After two games, the No. 7 Trojans are 8-0 in the turnover battle, which is great. It means Caleb Williams is under control of the offense, the skill players are valuing ball security, and the defense is forcing takeaways. USC played so well against Stanford on Saturday night that Kirk Herbstreit was ready to buy every box of Lipophedrine that Lincoln Riley had in his garage.
But in football, like in pyramid schemes, the devil is in the details, and lost in USC’s 41-28 win over Stanford was the Cardinal’s ability to move the ball. The final wasn’t as competitive as it seemed — the score was 41-14 at the start of the fourth — but David Shaw’s squad had 221 yards on the ground, an even split of the time of possession, and only 60-some-odd yards less in offensive production (505 to 441). Stanford had more yards rushing against USC than they had in Week 1 against Colgate and they were playing from behind.
I agree that USC’s offense is terrifying. Jordan Addison and Williams already have chemistry. Addison, the Pitt transfer, caught seven balls for 172 yards and two scores Saturday. There aren’t a lot of Pac-12 defenses, if any, that can stop or even moderately disrupt the Trojans’ offense. That said, we know the best way to stop an explosive team from scoring is to keep them off the field, and a sound running game, plus a turnover-free performance, could be enough to pull off an upset.