Kedon Slovis passed for 406 yards and four touchdowns, and USC used to a third-quarter outpouring to overwhelm Cal, 41-17, Saturday in Berkeley, Calif.
The Trojans (7-4, 6-2 Pac-12 Conference) broke a 10-10 second-quarter tie 43 seconds before halftime when Slovis found Michael Pittman Jr. for a 33-yard touchdown strike. That began a 31-0 run, 17 of which came in a decisive third quarter.
USC opened the second half by scoring just 2:49 in the period on an 8-yard Slovis pass to Drake London. London and Pittman both eclipsed 100 yards receiving, leading the seven Trojans to catch passes on night with 111 and 180 yards, respectively.
Slovis’ first scoring throw went to Amon-Ra St. Brown, an 18-yarder that kicked off the scoring for USC. It erased the only Cal lead of the night, built on the opening drive when DeShawn Collins capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 5-yard run.
The Golden Bears (5-5, 2-5) were looking to build off a win the week prior over Washington State, which snapped a four-game skid. Cal welcomed back quarterback Chase Garbers in the days between the two contests. Garbers sustained a shoulder injury on Sept. 27 in the first loss of the losing streak.
Garbers went out of the lineup again Saturday, however, and Cal’s offense never recovered.
Collins ran well, gaining 103 yards and reaching the end zone twice. But with the Golden Bears’ defense unable to find an answer for Slovis, who finished 29-of-35 passing, Cal was forced to attempt more passes (32) than rushes (29).
In contrast, USC gained a net of just 56 yards rushing. Even without the minus-22 for Slovis, the result of sacks, the Trojans were limited to 78 yards on the ground. Stephen Carr scored on a goal-line touchdown run during the decisive third quarter, but averaged only 2.1 yards per carry.
Kenan Christon led the Trojans with 44 yards on nine carries.
The lack of run production made no difference with Slovis finding pass-catchers so effectively. His final score went to tight end Josh Falo from 5 yards out with 10:12 to play.
The win keeps USC in contention for the Pac-12 South title. A Trojans win Nov. 23 against rival UCLA and a Utah loss to either Arizona or Colorado would send USC to the Pac-12 Championship Game.
—Field Level Media