On a cold night in front of a packed homecoming crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the unranked USC Trojans fell against the Cal Golden Bears, 15-14.
The game marks USC's second straight loss at the Coliseum. Previously, the Trojans were 19-0 under coach Clay Helton. The team previously fell to Arizona State in a game that saw third-string quarterback Jack Sears assume the role under center.
Coming into the game Cal boasted a top-20 defense overall. Naturally, points would come at a premium. Knowing this, USC elected to attempt a fake field goal early in the first quarter. The decision did not pay off and perhaps costed the Trojans the game later on.
Following the score, Ajene Harris stripped Cal quarterback Chase Garbers and Jordan Iosefa recovered the ball at the 49-yard line.
USC had a chance to tack on to its lead late in the second quarter, however, an Amon-Ra St. Brown fumble at the 10-yard line forced a change in possession. The fumble ended the drive and subsequently the half. USC ended the first half with a sizable 14-0 lead over Cal. Those would be USC’s only points of the game.
In the first half, USC out gained Cal's defense 237-69 in the first half. It represented a drastic change for the Golden Bears, who had been keeping teams in check. Instead, it was a depleted USC defense that kept Cal at bay.
Things quickly changed for the worse in the second half. USC began the half with the ball and things quickly spiraled out of control.
A botched snap by Toa Lobendahn sailed 22-yards over JT Daniels' head and into USC's own end zone. The ball would be recovered by the Golden Bears for a safety. USC's lead would shrink 14-2.
On the ensuing drive, Cal quickly swung things further into their favor with a touchdown. 3 plays, 50-yards, and just over a minute of play were all the Golden Bears needed.
Just several minutes prior, USC was well on its way to making the game 21-0. A couple of bad plays later and they instead faced a 14-9 game.
On the USC drive following the touchdown, JT Daniels was sacked and then later intercepted on the ensuing play. Cal would take over on the 40-yard line and march downfield to score their final touchdown.
The Trojans, who at one point led 14-0 were now down 15-14. Despite big plays by the defense, the offense was unable to get things going and the game expired.
With the loss, USC is now fully out of contention for the Pac-12 South. The loss also represents the first loss to Cal since 2003.
USC will head west to take on crosstown rival UCLA at the Rose Bowl. It will be one of USC's final two games.