What a debut for the ex-Serra star! Jackson caught three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown, lined up at cornerback on defense and returned one punt for 10 yards in the victory over Fresno State. Against hard-nosed Stanford on Saturday, the Trojans will need more magic from their freshman two-way star in order to win big on the road.
Intangible: Solving the Stanford puzzle
Since 2007, USC is 2-5 against the Cardinal and last season’s 20-17 Trojans victory ended a four-game skid to Stanford. With David Shaw at the helm and Stanford’s physicality and discipline on both sides of the football, the Trojans are in for a four-quarter battle at The Farm. Will USC’s high-tempo offense (701 yards on 105 plays last week) be able to out run-and-gun the stingy Stanford defense?
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY SportsMatt Cashore
Across the field: Cardinal WR Ty Montgomery
In Stanford’s season-opening win last week vs. UC Davis, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound receiver pulled in five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. The USC defensive backs will have their hands full with Montgomery and the other athletic Stanford receivers. Against Fresno State, the Trojans surrendered only 160 yards in the air but expect them to be tested early and often by Kevin Hogan and Co.
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY SportsRobert Stanton
Prediction: Stanford 35, USC 30
While USC may get more style points, when it comes down to it, Stanford will make less mistakes and hit a big play late in the second half to seal the deal at The Farm.