Technically, Stanford beat USC in the Pac-12 championship game, trouncing the Trojans 41-22. But it might be more fair to say that Christian McCaffrey beat the USC Trojans. I don't mean that as an insult to the other 100 or so Cardinal players, but McCaffrey put together together a historically great performance to cap a historically great season.
McCaffrey gashed USC running the ball, busting out for 205 yards rushing. McCaffrey gashed USC catching the ball. This 28-yard touchdown reception put the Cardinal on top 34-22:
McCaffrey even beat USC throwing the ball. Stanford ran an end-around play for McCaffrey were he lightly tossed a touchdown to quarterback Kevin Hogan.
He ended the game with 207 yards rushing and 105 yards receiving, which made him only the fifth player in FBS history with 200 rushing and 100 receiving in the same game. But McCaffrey also had 120 yards as a kick returner, and 29 yards returning punts. That's 461 all-purpose yards, the fifth most in college football history. (That doesn't include the passing yards.)
In the second quarter, McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders' 27-year-old record for most all-purpose yards in a season. Sanders only played 11 games, but McCaffrey actually broke the record on fewer touches:
Barry Sanders in 1988: 3,249 yds on 394 touches Christian McCaffrey in 2015: 3,254 yds on 388 touches (so far)— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) December 6, 2015
We often hear about "Heisman moments." It's hard to imagine anything more of a Heisman moment stronger than McCaffrey's Saturday night, a dominant championship performance in which a long-standing NCAA record was broken. McCaffrey was already likely headed to New York before the Cardinal's win. But after destroying USC in every conceivable way, we might see him take the trophy from the current favorite, Alabama running back Derrick Henry.