Palo Alto, CA – The No.10 Stanford Cardinal (2-0, 1-0) opened the 2018 PAC-12 conference season on Saturday, Sept. 8, defeating the No. 17 USC Trojans (1-1, 0-1) 17-3 at Stanford Stadium.
Senior running back and Heisman hopeful Bryce Love (20) showed signs of the field vision and breakaway speed that helped him eclipse over 2,000 yards on the ground in 2017.
Love finished the game with 136 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, averaging 6.2 yards per touch.
However, with a 59-yard burst in the second half and a 28-yard rush in the opening quarter to set up his lone score on the night, Love’s final stats don’t tell the full story when it comes to this offense’s ability to control the line of scrimmage.
Stanford head coach David Shaw was quick to point out what stands out to him about his star rusher.
“His patience, his toughness, breaking tackles, getting two yards when there was two yards there, getting two yards sometimes when two yards weren’t there and then the big runs happen,” Shaw said.
With Love having finished with just 29 yards on 18 attempts during the Cardinal’s Week One matchup with San Diego State, the positive signs he and his offensive line showed tonight were encouraging, but they will need far more consistency moving forward.
On the other side of the ball, the Stanford defense rose to the occasion holding the Trojans without a touchdown and putting significant pressure on freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels (18).
Though the Trojans finished with 332 yards of offense thanks to a consistent running and a few explosive pass plays, the Cardinal showed top form during any moments of doubt, forcing third down attempts 17 times and interceptions on both of Daniels’ final pass attempts.
Both of those turnovers came from converted cornerback Malik Antoine (3) with under two and a half minutes remaining.
Shaw praised his defense’s performance after the game despite the yardage allowed.
“I commend our defensive staff for the pressure. Our guys played fast,” Shaw said, “For a team like that, to keep them out of the end zone and force two field goals and only get one made, that’s a great defense.”
Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello (3) finished 16-of-27 for 183 yards through the air, including a 9-yard touchdown to tight end Colby Parkinson (84) to close the first half.
The Cardinal will continue their home streak with the third consecutive contest at Stanford Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 15, against the UC Davis Aggies.