USC receiver Robert Woods catches a touchdown pass behind Stanford cornerback… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
USC tailback Marc Tyler didn't last long in Saturday's game, which ended up going very long before Stanford won in three overtimes, 56-48.
The Trojans' leading rusher gained three yards on his lone carry — USC's first play from scrimmage — but he aggravated a shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago against California.
Tyler walked to the locker room with about five minutes left in the first quarter. He came back to the field in the first half but did not play. When the Trojans came out for the second half, his arm was in a sling.
Tyler suffered a dislocated shoulder against Cal. He rushed for 67 yards in 13 carries last week against Notre Dame but was treated during the game for minor leg injuries.
Fortunately for USC, backup Curtis McNeal filled in admirably — until his fateful fumble that sealed Stanford's win.
McNeal ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns in 20 carries.
USC kicker Andre Heidari bounced back from an injury and kicked two important field goals.
Heidari, a freshman from Bakersfield, was injured last week against Notre Dame on a kickoff that was returned for a touchdown.
He was limited during the week, and Coach Lane Kiffin joked that the Trojans were holding tryouts for a replacement.
Heidari handled all of the kickoffs, however, and booted 33- and 50-yard field goals to help the Trojans go into the locker room at the break trailing only 10-6.
Heidari's 50-yard field goal late in the first half was the longest by a USC player since Quin Rodriguez's 54-yard field goal against Michigan State in the 1990 Sun Bowl.
Heidari has made 13 of 15 field-goal attempts this season.
Kyle Prater, a highly regarded receiver from Illinois who was part of the 2010 recruiting class, got his first career reception in the first quarter against Stanford.
The 6-foot-5 Prater has been beset by injuries since arriving in spring 2010. Coaches also have talked about a need for more consistency in practices.
His six-yard reception helped set up Heidari's 33-yard field goal.
USC's defense had hoped to be the first to stop Stanford inside the 20-yard-line.
The Cardinal entered the game as the nation's best red-zone team, having converted all 38 of its red-zone opportunities, scoring 30 touchdowns and eight field goals.
Now, not counting overtime, Stanford is 44 for 44. The Cardinal was two for two in the first half on a touchdown and a field goal and four for four in the second half, with three touchdowns and a field goal.
Stanford also scored every time it had the ball in overtime, when it got the ball at the 25.
Saturday night's game drew 93,607, the largest Coliseum crowd since USC played Stanford in 2009. That game drew 90,071.
USC is 59-28-3 against Stanford in a series that dates to 1905…. ESPN's "College GameDay" show originated from the Coliseum for the seventh time. The Trojans are now 6-2 as the host school.