Before the game we said that the Trojans would have to contain California's talented trio of receivers to win the game and the USC secondary certainly rose to the challenge on Saturday.
California's flashy playmaker DeSean Jackson was limited to 64 yards receiving and didn't have a single yard on special teams.
USC's cornerbacks stuck with Jackson all night. "I think we made our plays. We got two interceptions and made some plays on the ball. We had a good day out there," said USC cornerback Terrell Thomas.
Thomas also had a big interception of a Nate Longshore pass that was intended for DeSean Jackson late in the fourth quarter.
"I funneled DeSean (Jackson) inside. He ran a wheel route and they kind of threw it short. I was able to make a play on it and it feels real good," Thomas said.
The interception sealed the 24-17 win for the Trojans.
"You can't find a bigger play in the game on defense than the one Terrell Thomas makes there," said Pete Carroll. "It's fitting because he's been such a great player for us and done so many great things and for him to get that chance to come through is awesome."
California receiver Lavelle Hawkins pulled in a 20-yard touchdown reception from Nate Longshore in the third quarter but was held to just 3 catches on the night.
Robert Jordan was limited to 2 catches for 36 yards.
For the second week in a row the USC secondary made big plays and locked down the opposing team's receivers.
Terrell Thomas and Kevin Ellison each had an interception against California.
Safeties Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison were the Trojans top two tacklers recording 10 and 8 tackles respectively.
2. Keep up the Pressure
Last week the Trojans had a season-high 9 sacks and completely dismantled the Oregon State offensive line on the way to a dominating 24-3 victory.
This Saturday the Trojans only sack came on a cornerback blitz by Terrell Thomas but that didn't stop USC from getting a hard fought 24-17 victory against the California Golden Bears.
The USC defensive line wasn't able to get pressure on California quarterback Nate Longshore but the outstanding play by the USC secondary kept Longshore off the mark for most of the game.
Longshore completed just 44.8 percent of his passes and had two costly interceptions.
3. Establish the Running Game Early
Getting the running game involved early was a key this week for the Trojans. With the nasty weather in Berkeley limiting the passing game, the Trojans committed to the run early and like the rain they never let up.
"We changed our game plan a lot," Chauncey Washington said. "They said it was going to rain so we were going to pound the ball all night."
Washington, a fifth-year senior had his best game as a Trojan rushing for a career-high 220 yards on 29 carries including a 36-yard touchdown run.
"This was my best performance at USC," Washington said. "I didn't know how many yards until we came back to the locker room. I never think about that. I just try to do my job and help the team win."
They outstanding performance by Chauncey Washington and the USC running game was the difference in USC's 24-17 victory of California.
"You could just tell he was on fire and there was no way we should take the ball out of his hands. So we just rode him and he was up to the task from start to finish. He ran hard all night long dragging tacklers and moving piles," said Pete Carroll.
The Trojans finished with 239 rushing yards.