Christian McCaffrey may or may not win the Heisman Trophy, but his performance in the Pac 12 Championship Game on Saturday will almost certainly earn him an invitation to the awards presentation. His running, receiving, passing and kick returning are the main reason why his Stanford Cardinal beat the Southern California Trojans, 41-22. The victory gave Stanford its third title in the past four seasons.
McCaffrey, the son of former NFL star Ed McCaffrey, rushed for 207 yards and a touchdown, caught 4 passes for 105 yards and a score and completed his only pass attempt for 11 yards and a touchdown. He also returned 5 kickoffs for 120 yards and 2 punts for 29 yards.
That adds up to 461 all-purpose yards. He is the fifth player in major college history to rush for 200 yards and have 100 yards receiving.
After a first quarter field goal, McCaffrey found quarterback Kevin Hogan for a trick-play score that put the Cardinal up 10-0. Stanford dominated most of the first half, until USC got on the board with an Alex Wood 40-yard field goal.
The Trojans came out smoking in the third quarter, putting up two touchdowns to take a 16-13 lead. Stanford quickly responded with a four-play touchdown drive featuring a McCaffrey 67-yard catch and run that put Stanford in position.
The teams traded fourth-quarter touchdowns, but McCaffrey’s 10-yard score with 2:53 remaining sealed the victory for the Cardinal. While there were other players on the field making contributions, McCaffrey’s surreal performance overshadowed everyone else on both sides of the ball.
Stanford improved to 11-2 and prepares for a date in the Rose Bowl. USC is 8-5 and awaits their bowl assignment on Sunday.