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California Loses Shootout Against No. 9 USC, Drops the Game 35-41
California rallies in the second half, but falls short in Los Angeles
The California Golden Bears (3-6, 1-5 Pac-12) failed to upset No. 9 USC Trojans (8-1, 6-1 Pac-12), losing 35-41 in a high-scoring shootout against a top-10 team Saturday night.
“The expectation is to play better football,” California head coach Justin Wilcox told reporters in the post-game press conference. “I love the competitiveness. The guys played really hard to compete. They never quit… but at the end of the day, it’s about winning.”
“We need to play better football to give ourselves a chance to win the game,“ continued Coach Wilcox.
California allowed USC to score 27 unanswered points, beginning in the first quarter, which proved to be a deficit too difficult to overcome.
Running back Jaydn Ott scored first in the Los Angeles Coliseum on a 10-yard run in the Golden Bears’ first drive of the game. California’s star running back Ott ended the evening with 120 total offensive yards—50 rushing and 70 receiving yards—plus two touchdowns carrying the rock.
Then, the Trojans shot back.
“Where we really played poorly was [the] end of the [first] half, [the] start of the third… bad, bad football,” explained Coach Wilcox.
The USC offense ran up the score to 27-7, with two touchdowns scored on two separate drives of five plays or fewer.
But California quarterback Jack Plummer kept his side competitive. The Golden Bears’ offense, which has struggled this season, put together several big plays of their own and mounted a comeback in the third quarter.
Plummer connected with Monroe Young at the USC 1-yard line with a pass to the right side of the field, which the wide receiver brought in to cut the scoreline difference to 14-27.
After Young’s score, Mavin Anderson brought in a 47-yard pass from Plummer at the start of the fourth quarter to bring the score to 21-34.
California then successfully recovered an on-side kick, setting up a three-yard receiving touchdown from Jeremiah Hunter on the next drive to bring the Golden Bears within striking distance at 27-34.
Plummer completed 35 out of 49 passes, connecting with eight different receivers to contribute a season-high 406 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception against USC.
The last time a California quarterback threw for more than 400 passing yards was on Nov. 16, 2016, when Davis Webb threw for 425 against Washington State.