2) Offensive Line Progress
The Trojan offensive line had one of their better games of the season against Oregon State and they’ll be hoping to build on that against the Bears. Leading the way for a particularly potent rushing game on the night, the line (and down-field blockers) played a key part in the 275 yards gained by Trojan running backs. Whereas USC rushers have been met in the backfield with some regularity throughout the year, the line allowed two tackles for loss. That’s nearly half the average tackles for loss, excluding sacks, that the Trojans have given up in nine games
They also did a better job blocking for Cody Kessler, who took two sacks but was largely to blame for at least one of them. Conceding two sacks still isn’t great, but that number is also below USC’s average allowed this season. In general, Kessler was give time to throw, which was reflected in his 81% completion rating.
Cal’s defensive line won’t provide much of a test for USC, but this is their last chance to get organized and confident heading into the game against Stanford, who boasts one of the premiere defensive lines in the country.