The Stanford Cardinal's 21-14 triumph against the USC Trojans last weekend vaulted them from No. 21 in the AP Top 25 to No. 9, but it also could have served as something of a blueprint as to why the Cardinal have a real shot at winning the Pac-12 for the first time since 1999.
That blueprint has four cornerstones.
1. A dominant defensive front seven
This group shut down a Trojans rushing attack manned by two of the best running backs in college football in Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal, as USC managed to tally a meager 26 yards on the ground in 28 carries.
That raw total goes a long way toward showing that Stanford's run defense was overpowering, but the game tape and metric review make it clear just how truly dominant this group was.