Instant analysis: Stanford 21, USC 14

September, 15, 2012
9/15/12
11:39
PM ET

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Classes at Stanford don’t start until next week. But that doesn’t mean the students moving in couldn’t rush the field. And a field-storming was warranted when the No. 21 Cardinal shocked No. 2 USC 21-14. Here’s how it went down in Palo Alto:

It was over when: Matt Barkley failed to convert a fourth-and-40 (yeah, you’re reading that right) and the Cardinal took over on downs with nine seconds left. The Trojans took over with 2:44 left, trailing 21-14, and Barkley was sacked twice on a drive that included one fourth-down conversion.

Game ball goes to: Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor, who rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. He also had four catches for 61 yards and a score.

Stat of the game: Stanford’s defense held USC to 276 yards of total offense, including just 23 on the ground. Conversely, Stanford totaled 415 yards.

Stat of the game take 2: 4 -- that’s how many interceptions were thrown between Barkley and Josh Nunes during an eight-play stretch in the second quarter, including consecutive interceptions from both quarterbacks on three straight plays.

What this means for USC: For starters, the Trojans' national title hopes are now in serious jeopardy. (Are Stanford's alive?) Not only did they lose, but they looked bad doing it. USC couldn’t run the football, nor could it stop the run -- especially in the fourth quarter, when Taylor wore the Trojans down. Barkley’s Heisman campaign just took a turn for the worse as well.

What this means for Stanford: It owns the Trojans, pure and simple. The Cardinal have now won four straight against USC. Moving forward, the Cardinal now have a signature victory and are back in the national picture.

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