USC vs. Stanford five things to watch: A rivalry that may be ending

USC linebacker Raesjon Davis lines up against Nevada on Sept. 2.

USC linebacker Raesjon Davis lines up against Nevada on Sept. 2.

(Johm McCoy / Associated Press)

Even on the cusp of his first start in his three-year USC career, Raesjon Davis didn’t take time to soak in the moment. The night before USC played Nevada, when the junior from Mater Dei would start in place of injured senior Mason Cobb, Davis sat in his hotel room, reviewed the playbook and watched film. It was all perfect.

“It was just a dream come true,” Davis said. “I was just ready for the moment.”

Davis may be in line for a second start as Cobb is still questionable after an unspecified injury. Even when Cobb and Eric Gentry return, Davis will be in position for a larger role after he had four tackles against Nevada. He entered the game with just eight tackles during his USC career, but credited his increased trust with the coaching staff and teammates for helping him seize the larger role.

“When you get an opportunity and you show something you earn the right to continue to compete, you earn the right to continue to gain reps,” Riley said.

The coach noted that the first two games were the two cleanest inside linebacker performances of the coaching staff’s USC tenure, and Davis and Shane Lee provided the cleanest individual performances at the position in the previous two years. Lee, who was thrust into a larger role after freshman starter Tackett Curtis was ejected for targeting in the first half against Nevada, finished with a team-high 10 tackles.