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USC Football: Top Memorable Matchups Between Trojans & Stanford University

It was a great 118-year run

It is the end of an era as we know it, Trojan fans. Tomorrow, Saturday, September 9, 2023, will be the last time the Trojans will take on one of their biggest rivals, the Stanford Cardinal, as members of the Pac-12. 

The Trojans will be heading to the Big 10 Conference, and the Cardinal will be heading to the ACC starting next season. The Pac-12 will never be what we grew up with; change is coming, and the landscape of college football won't be how we know it. 

However, we have this season to cherish what was between USC and their other conference rivals, and it will all start against the other private school up North. 

Overall, USC has the edge over the Cardinal 63-34-3 with 101 meetings as of Friday. Their rivalry began in the 1930s, and it's been intense ever since. 

USC legendary coach John McKay kicked things off with the first notable incident when McKay accused Stanford of having "no class" fans and how he'd like to beat them by 2,000 points. Stanford head coach Jack Christiansen responded saying, "I wouldn't get into a urinating contest with a skunk." That was the most intense verbal exchange between coaches in the rivalry until USC's Pete Carroll and Standford's Jim Harbaugh. 

In a blowout win against USC, Stanford decided to go for a late two-point conversion and another touchdown. Carroll came onto the field yelling at Harbaugh, 'What's your deal?' Harbaugh then responded, 'What's your deal?' After that, Stanford turned that into a slogan that they used for their season ticket package. 

It's been a hell of a run, and USC is looking to get their 64th win on Saturday, but before that, let's look at some of their best matchups throughout the 118-year history, starting with the 2017 Pac-12 championship, where USC came out on top 31-28. 

USC came out on top to become the first Pac-12 South team to take home the championship. The defining moments came through a pivotal defensive stand and a clutch touchdown drive, masterfully led by quarterback Sam Darnold. Over the course of an eight-play drive, skillfully executed in a span of three minutes and 38 seconds, he orchestrated a march down the field. Darnold was the man, and no one was topping him or his team to bring home the trophy. 

Another recent game where USC came out on top was their upset over Stanford on November 16, 2013. The unranked Trojans hosted the number four Cardinal and won in a thriller, 20-17. A 47-yard field goal sealed the deal with 19 seconds left as the Trojans held their own for the rest of the game. That victory ended Stanford's longest win streak in the series at four and possibly cost them a trip to the national championship game. Oh, how sweet it was. 

And lastly, possibly the most memorable for both schools occurred on October 13, 1979, but there was no victor. The game ended in a 21-21 tie as Stanford stormed back in the second half and scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the game. The Trojans had an opportunity to win it in the last seconds, but a botched snap ruined their hopes and dreams of competing for a national championship as they ended their season 11-0-1. 

This rivalry will always be remembered between the two schools and the hatred, I'm sure, will live on. 

Let's end it on a high note tomorrow, Trojans.