Bears Fall to USC, 55-14
Nov 10, 2001
Post Game Audio
BERKELEY -- Cal jumped out to a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game, but USC took over from there as the Trojans cruised to a 55-14 romp over the Bears Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
Cal lost its 12th straight game dating back to last season and snapped its three-game winning streak versus USC.
It looked like Cal (0-9, 0-7 Pac-10) might keep pace with USC (5-5, 4-3) early as it took the Bears just 2:57 to put its first points on the board. Starting from its own 25-yard line, Cal strung together an eight-play scoring drive, sparked by a 44-yard pass completion from Kyle Boller to LaShaun Ward. The play gave Cal first-and-10 on the Trojans' 6-yard line. Two plays later, Boller ran five yards for the touchdown. The point-after by Mark Jensen gave the Bears an early 7-0 lead.
Then the Trojans scored 35 unanswered points.
After trading punts, USC faced a third-and-eight from its own 37-yard line when Trojan quarterback Carson Palmer avoided a trio of Bears tacklers and rambled 54 yards down the far sideline. Near the end of his run, Palmer fumbled the ball on the Cal 4, and the Bears' Matt Nixon recovered. Cal couldn't capitalize on the turnover, however, and punted from its own end zone.
The Bears defense contained the Trojans on their ensuing drive, but couldn't stop them from scoring. On fourth-and-one from the Cal 28-yard line, USC opted to go for it. Without a receiver open, Palmer scrambled on a broken flea-flicker play and gained three yards, enough for the first down. On USC's next play from the Cal 25, tailback Chris Howard took a pitch from Palmer and ran in for the score. David Davis added the extra point to tie the score at 7-7 with 2:04 remaining in the first quarter.
Cal's next possession lasted just 15 seconds as Boller's pass was tipped and intercepted by the Trojans' DeShaun Hill at the Cal 42-yard line. After a 10-yard return, USC started its next scoring drive from the Cal 32-yard line. Trojan wide receiver Kareem Kelly ran for 17 yards and on the second play of the second quarter before Palmer connected with Kelly for a 5-yard touchdown reception. With 14:15 left in the half, USC took its first lead of the game, 14-7.
Cal punted on its next drive, but the Bears' defense forced USC's second turnover of the half with 11 minutes remaining when John Klotsche recovered a Palmer fumble on the Trojans 46-yard line.
Not to be outdone, the Trojans forced a turnover of their own three plays later. USC's Troy Polamalu intercepted a Boller pass and ran it back 58 yards for a touchdown with 10:01 remaining in the second quarter. Davis' extra point put USC on top 21-7.
Cal couldn't push the ball past midfield on its next drive and USC took over with 6:36 left in the half. Palmer found Kelly again, this time for a 26-yard gain. The Bears were also called for a roughing the passer penalty, which gave the Trojans first-and-10 on the Cal 15-yard line with 3:50 remaining. On the next play, Howard scored his second touchdown of the game on a pitch from Palmer to cap a 6-play, 74-yard scoring drive. The Trojans went into the locker room with a commanding 28-7 lead.
Rain began to fall as the second half started, but it didn't hamper the Trojans offense. On its opening drive of the third quarter, Palmer completed a 52-yard pass to Kelly that gave the Trojans a first-and-10 on the Bears 21-yard line. On fourth-and-goal from the 4, USC lined up for a field goal. Reaching into its bag of tricks, USC's Davis faked the kick and ran in for a touchdown. He added the extra point to give the Trojans a 35-7 lead with 12:17 remaining in the third period.
Freshman quarterback Reggie Robertson entered the game for Boller with just over seven minutes left in the third period and led the Bears into the end zone. On third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, Robertson found Charon Arnold for the touchdown with 5:23 left in the third. Jensen's kick brought Cal to within 35-14.
With 31 seconds left in the third quarter, USC's Davis connected on a 33-yard field goal to cap a nearly five-minute, 47-yard, 12-play drive to extend the Trojans lead to 38-14. On the following kickoff, USC recovered an on-side kick at the Cal 35-yard line. The Bears' defense forced the Trojans to settle for a field goal by Davis with 11:45 left in the game.
Despite having the game well in hand, USC decided against trying another field goal and opted to go for it on fourth-and-eight and with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter. Tailback Eric Reese ran it in from 15 yards out to give the Trojans a 48-14 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, Cal quarterback Eric Holtfreter, who replaced Robertson, fumbled the ball on the Trojans 11-yard line. USC's John Cousins recovered and ran 89 yards untouched into the end zone with 22 seconds remaining, making the final score 55-14.
For the game, USC posted 448 total yards compared to Cal's 223 yards.