USC Football Visits California In Annual Bay Area Trek|
Nov. 3, 2013
USC makes its annual Bay Area trek, this year to face California--the team it has played more than any opponent--in the 101st meeting between the schools. The Trojans have not lost to the Bears since 2003 (the last time USC fell in Berkeley) and Cal has averaged just 10 points in each of those games. It will be Troy's first visit to renovated Memorial Stadium, which re-opened at the start of the 2012 season (the teams' last Bay Area meeting occurred in San Francisco in 2011). USC needs 1 more victory to become bowl eligible. This is the back end of USC's only 2-game road trip of 2013. Trojan defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast served in the same role at Cal the past 3 seasons. USC--with interim head coach Ed Orgeron at the helm--exorcised some demons last weekend with a convincing victory at Oregon State, snapping a 3-game losing streak in Corvallis. The balanced Trojan offense, led by on-the-rise QB Cody Kessler, is getting ground production from the likes of TBs Silas Redd, Tre Madden and emerging Javorius Allen, while the aerial game features 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner WR Marqise Lee and equally dangerous WR Nelson Agholor. USC's defense is among the nation's best, ranking in the Top 25 in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks, tackles for loss, interceptions, red zone defense, third down conversion defense and first downs defense. Headlining the Trojan defenders are DEs Leonard Williams and George Uko, OLB Devon Kennard, LB Hayes Pullard, CB Josh Shaw and S Dion Bailey. New California head coach Sonny Dykes has seen his young and injury-riddled team struggle in 2013, as the Golden Bears have dropped their last 7 games, including at home last weekend to Arizona. Cal's offensive attack is primarily through the air and is among the best passing units in the country, directed by true freshman QB Jared Goff, who earlier this year threw for a school-record 504 yards and now is in the national Top 20 in passing yardage and total offense. Sophomore WRs Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs are in the nation's Top 25 in receptions, while true frosh RB Khalfani Muhammad is among the game's top all-purpose runners. The Bears have been vulnerable defensively, ranking in the nation's bottom 5 in total defense, scoring defense and turnover margin (Cal has allowed nearly 530 total yards and 43 points per game). LBs Khairi Fortt and Hardy Nickerson are the leading tacklers. Vincenzo D'Amato is 18th nationally in field goals. The game will be shown live nationally on FOX. Before the game, USC's 5-time defending NCAA champion men's water polo team battles the host Bears.