The thirteenth-ranked USC Trojans will try to bounce back from a tough loss to Stanford as they seek their ninth straight victory over the California Golden Bears on Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
USC failed to score in the second half at Stanford Stadium, and the Cardinal pulled off the hard-fought victory, 21-14. USC’s offensive line had a particularly poor game as quarterback Matt Barkley was often hurried or sacked, and the running game only rushed for 26 total yards.
Barkley failed to throw a touchdown pass and completed just 20 of his 41 throws in a game that hurt his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.
The Trojans began the season as the top-ranked school in the nation, and the loss to Stanford may have ended their chances of going to the National Championship.
The Golden Bears have just one win in three games, but gave No. 12 Ohio State a tough game in Columbus on Saturday despite coming up short, 35-28. The Bears tied the Buckeyes in the fourth quarter, but a late surge by Ohio State sealed the victory for Urban Meyer’s squad.
Cal received an excellent game from running back Brendan Bigelow. The sophomore rushed for 160 yards on four carries, which included an 81-yard and 59-yard touchdown run.
The featured back remains Isi Sofele, who has been solid this season. The senior rushed for 1,322 yards in 2011, and is averaging 4.7 yards a game this season.
Zach Maynard is also off to a strong start. The senior quarterback has completed two-thirds of his passes and has only two interceptions.
Cal’s defense may have their hands full against USC. The Trojans are expected to rebound from a poor effort against Stanford, and Cal has given up an average of 32.3 points per game this season.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we’re gonna get their best effort,” said Cal head coach Jeff Tedford.
The game starts a 6pm ET, and can be viewed on the Pac-12 Network.
LINE: USC is favored by 16 points; Over/Under: 58 points
PREDICTION: Cal is better than their 1-2 record, and should give USC a better test than many expect. While the Trojans are expected to play hard following their loss to Stanford, expect USC to win but give up points to a solid Cal offense.
PREDICTED SCORE: USC over Cal 35-23