USC Falls To Cal, 28-16

Oct. 28, 2000

LOS ANGELES -- California's Jemeel Powell scored on an 83-yard puntreturn in the fourth quarter, then made an interception as the Golden Bearsbeat USC 28-16 on Saturday to hand the Trojans their fifthconsecutive loss.

The Bears (3-5, 2-3 Pac-10) sacked Carson Palmer seven times, with AndreCarter logging 2 1/2 of those.

Kyle Boller threw for a pair of touchdowns as the Bears downed USC for thethird consecutive time and fourth out of the last five meetings.

The Trojans (3-5, 0-5) have lost five straight overall for the first timesince 1991, when they finished 3-8. They were ranked No. 8 nationally this fallbefore their losing streak began.

Cal's defense shut out USC in the second half after the Trojans led 16-14 athalftime.

After the Bears rallied to take a 22-16 lead late in the third quarter,Powell gave them a 12-point cushion with his spectacular punt return 2:55 intothe fourth.

Powell started to his right then sliced up the center of the field, with twoTrojans desperately diving at him but only getting their fingertips on him ashe sprinted down the field.

Any real chance the Trojans had of catching up afterward evaporated whenPalmer threw two interceptions.

Boller completed seven of 12 for 131 yards, with no interceptions. Joe Igbercarried 28 times for 80 yards in the victory.

The Trojans' Sultan McCullough rushed for 122 yards on 15 carries, includinga 32-yard touchdown. Palmer completed 19 of 39 for 202 yards and one touchdown.

Cal's Nick Harris set an NCAA career record for punting yardage, with hisseven punts for 272 yards against USC giving him 13,157 yards. Cameron Young ofTCU had held the record, with 12,947 from 1976-79.

The Bears moved ahead in the closing minute of the third quarter after theirdefense pinned USC back at its own 8 and forced a punt, with Cal beginning itsoffensive series at the Trojans' 30.

Boller came up with a big third-down play, throwing a 19-yard pass toPhillip Pipersburg on third-and-11 from the 31. Boller then threw a short passon a slant to Derek Swafford, who turned it into a 12-yard scoring play.

The Cal quarterback connected with Geoff McArthur, all alone in the back ofthe end zone, for a 2-point conversion.

The Trojans scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 2:11 of the first halfto move ahead 16-14.

USC took the lead after Frank Strong stripped Joe Echema of the ball andSandy Fletcher recovered at the Cal 28 on the kickoff following a Trojans'touchdown late in the half.

USC then had first-and-goal at the 7, but Palmer threw three incompletionsand the Trojans settled for John Wall's 25-yard field goal 32 seconds beforehalftime.

McCullough had scored moments earlier on his 32-yard run.

Carter set up the Bears' second touchdown, jarring the ball out of Palmer'sgrasp on a sack at the USC 11 early in the second quarter. Daniel Nwangwupicked up the loose ball and ran to the 7 before he was tackled, then Echemascored shortly afterward on a 1-yard run.

Both teams scored TDS on their first possession of the game.

Boller connected with Pipersburg, all alone behind the Trojans' secondary,on a 44-yard scoring pass just 1:25 into the game.

USC came back with an 82-yard drive capped by Palmer's 19-yard touchdownpass into the end zone to Chad Pierson, in a seam of the Cal defense. However,for the seventh time in 20 PAT attempts this season, the Trojans' kick failed,blocked by the Bears.
AP Sports Writer

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