Vegas Odds & NCAA Football Predictions: Southern California Trojans at Stanford Cardinal (September 8th, 2018)
#17 USC Visits #10 Stanford in Marquee Matchup of the Weekend
The two highest ranking teams facing off in week two of the NCAA season has the #17 USC Trojans visiting the #10 Stanford Cardinal.
The Trojans opened their season with a 43-21 win over UNLV. And in the process, QB JT Daniels, who took over from Sam Darnold – the number three pick in the NFL draft- became just the second true freshman in the team’s history to start the season opener.
He passed his first test with flying colors against a team that is likely to be the easiest on the Trojans schedule. What’s even more impressive about his story is that he transferred to college after completing his junior season in high school. He knew with Darnold graduating the job was open for the taking and he beat out two more seasoned players to claim the starting spot.
All told, he finished his day going 22-35 for 282 yards and a touchdown. The 282 yards was the most ever for a Trojan making his debut at quarterback.
His top target was another rookie, Amon-Ra St. Brown who was his teammate in high school. The two showed great chemistry as he caught seven balls for 98 yards and a touchdown. RB Aca’Cedric Ware paced the ground game with 100 yards and a touchdown on ten carries.
It wasn’t all rosy however, as it took the team some time to find its rhythm. The score was just 19-14 heading into the fourth quarter. But they took over from there, putting up 24 points on the Rebels defense.
Stanford figured to have a tougher test against a San Diego St. team that’s been one of the best mid-majors for the past several years. The Aztecs also couldn’t have asked for a better start as they shut out the Cardinal in the first quarter on the visitor’s field while building a 7-0 lead.
They also managed to hold RB Bryce Love, the runner up for the Heisman last year to just 29 yards on 18 carries for the whole day. But in stacking to stop the run, QB K.J. Costello took full advantage over the final three quarters through the air.
He passed for 332 yards and four touchdowns in leading Stanford to a 31-10 win. WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside was the primary beneficiary, scoring three touchdowns and putting up 226 yards on just six catches.
The defense also held San Diego State to just 263 yards.
Stanford is -6 favorites here and the over/under is 55.5 points. I think the Cardinal at home with a tough defense will be too much for the Daniels and company making his first road start. The Pick: Stanford 35-10.