2009: Stanford 55, USC 21
The 2009 matchup between the Cardinal and Trojans will be forever known as the “What’s your deal?” game. No. 25 Stanford strolled into the Coliseum and proceeded to embarrass the then ninth-ranked Trojans 55-21. Toby Gerhart ‘10 had an outstanding day on the ground with 178 yards rushing and three scores. The most famous moment from that game, however, was when Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh drew the ire of Trojans head coach Pete Carroll for his decision to attempt a two-point conversion in order to drop 50 points on SC. At the postgame handshake, Harbaugh responded to Carroll’s rhetorical question of “What’s your deal?” with a now-immortal response, “What’s your deal?”
2010: Stanford 37, USC 35
The rematch at Stanford Stadium proved to be a far closer affair than the 2009 game. USC’s Matt Barkley and Stanford’s Andrew Luck ‘12 matched each other score for score all night long, with both quarterbacks finishing with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. A failed PAT by Stanford with 9:27 left loomed large until Luck led the Cardinal on a seven-play, 62-yard drive that began with only 1:08 left on the clock. A 30-yard field goal from Nate Whitaker ‘10 as time expired gave the Cardinal a 37-35 win over the unranked Trojans, and Stanford’s fans stormed the field in celebration.
2011: Stanford 56, USC 48 (3OT)
Until this past Thursday, the 2011 matchup between No. 4 Stanford and No. 20 USC was perhaps the most memorable game for Cardinal fans in recent memory. Andrew Luck led a game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter after a pick-six from USC cornerback Nickell Robey gave USC a seven-point lead with three minutes remaining. After Stanford tied the game with 38 seconds, Stanford and USC went to overtime. In the third overtime, Stanford scored a touchdown and two-point conversion. Afterwards, with the Trojans inside the Cardinal 5-yard line, USC running back Curtis McNeil fumbled the football, then-junior linebacker A.J. Tarpley recovered it in the end zone and Stanford remained unbeaten.
2012: Stanford 21, USC 14
The 2012 contest between No. 2 USC and No. 21 Stanford was supposed to be the year, at least in USC fans’ eyes, that the Trojans would break the Card’s winning streak in the series. Stanford had other ideas, as the Cardinal defense wreaked havoc on a depleted Trojan offensive line; while injured USC senior center Khaled Holmes watched on the sidelines, Stanford’s defense targeted his replacement Cyrus Hobbi, leading to four sacks on Matt Barkley. The Cardinal defense pitched a shutout in the second half, and Stanford fans stormed the field again in a wild celebration. Barkley would graduate without beating Stanford, and the Cardinal would have its first four-game winning streak against USC in school history.
Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ stanford.edu.