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Jackson's pick-six is key in USC's 27-21 victory over Cal

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Adoree' Jackson spent a lot of time this week practicing with the defense after playing the majority of the Utah game on offense.

Jackson had his biggest play on the defensive side of the ball of his career on Saturday as he intercepted a Jared Goff interception early in the third quarter and ran it back for 46 yards and a touchdown.

The third quarter was key in USC's win as they outscored Cal 17-7 in the quarter and held on to win 27-21.

Quarterback Cody Kessler didnt have his best day statistically but did complete 18/22 passes for 186 passing yards with no passing touchdowns and no interceptions. Ronald Jones II led the USC rushing attack with 80 yards and a touchdown.

Lamar Dawson forced an early fumble in the first quarter after knocking the ball out of Khalfani Muhammad's arms with his helmet. The Bears would capitalize on their next possession however, going on a 13-play 87-yard drive that took over five minutes and ended in a Bryce Treggs six-yard reception for the first points of the game.

After back-to-back punts, the Trojans offense woke up on the next drive thanks in part to a 34-yard pass from wide receiver Jalen Greene to Deontay Burnett. Ronald Jones II had a huge hole from 13 yards out and the Trojans tied up the game. USC went into halftime with a 10-7 lead after a 22-yard field goal from Alex Wood late in the second quarter.

USC opened the third quarter just like they finished the second quarter, by driving deep into Cal's territory with Tre Madden running it in from two yards out in his first game back after missing the Utah game with a knee injury. After the Jackson pick six, the Golden Bears finally got back on the scoreboard with Daniel Lasco running it in from six yards out.

A USC field goal and another Cal touchdown cut USC's lead down to six late in the fourth quarter with the Trojans needed a big drive to end the game. USC got two huge third down runs from Madden and Justin Davis and as the clock ran down to zero, USC was able to extend their winning streak over Cal to 13.

NOTES:

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster left the game in the second half with a hand injury and did not return. He finished the game with five receptions for 55 receiving yards.
  • USC's 50 carries against Cal were a season-high.
  • Deontay Burnett's 82 receiving yards against the Golden Bears were a career-high.