Berkeley (AP) — Taylor Mays and a dominating Southern California
defense overshadowed any offensive deficiencies for the Trojans and
overwhelmed Jahvid Best and the California offense.
Mays set the
tone with an interception on the first drive of the game, Damian
Williams returned a punt for a touchdown and the seventh-ranked Trojans
beat No. 24 California 30-3 Saturday night.
Joe McKnight ran for
119 yards and scored the only two offensive touchdowns for USC (4-1,
2-1 Pac-10) with a 38-yard run on the first drive and a 5-yard run late
in the fourth quarter that emptied the stadium.
kicked three field goals and the defense did the rest, holding Best to
47 yards on 14 carries and keeping the Golden Bears scoreless until
Vince D'Amato's 29-yard field goal with 10:45 remaining.
capped an emotional week for the Trojans. Running back Stafon Johnson
is still recovering from seven hours of reconstructive surgery Monday
after a weight bar fell on his neck, crushing his larynx and throat.
With Johnson watching from his hospital room, his teammates delivered
After losing 16-13 two weeks ago at Washington, USC
didn't give up a score until 22 seconds remained in last week's 27-6
victory against Washington State and then blanked Cal until early in
the fourth quarter.
With the defense playing this well, the
Trojans are making it easy on freshman quarterback Matt Barkley.
Barkley was inconsistent in this game, completing 20 of 35 passes for
283 yards and an interception. He moved the ball down the field with
ease but struggled to punch the ball into the end zone.
matter with the way the Trojans' defense played. They had the answer
for whatever trick Cal coach Jeff Tedford tried. Best took a handful of
direct snaps in Cal's version of the wildcat, the Bears went for it
twice on fourth down, and even a well-designed trick play didn't work.
the third quarter, Cal came out of a timeout with Shane Vereen standing
next to its sideline, just on the field of play. With no defender near
him, Vereen went out for a pass, but instead of a big play, Kevin Riley
threw high for an incompletion. The next play was a screen pass that
left tackle Mike Tepper caught for an illegal touch penalty.
was the kind of day it was for Riley, who was 15 for 40 for 199 yards
and an interception in his second straight sub-par performance. He was
just 12 for 31 for 123 yards in last week's 42-3 loss at Oregon.
interception in the end zone on the opening drive was his first of the
year. Six plays later, McKnight dived into the end zone at the end of
his long run. Williams' 66-yard punt return made it 17-0 in the second
quarter and the rout was on. Williams caught eight passes for 101 yards.
scoring 146 points in its first three games, Cal has just six the past
two weeks. Cal has failed to score a touchdown just three times in
eight years under Tedford, with two of them coming the past two weeks.
The other was against USC in 2007, which was the last time Cal lost at
home before Saturday night.
Even the speedy Best couldn't get
going against the Trojans. On one play in the first half, he was chased
down by Mays for no gain on a third-and-2 run.