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Insider

Inside the Locker Room: Cal

9/23/2012
The USC offensive line paved the way for both Curtis McNeal (pictured) and Silas Redd to rush for over 100 yards on Saturday, by far USC's best effort on the ground this season. Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- Notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Coliseum after a 27-9 victory by USC (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12 South) over California (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12 North).

Lane Kiffin comments:

On the game: “I think that the game was won at the line of scrimmage. We limited these guys to 77 yards rushing. Our offense and defensive lines, if you look at pluses and minuses when it comes to sacks, we had seven and they had none. That is an explosive offense, and at the end of the day we won it up front.”

On the return of All-Pac-12 placekicker Andre Heidari, who kicked two field goals (40 and 42 yards): “Not to be selfish, but it helps me lot as a play-caller to know your kicker’s range. He kicked really well this week in practice. It was great to have him back.”

On media and fan negativity: “Throughout the week a lot of people were trying to get in and tear them apart. They did a great job of preparing. I thought our guys played played really hard and physical. This easily could have been a hangover game.

Tedford talk: Afterward, Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said, “Up front, they played more physical than us. Zach [Maynard] was under a lot of duress and we couldn’t get our running game going. Up front, they were better than us. USC is gifted all over, not just at wide receiver.”

Cal quarterback Zach Maynard: “USC has a great team and had a great game plan. They were jamming our receivers off the ball, and they were getting hit once they caught the ball.”

The Streak: The Trojans have now beaten Cal the past six times in the Coliseum and defeated the Bears eight in a row, plus 10 of the last 11 games.

Not the cart: Trojans standout sophomore linebacker Hayes Pullard, who led USC in tackles in the first half with three, left the game in the second half on the injury cart and re-appeared after the game with his left arm in a sling.

It’s offensive: Coming into the Cal game, the Trojans were averaging 400 yards per game on offense. Against the Golden Bears, the Men of Troy gained 488 total yards.

The opposition says: On the effectiveness of the Trojans running game, Cal corner Steve Williams said, “I was surprised. They didn’t have a running attack in the previous two games, but they came out here today and pounded the ball down the middle.”

Key to victory: Trojans safety T.J. McDonald intercepted a Maynard pass on the Trojans 7. The Trojans then drove 69 yards, which culminated in a 41-yard field goal by Heidari to ice the game at 20-9.

The offensive scoring average: The Trojans scored 27 points against Cal. Coming into the Cal game, the Trojans were averaging 35.0 per game.

Passing fancy: Coming into the Cal game, the Trojans were averaging 278.3 passing yards per game. Against the Golden Bears, the Trojans passed for a net total of 192 yards.

The bounce-back: Afterward, the Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley said, “I’m proud of the way all of guys played today. Our defense played lights out and the running game was on fire.”

The defensive scoring average: The Trojans defense allowed nine points to Cal. Coming into the game, the Trojans were allowing 20 points per game.

Staying the course: McDonald, on the state of the team, said,” It started right after the [Stanford] game. We didn’t let up. We stayed together even though people were trying to pull us apart.”

Getting defensive: Coming into the Cal game, the Trojans were allowing an average of 378.7 yards on defense. Against the Golden Bears, the Men of Troy allowed 250 yards.

Sackmaster: Defensive end Morgan Breslin recorded three sacks against the Golden Bears. The last Trojans player to record three sacks in a game was former All-America linebacker Rey Maualuga, who made his mark in the 2008 Rose Bowl.

Polamalu pontificates: On the Trojans' reborn running attack, running back coach Kennedy Polamalu said, “The offensive line stayed on their blocks and my guys ran hard. They did well. We’ve got to eliminate the fumble. We knew what we were doing and made a lot of yards after the collisions.”

Rush to judgment: Coming into the Cal game, the Trojans were averaging 121.7 yards per game on the ground. Against the Golden Bears, the Trojans gained 296.

Silas is golden: Commenting on his 158-yard rushing performance, tailback Silas Redd said, “ From the first play we were full force, and we didn’t take our foot off the pedal. We bounced back this week and I couldn’t be more happy. Shout out to Curtis [McNeal] for being a great teammate and allowing me to be his running mate. It says a lot about him and his character.”

Redd Zone: Redd’s 33-yard first-quarter touchdown run off the left side was significant because a key block from sophomore left tackle Aundrey Walker, who was heavily criticized for his performance last week at Stanford.

Walker talker: On his key block on the Redd’s TD run, Walker said, “I came off the ball hard, hugged my man, and Silas cut off my butt and scored the touchdown.”

Walker on the Trojans' game plan: “Our game plan was to run it down their throat. As a whole, we also kept [Matt] Barkley off the ground.”

The meeting: Senior defensive end Wes Horton, who had some injury issues in the early going of the season, got his first sack of the season during the second quarter and later revealed, “I called a meeting of the defensive linemen this week and said we have to get more sacks. We were able to get things off the tape and we saw the mismatches [with their offensive line].”

Star treatment: During the game, the Trojans honored former wide receiver Hal Bedsole, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Up next: The Trojans have a bye this week and return to Pac-12 action on Thursday night, Oct. 4, at Utah.