It’s been 5,000 days since Cal beat USC Football

Oct 27, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass against the California Golden Bears in the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 27, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass against the California Golden Bears in the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

It has been 5,000 days since Cal beat USC Football on the gridiron. To mark the occasion, here’s a deeper look at the streak.

June 5 marks the 5,000th day since Cal last beat USC Football.

That last victory came on September 27, 2003 in triple overtime, blocking the Trojans from the BCS National Championship game, but not from the national title courtesy of the AP.

Since that day, USC has dominated the Bears, racking up 13 wins for the longest winning streak in the series’ history. (Cal has not won consecutive games against USC since 1958.)

In the 5,000 days since, Cal has gone 91-79 while USC has a record of 137-40.

The Trojans have won two national championships, five conference championships and won five Rose Bowls. Meanwhile the Bears won a share of the conference title in 2006.

Head coaches during the streak


Jeff Tedford (2002-2012) — no wins in nine contests vs. USC after 2003

Sonny Dykes (2013-2016) — no wins in four contests

Justin Wilcox (2017-) — N/A


Pete Carroll (2001-2009) — six wins in six contests vs. Cal after 2003

Lane Kiffin (2010-2013) — three wins in three contests

Ed Orgeron (2013) *interim — one win in one contests

Clay Helton (2013) *interim — N/A

Steve Sarkisian (2014-2015) — one win in one contest

Clay Helton (2016-) — two wins in two contests

Notable games during the streak

2004 | USC 23, Cal 16: With their best respective teams in recent memory, USC and Cal played a game for the ages in first Coliseum sellout not involving UCLA or Notre Dame since 1952. Aaron Rodgers tied an NCAA record by completing his first 23 passes and the top-ranked Trojans needed a goal-line stand with just under two minutes remaining to hold off the No. 7 Bears.

2006 | USC 23, Cal 9: The Trojans hosted a ranked Cal team led by Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson with a Rose Bowl berth on the line. Kevin Ellison laid one of the most memorable hits in recent USC history, taking out Jackson in the first quarter, but the Bears defense limited John David Booty and company to two field goals in the first half as Cal took a 9-6 lead into halftime. The defensive battle would continue until the fourth quarter when USC’s passing attack finally opened up and touchdown passes to Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith sealed the deal.

2007 | USC 24, Cal 17: Heavy rains in Berkeley turned the annual rivalry game ugly as both teams struggled to find their footing. Turning to the ground attack, USC found a hero in Chauncey Washington, who ran for 221 yards and a touchdown. The Bears tied the game at 17 just before the end of the third quarter, but Stafon Johnson restored the lead midway through the fourth and Terrell Thomas’ interception in the final two minutes ended Cal’s hopes.

2015 | USC 27, Cal 21: Fresh off of his first victory as the Trojans’ interim head coach, Clay Helton doubled up by surviving Jared Goff and Cal at Memorial Stadium. USC jumped on the Bears in the third quarter when Tre Madden’s 2-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the quarter was followed immediately by an Adoree’ Jackson pick six — the first of his career. Out ahead at 24-7, the Trojans held on in the fourth quarter as Cal pulled within seven.

More from Reign of Troy

What did the world look like the last time Cal beat USC?

  • Top song on the Billboard 100: Shake Ya Tailfeather
  • Top movie at the box office: Underworld
  • NBC’s Thursday Night lineup:
    • Friends
    • Scrubs
    • Will & Grace
    • Coupling
    • ER
  • Reigning Best Picture at the Oscars: Chicago
  • Reigning Best Drama at the Emmys: The West Wing
  • Reigning NFL champion: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Reigning NBA champion: San Antonio Spurs
  • Reigning MLB champion: Anaheim Angels (2002)
  • Reigning NHL champion: New Jersey Devils

The world has changed a lot since Cal last beat USC. Here’s just one example of just how much.

In September of 2003, Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” had just begun filming. It would debut and become a national sensation in January, 2004.

More than a decade later, Trump would be elected the 45th President of the United States, 12 days after the Trojans notched their 13th consecutive victory over the Bears, 45-24.

The Bears and new head coach Justin Wilcox, the former USC defensive coordinator, could change their fortune this year on September 23 at Memorial Stadium, but Sam Darnold and the Trojans will certainly have something to say about that.

What is your favorite USC vs. Cal memory during the streak?