USC vs. California: Trojans 48, Golden Bears 14 (final)
Well, that looked theraputic.
Coming off consecutive loses in the final seconds, USC took the drama out of its game against California on Saturday at the Memorial Coliseum, cruising to a 48-14 victory.
USC (5-2 overall, 2-2 in Pacific 10 Conference games) was up 42-0 at the half, and the only thing left in question was the debate of which was more impressive, the Trojans' much maligned defense, quarterback Matt Barkley or freshman receiver Robert Woods.
The Trojans' defense swarmed Cal, limiting what had been a productive running game to only 52 yards. The Golden Bears (3-3, 1-2) had less than 200 yards of offense until their last drive of the game.
At the end, USC led in total yardage, 602-245.
Barkley and Woods were unstoppable. Barkley completed 25 of 37 passes for 352 yards and five touchdowns. Woods made seven receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns, had 25 yards on two runs and 25 yards on a kickoff return.
USC's running game wasn't bad, either, gaining 211 yards, including 79 yards and a touchdown in seven carries by Marc Tyler and 72 yards in 13 carries by C.J. Gable.
"The was a great team effort. The defense played awesome," Barkley said in an interview after the game. "I was really happy they stepped up and took control. That was Trojan football today."
Barkley completed passes to nine different receivers and said he felt "real comfortable with the play-calling, with seeing the reads, seeing the defense. It's all right there."
It'll need to stay there, though. USC has next week off before facing No. 2-ranked Oregon.
USC 48, California 14 (late in fourth quarter)
Kevin Riley and Keenan Allen combined on a couple of pass plays that resulted in Cal's second touchdown of the game.
The scoring play was an eight-yard pass from Riley to Allen, and the key play of the seven-play, 55-yard drive was a 32-yard pass connection between the duo.
Cal finally surpassed 200 yards of offense during the drive. The Golden Bears have 244 -- 192 passing and 52 rushing.
USC 48, California 7 (early in fourth quarter)
Nothing like a confidence-building second half.
USC now has 570 yards of offense.
Mitch Mustain completed three of four passes for 30 yards during the Trojans' scoring drive.
USC 45, California 7 (end of thrid quarter)
Cal running back Shane Vereen caught a short pass from quarterback Kevin Riley and turned it into a 31-yard touchdown with about three minutes left in the quarter as the Golden Bears avoided the shutout.
Mitch Mustain replaced Matt Barkley at quarterback for the Trojans on the ensuing possession, ending another outstanding game by the sophomore.
Barkley finished 25-of-37 passing for 352 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. Barkley, who also passed for five touchdowns in the season opener at Hawaii, has not had a pass intercepted in the last three games.
USC has outgained the Golden Bears, 532 yards to 154.
Robert Woods and Ronald Johnson each have two touchdown receptions.
USC 45, California 0 (late in third quarter)
Joe Houston kicked a 27-yard field goal to gain some confidence and continue the rout.
Coach Lane Kiffin gave Matt Barkley a chance to set a new school record for touchdown passes in a game when the Trojans reached the Cal six-yard line, but two passes fell incomplete and David Ausberry caught a ball out of the end zone.
Barkley is 25 of 37 for 352 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. He has passed for 20 touchdowns this season, with only four interceptions.
Receiver Robert Woods had a 40-yard reception during the scoring drive, giving him seven catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
USC 42, California 0 (halftime)
Matt Barkley is shredding the nation's sixth-best pass defense.
Cal went into the game giving up only 149 yards passing per game, but Barkley has already amassed 257 yards with five touchdowns.
Barkley's eight-yard touchdown pass to Ronald Johnson with 43 seconds left in the second quarter capped a 95-yard, 10-play drive for a 35-0 lead. His 11-yard strike to Johnson made it 42-0.
Barkley has completed 20 of 29 passes without an interception.
USC's much-maligned defense has come up big, safety T.J. McDonald and lineman DaJohn Harris intercepting passes to set up the Trojans' last two touchdowns.
The Trojans have limited Cal running back Shane Vereen to 24 yards in seven carries and pressured quarterback Kevin Riley into a three-of-12 passing performance in the first half.
USC 28, California 0 (midway through second quarter)
USC is making Cal's highly ranked defense look entirely overrated.
Matt Barkley connected again with freshman receiver Robert Woods for a nine-yard touchdown, but the Trojans' 72-yard scoring drive was really about two players that have flown below the radar.
Senior tailback C.J. Gable provided an outstanding pass-protection block that allowed Barkley to complete a 33-yard pass to receiver Brandon Carswell. Gable also had an 11-yard run.
David Ausberry turned a short pass into a bruising nine-yard gain with second and third efforts, and then caught a ball over the middle in traffic for an 11-yard gain.
Barkley is 13 of 21 for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
Woods has four receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
USC 21, California 0 (early second quarter)
USC tailback Marc Tyler looks quicker and more nimble than perhaps at any time in his college career.
Tyler, who started the first few games this season before he was supplanted by Allen Bradford, just scored on an 11-yard touchdown run.
Earlier in the game, he took a direct snap and broke off a 26-yard run that included a hip-shaking move.
Tyler has rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown in three carries.
USC 14, California 0 (end of first quarter)
Matt Barkley completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to receiver David Ausberrywith 1:27 left in the first quarter to put USC ahead by two touchdowns.
USC's defense has played with intensity, middle linebacker Devon Kennard making several big stops and end Nick Perry and linebacker Shane Horton recording sacks.
Barkley has completed eight of 11 passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Robert Woods has two receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown.
Cal running back Shane Vereen has six yards in four carries. Quarterback Kevin Riley has not completed a pass in six attempts.
USC 7, California 0 (early first quarter)
Trojans receiver Robert Woods regretted trying to use his whole body, rather than his hands, to haul in a fourth quarter pass last week at Stanford. A potential touchdown fell incomplete.
But Woods learned from his mistake.
He just nabbed a pass from Matt Barkleyas he was diving in the right corner of the end zone. The 16-yard catch capped a 56-yard scoring drive on the Trojans' first possession after forcing the Golden Bears to punt.
It was Woods' first touchdown at the Coliseum.
Photo: USC quarterback Matt Barkley and receiver Robert Woods celebrate one of their two first-half touchdown connections against Cal on Saturday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times