(1) USC 35

(10-0, 7-0 Pac-12)

California 10

(6-4, 3-4 Pac-12)

Coverage: ABC

3:30 PM ET, November 12, 2005

Memorial Stadium (Berkeley, CA), Berkeley, CA

1 2 3 4 T
#1USC 7 14 7 735
CAL 3 0 0 710

Top Performers

Passing: M. Leinart (USC) - 246 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: L. White (USC) - 16 CAR, 90 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: D. Jarrett (USC) - 5 REC, 69 YDS

Golden Bears know USC can be beaten

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- To the rest of college football, No. 1 Southern California is a monolithic winning machine with 31 straight victories and designs on a third straight national title.

To the Golden Bears, the Trojans mostly are their high-school friends and opponents from all across their home state. They're talented, but hardly unbeatable -- as California showed two years ago in USC's last loss.

"In California, football is kind of a small world," said Cal linebacker Ryan Foltz, who went to the same high school as two USC players. "It helps to know that they're just a bunch of college kids just like us. There's a lot of pride that we were the last team to knock them off. We take pride in always playing well against these guys."

USC (9-0, 6-0 Pac-10) is back at sold-out Memorial Stadium on Saturday for another meeting with the Bears (6-3, 3-3), who fell out of the rankings this week for the first time since 2003 after their third loss in four games.''

But Cal still has a mental foothold on the Trojans, who have been perfect since that triple-overtime, 34-31 loss in Berkeley in 2003. New quarterback Matt Leinart and emerging freshman star Reggie Bush fell behind early and never got ahead of the fired-up Bears in a game that stretched well past sundown.

"I know Cal has had a great time with this fact," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "They've had a lot of fun with it. I'd like to not let them have so much fun with it. We'd like to win the game and put that one behind us a little bit."

According to Carroll, there was an additional factor in the Trojans' loss: They arrived in Strawberry Canyon 45 minutes earlier than necessary, leaving the players twiddling their thumbs in the stadium's disgusting visitors' locker room.

"I found myself standing on the top of the stadium looking at Marin County," said Carroll, a Marin native. "I'm waving to home and that kind of crazy stuff, just killing time. We kind of lost our edge, and it's not the nicest locker room in the world. … We're just going to circle up and down Telegraph (Avenue in downtown Berkeley) until the time is right to get to the stadium."

Timing shouldn't be a problem this season for the Trojans, whose merciless offense has been held under 40 points just twice all season. USC has been clicking since its last-second victory over Notre Dame in October, outscoring its last three Pac-10 opponents 157-58.

But the Bears have the players, the motivation and the brainpower to make things tough on USC. Cal coach Jeff Tedford and defensive coordinator Bob Gregory nearly engineered another upset last season, but receiver Jonathan Makonnen slipped on the final play from scrimmage and was unable to catch one last pass from Aaron Rodgers in USC's 23-17 victory at the Coliseum.

"We're the only team that's put a blemish on them in recent history, and all the attention we got from that is a good feeling," Cal guard Aaron Merz said. "But it's different now, especially for us. All their big names on the defensive line from last year, except for (Frostee) Rucker, are gone. Now, I'm hearing stories about how good their new guys are."

Though Tedford and Gregory seem to know more about consistently slowing the Trojans than any other coaching staff, they would never publicly acknowledge any extra insight on this matchup, instead praising USC's seemingly endless supply of talent and smarts.

But that 2003 victory allowed Cal to claim a measure of parity with USC -- a measure that helps in recruiting, where the Bears have stolen receiver DeSean Jackson and a few other California kids who might have struggled for playing time with the Trojans.

"There's no question that since (the Bears) have grown up with (the Trojans)," Tedford said. "There's a lot of familiarity with the people involved. That raises the attention level, because you're playing with your peers."

But Cal quarterback Joe Ayoob isn't exactly Leinart's peer yet, and that might decide the game. The Bears couldn't win last season even when Rodgers was practically perfect, and Ayoob's inconsistency was a big factor in all three of Cal's losses this season.

"The season, it seems like it lasts forever," said Leinart, the nation's leader in passing efficiency with statistics up significantly from his Heisman Trophy-winning numbers. "At the same time, it goes by very fast. I'm trying to relish these moments. Every day, I'm going to try and soak something in, have fun with my boys, my coaches. Hopefully we can go out a winner."


Passing Leaders

C. Kessler69.73826395
M. Browne42.93000
J. Goff62.13973357
L. Rubenzer57.116623

Rushing Leaders

J. Allen27614895.411
J. Davis1295954.64
D. Lasco21011155.312
K. Muhammad462154.74

Receiving Leaders

N. Agholor104131312.612
J. Smith5472413.45
K. Lawler5470113.09
S. Anderson4666114.45