LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California’s protection gave up 28 factors and 290 yards within the second half. The Trojans’ particular groups botched an additional level after which acquired bamboozled on an onside kick whereas California reworked a near-blowout right into a near-thriller.
Despite each mistake by his USC teammates, Caleb Williams merely wouldn’t permit them to lose.
Williams handed for 360 yards, rushed for a landing and threw two of his 4 scoring passes to Michael Jackson III, main No. 9 USC to a 41-35 victory over Cal on Saturday night time.
Williams capped his newest standout effort by speeding 15 yards up the center on a keeper for the decisive first down with 2:11 to play, utilizing up Cal’s remaining timeout and conserving the entire Trojans’ season targets achievable.
“We didn’t play our best on really any of the sides (of the ball),” USC coach Lincoln Riley mentioned. “Didn’t have a very good first half offensively. Did not finish the game well defensively. Made some big special teams plays, but also gave up a few. Obviously a lot to improve on. We know we’re going to have to improve, but if you can improve by winning, you’re going to be there in the end.”
Tahj Washington caught seven passes for 112 yards and a landing for the Trojans (8-1, 6-1 Pac-12), whose protection was shredded within the second half of a 3rd straight subpar outing. But Williams went 26 for 41 with no turnover and coolly stored the Trojans forward within the fourth quarter of his second straight excellent efficiency with out his prime two receivers, injured Jordan Addison and Mario Williams.
In his final three video games, Caleb Williams has handed for 1,152 yards with 14 TDs and no interceptions to make a run into Heisman Trophy consideration.
Travis Dye additionally rushed for 98 yards and a landing in USC’s fifteenth victory in 17 conferences with Cal (3-6, 1-5). Tight finish Lake McRee caught a TD move with 5:34 to play whereas the Trojans held off the Bears’ late rally.
“We know we’ve just got to get back to work in practice,” USC cornerback Mekhi Blackmon mentioned. “We’ll figure it out.”
USC is off to its first 8-1 begin since 2008, and the Trojans stored themselves within the race for the College Football Playoff by enhancing to 5-0 on the Coliseum underneath Riley to start a month through which they gained’t journey farther than Pasadena to complete the common season. Riley is aware of the Trojans are removed from a juggernaut, however they’re additionally a resourceful group with a document to show it.
“In my experience with these things, you get to the end, and nobody remembers how,” mentioned Riley, who took Oklahoma to 3 College Football Playoffs. “You either found a way to win them or you didn’t, and the reality is this team is 8-1 with everything in front of us.”
Jack Plummer handed for 406 yards and threw TD passes to Monroe Young, Marvin Anderson and Jeremiah Hunter for Cal, which has misplaced 5 straight and 6 of seven regardless of a stirring second-half rally.
“We know SC is a great team with phenomenal talent, great speed,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox mentioned. “But we have expectations to play better football. I love the competitiveness. Our guys never quit … but at the end of the day, it’s about winning.”
Jaydn Ott rushed for his second landing with 2:31 to play, and the 2-point conversion trimmed USC’s result in 41-35. But Williams and USC’s powerhouse offense barely stayed in entrance.
Star freshman Ott scored on Cal’s opening drive, whereas Dye scored a landing within the eighth consecutive sport to place the Trojans forward for good early within the second quarter. Ott and Dye are each merchandise of Norco High School in Riverside County.
Jackson, a promising midseason addition to the Trojans’ receiver rotation, scored on a 7-yard catch proper earlier than halftime and added a 59-yard catch-and-run TD on a display screen move early within the third quarter.
“Where we really played poorly was the end of the (first) half, start of the third (quarter),” Wilcox mentioned. “Two weeks in a row, just bad football.”
Jackson’s second TD put the Trojans up 27-7, however Cal lastly acquired rolling with Monroe’s TD catch halfway by means of the third quarter. Anderson caught a 47-yard TD move when USC blew its protection and left him extensive open with 12:56 to play, and Cal recovered an onside kick earlier than Hunter made a 3-yard TD catch.
California: The Bears must run the desk of their remaining three video games to achieve six victories, beating each Oregon State and UCLA within the course of. That appears extremely unlikely after this ugly skid, so Cal may wish to concentrate on salvaging crucial day of the season with a win within the one hundred and twenty fifth Big Game towards Stanford in two weeks.
Southern California: The Trojans’ protection merely doesn’t look gifted sufficient but to beat many elite groups, so their most probably path to a Pac-12 title or a CFP berth is to outscore everyone. That’s extraordinarily troublesome, however Williams’ brilliance may give the Trojans a shot of their upcoming showdowns with UCLA and Notre Dame.
California: At Oregon State on Saturday.
Southern California: Hosts Colorado on Friday.
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