LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 16: Matt Barkley #7 and Robert Woods #13 of the USC Trojans celebrate a touchdown for a 28-0 lead over the California Golden Bears during the second quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 16 2010 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

USC Plays Its Best Game Of Season, Obliterates Cal 48-14

USC has beaten Cal seven straight times.

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USC 48, Cal 14: Postgame Recap Of A Blowout

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Matt Barkley threw for 352 yards and a school record-tying five touchdowns to lead the USC Trojans in a 48-14 rout of the California Golden Bears in a Pac-10 bout at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Barkley completed 25-of-37 passes to pace the Trojans (5-2, 2-2 PAC-10) in the win, with Robert Woods hauling in seven passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Ronald Johnson caught seven passes as well for USC, gaining 45 yards and scoring twice in the process. Marc Tyler produced 79 yards and scored a touchdown on just seven carries to lead the Trojan ground-game, while C.J. Gable added 72 yards on 13 attempts.

Kevin Riley threw for 193 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss for Cal (3-3, 1-2), while Shane Vereen ran for 53 yards to go with three receptions for 45 yards and a score. Keenan Allen grabbed four balls for 61 yards and a score for the Golden Bears in the setback.

The first quarter was all USC, as the Trojans scored 14 unanswered points, beginning with a 16-yard toss from Barkley to Woods early in the frame. Barkley then found David Ausberry with a 22-yard completion late in the stanza.

The second quarter was more of the same, as the Trojans rolled to a 42-0 halftime advantage. Tyler found the end zone following an 11-yard scamper to give USC a 21-0 lead early in the period, while a nine-yard strike from Barkley to Woods midway through the frame made it 28-0. Barkley then found Johnson on scoring strikes of eight and 11 yards with under a minute to go in the half.

A 27-yard Joe Houston field goal gave the Trojans a 45-0 lead late in the third period.

The Golden Bears finally got on the board late in the stanza, as Riley hooked up with Vereen on a 31-yard TD completion.

Houston connected from 27 yards out early in the fourth quarter to give the Trojans a 48-7 lead.

The Golden Bears added another score late in the frame, as Riley found Allen with an eight-yard TD strike, but by then it was too late as the visitors took the 34-point tumble.

The Golden Bears, who converted only 2-of-10 on third down, gained just 245 yards of total offense during the meeting, compared to that of USC which amassed 602 yards on the day.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: C.J. Gable Might Be Out For Season

It was a great day on the football field for the USC Trojans, 48-14 winners over the Cal Bears at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. But they received some bad news after the game, per Michael Lev of the Orange County Register:

Lane Kiffin said CJ Gable might be out for the season b/c of a knee injury.

Gable ran for 73 yards on 13 carries, but appeared to injure his knee in the fourth quarter.

USC played without freshman running back Dillon Baxter today, who didn't dress due to a toe injury. The injury to Gable is a blow to an increasingly thin running back corps for the Trojans.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: Trojans Dominate Bears, 48-14

The USC Trojans played their best game of the season, crushing the Cal Bears 48-14 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, snapping a two-game losing streak, and providing something positive heading into their bye week as they prepare for Oregon.

The Trojans' 34-point margin of victory was the most over Cal since a 55-14 drubbing in Berkeley in 2001, Pete Carroll's first season.

Here are some eye-popping numbers from the game, which pushed USC to 5-2, and 2-2 in the Pac-10:

  • USC racked up 602 net offensive yards, the second time the Trojans have amassed 600 yards this season. They had 613 yards against Washington State.
  • Matt Barkley tied a USC record with five touchdown passes, and was 25-for-37 with 351 passing yards
  • Freshman Robert Woods caught seven passes for 117 yards and two scores
  • Ronald Johnson caught seven passes for 45 yards and two touchdowns
  • The USC defense, which entered the game 100th in the nation in yards allowed, gave up just 244 total yards and 11 first downs to Cal
  • USC has now won seven straight games against Cal, by an average of 29-10.

USC has a bye next week, before hosting the Oregon Ducks on October 30.

For more USC news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: Matt Barkley's Stellar Day Is Done

The USC Trojans lead the Cal Bears 45-7 as we head to the fourth quarter, in what has easily been the Trojans' best game to date this season. After playing two series in the third quarter, Matt Barkley's day is done.  Barkley ended his day 25-for-37 for 351 yards with no interceptions, and tied a USC record with five touchdowns, the second time Barkley has thrown for five scores this season.

Barkley threw for a career-high 390 yards last week against Stanford.

Mitch Mustain is now playing quarterback for the Trojans, although his role will mostly be to hand off to C.J. Gable and his fellow running backs. Through three quarters, USC has 163 yards on 24 carries, an average of 6.8 yards per rush.

