After Nathaniel Peat smashed a tackle and turned the corner, the Coliseum collectively gasped as Stanford’s quick hatchback sprinted down its sideline.
“I just saw some green grass and had to put the wheels on,” Peat said with a smile.
When he finally came to a halt, his 87-yard touchdown run had given the Cardinal far more than his first seven points in an impressive 42-28 upset over the No.14 Southern California on Saturday night.
“The guys saw Nate take off, and there were some great blocks on the pitch,” said Stanford coach David Shaw. “It just gave us a boost, and then we stopped and said, ‘Hey, you know, we can play with these guys. And not only can we play with them, we can dominate. “”
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That’s exactly what the Cardinal did in a win that dramatically altered the early-season trajectories of two longtime Pac-12 rivals.
Tanner McKee hit two touchdowns and rushed for another score in his first college start as Stanford (1-1, 1-0 Pac-12) rebounded from a brutal 24-7 loss to the State of Kansas last week in which the Cardinal didn’t even score until the final minutes.
Peat racked up a career-high 115 yards, and Kyu Blu Kelly returned a 31-yard interception for a touchdown in Shaw’s 63rd Conference win at Stanford, passing Pete Carroll for the ninth-highest in the league. history of Pac-12.
“It shows who we are as a team,” said Peat. “We have a lot of playmakers and a lot of potential. Last week we didn’t really show who we are.”
McKee was 16 of 23 for 234 yards, and he hit Elijah Higgins and Brycen Tremayne for touchdowns as Stanford took a 29-point lead in the fourth quarter of its ninth win over USC in the rivals’ last 14 meetings. Californians.
“We got a glimpse of what our attack and our team can be,” said McKee, from Southern California with about 30 friends and family in the stands at the Coliseum.
Kedon Slovis had 223 yards, while Keaontay Ingram and Darwin Barlow rushed for touchdowns as the Trojans’ nine-game regular-season streak (1-1, 0-1) ended with a thud . USC committed nine penalties for 109 yards, and the Stanford defense limited Trojans star receiver Drake London to four catches for 68 yards and one touchdown with 5:54 left.
The perpetually hot seat of USC coach Clay Helton has reverted to being a sizzling fajita plate just two games into his seventh season at the helm of a former college football powerhouse with a conference title since 2008.
“Let’s see the end of the year,” Helton said. “This is Game 2, and I have complete confidence in these staff. I have complete confidence in the men who are there, the players, the coaches. We haven’t done our best. tonight, but… I hope we’re looking at the end of the year, and you’re wondering, “Man, this team has really improved since Game 2”.
Peat’s first sprint to the Cardinal sideline was the fifth-longest TD in Stanford history, but USC tied him early in the second quarter with a 15-play, 95-yard TD. McKee put the Cardinal back on track with a 3-yard TD pass to Higgins in fourth only after Stanford decided to go after USC lined up in the neutral zone on a successful field goal.
Stanford took a 21-10 lead just before halftime on TD’s reception from Tremayne, set up by a 49-yard catch by Austin Jones. The Cardinal got 174 of his 248 yards in the first half in just three games, and USC received slight boos from its home crowd towards the locker room, followed by heavy boos for Helton in his interview with the table. board before the kick-off of the second half.
“You hear it,” Slovis said. “You have to face it and play. It’s college football. It’s serious business, so something that comes with expectations at USC. It’s no surprise to all of these guys.”
Kelly reclaimed Slovis’ pass when she deflected London’s hands, and the cornerback escaped Slovis near the goal line to score his first career touchdown. The rout began when McKee scored on a 1-yard goalie late in the third quarter.
“Like I told them in the locker room, you never want that to happen,” Helton said. “But when it’s a start to the season, you can live it. But you have to fix it extremely quickly.”
ON THE 101
The 101st meeting between the two Californian private schools of the Pac-12 resumed a rivalry that was interrupted last season for the first time since 1945 by the coronavirus pandemic.
USC even started the game ominously when kicker Parker Lewis was ejected for aiming his tackle on the opening kickoff. Alex Stadthaus was perfect with two field goals and two more points in place of Lewis.
Take it away
Stanford: The Cardinal probably isn’t as bad as he was last week against K-State, and they might not be as good as they looked they were racking up all those big plays against shocked USC . Either way, McKee fixed Shaw’s quarterback issue after just two games.
USC: The future of Helton is once again the hottest topic among the vast Trojan horse fan base. Sporting director Mike Bohn seemed highly unlikely to make a change mid-season, but one or two more humiliating losses like this could alter any plan.
Stanford: Long trip to face Vanderbilt on Saturday.
USC: A road opener in Washington state on Saturday.