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Three things USC needs to execute to beat Cal

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USC will be challenged against Justin Wilcox’s Cal team. What are some things the Trojans must execute to come away with a victory.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Another edition of USC and Cal will be on display this Saturday in the Coliseum. The Trojans are coming off a 38-21 victory over Oregon State while Cal is coming off a narrow loss to Washington State. USC currently owns a 13 game winning streak over the Golden Bears, however Cal has been a dangerous football team the last couple of weeks and could give the Trojans a challenge. With a chance to stay alive in the Pac-12 South race on the line, here’s are three things USC must execute to defeat Cal.

NCAA Football: California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Stop The Quick Game

USC secondary not named Iman Marshall didn’t have their best of performances. The Trojans gave up 301 yards through the air. Most of those passes were quick slants that was out of the quarterback’s hands after a one step drop. This allowed the Beavers to move down the field and opened up holes in the secondary. With a thin secondary and possibly without Marshall suiting up Saturday, look for Cal to replicate the same game plan to take pressure off the quarterback and open the run game. USC has to adjust and adjust quickly to the quick and short routes. If they take too long to do so like last week then Cal will move the ball and reach the end zone on the Trojans.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Keep The Same Play Calling As Last Week

Clay Helton’s play calling last week was very simple and straight to the point. Work the ground game and get the ball to your playmakers and let them make plays in space. This week against a pretty good Cal defense, Helton will have to try and use the same game plan which is work the ground game and work the short routes to take pressure of JT Daniels and allow the wide receivers to make the plays in space. We will see Helton’s play calling get tested against a completely better defense with a pretty decent secondary.

NCAA Football: California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Do not allow Cal to hang around in the game

The one thing about teams is that when you allow for them to hang around then you’re setting yourself up to get beat. USC has failed to put teams away when needed this season. Last week was the same case for the Trojans when they allowed Oregon State to climb back into the game in the 2nd quarter of the game, after leading 21-0. The last two weeks Cal has lingered in games. One was at home against Washington where the Bears upset the Huskies and another was a loss to Washington State where the Cougars drove down the field to score in the final seconds of the game. When Cal lingers around, that’s where they’re very dangerous. The Trojans have jump on the Bears early and STAY on them. That mean’s not letting up and allowing them to hang in the game. This has to be one game where USC can put a team away. After all it is Pac-12 After Dark.