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Preview: No. 15 Stanford vs. No. 9 USC

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

On Friday night, the No. 15 Stanford Cardinal faces the No. 9 USC Trojans in the Pac-12 Conference Championship game. The game will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. at 8 pm EST on ESPN.

Stanford comes into this game on a three-game win streak and a 9-3 record overall. USC has won four straight games, while they are 10-2 on the season.

Stanford Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello (Getty Images)

Stanford Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello (Getty Images)

It’s a rematch of the 2015 Pac-12 Conference Championship game, In addition, it’s a rematch of Week 2 when the two teams faced each other.

The then-No. 7 Cardinal defeated then-No. 20 Trojans 41-22 two-years ago. Then-No. 12 Stanford was defeated by No. 10 USC 42-24 back in September in Week 2.

Stanford is a three-time winner of the Pac-12 Conference Championship game. Their wins came in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

While this is the Trojans second appearance in the game, they are 0-1 overall. The Trojans, who play in the South Division, will look to be the first team to defeat a North Division team in the championship game.

Stanford is a different team than the Trojans played earlier this season. The Trojans have not seen K.J. Costello, as the quarterback, who replaced Keller Chryst mid-season.

Costello had a career game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It appears like he plays better in big games, and this will definitely be a big game.

If Bryce Love is healthy, Stanford has a really good shot at winning this game.

Sam Darnold, who was an early favorite to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy before falling out of the running, had one of his better games of the season against Stanford. He went 21 of 26 for 316 yards. He also had four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Darnold has had six 300-passing yardage games on the season. This game against the Cardinal in September was the first of the six. Yet, it was the only game this season when he threw for four touchdowns.

Stanford is averaging 32.3 points per game. USC is averaging 34.8 points per game.

Costello is 99 of 162 for 1,169 passing yards. He has nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

Heisman candidate Bryce Love has 215 carries for 1,848 rushing yards with 16 touchdowns. JJ Arcega-Whiteside has 41 receptions for 633 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Darnold has gone 260 of 411 for 3,462 passing yards. He has 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Ronald Jones II has 212 carries for 1,346 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Deontay Burnett has 73 receptions for 966 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

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