The Cardinals also have had the luxury of preparing for this game for two weeks.
All of this helped mask whatever Pendergast did at various times Saturday night.
The more encouraging sign for USC might have been the production Darnold got around him.
The Stanford Cardinal will take on the USC Trojans in one of the marquee games on Saturday, start time at 8:30 PM ET, at L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California. However, I'm not as high on the Cardinal as I have been in the past and don't think they have the skill position players to hang with a USC team that can light up the scoreboard.
"We've had some hard days with (Stanford) in the past, but I thought our kids had their jaws set", USC coach Clay Helton said. The Trojans allowed Western Michigan to run for 263 yards on 48 carries last week, averaging a healthy 5.5 yards per attempt.
"For us to pull off that victory ... this team can learn how to win and can compete and finish", Shaw said.
"From a blocking standpoint, I thought he did a wonderful job", Helton said of his debut last week. "Not used to saying things like that, so all the credit goes to them".
On Saturday on the road against USC, Love busted loose on a 75-yard scamper that ended putting six points on the board. With three new starters up front, the development of the offensive line is critical to protecting Darnold, as well as opening up running lanes for Ronald Jones and Stephen Carr. Deontay Burnett and Steven Mitchell Jr. have combined for 181 receiving yards on 11 catches while Tyler Petite has three receptions.
It was never supposed to happen that Stanford vs. USC is one of the most important games in the country going on seven years in a row.
Chryst struggled to find a consistent rhythm against USC's quick-strike offense. "When they get rolling, it's scary". Stanford is coming off a bye after that blowout victory over Rice in Sydney to open the season. It also gave the defense a chance to recover after a sluggish start. The Cardinal are anchored by Harrison Phillips, who is an All-Pac-12 caliber defender in the middle of the unit.
Western Michigan found success by exploiting cutback lanes as outside linebackers Porter Gustin and Uchenna Nwosu, who played as defensive ends while USC used nickel personnel for almost the entire game, crashed inside and failed to hold the edge. That's right. No conference championship for the Trojans since 2008. USC's defense largely shut down one of the Pac-12's most respected offenses.
I hesitate to use Stanford's 62-7 trouncing of Rice and USC's tough win over Western Michigan as barometers for this upcoming matchup.
USC: The Trojans welcome Texas to the Coliseum for a meeting of two powerhouse programs.