For more USC news and information, please read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: Trojans Obliterating Bears In First Half, 42-0

The USC Trojans are playing like a team that doesn't feel like losing on a last-second field goal for a third straight week. They have completely dominated the California Golden Bears in the first half, and lead 42-0 at halftime.

USC outgained Cal, 371 yards to 64, and the Trojans' much-maligned defense has held Cal to just three first downs. Matt Barkley has five touchdown passes: two each to Robert Woods and Ronald Johnson, and one to David Ausberry.

Barkley has completed 20 of 29 passes in the first 30 minutes, for 256 yards to go with his five scores. Just for fun, here's how Barkley compares to Matt Leinart in the first seven games of their sophomore season:

  • Leinart (2003): 64.3% completion rate, 1886 yards, 17 touchdowns, eight interceptions
  • Barkley (2010):  65.5% completion rate, 1773 yards, 20 touchdowns, four interceptions

Keep in mind, Barkley still has one half left to play today, although the score dictates that Mitch Mustain will see the majority of the playing time under center in the second half.

USC also has 115 yards rushing on just 16 carries, a number that figures to rise greatly in the second half. Marc Tyler led the way with 62 yards on five carries, including one touchdown.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: Trojans Putting The Woods To Bears, 28-0

USC is playing their best game of the season today, taking out their frustrations on the Cal Bears, leading 28-0 midway through the second quarter. The latest USC touchdown came courtesy of a 10-yard pass from Matt Barkley to Robert Woods, for Woods' second touchdown of the game.

The story of the game so far has been the USC defense, which through the first five drives of the game held Cal to 19 total yards and just one first down. The average starting point through the first five drives tell the story:

  • USC has started, on average, at the Cal 43-yard line
  • Cal has started, on average, at the USC 16-yard line

For more USC news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: Trojans Capitalize On Stellar Defense, Lead 14-0 In First Quarter

A second Matt Barkley touchdown strike, this one a 22-yard bomb to David Ausberry, gave the USC Trojans a 14-0 lead in the first quarter over the Cal Bears at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

USC's defense, without two of its top playmakers in Malcolm Smith and Wes Horton today, has shone bright so far, holding call to negative two yards on their first three possessions, without a first down.

Bryan Anger has punted three times so far for Cal, showing good leg, averaging 51 yards per punt, but he may have outkicked his coverage, at least on the first two kicks.

Ronald Johnson returned the first punt for 18 yards, and returned the second punt for 20 yards, setting up the Trojans nicely in both occasions. Anger's third kick was his best, a 53-yard boomer, which Johnson let roll.

Barkley is 8-for-11 for 80 yards passing with two touchdowns so far today.


USC Vs. Cal: Trojans Strike First With Barkley-To-Woods Touchdown

After holding Cal to three-and-out on their opening drive, USC struck first with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley to Robert Woods, who made a wonderful catch, keeping his feet in bounds while catching the ball on the right side of the end zone, giving the Trojans a 7-0 lead with 11:17 remaining in the first quarter.

Outside of the touchdown, the key play of the drive was a 26-yard run by Marc Tyler on 3rd-and-1, to push the ball deep into Cal territory.


USC Vs. Cal: The Gambling Numbers

The USC Trojans are a three-point favorite today against the Cal Bears at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, for those interested in such pursuits. Per our friends at Bodog, here are some betting trends:

  • USC is just 5-13 against the spread in its last 18 games
  • Cal is just 7-14 against the spread in its last 21 games
  • The total score has been under in four of USC's last five home games
  • Cal is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against USC.

For more USC news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal Injury Update: Baxter, Smith, Horton All Out For Today's Game

The Trojans' defense received an blow, as linebacker Malcolm Smith and defensive end Wes Horton are both out for today's game against Cal at the Coliseum. This was expected, as was the fact that freshman running back Dillon Baxter is also out with a toe injury. All three are not dressed for today's game, per the USC athletic department.

Smith is third on the team with 36 tackles, while Horton leads the team with four and a half tackles for loss and three sacks.

In addition, freshman wide receiver will be pulling double duty today, playing cornerback in some defensive alignments. Per USC, just before today's game:

Woods covering Brice Butler in warm-ups. The freshman is going to get a workout today.

The Trojans rank 100th nationally, out of 120 FBS teams, in total defense, allowing 428.7 yards per game.

For more USC news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: Tommy Trojan Prepares For Battle, Claims Another Victim

On campus at USC, the Trojans are well in preparation for today's contest with Cal, as Tommy Trojan has claimed yet another victim:


Image courtesy of Alysha Del Valle of ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

For more USC news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: By The Numbers

Here are some numbers for today's game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum between the USC Trojans and Cal Bears.

