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USC Football Resumes Longtime Series With California Following First Gap Since 1925

Nov 8, 2021


*USC closes out a 2-game road trip and plays its final regular season road game when it visits long-time opponent California, televised live on FS1.

*It will be USC's 108th meeting with Cal, the team the Trojans have played more than any opponent. However, for the first time since 1925, the teams didn't battle last year due to COVID scheduling limitations.

*USC hasn't lost to the Golden Bears in the Bay Area since 2003.

*Interim head coach Donte Williams' USC club, still 2 victories from bowl eligiblity, seeks to rebound from a 15-point loss at Arizona State that was a 1-point anybody's game midway through the final quarter. Troy has employed 2 quarterbacks lately: starter Kedon Slovis, whose career completion percentage remains above the school record, and then true freshman Jaxson Dart off the bench for some series. Although he was lost for the season with a broken ankle in Game 8, WR Drake London remains a leading candidate for the Biletnikoff Award and All-American honors based on his impressive body of work in 2021 (88 catches, 1,084 yards, 7 TDs). WRs Tahj Washington and Gary Bryant Jr. have stepped up in his absence (a combined 15 catches at Arizona State). RB Keaontay Ingram is on pace for a 1,000-yard rushing season. While the Trojan offense is hoping to find a better rhythm and be more productive in the red zone, the defense aims to be more stout (opponents have had 400-plus total yards in 3 of the past 4 games) while continuing to produce turnovers. ILBs Kana'i Mauga and Ralen Goforth and S Chase Williams are USC's tackle leaders, while DL Tuli Tuipulotu and OLB Drake Jackson make big plays with sacks and fumble recoveries. At ASU, S Xavion Alford became the first Trojan since 2017 with 2 interceptions in a game. PK Parker Lewis nailed 3 long field goals at ASU, including a 52-yarder (tied for fifth longest in USC history), while Aussie P Ben Griffiths' consistently booms 50-yard punts.

*After starting the 2021 season with a 1-5 record, head coach Justin Wilcox's California team won its next 2 games games before its injury- and COVID-depleted squad fell at Arizona on Saturday. Dual-threat senior QB Chase Garbers, a 4-year starter who owns Cal career quarterback marks for most rushing yards and TDs, directs an offense that has not committed a turnover in the past 3 games. RB Damien Moore tops the Bears in rushing, while leading pass catchers are WRs Nikko Remigio (one of the nation's best kickoff returners), Kekoa Crawford and Trevon Clark. Cal's defense, which is sixth nationally in turnover margin, features Ss Daniel Scott and Elijah Hicks, who both are in the nation's Top 20 in interceptions, along with OLB Muelu Iosefa (his brother played at USC), DE Luc Bequette and OLB Cameron Goode.


*USC and California are not ranked in the current AP sports media and USA Today coaches polls.


*USC leads the series with California, which dates back to 1915 (and is uninterrupted since 1926), 70-31- 5 (not including Troy's 2005 victory that was vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 71-31-5). The Trojans have lost just once to the Bears since 2004.

*In Trojan-Bear games in the Bay Area, USC is 36-13-1 (not including Troy's 2005 victory that was vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 37-13-1). USC's last road loss to Cal was in 2003 in triple overtime.

*In 2019 in the most recent meeting, QB Kedon Slovis threw 4 touchdown passes and USC scored 31 unanswered points to dominate California, 41-17, in Berkeley.


*USC has a 266-135-20 (.656) all-time record while playing in the month of November (not including 3 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 269-135-20, .658).


*USC has won 69.8% (482-200-29) of its games against current Pac-12 opponents (not including 9 wins later vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 491-200-29, 70.2%).


*USC is 47-31-1 in its last 79 games on artificial turf (not including 3 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 50-31-1).


*USC has 7 players who previously attended a Bay Area school: DL De'jon Benton (Pittsburg HS), OL Andres Dewerk (Los Gatos HS), TE Grant Jones (De La Salle HS), TE Erik Krommenhoek (Monte Vista HS), TE Sean Mahoney (Archbishop Mitty HS), OL Jalen McKenzie (Clayton Valley HS) and WR Danny Ryan (St. Ignatius HS).

*TE Jude Wolfe's cousin, Ryan Gutierrez, was a safety at California (2001-04).

*USC linebackers coach Michael Hutchings prepped at De La Salle High in Concord (Calif.).

*USC OL Jalen McKenzie's uncle, Raleigh McKenzie, was a scout with the Oakland Raiders.

*USC ILB Spencer Gilbert's father, Greg Gilbert, played linebacker with the Oakland Raiders (1990-91).

*USC defensive line coach Vic So'oto played linebacker with the Oakland Raiders in 2012.

*USC director of recruiting strategy Marshall Cherrington held the same position at California in 2018-20.

*USC director of video production Nick Mitchell spent 2019 and 2020 as Cal football's creative director.

*USC senior associate athletic director Hatcher Parnell is a Cal graduate who previously worked in event management for the Golden Bears.

*USC associate sports information director Jeremy Wu formerly held a similar position at Cal.

*California head coach Justin Wilcox was USC's defensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015.

*Cal defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Peter Sirmon was an assistant coach at USC in 2014 and 2015.

*Cal outside linebackers coach Keith Heyward was USC's defensive backs coach in 2014 and 2015.

*Cal ILB Muelu Iosefa and S Fatu Iosefa are the younger brothers of USC student coach (and former ILB) Jordan Iosefa.

*Cal ILB MyKyle So'oto is the cousin of USC defensive line coach Vic So'oto. *Cal CB Tyson McWilliams is the son of former USC tight end Johnny McWilliams (1993-95).

*The California women's swim team is coached by Teri McKeever, who was an All-American swimmer at USC in 1980-81 and later an assistant coach at Troy (her late father, Mike, was an All-American guard for the 1959 USC football team, while her late uncle, Marlin, was a Trojan All-American end in 1959 and 1960).

*Cal women's basketball special assistant to the head coach Kai Felton previously was an assistant coach at USC.

*Cal athletic academic advisor Cassidy Raher formerly held a similar position at USC.