I will have a little more on Saturday's win later today but I wanted to get some links and notes up from over the weekend that looked at the game.
Everyone feels great about Saturday's win and while some questions remain there is no question that beating Cal in Berkley does a lot to build the confidence of the team and the fans. But we can't get ahead of ourselves as the The going will only get tougher for USC...
USC's fourth win sent the Trojans into their off week with a template for success: defense, defense, running and efficient play at quarterback.
Oh, there are still issues. The offense ran like a Rolls Royce between the 20s but sputtered near the goal line, settling for one touchdown and three field goals before scoring a late, tack-on touchdown.
"We're still not where we want to be," tailback Allen Bradford, who battered his way for 53 yards, said on the field after the game. "As the season goes on, we want to get better and better."
And, you know what, it's entirely possible.
Last week, the Trojans slogged to a sloppy home win over Washington State but moved up five spots to No. 7 in the polls because four top-10 schools lost.
Saturday, USC played its most complete game against a school whose name doesn't start with "San Jose." Yet, with no teams above them losing this weekend, the Trojans may have been running to stand still.
Pete Carroll sees improvement as he asks fans to pardon the dust.
"We're growing," he said. "It's a process for us to come together. We're in that process."
With road games in South Bend in two weeks and Eugene in 4 SC still has tough slate ahead. Yes, the team looks to be working out some of the issues from early in the season and USC took a big step forward in beating Cal but the tough road schedule leaves little if no room for error if SC still wants a shot at their 8th consecutive Pac-10 title let alone the BCS Title game.
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As DC Trojan noted in his FanShot Taylor Mays stopping Cal's momentum with his great stop of Jahvid Best proves who's the fastest and with his INT on that first Cal drive was one of the big reasons that SC was able roll pretty much untouched in the game...
If there was lingering doubt about the stability of Mays' knee, he emphatically eliminated it late in the second quarter. With Cal facing a third-and-one situation at its own 38-yard line, tailback Jahvid Best took a pitch in the open field and tried to cut outside with seemingly no defender in sight.
That's when Mays raced over to cut him off and nudge him out of bounds for no gain. The Bears were forced to punt.
"Jahvid was out in the middle and had a ton of space and Taylor went and chased him down," USC linebacker Chris Galippo said. "A guy as fast as Jahvid, it's not like many defenses are going to have a guy to chase him down like that."
Said Mays: "He's a fast guy and I like to think I'm a fast guy, so it's kind of like a race to the sideline."
Mays helped the Trojans limit Best to 47 yards in 14 carries, likely extinguishing any flickering hopes for the speedy tailback's Heisman Trophy campaign.
There was a whole lot of cheering going on with that pick! And his denying of Best sent a strong statement twords some of the doubters out there. Especially some of the pro Eric Berry fans out there. Berry Is a stud no question but there is big difference between him and Mays...you really can't compare the two they do different things.
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I noted last week that some Cal fans were taken aback that Matt Barkley wasn't really concerned with the crowd noise at Memorial Stadium. So, of course, the wanted to make sure that that the fans at Memorial did everything they could to try and rattle Barkley...it didn't matter, as the crowd noise doesn't faze him.
Barkley quieted the crowd with a 31-yard completion to tight end Anthony McCoy on the Trojans' first series after Taylor Mays intercepted a pass in the end zone.
The quarterback was asked after the game whether noise was a factor.
"No, it wasn't at all," he said, "and it usually never is."
As for the fliers?
"Someone put one in my helmet before I went out," the freshman said.
I think it worked against them, all it did was fire the kid up!
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Because of Saturday's win Doc Saturday makes and interesting observation...Surprise! USC is the smart money in the Pac-10 again...
I will feel better when we beat Oregon and Stanford before I start celebrating.