Football   
    No. 6 USC Football Travels To Stanford
    Taylor Mays

    Taylor Mays

    Nov. 9, 2008

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    No. 6 USC travels to Stanford for Pete Carroll's 100th game as Trojan head coach. And Troy surely will remember the Cardinal's stunning upset last year that snapped the Trojans' Pac-10 record 35-game home winning streak. Carroll, a Bay Area native who is college football's winningest active coach (84.8%), is 25-0 in November games at Troy. Stanford is USC's oldest current rival, with the first meeting held in 1905. The Trojans, coming off a hard-fought win over California, are in the thick of the Rose Bowl race and continue to be ranked high in the BCS standings. This is the 88th straight game that USC has been in the AP Top 25. The Trojans have posted 6 consecutive seasons of AP Top 4 finishes, BCS bowl trips, Pac-10 titles and 11 wins. As has been the case the past few weeks, Troy is ranked in the Top 25 in every national offensive and defensive statistical category, including first in total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and pass defense. In fact, USC's scoring (6.7) defense is its best in 56 years, its total (206.4) defense average is its finest in 41 years and its pass defense (128.7) is its best in 34 years. USC has surrendered just 7 touchdowns in 2008. Standout Trojan defenders include Butkus Award candidates Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing at linebacker (both are Lombardi Award semifinalists) and 2007 All-American first teamer Taylor Mays at safety (he's a Thorpe Award semifinalist), plus Fili Moala at tackle. On offense, QB Mark Sanchez continues to be the Pac-10's passing efficiency and total offense leader. The Trojan running game is led by TBs Stafon Johnson and C.J. Gable (both are 1,000-yard career runners), plus TB Joe McKnight. USC's leading receivers include WRs Patrick Turner (he's 12th among the school's career pass catchers and he has 8 TD grabs this year), Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson. Veteran OG-C Jeff Byers, an Academic All-American candidate in his second year in the M.B.A. program, anchors an offensive line that has only surrendered 9 sacks. Stanford, needing 1 more win this season to become bowl-eligible under second-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, lost at Oregon last Saturday. The Cardinal features one of the country's top rushing offenses behind powerful RB Toby Gerhart, who has 6 100-yard rushing outings in 2008 and with 932 rush yards is on the verge of cracking the 18-year old school season rushing record. Veteran RB Anthony Kimble complements Stanford's ground attack. QB Tavita Pritchard--Trojan fans surely remember his heroics in last year's upset--directs the offense, with WR Ryan Whalen the leading receiver. Stanford `s defense leads the Pac-10 in sacks. The game will be shown live nationally on the Versus cable network. Before the game, the top-ranked USC men's water polo team will play at No. 2 Stanford.