USC Football: Cal Upsets USC If


September15, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins (52) sacks California Golden Bears quarterback Zach Maynard (15) at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

Cal upsets USC if…

The Bears are able to establish a running game in the fashion of Stanford.  Cal has three pretty good backs in Isi Sofele, Brendan Bigelow, and C.J. Anderson.  Sofele and Anderson are the two workhorse backs, with Bigelow being the change of pace guy – averaging an eye popping 29.2 yards per carry.

If the Bears can establish the run it will keep Barkley and the offense on the sideline.  It will also open up the passing games for the Bears as the Trojans try to adjust to stop the run.  It is very important the Trojans’ defensive line have a great game.

It is also important that the Trojans don’t let Cal quarterback Zach Maynard get to the edge.  Allowing him a run or pass option could be very dangerous for the Trojans.  Whether it throws from the pocket or outside the pocket, he most certainly will be looking for his brother Keenan Allen.  Allen is a big, physical receiver at 6-3 210 lbs. that will be a match-up problem if Maynard is able to get the ball to him.

Offensively, if the Trojans don’t protect Barkley with outstanding pass pro and by establishing a running game to assist with pass pro – it could be a long night.  The Trojans and Lane Kiffin’s play calling have been the biggest inhibitors to the success of the offense.

There is too much talent on this offense for there not to be at least 42 points on the scoreboard every game.  If the Trojans don’t deploy a more diverse game plan; that incorporates run balance, spreading passes around to different receiver, intermediate & deep passes, screens, and passes over the middle – this could work in the Bears favor.

In short, the task of the offense to avoid a second straight disaster is to keep the Bears’ defense off balance.  You never want to be predictable as an offense.

I think it will be a tall order for Cal to upset the Trojans when you consider what happened last week in Palo Alto.  The Trojans will take the gloves off for this game.