LOS ANGELES (AP) — As Southern California piled up one win after every other in a 14-game streak in opposition to California, defensive supremacy has all the time been at the facet of the Trojans.

However the Golden Bears have the a long way sturdier protection going into the Coliseum on Saturday, and with it comes their best possible probability at victory for the reason that two techniques emerged because the dominant forces within the %-10 all the way through the mid-2000s.

Cal (Five-Four, 2-Four %-12) is reinventing itself as a staff that is dependent upon protection to win video games in the second one season beneath trainer Justin Wilcox and defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyte. The Gold Bears are permitting Four.eight yards according to play this season, which is tied with Kentucky for 22nd amongst FBS groups.

“Scheme-wise, it’s only a nightmare for a quarterback,” USC trainer Clay Helton stated. “They combine it up in reality, in reality neatly and they’re really well taught.”

Cal is permitting 21.nine issues according to recreation, just about part of what the protection conceded in its ultimate season beneath trainer Sonny Dykes in 2016. However that overall contains six turnovers by way of Cal’s offense which have been returned for touchdowns, instances that experience Wilcox satisfied his staff could make a bowl recreation for the second one time since 2012.

“We speak about completing always in the whole thing we do,” Wilcox stated. “Simply in the way you do the whole thing, whether or not it is exercises or observe or conferences. It is not about repairs. It is about we want to play our best possible soccer. We now have but to play our best possible recreation.”

For USC (Five-Four, Four-Three), a go back seek advice from to the %-12 identify recreation continues to be in play with wins in its ultimate two convention video games and assist in different places to take away conceivable tiebreakers in opposition to Utah and Arizona State. USC must stay its run recreation rolling in opposition to a hurry protection that ranks 3rd within the %-12, permitting Three.72 yards according to elevate. The Trojans are averaging 193.6 yards speeding of their 5 wins, together with a season-high 332 yards in a 38-21 win at Oregon State of their ultimate recreation.

“The performs went since the line was once executing and the backs had been operating onerous,” Helton stated.

Listed below are every other issues to look forward to when Cal and USC meet for the 106th time:

STILL ROTATING: Chase Garbers will get started at quarterback for Cal, however Wilcox did not rule out proceeding to make use of redshirt sophomore Brandon McIlwain in positive scenarios. McIlwain is 2nd at the staff in yards speeding (402) and speeding touchdowns (Four). Alternatively, the switch from South Carolina has thrown 8 interceptions and misplaced 4 fumbles. “It is going again to looking to create every other play,” Wilcox stated. “We are nonetheless creating at that place. Either one of the ones guys had some performs within the recreation they might like to have again. The quarterback’s all the time going to be the focal point, however we need to assist him.”

DEPLETED DEFENSE: USC has been dealing with restricted numbers at protection for far of this season, and now attrition has hit the cornerbacks. Senior Iman Marshall is a game-time choice as a result of a sprained foot and ankle, whilst redshirt freshman Greg Johnson won’t play as a result of a shoulder damage. Senior Isaiah Langley and redshirt senior Jonathan Lockett would get started if Marshall isn’t to be had, with rookies Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart backing them up.

TWO-WAY PLAY?: The Bears would possibly no longer have guns at large receiver which might be in a position to benefiting from USC’s secondary in its present state. Cal had 3 receivers switch within the offseason, and juniors Kanawai Noa, Jordan Duncan and Brandon Singleton have ignored time not too long ago as a result of accidents. The placement is so unhealthy that Wilcox has regarded as the usage of safeties Ashtyn Davis and Jaylinn Hawkins on offense. Senior quarterback Chase Forrest might be an choice at receiver. “We have now in reality mentioned the whole thing when it comes to what is at the desk to play at that place,” Wilcox stated. “It is not out of the query.”

CATCHING ON: With junior large receiver Michael Pittman Jr. out after maintaining a shoulder damage in opposition to the Beavers, freshman Devon Williams is in line to look in depth taking part in time for the Trojans. Williams had 3 receptions for 77 yards at Oregon State, together with a 41-yard landing catch for his first profession rating. Freshman Amon-Ra St. Brown, who has a team-high 38 receptions for 505 yards, will get started rather than Pittman.

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