The USC football team faces its first true test of the season on Saturday when it heads to Palo Alto, California to take on the Stanford Cardinal.The No. 14 Trojans (1-0) look to continue their hot start after a 52-13 drubbing of Fresno State last week. First-year head coach Steve Sarkisian’s new up-tempo offense worked to perfection against the Bulldogs, allowing USC to rack up 701 yards of total offense while running a Pac-12 record 105 plays.Tough test · Senior linebacker Hayes Pullard said in practice that Stanford would be the toughest team USC would face all season. The team captain had 11 tackles against the Cardinal in last year’s 20-17 upset. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanNo. 13 Stanford (1-0) saw similar success in its opening game, dispatching FCS opponent UC Davis 45-0. The Cardinal jumped on the board early, recording their first score on a 60-yard punt return from All-American kick returner Ty Montgomery. Montgomery, who is also the team’s top receiver, was a slight concern going into the game due to offseason surgery on his shoulder, but the senior appeared healthy as ever, also adding a 44-yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter. Head coach David Shaw emptied his bench for most of the second half after Stanford went into the break with a 38-0 lead, likely preventing an even bigger rout.Though they made a strong opening statement, Shaw and the Cardinal’s biggest offseason question remains somewhat unanswered. Running back Tyler Gaffney gashed the USC defense for 158 yards and two scores last season, eventually finishing the year with 1,709 yards and a conference-leading 21 rushing touchdowns. With Gaffney now in the professional ranks, Stanford will have to rely on an unproven ballcarrier to drive its pro-style, run-heavy offense. Neither Barry J. Sanders nor Kelsey Young was particularly impressive in limited attempts against the Aggies, and both will likely see their workloads increase against USC.Young will have his work cut out for him against a strong USC defensive front. The Trojans held Fresno State to a modest 157 yards on the ground behind stalwart efforts from senior linebacker Hayes Pullard and junior defensive end Leonard Williams, who combined for 16 total tackles. Still, Pullard knows the unit must tighten up to stop the Stanford attack.“We definitely have the speed in one-on-ones,” Pullard said. “We just gotta be physically and mentally prepared. I’ve just been preparing, the defensive line, the secondary are just preparing.”What Stanford lacks in experience at the running back position it makes up for in spades at quarterback. Senior signal-caller Kevin Hogan has led the Cardinal to back-to-back Pac-12 titles, acting as an efficient facilitator for a punishing rushing game. This season, without a premier runner, Shaw will have to lean heavily on his field general. Hogan looked sharp against the Aggies, completing 12 of 16 passes for 204 yards and three scores while playing behind an offensive line that featured four new starters.Sarkisian acknowledged that this year’s Stanford offense could look different than the pure power running schemes of seasons past.“When you look at their roster, they have three elite wide receivers in Montgomery, [Michael] Rector and [Devon] Cajuste,” Sarkisian said. “They have a pretty athletic quarterback that can run it as well as throw it. For us it’s about preparing for that and preparing for the power game as well.”USC’s new-look offense should provide an early season challenge for a young Stanford defensive unit. Redshirt junior quarterback Cody Kessler spread the field last Saturday and successfully found a variety of weapons, including two-way freshmen Adoree’ Jackson and JuJu Smith.Kessler will line up against a defense that looks far different from the one that stifled the Trojan offense for most of last year’s upset win. The Cardinal lost four first-team All-Pac-12 defenders to graduation, including linebacker Shayne Skov and safety Ed Reynolds. On the defensive line, first-team all-conference selection Ben Gardner and honorable mention pick Henry Anderson are also gone. In typical Stanford fashion, however, many of these players have been replaced by experienced upperclassmen instead of younger options. Junior Blake Martinez and returning starter A.J. Tarpley combined for 10 total tackles from the inside linebacker position against the Aggies, while junior linebacker Noor Davis added an interception. Sarkisian knows that breaking down this defense will be a much harder task than it was against the Bulldogs.“They’ve got big, physical guys up front,” Sarkisian said. “They’ve got a good scheme. They’re well coached, they stop what you’re good at and they sack the quarterback.”The last two seasons have seen each of these teams upset the other on home turf, and Jackson played up the intensity in this growing rivalry.“It’s going to be a smashmouth football game,” Jackson said. “We’re just gonna have to come out and compete, and it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be a dogfight to the end.”USC leads the all-time series 60-29 with three ties. Catch this year’s game at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.
Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend WATCH: ’08 Celtics squad bares dispute with Ray Allen Learning about the ‘Ring of Fire’ After winning an NBA Championship together in 2008, former Boston Celtics teammates Paul Pierce and Ray Allen did not have an amicable parting of ways, as the latter left for the Miami Heat in 2012.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogBut after admitting “being hurt” by the sharpshooter’s decision to jump ship during an appearance on TNT’s “Area 21” back in May, it seems that Pierce has let bygones be bygones and reunited with Allen.ADVERTISEMENT Break new ground Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson A costly, catty dispute finally settled NU rolls to 2nd win Winning start LATEST STORIES OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson MOST READ Allen, on the other hand, went on to capture another NBA title in South Beach before calling it quits. Khristian Ibarrola /raSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Mayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’ The estranged former comrades posed for a photo together, while appearing at the Super Penguin Basketball Celebrity Game at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in China over the weekend.“Time to get the band back together,” “The Truth” wrote on Instagram, tagging the rest of the “Big 4” members, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.“No matter what happen we all formed a special bond that can never b broken,” he added, using the hashtags #burythehatchet and #onceacelticalwaysaceltic.Meanwhile, the pair have both walked away from the NBA, with Pierce recently signing a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Celtics.NBA: Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s jersey next seasonADVERTISEMENT View comments