Trojans Football Overruns Bears, 55-14
Nov 10, 2001
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif. - Chris Howard ran for two touchdowns, and CarsonPalmer threw for 235 yards as Southern California handed California its 12thstraight loss, beating the Golden Bears 55-14 on Saturday.
USC (5-5, 4-3 Pac-10) scored 35 straight points after a 75-yard scoringdrive by Cal (0-9, 0-7) on the game's opening possession. Troy Polamalu had a58-yard interception return for a TD, and kicker David Davis scored on a fakefield goal early in the third quarter.
The Trojans capped a humiliating afternoon for the Golden Bears andlame-duck coach Tom Holmoe with linebacker John Cousins' 89-yard fumble returnfor a touchdown with 22 seconds to play.
Southern California won for the fourth time in five games and kept its bowlhopes alive by becoming the latest visitor to pound the Bears at MemorialStadium. If the Trojans beat archrival UCLA in next Saturday's regular seasonfinale, USC will be eligible for the postseason.
The gloomy, wet weather in Berkeley reflected the atmosphere around theBears' final home game under Holmoe. Cal lost all six of its home games thisyear by 25.7 points per game while going winless at home for the first timesince 1959.
Holmoe, who announced last week he will resign at season's end, dropped to15-38 in five seasons at Cal. The Bears are down to two chances to avoid theschool's first winless season since 1897: next Saturday's 104th Big Game atStanford, followed by a trip to New Jersey to face 2-7 Rutgers.
Dating to last season, the Bears have lost their last eight home games.Cal's three-game winning streak against USC ended emphatically.
Howard had just 11 carries for 22 yards this season entering the game, buthe scored both times he touched the ball in the first half as the Trojanssurged ahead.
He broke a 25-yard scoring run for Southern Cal's first points late in thefirst quarter, and he capped another drive with a 15-yard TD run 3:39 beforehalftime.
After the Trojans' drive to open the second half stalled at the Cal 3, Davisran untouched for a 3-yard TD on a flawless fake to put USC up 35-7.
Quarterback Kyle Boller scored on a 5-yard run on Cal's first possession,but he also threw two interceptions - including one to Polamalu, who ranuntouched for a score - and was replaced by Reggie Robertson in the secondhalf.
At times, USC appeared to be amusing itself while trying to stay fresh fornext week's meeting with the Bruins. Linebacker Frank Strong saw action attailback, and third-string cornerback Eric Reese ran for a 16-yard score in thefourth quarter.
Backup quarterback Matt Cassel lined up at receiver and caught a pass, andhe also made a tackle while playing on the kickoff coverage team beforecompleting his first collegiate pass in the fourth quarter.
Only a few thousand fans - most wearing USC red - remained in the stands bythe game's end.