  • USC ranks 13th nationally in total offense, at 476.0 yards per game
  • Cal ranks eighth nationally in total defense, at 254.8 yards per game
  • Cal ranks 49th nationally in total offense, at 404.8 yards per game
  • USC ranks 100th nationally in total defense, at 428.7 yards per game, their most allowed since records were kept beginning in 1955.
  • USC has given up 287.5 yards per game passing, which ranks 115th out of 120 FBS teams, and more yards per game than Cal has given up in total.
  • Cal allowed 52 points in a loss to Nevada on September 17, but has allowed 27 points in their other four games combined.
  • USC Quarterback Matt Barkley ranks 14th nationally and second in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency, with a 162.0 rating.
  • USC wide receiver Robert Woods ranks 20th nationally and third in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards, with 152.5 per game.
  • This game features three of the top seven wide receivers in the Pac-10, ranked by yards per game: Woods (fourth, 79.8 ypg), Marvin Jones of Cal (fifth, 75.6 ypg), and Ronald Johnson of USC (seventh, 69.8 ypg)
  • Cal running back Shane Vereen ranks 13th nationally and second in the Pac-10 with 115.4 rushing yards per game, and ranks fourth nationally and leads the Pac-10 in scoring, with 12.0 points per game.

For more USC news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: Last Seven Games

The USC Trojans have enjoyed success in recent years over Cal, having won their last six matchups. The Bears beat the Trojans in triple overtime at Berkeley in 2003, 34-31, but USC has won ever since:

  • 2004: at USC 23, Cal 17
  • 2005: USC 35, at Cal 10
  • 2006: at USC 23, Cal 9
  • 2007: USC 24, at Cal 17
  • 2008: at USC 17, Cal 3
  • 2009: USC 30, at Cal 3

USC has won four straight games against Cal at the Coliseum, with their last loss to Cal a 28-16 contest in 2000.

USC leads the all-time series with Cal, 62-30-5.

For more USC news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.


USC Vs. Cal: A View From The Other Side

As the USC Trojans prepare for battle with the California Golden Bears today, at 12:30 p.m. PDT on Prime Ticket, here's a look at the game from Cal's point of view.

Avinash from the SB Nation blog California Golden Blogs looked at the Cal defense against the Trojan offense:

Don't bite too aggressively on either run or pass. This isn't a joke. In the past two games, we've looked fine against a team that exclusively ran the ball (UCLA) and exclusively passes the ball (Arizona), but now we've got a team that does both extremely well. Discipline will be key. Linebackers Michael Mohamed, D.J. Holt, Mychal Kendricks, Keith Browner and Jarred Price have to be ready to cover their gaps and not give up big gains, but also drop back and defend the tight ends (Cameron and Blake Ayles) and stay up to check the dump off options (Havili).  Rotations and gap control will be critical. Overaggression against an efficient offense like Cal will end up getting us burned (like the Furd were last week in Palo Alto, to the tune of nearly 400 passing yards).

Defensive line needs to be careful not to penetrate too much this week. Remember the Trojans love to use misdirection. If the Bears decide to plug up the gaps with their linemen, Barkley could simply roll out to avoid the overpursuit, and have an open field to survey, leading to a series of many Trojan bootlegs. Hopefully we'll try something creative in place to deal with misdirection calls, because they have been the bread and butter of the USC passing game for nearly a half-decade. Cameron Jordan, Derrick Hill and Ernest Owusu have to be prepared for misdirection and get good pursuit on the quarterback whenever they can.

Then, later in the week, California Golden Blogs surveyed their matchup with the USC defense:

Outside runs with strong receiver blocking. The interesting thing about Cal is they have a very capable set of blocking receivers in Marvin Jones, Keenan Allen and Michael Calvin. Could we see sweeps, tosses, and other sorts of off-tackle runs to Shane Vereen and Isi Sofele to try and attack the outside edge? If they can block out their cornerbacks and put their bodies between the corner and the sideline, that'll open up huge running lanes.

Cal hasn't beaten USC since 2003, writes John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle:

That's all well and good, but because wins and losses define a coach, a signature triumph over a celebrated opponent carries more weight. Alums still get warm and fuzzy talking about Cal's three-overtime triumph over USC in 2003 in Strawberry Canyon.

"Since we've been here, we haven't won down there," senior quarterback Kevin Riley said. "It'd be fun my last year to beat USC. With what we have the capability of doing on offense and with our defense playing well, we definitely have a chance to win. It's up to us to make plays."

Today's game will be called by Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis, and Rebecca Haarlow.

For more Cal news and analysis, be sure to read California Golden Blogs.


