STANFORD, Calif. -- In 2009, No. 9 USC was crushed 55-21 by a 25th-ranked Stanford Cardinal squad at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
In 2010, unranked USC was beaten here by No. 16 Stanford on a last-second field goal. And, most recently, in 2011, the 20th-ranked Trojans nearly upset No. 4 Stanford back at the Coliseum in triple overtime.
Yet, somehow, these 2012 No. 2-ranked USC Trojans still haven't learned their lesson. They continue to underestimate their rivals from up north, and came in for Saturday's game at Stanford Stadium underprepared for the No. 21 Cardinal.
"We tried to take them lightly ... that's probably the reason why we lost," USC tight end Randall Telfer said after Saturday's game, which the Trojans indeed lost, 21-14. "They're a really good team and we kind of maybe expected it to be handed to us, when that really wasn't the case."
Telfer started for the Trojans and caught four balls for 20 yards. In a candid moment after the game, he admitted USC underestimated Stanford -- without placing blame on any specific players or coaches.
“All around, we probably weren't prepared as we should've been for this team,” Telfer said. “They're a really good team.”
Told of Telfer's comments and asked if the Trojans took Stanford as seriously as they should've, USC right guard John Martinez indicated that he felt they didn't. But he said the problem came later in the game, when they ran out of the limited amount of energy they opened the game with.
"You could kind of feel it when we went out there in the fourth quarter," Martinez said. "Things were dead, things weren't as loud as we were coming out in the first half. I wouldn't say we weren't ready, but the energy wasn't there.
"That's all I can say."
Isn't it a little nonsensical to play that way against the only team to beat you three seasons in a row? Yes, Martinez said, it is.
"I would say so," Martinez said. "But we just ... I don't know what to say about that.”