Title: Stanford Gears Up for Big Challenge Against USC’s Star Quarterback Caleb Williams
Stanford is preparing to face its toughest test of the season as they go up against the formidable No. 6 Southern Cal on Saturday night. USC’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Caleb Williams, has been in top form, leading his team to victories with an impressive completion rate of 74%, nine touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
Williams currently ranks fourth in the nation in passing efficiency (236.4) and fifth in yards per pass attempt (12.2). However, it’s his ability to extend plays and scramble that truly sets him apart. Stanford coach Troy Taylor acknowledges the challenge of containing Williams, stating, “You have to keep him in the pocket… The elongated plays are difficult to cover. He’s a player that doesn’t really have any weaknesses and he has exceptional talent around him.”
Last season, Williams set multiple records for USC, including single-season school records in passing yards (4,537) and touchdowns (42). He also set the program record for rushing yards by a quarterback (382). Stanford’s sophomore safety Scotty Edwards recognizes Williams’ versatility, emphasizing the importance of solid fundamentals and tackling to bring him down.
Stanford’s defense aims to bring a different approach this year under new defensive coordinator Bobby April. In their season opener against Hawai’i, they showcased their ability to shut down opposing offenses with constant pressure, recording six sacks. Sophomore outside linebacker David Bailey, who earned Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week, has been a standout performer with 4.0 tackles for loss per game.
To prepare for Williams’ speed, Stanford’s front seven has been honing their pass rush skills in drills, with a running back simulating Williams’ movements. The team is also utilizing dual-threat freshman QB Myles Jackson as their scout team QB.
Despite being considered significant underdogs, Stanford remains determined to make a statement in this rivalry matchup. The Cardinal’s senior defensive lineman Tobin Phillips believes they have the opportunity to showcase their progress and turn heads across the nation.
This game marks the 102nd meeting between the two programs, with USC being Stanford’s second-most common opponent after Cal (125 games). As the last scheduled meeting between these long-standing rivals, Stanford hopes to replicate their historic upset victory from 16 years ago when they triumphed as 41-point underdogs in the L.A. Coliseum.
With the chance to demonstrate their program’s turnaround, Stanford is ready to take on the challenge and prove that they are heading in the right direction.