Trojans get defensive in win

The USC defense led by the play of it's hard-hitting safety, Taylor Mays, held yet another Pac-10 opponent from scoring a single touchdown in their 17-3 victory over the California Golden Bears Saturday night. Look inside for all the details.

The USC defense led by the play of it's hard-hitting safety, Taylor Mays, held yet another Pac-10 opponent from scoring a single touchdown in their 17-3 victory over the California Golden Bears Saturday night.

"The defense was playing lights out tonight," Carroll said. "I really felt the game was more in control than the score showed."

Cal's offense managed a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter, but was kept out of the end zone the entire game by USC's stifling defense, which hasn't surrendered a touchdown in the last ten quarters of play.

"I think the story of this night is about our defense again," Carroll said. "Our guys just keep playing quarter after quarter and they don't give up anything."

While USC's defense is unquestionably one of the most dominant units that the Pac-10 has seen in years, the Trojans continue to challenge themselves by committing costly penalties at key times.

"It is a concern and we are on it," Carroll said of the mistakes. "It hasn't cost us a game, but it could."

Cal's only scoring drive was extended by Brian Cushing's roughing the passer penalty and Kaluka Maiava's pass interference call.

"We were doing everything we could to shut them down, but those penalties were hurting us a bit," USC linebacker Brian Cushing added. "We need to cut it down or it is going to hurt us down the road. Football is controlled chaos, but there's rules."

Junior Taylor Mays, who is considered one of the premiere safeties in all of college football, looked the part Saturday night, delivering one bone-jarring hit after another.

"Don't throw it down the field because he'll knock you out," Carroll said of his talented safety. "His experience is really showing and he's just plowing people."

Mays had five tackles and broke up four passes for USC.

Fellow defensive back Josh Pinkard also came up big for the Trojans Saturday night. The senior cornerback intercepted a Kevin Riley pass in the end zone in the third quarter.

"Will Harris made a great break on it and tipped it up in the air," Pinkard said of the play. "I just stayed focused on the ball and caught it."

While the secondary kept Cal's passing game contained, Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews completely shut down the ground attack.

"We're playing really well right now," Brian Cushing said. "We have a lot of seniors out there who know their roles. We are playing aggressive."

USC allowed a season-low 27 rushing yards on the night.

"We aren't trying to make history but it seems to be happening," Pinkard said of the play of USC's defense.

With the win the Trojans improved to 8-1, including 5-0 at the Coliseum. In five home games this season, the Trojans have outscored the opposition 180-16.


USC DT Fili Moala pressures Cal QB Kevin Riley (Photo by Paul Pinner)

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


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