Television: ABC with Keith Jackson (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Todd Harris (sideline)
Radio: Cal Radio Network (Flagship: KGO AM 810, San Francisco) with Joe Starkey (play-by-play), Troy Taylor (analyst) and Todd McKim (sideline)
Rankings: California is not ranked. USC is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 1 in the USA Today Poll.
This Week's Game
With a sold-out crowd of 72,981 expected to fill Memorial Stadium, California hosts top-ranked USC Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in the Golden Bears' final home game of the 2005 season. The match-up will be televised regionally by ABC.
Although Cal has lost three of its last four games by a total of 17 points, the Bears either held a fourth-quarter lead or were tied at the end of regulation in each contest. Last Saturday's game at Oregon provided the latest close call, as Tom Schneider's 53-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the fourth quarter hooked wide left, sending the teams into overtime.
Over the past three years, the Cal-USC game has come down to the final possession each time. The Trojans won, 30-28, in 2002 and 23-17 last year in Los Angeles. The Bears prevailed 34-31 in triple overtime in 2003 in Berkeley - an outcome that handed USC is most recent defeat. This season's Cal squad features a running attack that ranks eighth nationally with an average of 243.22 ypg. Sophomore TB Marshawn Lynch enters the week as the country's No. 9 rusher at 120.29 ypg, while fellow sophomore TB Justin Forsett churns out 99.89 ypg. Both players are averaging better than six yards each time they touch the ball, with Forsett's 8.03 ypc second only to USC's Reggie Bush among the nation's Top 100 rushers.
Overall, Cal has 2,189 rushing yards, marking the third consecutive season the Bears have crossed the 2,000-yard barrier. Prior to the streak, Cal had not had a 2,000-yard campaign since 1991, and the three-year run is the school's first since 1973-75 when All-American Chuck Muncie headed the backfield.
On the other side of the ball, Cal continues to lead the Pac-10 in pass efficiency defense with a 108.53 rating, and the Bears rate among the Top 3 in the league in rushing defense (3rd, 125.78 ypg), total defense (3rd, 354.56 ypg) and scoring defense (2nd, 20.89 ppg). Linebacker Desmond Bishop paces the squad in tackles with 63, while junior DE Nu'u Tafisi, on the strength of four tackles for loss at Oregon last week, owns a team-high 8.5 TFLs for the season.
The annual Joe Roth Memorial Game features FunZone on Maxwell Family Field at 10 a.m., the March to Victory at 10:10 a.m. and senior introductions just before kickoff.
A Quick Look at USC
USC, in search of its third consecutive national title, enters Saturday's contest on a 31-game winning streak after routing Stanford, 51-21, last weekend. The Trojans lead the country in both scoring offense (49.89 ppg) and total offense (593.56 ypg) while also topping the Pac-10 in scoring defense (20.56 ppg) and total defense (348.33). QB Matt Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, owns a 170.51 pass-efficiency rating, which is the best in Division I-A. He has completed 191-of-286 passes for 2,771 yards, 23 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Runningbacks Reggie Bush (113.56 ypg) and LenDale White (101.44 ypg) are both averaging more than 100 ypg on the ground, while WR Dwayne Jarrett has 65 catches for 964 yards and 14 scores. Frostee Rucker paces the defense with 11.0 tackles for loss.
USC Head Coach Pete Carroll
Pete Carroll is in his fifth season with the Trojans and owns a 51-9 record at the school. After leading USC to an 11-2 record, including an Orange Bowl victory over Iowa, in 2002, he guided the Trojans to a 12-1 mark and the co-national championship in `03 and an outright title with a 13-0 record last year. Carroll began his coaching career at Pacific in 1974, before moving to Arkansas, Iowa State, Ohio State, North Carolina State and back to Pacific. Carroll then made the jump to the NFL as defensive backs coach at Buffalo (1984) and Minnesota (1985-89). After spending the next four seasons as defensive coordinator with the New York Jets, he took over as the Jets' head coach in 1994 (6-10). Carroll was defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers from 1995-96, and served as head coach at New England from 1997-99 (27-21) before going to USC in 2001.
The California Golden Bears conclude the home portion of their 2005 football season this week when they host top-ranked Southern California at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. The Bears will close the 2005 regular season next week at Stanford.
Setting The Stage
California enters the game coming off a difficult 27-20 overtime loss at Oregon. The Trojans come to town having won 31 straight games, dating back to their last visit to Memorial Stadium. The Bears are 6-3 overall and 3-3 in Pac-10 play. USC is 9-0 overall and 6-0 in conference play. USC was riding an 11-game winning streak when it last visited Memorial Stadium.
So Long, Seniors
A group of 18 seniors will be playing their last game at Memorial Stadium when the Trojans visit on Saturday. The class includes Brian Cristol, Ryan Foltz, Kenny Green, Brian Harrison, Jason Honey, Taylor Kunzi, David Lonie, Tosh Lupoi, Chris Manderino, Donnie McCleskey, Aaron Merz, Jonathan Murphy, Ryan O'Callaghan, Marvin Philip, John Rust, Harrison Smith, Eric Snell and Terrell Williams.
Cal's senior class includes nine players who redshirted during Cal's 1-10 season in 2001. As active players, that group has a cumulative record of 31-16 and should experience their third bowl game this year. They have also enjoyed victories over every Pac-10 opponent. Cal also has a sixth-year senior in defensive end Tosh Lupoi. He redshirted the 2000 season and received another year of eligibility after losing the 2004 season due to a foot injury. Marvin Philip also joined the Cal program in 2000. He missed the 2001 and 2002 seasons while on a Mormon mission. He was a part-time starter as a true freshman and has gone on to become a Rimington Award finalist (2004).
The ABCs Of Television
California will once again be a part of an ABC telecast this week. The USC game is the second of three straight weeks in which Cal will be featured on ABC as next week's Big Game will also be televised regionally by the network. Along with the Oregon, USC and Stanford games, Cal has also been featured on ABC in 2005 in games at Washington and against Oregon State.