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USC vs. California: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Trojans

Nov 9, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; USC Trojans running back Javorius Allen (37) escapes California Golden Bears linebacker Chad Whitener (25) to run for a touchdown during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Brian PedersenFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2013

USC 62, California 28—FINAL

USC (7-3, 4-2) became bowl-eligible in convincing fashion, rolling to a 62-28 win at California (1-9, 0-7) in a Pac-12 game Saturday afternoon in Berkeley, Calif.

The Trojans, winners of three straight and now 4-1 under interim coach Ed Orgeron, got three special teams touchdowns and led 41-14 at halftime.

Official stats can be found at, but check below for our grading and analysis of USC's big win in the Bay Area. 

USC Trojans Live Game Grades
CategoryFirst-half gradeFinal grade
Pass OffenseAA
Run OffenseB+A
Pass DefenseBB
Run DefenseB-C
Special TeamsA+A+
Week 11 at California

Final game analysis for the USC Trojans:

Pass Offense: Cody Kessler (14-of-17, 170 yards, two TDs) was spot on with his play-action and screen passing, which led to TD throws to running backs Silas Red and Javorius Allen. Max Wittek (3-of-4, 73 yards) took over in the third and was effective as well.

Run Offense: USC rushed 29 times for 256 yards, getting three long TD runs. Javorius Allen scored on runs of 43 and 79 yards, while Ty Isaac had a 37-yard scamper as one of his two TDs.

Pass Defense: Cal's Jared Goff was 34-of-48 for 255 yards and three TDs, but most of that was on short passes, as USC kept him from going deep. The only exception was a flea-flicker TD pass in the first half.

Run Defense: It looked like USC didn't properly game-plan for Cal's run game, which was understandable considering how bad it's been. But the Bears surprisingly ran for 195 yards.

Special Teams: The punt return unit was phenomenal. Nelson Agholor scored twice on return TDs (75 and 93 yards), while USC scored on a blocked punt, all in the first half.

Coaching: USC's coaches toyed with California's inexperienced defenders with their offensive game plan, while on defense the Trojans smartly avoided taking big gambles on pass defense.

Nov 9, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler (6) passes the ball against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

First-half analysis for the USC Trojans:

Pass Offense: Cody Kessler (12-of-15, 161 yards, 2 TDs) is eating Cal's secondary alive with play-action passes. But the most dangerous plays have come off screens to running backs Silas Redd and Javorius Allen, both for touchdowns.

Run Offense: Allen's 43-yard touchdown run late in the first half highlighted an otherwise unspectacular rushing game for USC, but the Trojans haven't needed to run much with everything else working so well.

Pass Defense: Other than getting fooled twice on flea flickers, the secondary is holding up well against Cal QB Jared Goff, who has mostly had to throw short. The pass rush picked up late in the half.

Run Defense: Cal is so bad running the ball that it's hard not to look good in this area, but the Bears have been able to get 73 yards on the ground. They only average 111.8 per game.

Special Teams: The punt return unit has outscored California thanks to two electric return TDs by Nelson Agholor (75 and 93 yards) and a blocked punt returned for a score.

Coaching: Offensive coordinator Clay Helton is feasting on Cal's over-aggressiveness on defense, using play-action and screens to pick up big chunks of yardage.

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