Cal 15, USC 14
What Happened: Just when it seemed like USC was in command of the game, an errant snap changed everything around. The Trojans were up 14-0 going into the second half on two Tyler Vaughns touchdown runs, but snap into the end zone turned into a safety – it was this close to being a Cal touchdown – and the ensuing field position turned into a 29-yard touchdown catch from Vic Wharton.
Chase Garbers ran for a five-yard touchdown, but missed on the extra point. Even so, Cal had a 15-14 lead, and held on, as the defense shut down the Trojans to break a 14-game series losing streak.
What Mattered: It was ugly. Cal only managed 207 yards of total offense, but it took advantage of the field position early on the second half to take over. USC was held to just 277 yards with two turnovers.
– Garbers completed 14-of-26 passes for just 93 yards, but he threw the one big touchdown pass and ran for 34 yards and a score. Patrick Laird ran 19 times for 71 yards. The D dominated, with Evan Weaver leading the way with a dominant 13-tackle, two-sack performance.
– JT Daniels completed 21-of-34 passes for 180 yards and two scores with a pick, and Aca’Cedric Ware ran 16 times for 103 yards. Vaughns caught eight passes for 91 yards and two scores.
What It All Means: Cal did it. It became bowl eligible after winning three of its last four games. Now it gets to jockey for position, with the Big Game against Stanford coming up and Colorado to close things out. After appearing to be dead and buried just a few weeks ago, theres a shot now at a nine-win season.
– Is this the end of the Clay Helton era? The South title hopes are long gone, and the team has lost three of its last four games. However, beat UCLA, and then ruin Notre Dame’s season, and everything might just be okay. Lose those two, and no bowl, and more than likely, no more Helton.