The USC Trojans return from their bye week with a road game against the Cal Golden Bears on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 6:00 PT and will present USC with its second chance of the year at a road win.
The first time the Trojans (ranked No. 23 at the time) went on the road, they lost to the ASU Sun Devils 43-22 in a game that was a lot closer than the score indicated, thanks to a blowout fourth quarter. Both teams posted nearly identical yards on the ground (USC actually outplayed ASU in that department, 402 to 392) but failed to convert on third downs (1-of-9) and had too many turnovers (four). The Trojans offense will need to play better in this game and post a stat line closer to USC's last contest against Arizona (6-of-12 on third downs, only two turnovers).
Cal ranks 37th in the nation in scoring offense (34.6 points per game), which should provide an interesting challenge to the porous Trojans defense (63rd in the nation, allowing 26.4 points per game). USC has allowed 84 points in its last two games and will need to change this trend in order to win this one.
The Trojans are 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in the Pac-12. A road win against Cal would set the team up nicely for upcoming games against Notre Dame on the road and No. 7 Stanford at home.