The No. 2 University of Southern California Trojans (2-0) will head into Stanford Stadium on Saturday night in hopes of ending a three game losing streak to the No. 21 Stanford Cardinal (2-0). Lane Kiffin and his Trojans come into this game with more momentum than any team should ever need. USC is finally bowl eligible after a two year bowl ban, their senior quarterback Matt Barkley is the front-runner for the Heisman trophy, and they have two of the best wide-receivers in the country in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.
The young Stanford secondary are going to have big problems trying to contain the duo of Woods and Lee. Stanford coach David Shaw has already come clean about the topic when he called the pair of wide-outs potentially the best ever.
“I don’t know if there ever has been in the modern era” said Coach Shaw about Matt Barkley’s two favorite weapons.
Both Woods and Lee are 6’1, shy of 2oo pounds, so it isn’t necessarily their size that destroys secondaries. It’s their crisp route-running ability, and game changing speed that do it. It helps to have a future NFL quarterback throwing you the rock as well.
Junior Robert Woods had a record breaking 2011 season. He set a USC and Pac-12 record for most receptions in a season with 111. The previous holder was former Trojan Keyshawn Johnson who had 102 receptions in 1995. Woods caught 15 touchdowns in his sophomore campaign which is second in USC history behind Dwayne Jarret and Mike Williams who each had 16.
Woods is already off to a monster 2012 season, as he has 16 receptions and four touchdowns after the team’s first two victories. Woods ran a 4.43 40-yard dash but it is his route-running ability that is second to none. Pair that with Matt Barkley and this is arguably the best QB-WR threat in the nation. Did I mention these two have the back-shoulder throw in the end-zone down pat?
Sophomore Marqise Lee is benefiting from playing with Robert Woods on more than one level. Not only did Lee learn a lot from Woods during the 2011 season, but Lee has seen number two corner-backs for the majority of his short career at USC. Woods demands an opponents best corner, and Lee benefits. Perhaps we will soon start to see Lee being covered by a team’s best defensive-back as Lee too has had an filthy good start to this season.
Woods may be the more polished possession/slot style receiver, but Lee is on his way. The young buck from Inglewood, California had his “coming out party” in week one, as he caught 10 balls for 197 yards, topped off by 100-yard punt-return touchdown against Hawaii. But unlike most, Lee continued his party in week two has he hauled in 11 receptions for 66 yards and 3 touchdowns against Syracuse!
Coach Shaw and his Stanford Cardinal defense are going to have a long night come Saturday. I do not see a fourth straight victory for the boys wearing Cardinal red this upcoming weekend.
Paul Bentley is a contributor to Rant Sports
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