The equation appears problematic for the Cal football team: USC has sacked the quarterback more than any team in the Pac-12 Conference and the Golden Bears have allowed more sacks than anyone.
“It’ll be a challenge,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes conceded.
Still in search of their first conference victory, the Bears (1-8, 0-6) face a USC team (6-2, 3-2) that might have improved more over the past month than any in the Pac-12. And a USC team that owns nine consecutive wins over Cal.
“I don’t know if we’re concerned as much as about beating USC as getting a win for ourselves,” freshman quarterback Jared Goff said. “Beating anyone in the Pac-12 would be a big game at this point.”
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CAL VS. USC
RECORDS: Cal 1-8, 0-6 Pac-12; USC 6-3, 3-2.
KICKOFF: Noon, Memorial Stadium.
SERIES HISTORY: USC leads 65-30-5. The Trojans have won the past nine meetings — their longest streak vs. Cal since winning 11 in a row from 1959 through 1969. USC has allowed the Bears a total of just 38 points the past five games.
STORYLINES: Thirteen Cal seniors play their final home game, although only DE Dan Camporeale, NT Deandre Coleman and PK Vincenzo D’Amato are first-line players. … Cal hasn’t beaten USC since a 34-31 triple-overtime win in 2003 fueled by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. … The Trojans, playing a 13-game schedule, need one more victory to become bowl eligible. They are 3-1 since coach Lane Kiffin was fired, replaced on an interim basis by Ed Orgeron. … Saturday is coach Sonny Dykes’ 44th birthday.
INJURY UPDATE: Cal – LB Khairi Fortt (biceps), RB Daniel Lasco (shoulder), RB Daniel Ervin (shoulder), OG Matt Cochran (ankle) and WR Richard Rodgers (thumb) are probable. USC – DE Morgan Breslin (hip), Tre Madden (hamstring), TE Randall Teller (knee) and CB Anthony Brown (ankle) are out; DE Leonard Williams (shoulder) is doubtful; OT Kevin Graf (ankle) and Saf Su’a Cravens (groin) are probable.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s front seven vs. USC’s run game. After surrendering a combined 393 rushing yards to Washington’s Bishop Sankey and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey the past two weeks, Cal tries to stop USC’s running back by committee. Tre Madden (4), Silas Redd (2), Javorius Allen (1) and Justin Davis (1) have combined for eight 100-yard rushing games, although Madden is out. Redd and Allen totaled 273 last week against Oregon State.
STATS THAT MATTER: It’s been 2,191 days since Cal held a lead against the Trojans. Justin Forsett’s TD run in the first quarter on Nov. 10, 2007 put Cal in front 7-0 in a game USC won 24-17. … USC allowed 93 points in games vs. Arizona State and Arizona, and just 75 total points in its other seven games. … Cal has surrendered 385 points, more than in all but three full seasons in a football history that dates to 1886. … Freshman Jared Goff needs 119 passing yards to become just the third Cal QB to reach 3,000 for a season. With 141 yards, he will move into the No. 2 spot on the school’s single-season list.