Stanford entered the Los Angeles Coliseum to play a Pac-12 football game on Saturday walking tall and with high expectations.
The 14th-ranked Cardinal left the Coliseum a little gloomier following its 42-24 loss to host No. 6 USC, a team now in the driver's seat in the South Division but with plenty of back seat trash talking.
It's been a while since USC dominated the Cardinal so thoroughly, collecting 623 yards of total offense, 316 through the air and 307 on the ground. The Trojans had two runners rush for over 100 yards.
"Their offensive line played extremely well," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "Not that we played poorly, but they played really well. We've got to get pressure on the quarterback. We got to him a couple times but a couple times he’ll slip out and make a play with his arm. He’s that good. He made three big time throws; throws that other guys don’t make."
Stanford's offense consisted plenty of Bryce Love and a dash of Keller Chryst, adding up to a paltry 342 yards in comparison. Love rushed for 160 of the team's 170 yards. Chryst threw for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"It's not a setback," said Chryst, who lost his first game as a starter. "It's only going to make us better. Our goals are still intact. We didn't come out on top but it's something to learn from."
The Cardinal never led after Sam Darnold threw the first of his four touchdown passes with five minutes left to play in the first quarter.
The game was tied at 14-all after Dalton Schultz caught a one-yard scoring toss and Jet Toner connected on the PAT early in the second quarter.
The Trojans teed off on Chryst once Stanford fell behind and had to pass.
"We could have pass protected better; gotten more out of the passing game," Shaw said. "Defensively they had a really good scheme for us and we had opportunities to make some plays. Bottom line is we weren't good enough on the field."
Highlights include Love's 75-yard run in the first quarter and interceptions by both Justin Reid and Alijah Holder. The turnovers led only to Toner's 36-yard field goal.
"We can play better," Shaw said. "The challenge is to play better. It's the second game into the season and we're 0-1 in the conference. I'm not going to make more of it than it is. We have a lot of football left."
Stanford looks to rebound at San Diego State on Saturday in a nonconference game slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.