STANFORD, CALIFORNIA -- Even without Andrew Luck, Stanford still had every answer for Matt Barkley and Southern California.
Josh Nunes threw a go-ahead 37-yard touchdown to Zach Ertz, Stepfan Taylor ran for 153 yards and scored two touchdowns, and No. 21 Stanford upset second-ranked USC 21-14 on Saturday night for its fourth straight win in this series.
Heisman Trophy hopeful Matt Barkley threw for 254 yards and two interceptions while completing only 20 of 41 passes. He was sacked twice on the final drive for the Trojans (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) and threw out of bounds on a final, desperate heave on fourth-and-39 from USC's 25-yard line.
Coming out of a two-year bowl ban, USC had national title hopes. Now the Trojans will have to climb out of a hole to get there.
A sold-out crowd at Stanford Stadium rushed the field, tossing streamers and jumping in a wild celebration at midfield with Stanford coach David Shaw and players caught in the middle of the mess. The Cardinal (3-0, 1-0) are 3-0 for the third straight season for the first time since 1970-72 and have their longest winning streak ever against USC.
Barkley has beaten every conference team but is 0-4 against Stanford. The only chance the senior quarterback and possible No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft has for revenge against the Cardinal now is a rematch in the Pac-12 title game.
Stanford's Jordan Williamson missed field goals of 47 and 23 yards and had a 51-yarder blocked by T.J. McDonald. With a defense that flustered Barkley and a new quarterback that found his footing late, the kicker who missed three field goals in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma state last season could smile in the pile with everybody else.
Except for the Trojans, that is.
A year after Luck led Stanford back in a 56-48 triple-overtime thriller at the Coliseum, a new crop of Cardinal players delivered another moment to savor.
Taylor took a short screen pass and scurried 23 yards for a tying touchdown late in the third quarter. Nunes scampered 12 yards on a third-and-10 from midfield in the fourth and then delivered the strike to Ertz, who juked a defender and dove into the end zone to give Stanford a 21-14 lead and send the home fans into a flurry.
The last chance for USC never amounted to much.
Marqise Lee caught an 18-yard pass on fourth-and-4 on the sideline that was originally ruled out of bounds. After a video replay, officials ruled Lee's left foot landed in bounds and he controlled the ball.
Mistakes finally doomed the Trojans.
USC had a 10-yard holding penalty, then Trent Murphy sacked Barkley, followed by a 5-yard false start penalty on the Trojans and a sack by Chase Thomas before Barkley's final heave out of bounds.
Nunes threw for 215 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 15-for-32 passing in the redshirt junior's biggest game yet. In the end, all that really mattered to Luck's replacement was the win.