USC: Isi Sofele

5 Storylines: USC vs California 

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
9:44
AM PT
Each week we will take a look at five important storylines heading into Saturday's game. Here are some things to watch for as the Trojans return home to face the Bears.

Two losses, different results: Both the Trojans and Bears lost last weekend, but the results came with markedly different reactions. USC was down after suffering a physical loss on the road to Stanford, but Cal was optimistic that the shootout loss in the Horseshoe to Ohio State was a sign of good things to come. It will be interesting to see how both teams respond this weekend.

USC O-line vs Cal 3-4 front: This is the scheme matchup that caused all sorts of issues last week for the Trojans against Stanford. Granted, the Cal defense isn’t expected to be as strong as the Cardinal's, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy either. Both teams are hoping for good injury news from key players; USC center Khaled Holmes and Cal defensive end Mustafa Jalil have each been banged up lately.

Grades: USC-Cal

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
9:27
PM PT
GradePASSING ATTACK
Despite Cal's well-examined secondary issues heading into the game, Matt Barkley was never able to pick apart the Bears' defensive backs. USC's best pass plays were more a result of impressive moves by Marqise Lee than anything else. And this was Robert Woods' worst game of 2011.

GradeRUSHING ATTACK
Curtis McNeal was great, but he didn't make as much of an impact as he could have because he didn't get any carries until the second quarter. Marc Tyler had his second straight subpar game; George Farmer and the other running backs were non-factors.

GradeIN THE TRENCHES
USC's offensive line was just average. The defensive line got more pressure than it has over the last few weeks, and Cal quarterback Zach Maynard was definitely forced into making some throws he didn't want to make. But the Trojans still have to produce more sacks.

GradeDEFENSE
USC produced five turnovers in this game after forcing five in the first five games. Maybe it's on a slight curve, but that's pretty much an automatic 'A.' And the Trojans' run defense was very, very good against a solid runner in Cal's Isi Sofele.

GradeSPECIAL TEAMS
Andre Heidari continues to impress as a freshman kicker, moving his numbers to 10-of-11 on field-goal attempts for the season with his three conversions Thursday. USC's coverage units were fine apart from Marvin Jones' 37-yard punt return in the third, which kick-started Cal.

GradeCOACHING
Defensive play-calling was the best it's been all season, and a lot of the offensive decisions made sense. But Lane Kiffin's decision to go for it on fourth down on USC's first drive could have cost the Trojans against a better team. Why play Amir Carlisle again?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

2013 TEAM LEADERS

PASSINGATTCOMPYDSTD
C. Kessler361236296820
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
J. Allen1357855.814
T. Madden1387035.13
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
M. Lee5779113.94
N. Agholor5691816.46
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense174.2218.1392.3
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring28.521.37.2