard pass from Darnold. Here are the key areas the Trojans will have to improve on to defeat Stanford for the first time since 2014.

USC loaded the box in the second half after struggling to stop Love, and it was an effective maneuver, and Stanford never really had an answer for it in the passing game. I'll take USC by a touchdown. He was 23-of-33 for 289 yards, ran for a touchdown and converted on six of his eight third down attempts. Carr broke off a 53-yard run, and two plays later Darnold connected with Burnett for a 23-yard touchdown to make it 21-14. Kaden Smith contributed 55 yards in four receptions. But against Stanford the play-calling allowed Darnold to scramble and improvise like in the Rose Bowl.

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Mitchell sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in mid-October a year ago, undergoing the second season-ending knee surgery of his college career.


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