Cal Knocks Off No. 3 USC
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif. - Tyler Fredrickson made a 38-yard field goal to end athird crazy overtime as California upset No. 3 Southern California 34-31Saturday.
Ryan Killeen, who tied it with a 33-yard field goal for the Trojans with 16seconds left in regulation, missed a 39-yarder moments before Fredrickson'skick.
The teams played three madcap extra periods featuring a fumble, a blockedfield goal and outstanding passing by both quarterbacks.
The temporary lighting installed at Memorial Stadium for the afternoon startwas at full power when the game ended in near-dark. Fredrickson ran to midfieldand slid on his knees after the kick - and he was soon engulfed by the Calstudent section and thousands more in the huge crowd, which stormed the field.
Reggie Robertson relieved starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the thirdquarter and passed for 217 yards and two scores, while Adimchinobe Echemandurushed for 147 yards in Cal's first home victory over a Top 5 team sinceupsetting No. 4 USC 28-14 in 1975.
In both teams' Pac-10 opener, the Golden Bears (3-3) posted the biggestvictory yet in coach Jeff Tedford's rebuilding project. With a dominant firsthalf and the wild overtime, Cal snapped USC's 11-game winning streak - thesecond-longest in the nation behind Ohio State's 19-gamer.
USC (3-1) was saved twice by its special teams, which blocked field goals inthe fourth quarter and at the end of the first overtime - but the Trojanscouldn't score on two of their three overtime possessions.
Matt Leinart overcame a shaky start to go 21-of-39 for 277 yards for theTrojans, but he was intercepted three times. Keary Colbert had eight catchesfor 81 yards and an overtime TD for the Trojans, who overcame a 14-pointsecond-half deficit.
Robertson, who lost his starting job to Rodgers earlier in the month, wasineffective until the fourth quarter, when he led a 61-yard drive capped byFredrickson's career-best 51-yard field goal with 9:04 left.
Fredrickson's second straight 51-yard attempt was blocked by Shaun Cody with4:54 left. USC converted a fourth down while driving to the Cal 15, whereKilleen easily made the tying kick.
USC lost the overtime coin toss and started on offense. Hershel Dennisrushed 20 yards up the middle on the Trojans' first play - but he fumbled onthe second play.
Echemandu rushed to the 11 on Cal's first play, and one play later the Bearsset up for a 29-yard field goal attempt - but USC's Greg Gunther blocked it.
As dusk began to fall, Robertson hit Geoff McArthur across the middle for a20-yard score - but USC responded with an 11-yard TD pass from Leinart toColbert.
The Trojans could only manage a field goal attempt on its third possession,but Killeen's clean kick was wide left.
Southern California dropped into an early hole largely because of itsbaffling refusal to throw the ball consistently against Cal's dismal passdefense - and when USC threw, Leinart was inaccurate and hesitant in thepocket.
Rodgers' 3-yard TD keeper in the first quarter was the first rushing scoreallowed by USC in 23 quarters, while Echemandu became the first rusher to gainmore than 100 yards against Southern California in 16 games.
Rodgers picked apart the Trojans' confused secondary in the first half,leading two scoring drives. The 21-7 halftime lead could have been larger, butRodgers was intercepted in the end zone and fumbled in USC territory on theBears' final two drives of the half.
Rodgers finished the first half 17-of-21 for 203 yards as Cal held the ballfor nearly 22 minutes. Tedford put the Trojans on their heels with his usualinventive play-calling, which included plenty of short slants and delayed runsthat opened up the middle for longer pass plays.
Southern California finally decided to throw in the second half, and theresults weren't surprising. Leinart led the Trojans on an 80-yard scoring drivecapped by LenDale White's 6-yard run - the only rush of the drive.
Lofa Tatupu intercepted Rodgers on Cal's next play, scampering untouched fora 26-yard game-tying score. Robertson took over on the Bears' next drive.
Sat 12/7 | 12:00pm PTLive