The California Golden Bears (5-5, 2-5 Pacific 12) had their hopes for a repeat of last year’s upset against the USC Trojans (7-4, 6-2 Pacific 12) crushed Saturday night, suffering a 41-17 rout in the Joe Roth Memorial Game instead.
Much to the surprise of the 46,397 fans at California Memorial Stadium, it was USC’s defense who claimed the turnovers, and not the “Takers,” California’s typically stingy defensive secondary unit.
With five minutes remaining in the third quarter, USC cornerback Greg Johnson intercepted a pass from California quarterback Devon Modster. The pick set up a four-play 23-yard drive, which would be the nail in the Golden Bears’ coffin. The resulting two-yard touchdown from running back Stephen Carr created a momentum-sucking three-score lead for the Trojans at 34-10.
The @USC_FB defense be eatin'! ️— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 17, 2019
The Takers had no answer to USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis, who threw for 406 yards, including five passes of 20-yards or more, and four touchdowns. The game was Slovis’ third this season with more than 400 yards.
”I’ve never seen a receiving corps like that in this conference—not in 20 years,” California head coach Justin Wilcox said in the post-game press conference.
The Golden Bears had difficulty finding momentum with its receiving corps. Instead, it scored two touchdowns on the ground. California running back DeShawn Collins scored his first career touchdown with a five-yard run in the Golden Bears’ opening drive. The junior had 15 attempts on the night, including a long of 34 yards, California’s fourth-quarter score.
Breaking tackles with @Dcollins10_ pic.twitter.com/Px22uKJieW— Cal Football (@CalFootball) November 17, 2019
”You can see his speed, and I think that showed up on a couple different runs,” explained Coach Wilcox.
Spirit of California
Spirits had been high among California faithful, as the Golden Bears returned quarterback Chase Garbers as their starter. The sophomore attempted only 10 passes before leaving the game in the second quarter due to a possible left shoulder injury. Garbers had missed four games this season already due to a right shoulder injury.
Moments after Garbers’ injury, California linebacker Evan Tattersall also exited the game. Medical and team officials took the linebacker to the hospital after his head was hit on kickoff coverage with 9:15 remaining in the second quarter. California reported after the game that Tattersall was alert and had movements in his extremities. He is expected to be discharged from the hospital.