USC visits rival Cal on Thursday night
USC TROJANS (4-1)
at CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (3-2)
Kickoff: Thursday, 9:00 p.m. EDT
Line: USC -3, Total: 55.5
The Cal Bears look for a rare victory over Pac-12 foe USC when the two schools meet in Berkeley on Thursday night.
USC has won seven straight SU (5-2 ATS) against Cal and is 7-2 SU in its past nine road meeting with the Bears. The Trojans crushed the Bears at home last year, leading 42-0 at half and winning 48-14, as Matt Barkley threw for 352 yards and 5 TD, two to Robert Woods. Despite their futility versus the Trojans, the Bears are 17-5 ATS (77%) at home since 2007, and junior QB Zach Maynard (11 TD, 3 INT) should be able to take advantage of a USC passing defense that ranks 98th in the nation, allowing 267 passing YPG. The pick here is CALIFORNIA to win at home.
The FoxSheets show another trend favoring the Bears:
CALIFORNIA is 7-0 ATS (+7.0 Units) in home games after allowing 7.25 or more yards/play in their previous game since 1992. The average score was CALIFORNIA 36.0, OPPONENT 19.0 - (Rating = 1*).
After throwing two picks in a blowout loss at Arizona State two games ago, Barkley bounced back in a big way against Arizona. He threw for a school-record 468 yards, completing 32-of-39 passes, including four touchdowns. The sophomore Woods caught 14 passes for 255 yards and 2 TD against the Wildcats, and his 149 receiving YPG ranks second in the nation. USC has also done a solid job rushing the football, averaging 155 rushing YPG on 5.1 yards per carry in the past three contests. Defensively, the Trojans are allowing more and more yardage every week, giving up 554 (425 passing) to Arizona. The team has produced only five turnovers this year, posting a minus-5 TO margin, and has a meager two sacks in the past two games.
Cal hung with Oregon for a while last week, leading at the half, but then was outscored 29-0 after halftime in the 43-15 loss. Junior RB Isi Sofele continues to be consistently great, rushing for 119 yards on just 12 carries (9.9 YPC) versus the Ducks. This was his fifth straight game of rushing for at least 80 yards. Sophomore WR Keenan Allen has also been tremendous in each game. After failing to gain 70 yards in the final 11 games of his freshman campaign, Allen already has four 100-yard games this year. In the past two games, he has caught 19 passes for 367 yards and two scores. For the Bears to slow down USC’s offense, they need to somehow put pressure on Barkley. But in three games versus Pac-12 foes this year, Cal has generated just three sacks, and the Trojans are currently tied for 13th in nation in fewest sacks allowed (0.8 per game). Before surrendering 365 rushing yards to Oregon last week, Cal was ranked ninth in the nation in rushing defense (78 YPG).