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Last three meetings: Stanford in Pac-12 Championship

This Friday, No. 12 Stanford (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12) will face off against No. 10 USC (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) in the Pac-12 Championship game at Levi’s Stadium. This will be the second time they’ve met this season, with Stanford losing 42-24 at USC on Sept. 9.

The Cardinal is looking for revenge in this rematch against the Trojans, which will have to involve shutting down quarterback Sam Darnold while protecting against the run. They’ll also seek to extend David Shaw’s 3-0 record for Pac-12 Championship Games. Though the Cardinal will be coming off a short week, having played Notre Dame on Saturday, they have the advantage of Levi’s Stadium being so close it’s practically a home game.

By contrast, USC has farther to travel to get to the game, but it’s coming off of a bye week, making it well-rested for this contest. The Trojans will also be looking for vengeance, though for them it’ll be for the 2015 Pac-12 Championship.

Expect a physical, heart-filled matchup. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the last three times Stanford has made it to the Championship.

Stanford in the NFL: McCaffrey breaks through in Week 9

Week 9 saw some big improvements for several Cardinals in the NFL, especially Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey saw more touches than usual after veteran Jonathan Stewart lost two fumbles during the first quarter. McCaffrey took advantage of the opportunity, rushing 15 times for 66 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win. He also averaged 4.4 yards per carry, which marks a season-best for him. On the receiving end, McCaffrey caught five of six targets for 28 yards in Sunday’s game, recording his fifth straight game with at least five receptions.

Spelfogel: Stanford football gains bowl eligibility, but postseason outlook remains murky

Finally, bowl eligibility! It took until November, but the Cardinal will be returning to the postseason for the eighth consecutive year. Stanford looked underwhelming at times in its victory over the Oregon State Beavers, and the performance raised more questions than answers at the quarterback position. However, the defense was superb, intercepting the ball twice and…

Football roundtable: How can Stanford find offensive life in the Arizona desert?

Stanford plays the Wildcats this Saturday in an attempt to return to victory in the conference against a much weaker Arizona squad. With the offense looking to come back to life against an open Wildcats run defense, desk editors Matthew Bernstein and Lorenzo Rosas, along with senior staff writer Do-Hyoung Park, sit down to discuss the importance of this game to the Cardinal’s bowl run and whether the offense will gel under newly-named starting QB Keller Chryst.