Christian McCaffrey did it all! Run, pass and catch, delivering a record setting performance that will place him high on the Heisman Trophy contender list as well as clinching a third Rose Bowl berth in four years. As the most renowned fantasy college football DFS site, Fanpicks.com is proud to provide the highlights of this exciting PAC-12 Championship game.
McCaffrey led the number 7th ranked Stanford to the PAC-12 Championship by rushing 207 yards and a score, throwing a touchdown pass and catching another as they trounced over USC for 42-22 win. Coach David Shaw praised McCaffrey by saying, “To my left here is the best player in the nation, there’s nobody in the nation doing what he’s been doing. It’s not even a debate.”
The Trojans (8-5; No. 20 CFP, No. 24 AP) Cody Kessler, threw for 187 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. USC coach Helton said of the loss “Got some hurt kids in that locker room, they’ve given tremendous effort to get to this point and obviously are extremely saddened by not finishing the job.”
Stanford’s win became apparent as they took control of the game with a pair of touchdowns in a span of just over 3 minutes late in the third quarter. After blowing an early 13-point lead, the Cardinal faced a third-down in their own territory. Hogan then found McCaffrey open in the middle of the field and he ran with for a 67-yard reception down to the USC 7. Hogan ran it in on the next play to put Stanford back on top.
Playing with an injured ankle, Blake Martinez, sacked Kessler and caused a fumble on the very next possession which Thomas was able to recover and ran in for the score… making it 27-16 at that point. “The center came up on me and tried to wall me off and I just went right around him,” Martinez said. “I saw the quarterback still had the ball and I was like, ‘All right, time to make a play.’ When I saw the ball on the ground, I was like, ‘Pick it up, pick it up.’ I saw Solly pick it up and I was like, ‘Yes!’ He scored and it was amazing.”
McCaffrey, who was left completely open in the middle of the field, then caught a 27 yard pass for the touchdown. McCaffrey’s feats led him to break Sander’s 1988 record of 3,250 yards in single season, albeit it took McCaffrey two additional games to achieve it.
The Trojans were completely outplayed for the first 25 minutes into the game, yet the bounced back with three straight scoring drives. Kessler was impressive in driving a 15 play sequence the set up to a 40 yard field goal by Alex Wood cutting Stanford’s lead to 13-3. Kessler rose to the occasion once again in the opening minutes of the third quarter by throwing a 1 yard touchdown pass to Jahleel Pinner further cutting Stanford’s lead to 13-9. The on their very next possession, Ronald Jones II then scored on 27 yard rushing play giving the Trojans the lead at 16-13.
The Cardinal dominated the game early but led only 13-0 due in part to problems converting in the red zone. Stanford held a 210-9 advantage in yards gained but was unable to break the game open. A holding penalty on Rollins Stallworth negated a TD on the first drive, forcing Stanford to settle for a field goal. Stanford later was stopped at the 1-yard line, leading to another short field goal by Conrad Ukropina and Hogan got sacked on a fourth down from the 1.
The only touchdown in the first half came on McCaffrey’s trick play. Hogan pitched to Barry Sanders Jr., who then flipped it to McCaffrey, who had lined up as a receiver. McCaffrey then threw to a wide-open Hogan for his second TD pass of the season.