Post-USC Interview: Stepfan Taylor

Stepfan Taylor led Stanford's rushing offense once again on Saturday night, taking the ball 23 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns. He played a big role in establishing the Cardinal's power running game, which was critical to its success in overtime.

Taylor scored in big moments: he notched the decisive touchdown in the third overtime, on a five-yard run where he ran straight through the line almost untouched, in addition to scoring the tying touchdown in the dying seconds of regulation on a two-yard run. The Bootleg interviewed Taylor after the game to get his thoughts on beating USC and the power running game.

Can you talk about what it meant to come in here and get a win against this USC team?

Stepfan Taylor: It was an amazing game. Coming out here, playing in this arena—the Coliseum—with a packed house. I mean, we fought through adversity and saw the team stick together, and I was glad to see that. It was just an amazing win.

Can you talk about those goal line situations? You guys had them over and over again— inside the five, power running. You guys pride yourselves as a power running team, right?

ST: Yeah, we practice it all week. Pretty much every day in practice, the whole practice. We have to be ready when the time comes and the time came today, and we executed.

What does it feel like to play a game in three overtimes? You guys must be absolutely exhausted.

ST: I mean, I'm not tired at all. My adrenaline's pumping too much right now. It was an amazing game. It was nice to just see the team stick together through three overtimes. No one on the sideline was doubting each other or anything like that. Everybody just stuck together.

What went through your mind when Andrew threw the pick-six?

ST: I was like, alright, we threw a pick-six, but we've got time—I looked at the clock and we've got three minutes left. I mean, we've had two-minute situations before where we drove down the field. We were practicing it and practicing it, and we were prepared for it.

Can you talk about that personal foul call on the hit on Chris [Owusu]? I mean, if you hadn't gotten that call it might have meant the end of the drive. Was there a sense of relief when you got that personal foul call to keep the drive alive?

ST: I mean, yeah, but it was a player—I was more concerned about how he was rather than the call. There was a lot of "woulda, shoulda, couldas" in the game, but it happened that he hit him late and the call went our way.

What was it like to be in a close game for a change and to win it?

ST: Last year USC was close, but this game right here was just amazing with three overtimes. Like I said, the team stuck together—it was great to see that, and I think we needed a game like this. Not coming out and blowing out teams, but playing a close game and seeing how people respond. We responded well.

What does it mean to you personally and to the program to beat a team like USC three years in a row?

ST: USC's a great team. I mean, we don't come out with a team focus; it's not really just USC, it's just another game on the schedule, another big game on the schedule. We just got to look up and play the game at hand, and focus on the task at hand.

Does it mean anything to you that this game is on national TV? A lot of people know that Stanford's not just a one-man team anymore.

ST: I'm glad, because everyone around the nation saw that the team sticks together and that was great for our team.

Does it feel better to beat USC or to beat Cal?

ST: I mean, a win is a win, no matter who we're playing at the time. That's how I feel.

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