No. 24 USC seeks to bounce back from consecutive losses and beat California

Thu, Oct 26, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)

No. 24 USC seeks to bounce back from consecutive losses and beat California

No. 24 Southern California (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) at California (3-4, 1-3), Saturday at 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

Line: USC by 10 1/2 according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: USC leads 72-33-6.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

Other news No. 11 Oregon State facing tough test in the desert against Arizona No. 14 Notre Dame looks for fourth straight win over Pitt No. 14 Notre Dame and Pittsburgh renew old rivalry without the bells and whistles

Southern California is looking to snap a two-game losing streak after getting beat by No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 13 Utah and remain in the race for the Pac-12 title. C alifornia needs to win three of its final five games to become bowl eligible.

KEY MATCHUP

Trojans run defense vs. Golden Bears running game. USC will have its hands full dealing with Jaydn Ott and the Cal running game. The Trojans are last in the Pac-12, allowing 164.3 yards rushing per game. Cal averages 195.6 yards rushing with 16 TDs.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

USC: QB Caleb Williams is coming off his first game with the Trojans without throwing a TD pass after going 24 for 34 for 256 yards against Utah. Williams has been sacked 10 times the last two games after taking only 11 in the first six. Williams threw four TD passes vs. Cal last season.

California: QB Fernando Mendoza is making his third career start. He threw for 179 yards and two TDs the last game against Utah and has four TDs on the season to become the first Cal QB to throw multiple TD passes in his first two career starts since Chase Garbers in 2018. The last Bears QB to do it in his first three career starts was Jared Goff in 2013.

FACTS & FIGURES

The teams are 2-2 the past four meetings following a 14-game Trojans winning streak. ... This is the final scheduled meeting in a rivalry that has had a game every non-pandemic season since 1925. ... USC's 110 games vs. Cal are its most against any school. ... The Trojans are 15-0 against unranked teams under Lincoln Riley. ... USC's Zachariah Branch scored on a TD run last week and has TDs rushing, receiving, on a kick return and punt return this season, becoming the third player since 1996 to score those four ways in a season. ... Trojans WR Tahj Washington has a reception of at least 45 yards in five of eight games this season. ... The Bears are playing a ranked team for the fourth time in five games. They have lost seven straight against ranked teams since beating Oregon in 2020. ... Cal hasn't beaten a ranked USC team since 2003. ... The Bears have outscored the opposition 65-37 in the third quarter this season. ... Cal is tied for the Pac-12 lead with 14 takeaways this season.

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