Stanford’s big 2nd and 3rd quarters route USC 42-28 in the Southland

The Stanford Cardinal cornerback Kyu Blue Kelly makes an acrobatic lunge into the end zone after returning a 31 yard interception off USC Trojan quarterback Kedon Slovis in the second half of Sat Sep 11, 2021’s game at USC in Los Angeles (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

Stanford Cardinal (1-1) quarterback Tanner McKee threw for two touchdowns, went 16-23 for 234 yards in the Cardinal’s first win of the season over their Southern California opponents the USC Trojans (1-1) 42-28. The Cardinal scored 14 points in each of the second and third quarters that helped lead them to victory.

The Cardinal were coming off a opening day loss from last Sat Sep 6th to Kansas State 24-7 and wanted badly to make amends. They shocked the oddsmakers who had USC favored and who were ranked No.14. The Cardinal’s wide receiver Nathaniel Peat had 115 yards and caught a 87 yard touchdown pass from McKee and the Cardinal Kyu Blue Kelly picked off a USC quarterback Kedon Slovis pass for 31 yards for a touchdown that sparked and inspired the Cardinal in the victory.

Stanford head coach David Shaw had his team prepared this week after the Cardinal took that tough loss to Kansas State and the taste of that game was still in their mouths from opening week and the improved offense on Saturday night against the USC defense made things just a little bit satisfying for Shaw and McKee.

McKee had some good looks from the Kansas State opener after starting quarterback Jack West struggled to start that game. McKee did himself well against USC throwing for touchdowns to receivers Elijah Higgins and Brycen Tremayne in the fourth quarter that put Stanford ahead of USC by 29 points.

This was the Cardinal ninth win out of the last 14 games with the Trojans and the Cardinal defense kept the pressure on Slovis all night who went 27-42 for 223 yards, one touchdown and one interception. USC running backs Keaontay Ingram and Darwin Barlow each carried for a touchdowns but the effort was far short with McKee and the Cardinal pouring it in on offensively all night.

The loss snapped the Trojans nine game winning streak which carried over from last season, the Trojans won their opener on Sep 6th handling a very talented San Jose State team 30-7. That Trojan win looked as if it was going to set the tone for Saturday night’s game against the Cardinal but the Cardinal defense held Slovis and the Trojans offense from any developing opportunities and the Cardinal came into this game after studying film from the Trojans last game.

It was so bad for the Trojans that they even had their kicker Parker Lewis ejected from the game on the opening kick off for targeting his tackle. Despite that back up kicker Alex Stadthaus wound up kicking two field goals and two extra points flawlessly.

Next week USC will head to Pullman and face the Washington State Cougars at 12:30 pm on Sat Sep 18th and Stanford will conclude this three game road trip at Vanderbilt (2-1). The Commodores are coming off a close 24-21 win against Colorado State Saturday. Kickoff between Stanford and Vanderbilt is 5:00 pm PDT Sat Sep 18th.

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