Saturday, September 22, 2012
Instant Analysis: USC 27, Cal 9
By Garry Paskwietz
It was over when: T.J. McDonald intercepted a Zach Maynard pass at the Trojans' 7-yard line late in the third quarter. The score was 17-9 and California was driving, but McDonald stepped right in front of the Maynard pass and thwarted the Golden Bears' scoring opportunity. The Trojans promptly drove the length of the field for a field goal to go up 20-9.
Game ball goes to: Khaled Holmes. The USC center didn’t play last week due to an ankle injury, and the Trojans' offense struggled in his absence. In this game, USC was without starting left guard Marcus Martin and the left tackle spot had a rotation between Aundrey Walker and Max Tuerk, but with Holmes back in the lineup the offense settled down and put up 488 total yards, including 296 on the ground. Silas Redd had 21 carries for 158 yards and a touchdown, while Curtis McNeal gained 115 yards on 10 carries.
Stat of the game: The Cal offense was able to gain only 250 yards of total offense in the game -- 77 rushing and 173 passing. For an offense that had seen so many explosive plays last week against Ohio State, the Bears' longest play from scrimmage today was 17 yards, and they averaged 2.1 yards per rush.
What we learned from USC: The Trojans responded from a tough loss on the road to Stanford in proper fashion with a solid victory at home. Despite the lofty offensive numbers, the Trojans could have scored a lot more, as they had three turnovers. But it’s a win USC will take as it moves to the bye week.
What we learned from Cal: The Bears were hoping to build upon the momentum of a strong out-of-conference showing last week but were reminded of the reality of where things stand in the Pac-12. This was their ninth straight loss to USC as they were able to muster only three field goals. Of course, that could be considered a positive for the Bears after struggling so much in the kicking game against Ohio State.