Robert Woods May See Playing Time On Defense

Like what you saw out of Robert Woods last week? So did Lane Kiffin, so much that he's considering using the freshman phenom to prop up the Trojans' wobbly D:


The Trojans host Cal at the Coliseum this Saturday afternoon.


USC Vs. Cal: Trojans Staring Down Stingy Cal Defense

(Sports Network) Fresh off a pair of heart-breaking losses, the USC Trojans now return home for the first of three straight games at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, as they face the California Golden Bears in Pac-10 play this weekend.

The Trojans have been less than impressive in their first year under head coach Lane Kiffin, whose club has struggled to put teams away. Following a 4-0 start that included a couple of close games, USC was met with consecutive Pac-10 losses, both on field goals at the gun. The team was first shocked at home by Washington, 32-31, before falling 37-35 at nationally-ranked Stanford last weekend. The pair of last-second defeats now has USC in jeopardy of losing three straight games for the first time since 2001.

California meanwhile, returned to the win column over the weekend with a 35-7 defeat of UCLA. The victory ended a short two-game slide for the Bears, who improved to 3-0 at home. Unfortunately, Cal now heads back out to the road, where it has come up short twice already.

As far as the all-time series is concerned, USC owns a 62-30-5 advantage over Cal and the Trojans have won the last six meetings. The Bears have managed just six points in the past two meetings with USC, which recorded a 30-3 decision last season.

Shane Vereen continues to pile up the yards for Cal, as he rushed for 151 yards and two scores in the victory over UCLA this past weekend. A workhorse, Vereen carried the ball 25 times for a ground attack that amassed 304 yards and he also had a team-high 51 receiving yards. Vereen, the main reason for the team's successful rushing average of 212.8 ypg, has now gone for 577 yards on the ground. His 10 total TDs (eight rushing) are also the most on the roster. QB Kevin Riley has certainly benefited from the steady ground game, completing 60.2 percent of his throws with nine TDs and four INTs. He wasn't needed much against UCLA, though, passing for only 83 yards and a score. Marvin Jones is the player Riley usually looks to first, as he tops the squad with 26 catches and 378 receiving yards.

After getting shredded by Nevada, Cal's defense has really elevated its game, holding its last two opponents to just a total of 17 points. That makes four games this season in which the Bears have held a challenger to 10 points or fewer. The unit was especially good last weekend, limiting UCLA to only 144 total yards, including a mere 26 on the ground. The Bears have been strong against both the run (106.0 ypg) and pass (148.8 ypg) this season, so the effort wasn't surprising. The defense also added five sacks to the equation, giving the team 16 for the year. Darian Hagan turned in all-around effort versus the Bruins, as he logged five tackles, two sacks and an INT. Mychal Kendricks also got involved with a sack and 2.5 TFLs, and he tops the roster in both departments with eight TFLs and 4.5 sacks for the year.

USC's offense did its part last weekend against Stanford and put the team in position to win when Allen Bradford scored the go-ahead TD on a three-yard run with 1:08 left to play. The Trojans didn't have a big game on the ground with just 108 yards, but QB Matt Barkley made up for it by throwing for 390 yards and three TDs. The young gunslinger is enjoying a successful second season, as he has thrown for 1,517 yards with 15 TDs and four INTs. Ronald Johnson has been his favorite outlet with 32 catches, 419 yards and five TDs, but it was Robert Woods who enjoyed a big game versus Stanford. Woods went off for 12 catches, 224 receiving yards and three TDS last weekend, surpassing his season totals entering the game. While the ground attack wasn't all too effective last weekend, USC has had success running the ball on the year, averaging a hardy 213.3 ypg. Bradford leads the way with 533 yards behind an electric 8.3 yard per carry average, while Marc Tyler is next with 359 yards and a team- high five scores.

The problem for USC this season has been its surprisingly bad defense, which is allowing a startling 428.7 total ypg entering the weekend. The defense also let the team down in each of the last two games, allowing both Washington and Stanford to drive over 60 yards in the final minutes to kick game-winning field goals at the gun. Last weekend, Stanford put together a seven-play, 62- yard drive in just over a minute to set up a game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expired. It was a fitting end for a defense that permitted 478 total yards in the contest. The Trojans allowed 285 of those yards though the air to Stanford, which went a near perfect 20-of-24 on pass attempts. The Trojans were able to force and recover three fumbles or things could have been a whole lot worse. T.J. McDonald has been one of the few bright spots for this unit, leading the team with 46 stops, to go with two INTs and a sack.

The Trojans are in need of a win and they should be able to get the job done against a Cal squad that has come up empty in both of its away games. Look for USC to tighten things up on defense, while Barkley gets the offense moving with his arm.

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