USC Football's 'Next Man Up' mentality shows up in PAC-12 win vs. Cal

Michael Jackson III, USC Football, USC Trojans
Michael Jackson III, USC Football, USC Trojans / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

USC Football showed up to play Cal this week without their top two wide receivers (Jordan Addison and Mario Williams), and two of their top three linebackers (Eric Gentry and Ralen Goforth). Their starting Free Safety in Max Williams wasn't 100%, to add on to their injury issues too. They were going to be short-handed, and were going to need their backup guys to step up like last week.

Luckily for SC, that's just what they got. Their backup wide receivers feasted all night long, giving QB1 Caleb Williams more than enough opportunity to have a great night. And a great night he most certainly had; going 26 of 41 for 360 passing yards (8.8 yards an attempt) and tossing four touchdown passes. He also had seven carries for 38 yards (before kneel-downs) and a touchdown on the ground.

Tahj Washington posted seven catches for 112 receiving yards and a touchdown. Michael Jackson III posted five catches for 115 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also had a 19-yard rush. The passing game didn't skip a beat, and the offense as a whole really didn't either. Scoring 41 points, it was a major testament to how strong the depth on this offense can be.

And on defense, while they had a lousy day overall, they held Cal to being just a one-dimensional offense. Cal put up 406 yards passing, but looked terrible running the ball. SC held them to just 63 rushing yards on 24 carries. That's a 2.6 yard per carry average.

Despite missing Gentry and Goforth, USC Football was able to stop the run.

This week was an opportunity for USC Football to build character, and see what they've got without their best guys on the field. They did just that, proving that they have what it takes to force an offense to only be effective via the pass game, and even in a week where they don't have their top personnel out on the football field.

And on offense, it was a second straight week where the offense continued to be a machine despite their two best receivers not playing (while one of them in Addison is arguably the best player on their entire team). And remember, it wasn't just the pass game. Travis Dye ran the rock 15 times for 98 rushing yards and a rushing score.

dark. Next. Predictions for rest of USC Football season

USC's offense ran perfectly no matter what they tried to do, and Cal's only worked through the air. The result was a 41-35 victory for the Trojans, but a victory for the Trojans and an advancement to 8-1 on the season and a chance to move up in the CFP rankings this week.