THE VITAL DETAILS
Who: California (1-8, 0-6 in Pac-12) vs. USC (6-3, 3-2)
Where: California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, Calif.
Watch: FOX (Dick Stockton on play-by-play, Charles Davis on analysis, Kristina Pink on the sidelines)
Listen: KGO 810 AM with Joe Starkey (play-by-play), Mike Pawlawski (analyst/pregame show), Todd McKim (sideline), Lee Grosscup (postgame show) and Danny Freisinger (postgame show)
Series: This is the 101st meeting of the Bears and the Trojans, marking the most games USC has played against a single opponent. The Trojans have not lost to Cal since 2003 in Berkeley, and the Bears have averaged 10.0 points per game against USC in the nine games since.
Weekend Visitors for USC
Another 2015 Visitor
STATS TO WATCH
Over the past two games, the Bears have averaged 4.75 yards per carry on the ground. Over the previous seven games, Cal averaged a paltry 2.85. Part of that is due to the shake-up on the offensive line, part due to the types of rushes the Bears have faced and part due to the emergence of Darren Ervin (106 yards on 29 carries, 3.7 ypc on the season) and the return of Daniel Lasco (284 yards on 58 carries, 4.9 ypc, 2 TDs).
The Trojans – who rank second in the Pac-12 in rushing defense and in scoring defense -- will be without pass rushing dynamo Morgan Breslin, and possibly without leading tackler in defensive end Leonard Williams, so play in the trenches should be a determining factor in taking some pressure off of freshman quarterback Jared Goff, who’s taken 25 sacks this season (2.78 per game), but just six in the past three games. The new Cal line didn’t allow Goff to get sacked a single time last week. Can they keep it up against Clancy Pendergast’s multiple 3-4 scheme, which leads the Pac-12 with 29 sacks? We’ll find out. It should be noted that 9.5 of those sacks came from Breslin and Williams.
Consensus All-American and Biletnikoff Award winnerMarqise Lee is back in the fold after missing two games with an injury, and he didn’t miss a beat last week against Oregon State, catching five passes for 105 yards.
Senior Penn State transfer Silas Redd sat out much of the season trying to come back from knee surgery, and after gaining zero net yards on 10 carries against Utah, Redd tore off 140 rushing yards on 22 carries last week against the Beavers, while redshirt sophomore Javorius Allen rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bears have the second-worst rushing defense in the conference, allowing 188.9 yards per game on the ground, but last week were able to more-or-less contain KaDeem Carey thanks to stout linebacker play and run support from freshman safety Cameron Walker, who piled up a career-best 13 tackles. Given the skill of Lee and Nelson Agholor (612 yards on 32 catches with three touchdowns), bringing the safeties down to help may not be the best strategy, given the lack of depth and experience at cornerback.
WHAT TO WATCH
The Bears are third in the Pac-12 in passing offense, and the Trojans are fifth in the league in passing defense, with the third-most interceptions (13) in the conference. Goff has thrown nine interceptions (third-most in the Pac-12). If USC can force Goff into getting rid of the ball too soon, the freshman signal-caller could be in for a long day.
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