Coming into the game Thursday night Clay Helton wanted his offense to run the ball and control the time of possession to keep the high scoring Cal offense off the field. USC stud running back Justin Davis, however, would not play because of a high ankle sprain leaving him unable to make cuts. The Trojans did not really miss him though as Ronald Jones II had a monster night at running back as did Aca’Cedric Ware. Jones had 96 yards rushing and 112 all purpose yards in the first quarter alone and would go on to run for over 200 yards in a game for the first time in his career.
USC raced out to a 21-0 lead and were looking to run away with the game early. A pair of Sam Darnold turnovers, however, allowed the Bears to score 10 points. One of the Darnold fumbles occurred when a blitzer snuck up behind Darnold from his blind side and knocked the ball loose. The second Darnold fumbled occurred when Jones inadvertently knocked the ball out of his hands on a run pass option.
The talent on USC’s roster was just far too much for the Bears to handle all night long. Cal had played a double overtime marathon of a game last Friday against Oregon which saw the Bears set the record for most offensive snaps in a game. Several injuries only compounded the Bears’ issues. USC had a 28-10 lead at halftime and the Bears looked gassed
In addition to Jones running all over the Bears, other Trojans had amazing nights as well. Marvell Tell III had an amazing acrobatic interception in the first half. Darreus Rogers and Deontay Burnett both found the endzone tonight stepping up nicely after Steven Mitchell Jr. went down for the year. Adoree’ Jackson set the USC all time record in kickoff return yards as well (previously held by Curtis Conway).
Darnold had a decent night passing the ball (save for a criminally under thrown interception late in the game) and did a much better job getting down to slide when he created plays with his legs. The Trojans defense played stout all night as the Bears were averaging about 41 points per game were held to just 24 points.
It was not a perfect night for the Trojans, however, as they still had way too many penalties and turnovers. USC had over 100 yards in penalties, 3 turnovers and left plenty of points on the field. The Trojans were fortunate that the mistakes did not cost them the game tonight but the Trojans continue to shoot themselves in the foot. It was not what you hope for from a team coming out of a bye week.
Nevertheless the Trojans get their 4th straight win after starting out 1-3 on the season. The now 5-3 Trojans get a couple of extra days to prepare to host the Oregon Ducks on November 5th
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