Quarterback Josh Nunes emerges; Stanford shocks Southern Cal
Stanford, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Though the Cardinal offense is considered a work in progress this season, Josh Nunes was solid in his first major tilt as star QB Andrew Luck’s successor and led Stanford to a 21-14 upset win over the No. 3 USC Trojans, in a Pac-12 clash Saturday night.
Stanford has beaten Southern Cal in their last four clashes.
Nunes, who has served as Luck’s understudy for his first three seasons, bounced back in the second half after a shaky opening half, and engineered the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter.
With 10:20 left in the game, Nunes hit Zach Ertz for a 37-yard go-ahead pass.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder Nunes scampered 12 yards on a third-and-10 from midfield in the fourth before delivering the strike to Ertz, who had to fend off the defense before diving into the end zone to give Stanford a 21-14 lead and send many of the sellout crowd of 50,360 at Stanford Stadium in a frenzy.
The 22-year-old fourth-year signal-caller Nunes went 15-of-32 for 215 yards and two TDs. Nunes, intercepted two times in the victory, completed only 6 of 17 passes for 78 yards in the first half.
In last weekend’s 50-13 rout of Duke, Nunes showed flashes of brilliance, completing 16-of-30 passes for 275 yards and three TDs.
Stepfan Taylor rushed 27 times for 153 yards and scored twice for the Cardinal, who also stepped up defensively by holding the Trojans to 1-of-13 on third down conversions.
Even without two-time Heisman finalist Luck leading the offense, the Cardinal (3-0, 1-0) racked up 415 total yards of offense and held the Trojans to just 23 rushing yards on 27 attempts in the victory. Stanford came in as the obvious underdog being ranked No. 16 in the coaches poll.
Nunes’ counterpart, Matt Barkley, did not perform like the Heisman Trophy’s leading contender should after registering two interceptions. Barkley finished 20-of-41 passing with 253 yards and zero TDs.
It not only put a damper on the Trojans’ (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) national title hopes, but also on the Heisman campaign of Barkley, who was sacked twice on the final drive for Southern Cal. Barkley threw out of bounds on a final, desperate heave on fourth-and-39 from USC’s 25-yard line.
Barkley will finish his stellar career going 0-4 against Stanford.
The triumph moved the Cardinal to 26-3 over their last 29 home games at Stanford Stadium dating back to the final home contest of the 2007 campaign.