Matt Barkley and the No. 2 USC Trojans were shutdown on Saturday night, especially in the second half, as the No. 21 Stanford Cardinal pulled off a 21-14 upset in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams.
Barkley and the Trojans were held to just 92 total yards and no points in the second half, and dropped their fourth consecutive game to Stanford for the first time in school history.
Cardinal quarterback Josh Nunes completed a 37-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz with 11:10 remaining for the winning score.
Barkley felt pressure all night, as the Trojans felt the loss of center Khaled Holmes. Backup freshman center Cyrus Hobbi was targeted by the Stanford defensive line, and Barkley was sacked five times. Barkley was sacked just eight times in all of 2011, in 12 games.
Barkley completed just 20 of 41 passes on the night for 253 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Trojans had trouble running the ball all night, with 29 yards on 27 carries. Silas Redd, who fumbled once and also left the game briefly with an apparently arm injury, scored two touchdowns but had just 19 yards on 13 carries.
But running the ball wasn't much of a problem for Stepfan Taylor of Stanford, who ran for 156 yards on 28 carries. He scored two touchdowns, including a 59-yard run in the first quarter and a 23-yard screen pass in the final seconds of the third quarter. Taylor caught five passes for 60 yards on the night.
Josh Nunes completed 15 of 32 passes for 214 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for Stanford. He ran for 35 yards on three carries, including a 13-yard run on 3rd-and-10 with 11:35 left in the game, two plays before passing to Ertz for the go-ahead score. Nunes juked his way to the first down:
Marqise Lee caught seven passes for 93 yards for the Trojans, and Robert Woods caught five balls for 45 yards.
USC (2-1, 0-1) returns home to host Cal (1-2) next Saturday at 3 p.m. PDT.
For more news and notes on USC football, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.