The bout between USC and Stanford was one of the many premiere match ups this college football season. The Stanford Cardinal added an unwanted loss to the start of their 2014 season this past Saturday. The USC Trojans had their first win on Saturday at Stanford Stadium since 2008. USC defeated Stanford 13-10, ending Stanford’s 17 home game winning streak.
Stanford was incapable of getting any points off on their first drive of the game, struggling to find a rhythm early. They turned the ball over to the Trojans, who capitalized on the opportunity. USC running back, Justin Davis brought the first touchdown to the scoreboard with his 1 yard run on second and goal.
During the second quarter, Stanford got on the board with a touchdown and field goal, taking the 10-7 lead. The Cardinal missed two field goals, turned the ball over twice and chose to punt the ball instead of attempting two field goals.
The Trojans settled for a 25 yard field goal by Andre Heidari to tie the game, after driving the ball 90 yards but failing to find the end zone.
At the end of a punt return in the third quarter, inside linebacker Hayes Pullard was ejected for targeting against Stanford. The helmet to helmet hit against wide receiver Ty Montgomery showed a clear violation of the rule. College football added this rule to eliminate these types of hits from the game, player safety becoming a stronger concern as each day passes. Pullard is also not to play in the first half of USC’s following game against Boston College.
Mike Pereira, the former head of officiating for the National Football League took to twitter for his thoughts on the targeting call. Pereira tweeted “The targeting call at Stanford was targeting but I still don’t agree with the ejection carrying over to the next game. Too severe.”
With 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, Andre Heidari kicked his career long field goal at 53 yards. J.R Tavai forced a fumble, putting an end to Stanford’s comeback. Last year in Los Angeles, Heidari kicked a 47 yard field goal with 19 seconds left in the game in USC’s win over Stanford.
“I think it says a lot that we can come in against this team, in this environment, and the game not really going our way and not really in our favor, just for whatever reason, and find a way to win,” Sarkisian said.
*Section Photo credit to Bob Stanton, USA Today Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to Tony Avelar, Associated Press