No. 13 USC Bounces Back With 27-9 Win Over California
LOS ANGELES (AP) Matt Barkley passed for 192 yards and threw two touchdown passes to Marqise Lee, and No. 13 Southern California bounced back from its first defeat with a 27-9 victory over California on Saturday.
Lee had 11 catches for 94 yards, and Silas Redd rushed for 158 yards and a score as the Trojans (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) grinded out their ninth consecutive win over the Golden Bears (1-3, 0-1) in the schools’ 100th meeting.
A week after the preseason No. 1 team got shut out in the second half of a 21-14 loss at Stanford, USC drained the suspense from this matchup with a methodical 75-yard drive that consumed more than half of the fourth quarter, capped by Lee’s 3-yard TD catch with 5:56 to play.
Keenan Allen had nine catches for 94 yards for the Bears, who couldn’t get into the Coliseum end zone and managed just 250 total yards.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford has never won at the Coliseum, and the Bears haven’t beaten USC since their memorable triple-overtime win in Strawberry Canyon in 2003. Cal lost its conference opener for the fourth straight season.
Zach Maynard struggled to 173 yards passing with two interceptions, failing to build on a solid effort last week in Cal’s narrow loss at Ohio State. The Bears’ three touted tailbacks combined for just 79 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
At least kicker Vincenzo D’Amato shook off last week’s struggles at Ohio State to hit three field goals for Cal.
Barkley didn’t look particularly sharp himself, throwing two interceptions for the second straight week after having just one game with multiple interceptions in his past 16, dating back to his sophomore season. He struggled to find All-American receiver Robert Woods, who had only five catches for 30 yards.
Yet Barkley still went 22 for 34 and kept the Trojans moving on several long drives.
Curtis McNeal rushed 115 yards for the Trojans, giving them two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2008. Center Khaled Holmes’ return to the lineup undoubtedly helped, but the senior limped off the field again in the fourth quarter.
Stanford shut out USC for the final 41 minutes, but the Trojans marched straight downfield against Cal before Barkley threw an end-zone interception to Cal’s Steve Williams. They ended their scoring drought on their next drive with Redd’s 33-year TD run, the former Penn State star’s fourth score in four games at USC.
D’Amato, who missed three field goal attempts in Columbus last week, missed an early 35-yard try at the Coliseum, but hit his second attempt.
USC appeared to be in position to take control after Lee’s TD catch capped a sharp drive early in the second quarter, but Barkley threw his second interception on a tipped pass deep in Cal territory shortly before halftime. The Trojans added a late field goal for a 17-3 lead – not much considering they outgained Cal 300-98.
Cal pulled within 17-9 midway through the third quarter, and McNeal’s fumble led to a drive deep into USC territory – but Cal burned two timeouts on the drive before T.J. McDonald picked off Maynard’s throw at the 7. After Andre Heidari made his second field goal and the Trojans’ defense forced another three-and-out, the Trojans embarked on their clock-consuming drive.