Sam Darnold bounces back with strong outing, big win vs. Stanford

USC Trojans Football

USC cornerback Iman Marshall

"I mark (2007) as the beginning of the program, where we started to be taken more seriously here at Stanford", Shaw said.

"I enjoy it", Stanford defensive lineman Harrison Phillips said of drawing the Trojans early into the campaign.

"I would say.it's hard to say we played to our standard", Phillips said. "When our fans come out and are loud it helps us as players to have that energy". As USC continues to make a push for a National Championship run, expect Darnold to be improving his game weekly. Carr had 11 carries for 119 yards, including a high of 52 yards. They finished the game with 12 straight runs. I'm not used to saying things like that. We all know what they are going to do.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold set a bar that will be almost impossible to reach.

USC maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half, conceding just a single score after intermission. The junior showed little rust against the Owls, completing 14 of 24 throws for 253 yards and two touchdowns. USC's next conference game is on the road against the Cal Golden Bears on September 23. He missed the first half Week 1 serving a half-game suspension due to a targeting penalty received in January's Rose Bowl Game. In last season's encounter, Stanford posted a 27- 10 victory.

"Yeah, we've got run defense, too", said USC safety Chris Hawkins of a phase coming off a tough Week 1.

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The USC Trojans also look for a 2-0 start after a 49-31 win over Western Michigan. Darnold has two interceptions in three of his last five games.

In Week 1, dropped passes prevented USC from pulling away early. The Trojans are retooling a bit in the front seven after standout lineman Stevie Tu'ikolovatu expired his eligibility, but still have plenty of talent here, headlined by linebacker Cameron Smith and rising star Rasheem Greene at end.

"The ability for our receivers to make plays when needed... it was huge", Darnold said.

Facing the most talented defense of his (young) career - by an order of magnitude - Chryst never found his rhythm.

It wasn't that his night had been subpar - he threw a flawless first half, consistently hitting his receivers and buying time in the backfield to keep busted plays alive.

Darnold completed 21 of his 26 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns, as the Trojans routed the Cardinal 42-24.

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Redshirt sophomore J'Mar Smith's third career start comes against the nation's top defense through one week in 2017. The SEC Bulldogs then drove 76-yards on 11 plays, capped by a 21-yard pass from Fitzgerald to Gabe Myles.

Burnett also reached the end zone twice.

Playing against USC is not going to be the same walk in the park as Rice, but the Cardinal are powered by a solid defensive backfield and a stout, experienced defensive front seven led by senior Peter Kalambayi in Week 1.

Burnett was Darnold's top target, catching six passes for 73 and two touchdowns before halftime.

Darnold's first incompletion preceded an interception. Even though Stanford plans to lean on its ground game, Chryst will have his share of opportunities through the air.

The Cardinal had one first down in the second half, and 116 total yards.

If a single moment stood out for Stanford, it was the sensational, 75-yard touchdown run by Bryce Love to tie the game at 7-7.

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So this essentially returns USC to where it was before the lackluster effort against Western Michigan in the season opener. And in last year's loss to Stanford, USC surrendered 302 yards and two touchdowns to the Cardinal ground attack. USC's defense largely shut down one of the Pac-12's most respected offenses.

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