Cal’s struggles against USC — a current 10-game losing streak and only four road victories since 1958 — aren’t primarily the work of O.J. Simpson, Marcus Allen and Carson Palmer.
“The skill position players win the Heisman Trophies,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “But you look at their history and they’ve always had good offensive and defensive lines. That’s how they’ve built their program over the years.”
Those are the battles the Bears (5-4, 3-4 Pac-12) must win Thursday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum if they hope to topple the Trojans (6-3, 5-2) in a game that could earn Cal bowl eligibility for the first time in three seasons.
“We’ve got to bring the fight to them. It’s a big challenge for the offensive and defensive lines,” Cal defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil said. “I’m 100 percent confident in our team. We’re ready to come down and get some of that Trojan.”
It won’t be easy. It never is against the Trojans, who feed the NFL a consistent diet of talented linemen.
Eighteen USC alums are playing on NFL lines. Since 1970, the school has produced 26 linemen drafted in the first round.
The current Trojans measure up nicely to that legacy. Dykes called junior center Max Tuerk “one of the best linemen I’ve seen.” Junior defensive end Leonard Williams is projected by CBS Sports as the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
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