Southern Cal repeatedly came up big on defense to knock No. 4 Stanford out of the national college football title hunt.
USC kicker Andre Heidari hit a 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play to give the Trojans a 20-17 upset over the Cardinal. The electrifying victory earned USC selection as the Week 12 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year contest.
This is the first time USC has beaten an AP-ranked Stanford team since Oct. 25, 1986, when Stanford was No. 19. Stanford had won in its last three trips to the Coliseum, including a triple-overtime thriller two years ago, and its last four meetings with USC overall.
But USC’s defense came through holding Stanford to its lowest score of the season. Stanford had scored at least 21 in each previous game. included two fourth-quarter interceptions
After tying the game at 17 on its first drive of the second half, Stanford (8-2, 6-2) next six drives resulted in three turnovers, including two fourth-quarter interceptions, and zero points.
In fact, USC’s rugged defense held Stanford to just 88 yards with 75 coming on a single drive that ended with a Trojan interception on a third-down pass at the USC 6 with nearly 10 minutes left to play.
USC quarterback Cody Kessler passed for 288 yards as Trojans (8-3, 5-2 Pac-12) earned their fifth win in six games under its irrepressible head coach Ed Orgeron, who replaced the fired Lane Kiffin in late September.
A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season. Last season’s winner was Texas A&M’s 29-24 shocking upset of Alabama in a Southeastern Conference showdown.
This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.