Posted November 17, 2013

Ed Orgeron, USC keep rolling with upset of Stanford; late Week 12 Snap Judgments

Alabama Crimson Tide, Baylor Bears, Louisville Cardinals, Snap Judgments, South Carolina Gamecocks, Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans
Cody Kessler

USC quarterback Cody Kessler celebrated with fans following USC’s 20-17 upset of No. 5 Stanford. (Robert Beck/SI)

Snap Judgments from the Week 12 late slate. For more coverage, check out files from Auburn-Georgia and Michigan State-Nebraska and our early and midday Snaps.

USC 20, No. 5 Stanford 17: If anything, this felt like a throwback to the epic Stanford and USC games of the not-so-distant past. It’s refreshing to see the Trojans battle toe-to-toe with the powerhouse Cardinal, and it’s a testament to just how motivated USC is under interim coach Ed Orgeron. A fourth-quarter Su’a Cravens interception put the Trojans in position to win, and kicker Andre Heidari drilled the go-ahead 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining to seal the upset.

Stanford put everything it had into last week’s 26-20 win over Oregon, and letdown games exist no matter how prepared and disciplined a team is. (Well, except for Alabama.) Traveling to the Coliseum used to be hellacious, and this served as a little reminder of why the USC head-coaching job is still so coveted — and why school officials won’t balk at paying upwards of $6 million a year to land the candidate they want.

USC forced Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan to attempt to win the game, and he wasn’t quite up to the task. Star back Tyler Gaffney rushed for 158 yards and two scores, but Hogan was shaky and tossed two interceptions. It was clear that coach David Shaw didn’t trust him to make plays with his arm.

The Trojans have responded tremendously under Orgeron, who is embracing Seinfeld‘s philosophy of “the opposite.” USC, perhaps stunningly, has an outside shot to win the Pac-12 South. Suddenly, the Nov. 30 UCLA-USC game is a big one — especially if UCLA beats Arizona State next Saturday.

For now, Coach O can just keep living the dream and swinging his sword.

[RECAP | BOX]

• No. 1 Alabama 20, Mississippi State 7: This was far from Alabama’s finest effort, and a more opportunistic foe than the Bulldogs might have been able to steal one from the Crimson Tide. Yet Mississippi State couldn’t take advantage of favorable position, and ‘Bama did just enough — thanks in large part to an 160-yard rushing night by T.J. Yeldon — to remain undefeated.

The Bulldogs forced four turnovers and largely proved Nick Saban right that Mississippi State may be “the best 4-5 team in the country,” but Dan Mullen’s squad couldn’t avoid its 15th straight loss to a ranked team. I guess now it’s the best 4-6 team in the nation. [RECAP | BOX]

No. 4 Baylor 63, Texas Tech 34: Points points points points points. The party at JerryWorld didn’t disappoint, as Art Briles and Kliff Kingsbury staged a scorefest in Arlington. Texas Tech jumped out to a 20-7 lead, and everyone was eager to see how Baylor would react under pressure. The Bears thrived, going on a 56-14 run to improve to 9-0 (6-0 Big 12).

Although Baylor was down tailbacks Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, it didn’t seem to matter, as Shock Linwood and Devin Chafin helped the Bears finish with 340 rushing yards. Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield (28-of-51, 314 yards, four touchdowns, one interception) and Baylor’s Bryce Petty (17-of-31, 335 yards, three touchdowns) threw all over the field, making for an extremely long (and entertaining) game.

Baylor probably won’t jump Ohio State in this week’s BCS standings, but it took another step toward a potential dream season. As for the Red Raiders, they’re riding a four-game losing streak since opening the year 7-0. [RECAP | BOX]

• No. 11 South Carolina 19, Florida 14: The Gators certainly didn’t go down easy, but Florida remains too injury-ridden to beat a talented team like the Gamecocks.

Freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg replaced the injured Tyler Murphy to make his first career start, and the Gators elected to run as often as possible. Mornhinweg went 10-of-13 for 105 yards and an interception, and Florida only ran 55 total plays on the night.

Behind an inspired defensive output, Muschamp’s squad actually led 14-13 with less than seven minutes to play. But a pair of South Carolina field goals down the stretch sealed it for the Gamecocks. Connor Shaw had a largely forgettable evening, completing just 48 percent of his passes for 212 yards with a score. [RECAP | BOX]

• No. 19 Louisville 20, Houston 13: Given how powerful both offenses have been at times, a high-scoring game might have been expected in this one. But defenses ruled the day for both the Cardinals and the Cougars. In fact, Louisville held Houston to just 195 total yards and an average of three yards per play.

Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have many chances to unload, although Cardinals running back Dominique Brown rushed for 136 yards and two scores. [RECAP | BOX]

No. 21 Arizona State 30, Oregon State 17: Marion Grice scored two touchdowns because Marion Grice scores a lot of touchdowns, and the Sun Devils continue to quietly lead the Pac-12 South. Grice has now found the end zone 20 times on the season. Arizona State’s defense forced five turnovers in the victory. Next week’s showdown at UCLA looms large. [RECAP | BOX]

• Colorado State 66, New Mexico 42: A week after rushing for 312 yards and four touchdowns, Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs ran for 291 yards and six scores to help the Rams improve to 6-5 and clinch bowl eligibility in Jim McElwain’s second season at the helm. [RECAP | BOX]

20 comments
Craig9
Craig9

Why is it "refreshing" to see USC go toe-to-toe with Stanford? Aside from the "what's your deal?" game in 2009, USC has either beaten Stanford or lost by a touchdown or less every year since 1992. 

That's over two decades of either beating the Cardinal or losing by a touchdown or less. Instead of "refreshing," I think the proper word would be "normal."

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

What are Orgeron's chances of getting that job permanently? It still seems slight and I have to wonder why. Unless, of course, you think he's just winning with Lane Kiffin's team.





That last part was a joke.

jeffcooper71
jeffcooper71

Good Game. I enjoyed watching it. Congrats USC.  I guess all those Lane Kiffin supporters were wrong after all.

On a side note, the funniest statement I heard all weekend was Friday Night when Danny Kannell said he would put the Pac12 North up against the SEC west.  I know this is not the SEC's strongest year due to all the injuries but I am still laughing at that statment.

j7apple
j7apple

Orgeron sure is making a case for another head coaching gig.....somewhere....


ShawnH1
ShawnH1

" letdown games exist no matter how prepared and disciplined a team is. (Well, except for Alabama.)" Alabama just played the toughest "stretch of the season - LSU and @ MSST.  They don't ever really have an opportunity for a letdown game. 

Bye week before aTm - followed by Co St., Chattanooga before Auburn, Bye before LSU. Host Ole Miss and take week off with Ga St. They don't have back to back road games. When do they have an opportunity for a letdown game. Did anyone really think they might get caught looking ahead to Chattanooga?

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Thanks for playing (again) this year Stanford. You are becoming the Duke of football. Overrated and over hyped. CHOKERS.  But you'll probably move UP to # 4 now

BrianC2
BrianC2

I hope people don't say Stanford lost to USC just because of their big game against Oregon. USC played hard and deserves the win. It wasn't given to them. They won it.

Darrell1
Darrell1

Hard to hype the Bears too much right now, but next week is put up or shut up time. If the game were anywhere but Stillwater, I'd pick the Bears. This is clearly Baylor's biggest test of the season. By far. Win, and they should be in the national title discussion. Lose, and they still deserve consideration for a BCS bowl. And I hardly think that would be a bad season.

berdosux
berdosux

@Craig9 refreshing because it looked like the "old" USC, with the loud, raucous crowd and the good smashmouth gameplay

Cane87
Cane87

@Rickapolis Orgeron used to be a Miami assistant.  He has no prayer.  You know, because Miami sucks and all.

berdosux
berdosux

@jeffcooper71 Why would you laugh?  Standford and Oregon could compete with the top 2 teams in the SEC West.  Washington, Oregon State aren't pushovers either.

jeffcooper71
jeffcooper71

@ShawnH1 Hate much? Go look at Bama's 2010 schedule. I did not hear Bama haters stick up for them when 6 teams had bye's before playing Bama.  As for scheduling GA state, instead of assuming they scheduled a cupcake, why don't you google how this came about and what the benefit is for GA state?

doghockey
doghockey

@Cane87 And the conspiracy against UM grows to now include former employees.   This diabolical plot is bigger than we all thought.  Thanks for you hard work in bringing this all to light.  Too bad that you were too late to save Bernie Kosar's daughter from being forced into the porn industry.

Cool
Cool

@Cane87 @Rickapolis I think your whining about Miami bias is growing old.  You used that excuse when you thought they should be ranked higher.. even though many warned you that you were in for a let down.. and they were correct.  Now coaches won't get a chance because they have a Miami connection and there is still a Miami bias?   Come on Cane87, it's time for you to get rid of your Miami bias and see life as it really is.

rkcla08
rkcla08

@jeffcooper71sure, it benefits ga state.  so what, it doesn't benefit big-boy football.  there is no question 'bama is one fine team.  but with that, as with other sec teams, they shy away from playing in the cold, wind and rain up north late in the season.  in fact, they all shiver at the thought as they skate into the warm weather bowl games.