Keys to the Game - Stanford

SCPlayBook's Clay DeLeon takes a look at what USC must do to avoid a letdown against Stanford.

Don't Look Past the Opponent

One challenge facing the Trojans this weekend is overlooking the Stanford Cardinal. Stanford is 1-3 this season with blow-out losses to UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State. Their only victory came at the hands of the San Jose State Spartans.

Last season, the Cardinal was 1-11 and may match that mark this season, unless they beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in November, a distinct possibility this year.

With the Cardinal's recent history, it would be easy for any team to look past them. The Trojans have displayed a propensity to play to the level of its opponent over the last three years.

USC needs to come out of the gates firing and play a better game than last Saturday in Husky Stadium.

Recovering from Washington

The Trojans need to "right the ship" and not be lulled into another game plagued with miscues, penalties and injuries. It is essential for USC to get back to playing the championship caliber football displayed in the Nebraska and Washington State games.

Redeeming Booty's Role

John David Booty needs to get his bearings back and steer the Trojans to a more well executed game. To help with upcoming games, Booty needs to recapture the leadership skills and accuracy he displayed against Nebraska and Washington State.

Offensive Line Remix

Key injuries plagued the offensive line when Kristofer O'Dowd and Chilo Rachal came up limping on the same play. In their place will be Matt Spanos and Zack Heberer. The line needs to limit the penalties and return to solid blocking shown previously.

Running Back Continuity

Chauncey Washington, Stafon Johnson and C.J. Gable have been the tailbacks that was so lacking last season. Unfortunately, Gable is injured and will not play and Johnson is day-to-day after having his foot stepped on against the Huskies.

Washington needs to continue his strong running. A second back needs to fill the void left by Johnson and Gable's injuries. Joe McKnight or Allen Bradford should have the opportunity to be featured in the backfield this week, but don't count Hershel Dennis out.

USC takes on Stanford University this Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 4:00 p.m., PST, Versus TV. Top Stories