Christian McCaffrey leads No. 7 Stanford past USC

By Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange
Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey (5) smiles walking off the field. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI
Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey (5) smiles walking off the field. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

STANFORD, Calif. -- Running back Christian McCaffrey had 260 all-purpose yards and No. 7 ranked Stanford opened Pac-12 play with a 27-10 victory against the USC Trojans on Saturday night at Stanford Stadium.

McCaffrey rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries and caught four passes for 73 yards and a 56-yard score.


Wide receiver Michael Rector scored on a 56-yard run in the third quarter for the Cardinal, and quarterback Ryan Burns completed 9 of 15 passes for 109 yards and a score with one interception in his second career start.

Stanford (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) defeated USC for the third straight time, including a 41-22 victory in the Pac-12 Championship Game last year at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

McCaffrey had 461 all-purpose yards in the title game. He ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and threw a scoring pass. McCaffrey had 249 all-purpose yards in Stanford's 41-31 regular-season victory over USC last year in Los Angeles


Quarterback Max Browne threw for 191 yards, completing 18 of 28 throws for USC (1-2, 0-1). Wide receiver Steve Mitchell caught five passes for 55 yards, while tight end Tyler Petite had three catches for 73 yards. Ronald Jones rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Justin Davis gained 63 yards on 14 carries.

USC took the second-half opening kick and drove 75 yards in nine plays for a touchdown, cutting Stanford's lead to 17-10 on Jones' 1-yard blast with 11:24 left in the third quarter. Browne hit a wide-open Petite for 38 yards to the Stanford 7, setting up the score.

Stanford responded with Conrad Ukropina's 42-yard field goal to make it 20-10 with 5:44 remaining in the third. The Cardinal forced a quick punt then needed only two plays to strike again.

On second-and-four, Rector scored on a 56-yard end around. Burns faked a handoff to McCaffrey, who ran off right tackle, drawing USC's defense his way. Rector sprinted around left end and was barely touched on his way to the end zone, giving Stanford a 27-10 lead.

USC drove to Stanford's 18, but on fourth-and-1, Jones was stopped for no gain.


Stanford built a 17-3 halftime advantage as McCaffrey carried 20 times for 101 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 72 yards and a score.

The Cardinal grabbed a 7-0 lead with 4:18 left in the first quarter on Burns' 56-yard touchdown pass to McCaffrey, who made USC pay for a coverage breakdown.

As McCaffrey circled out of the backfield and sprinted down the left sideline, no Trojan defender followed him. Burns hit him in stride at the 30, and McCaffrey raced into the end zone untouched, capping a seven-play, 80-yard drive.

USC cut Stanford's lead to 7-3 when kicker Matt Boermeester connected from 47 yards with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.

Ukropina drilled a 31-yard field goal with 9:31 left in the half, extending Stanford's lead to 10-3. After forcing a USC punt, the Cardinal marched 57 yards in eight plays for McCaffrey's 1-yard touchdown leap on fourth-and-goal with 2:11 on the clock.

The Trojans stopped a leaping McCaffrey for no gain on third-and-goal from the 1. But Stanford, using its jumbo package with extra offensive linemen, gave the ball to McCaffrey for the seventh straight time on the drive, and he scored his second TD of the night.


Stanford's eight-play, 57-yard touchdown drive was all on the ground.

NOTES: Trojans DT Noah Jefferson missed the game with a shoulder injury. C Toa Lobendahn (knee) and S John Plattenberg (concussion) were also out. ... Stanford RB Bryce Love, who missed the Cardinal's season-opener against Kansas State with a lower-leg injury, made his season debut. ... USC LT Chad Wheeler started in place of Chuma Edoga, who was demoted after being ejected from last week's game against Utah State for making contact with a referee. ... Stanford DT Harrison Phillips was out with a knee injury. Jordan Watkins replaced him, making his first career start. ... USC RB Ronald Jones, who missed most of the Utah State game with a rib injury, played against Stanford.

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