Saturday, November 14, 2009
Halftime report: Stanford 21, USC 7
By ESPN.com staff
LOS ANGELES -- Is Pete Carroll about to suffer the first November defeat of his career?
Is Stanford about to end USC's run atop the Pac-10?
So far, it looks that way. Two USC turnovers and another strong performance from the Stanford -- on both sides of the ball -- have the Cardinal cruising.
Turning point: After forcing Stanford to go three-and-out on the game's opening possession, USC drove to the Cardinal 17. But quarterback Matt Barkley fumbled on a sack, and the Cardinal scored on its next three possessions.
Stat of the half: 2-0. USC has two turnovers. Both were followed by Stanford TDs. Stanford has no turnovers.
Best player in the half: Toby Gerhart has 73 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns. Guess here is he's going to perk up a bit in the Heisman Trophy race.
What USC needs to do, What Stanford needs to do: USC needs to show some fight on both sides of the ball. Stanford has rushed to the line of scrimmage multiple times and USC hasn't been set. That's the sign of a team that's not focused. The Trojans had some success running the ball. That might be where a comeback starts. Stanford needs to give the Trojans a steady dose of Gerhart and work the clock. The hardest thing for a rising team to do is close the deal. USC will make a run. Can Stanford finish? And thereby become a legitimate Rose Bowl contender.