Just what Christian McCaffrey needed: a game against USC

11:57 PM ET

STANFORD, Calif. — There’s a picture of every Stanford football All-American in the tunnel leading from the locker rooms to the field, so Christian McCaffrey‘s face already is prominently plastered on that wall.

Before the No. 7 Cardinal kicked off their 27-10 win over USC on Saturday, several of the Trojans’ Song Girls took turns posing for photos in front of McCaffrey’s picture in that tunnel.

McCaffrey has become an icon — even in the circles of Stanford’s rivals.

And about two hours after McCaffrey’s photograph was the primary pregame attraction in the tunnel, the man himself reminded everyone why he’s attained such stature.

McCaffrey again decimated USC in all facets of the offensive game. The junior’s 56-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter opened the scoring, and also evoked memories of his previous game against the Trojans: a 461-yard explosion (all-purpose yards) in the 2015 Pac-12 championship game that led to audible yells and bangs coming from the USC coaching box at Levi’s Stadium.

McCaffrey was just as open on this first score as he was for much of that previous performance against the Trojans — the USC defense bit hard on a fake to Bryce Love on the opening score — and he remained in the clear for the duration Saturday, finishing with 165 rushing yards, 73 receiving yards, and 260 all-purpose yards.

It was yet another spectacular showing for a player who specializes in making them seem routine.

McCaffrey now has surpassed 200 all-purpose yards in 13 of his past 14 games, and he’s developed somewhat of a penchant for punishing the Trojans in particular. McCaffrey’s breakout performance, his first 200-yard game in that stretch, came in Week 3 last season against USC.

He’s now carved up the Trojans three times in just about one calendar year, racking up 970 all-purpose yards against them since last September.

The Stanford team, meanwhile, has feasted off this success: The Cardinal have beaten USC by double digits in three straight meetings for the first time ever.

Stanford’s workmanlike success plows forward — and McCaffrey continues to inject it with energy that’s resonating even behind enemy lines.

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