On Sept. 19, USC lost at home to Stanford. The Trojans gave up 41 points, 195 rushing yards and allowed Kevin Hogan to throw for 279 yards and two scores in a 10-point loss.
The Cardinal improved to 2-1 with that win. They’re now 10-2 and No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
“They started rolling right after they beat us,” USC linebacker Scott Felix said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “But there’s always something we can do to play better. It’s not really ever us against a certain opponent; it’s more of we focus on ourselves (to) do our assignments and everything will take care of itself. We all wanted a rematch with Stanford and we knew that that could end up happening. So we’ve had that motivation this week. We’re just happy to get another shot at these dudes. It’s for all the marbles.”
Stanford and No. 20 USC (8-4) will square off in the Pac-12 Championship this Saturday at 8:45 p.m. ET.
Despite losing to Stanford in the regular season, the Trojans have to like their chances of pulling the upset. After all, they scored 31 points in the first meeting, ran the ball well (28 times for 155 yards and a touchdown), and quarterback Cody Kessler finished 25-of-32 for 272 yards and three touchdowns.
“We all got trust in Cody,” Felix said. “Cody’s our leader and he proves it every day on the field. We’ve all got faith in him to go out and have a good game. But it’s going to come down to just in the trenches. On defense, it’s going to come down to everybody doing their job. I just think the way that we’re preparing, we’re going to be pretty prepared for Saturday. We’re pretty pumped up for it.”
USC has won five of its last seven games since Clay Helton took over for Steve Sarkisian. Originally named the interim head coach, Helton was officially hired earlier this week.
“It was awesome because we were just having our regular Monday morning routine, and then Pat Haden came in so we kind of knew something was up,” Felix explained. “As soon as he gave us word that Coach Helton was hired, we all went crazy. It was nuts. It was honestly such a great feeing. I’m probably not going to forget that for a very, very long time. We feel accomplished this season. We want the coach that we wanted and now we just have to go take care of business this Saturday.”