USC 30, California 9 (final)
USC is 5-1 after defeating California, 30-9, on Thursday night at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
But the future might not be so bright for the Trojans.
Leading rusher Marc Tyler missed all but one play of the second half with what appeared to be an injury to his left arm or wrist.
Marqise Lee, USC’s second-most productive receiver, missed the entire second half –- coming out of the locker room without pads because of an injury that has not been identified.
Without them, the Trojans struggled mightily.
The only thing that saved USC was Cal’s charity.
The Golden Bears coughed up five turnovers, including an interception late in the game that sealed USC’s victory.
Cal quarterback Zach Maynard had three passes intercepted, including two by USC freshman linebacker Dion Bailey. The Golden Bears also lost two of their four fumbles.
Cal has now lost three consecutive Pacific 12 Conference games after opening with three nonconference victories.
And while USC’s record looks pretty good on paper, the Trojans don’t look all that good on the field, meaning they could be in especially big trouble in their next two games -- at Notre Dame on Oct. 22 and at the Coliseum against Stanford on Oct. 29.
Matt Barkley completed 19 of 35 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns, but was uninspiring. Curtis McNeal led the rushing attack with 86 yards in 17 carries -- mostly after Tyler was injured.
Tyler had 30 yards in 11 carries, and Robert Woods was held to a season-low five catches for 36 yards.
Lee had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Andre Heidari made field goals of 39, 29 and 23 yards.
For Cal, Maynard completed 25 of 43 passes for 294 yards, but had the three interceptions. His favorite target was Keenan Allen, who had 13 catches for 160 yards.
But Cal had next to no running game, finishing with a net of 35 yards.
Here's a recap of the game:
USC 30, Cal 9 (5:14 left in fourth quarter)
Just when it looked like USC's offense would be stagnant for the rest of the game, Cal played give-away again.
Cal quarterback Zach Maynard has been picked off three times and the Golden Bears have lost two fumbles.
It took two Curtis McNeal runs for USC to score. The first went for seven yards; the next for the touchdown.
USC 23, California 9 (end of third quarter)
USC lost its shutout and now its momentum.
California has scored on its last two possessions, having just gone 55 yards in six plays to make a game of it.
The key gains came on back-to-back passes by Zach Maynard.
The first was tipped by USC freshman linebacker Dion Bailey and hauled in by Cal's Marvin Jones for a 22-yard gain to the USC 21-yard line. Then, on the next play, Maynard hooked up with Keenan Allen for an 18-yard pick up.
Maynard ran it in from there, keeping the ball after a nice fake into the line.
Giorgio Tavecchio's point-after attempt was blocked by Matt Kalil, a 6-foot-7 junior lineman who now has four blocked kicks -- a pair of field-goal tries and a pair of point-after tries.
USC 23, California 3 (4:07 left in third quarter)
There won't be a shutout.
California finally put enough plays together without turning the ball over to score on a 27-yard field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio.
Golden Bears quarterback Zach Maynard has had a tough night, but he was fun to watch for at least a few plays on the drive.
First, he connected with Keenan Allen on a slant pattern, after which Allen hurdled USC's Isiah Wiley on a 27-yard gain.
Then Maynard scrambled for what seemed like minutes before he found running back C.J. Anderson for an 18-yard pick up to USC's 15-yard line.
Maynard also threw a nice pass to Marvin Jones inside the 10, but Jones dropped it.
Maynard has completed 12 of 21 passes for 158 yards.
USC's last shutout came against Washington in a 56-0 rout on Nov. 1, 2008.
USC 23, California 0 (8:04 left in third quarter)
It looks like USC will be without two of its best players on offense the rest of the way.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee came out for the second half with his pads off, and now running back Marc Tyler, the Trojans' top rusher, is back in the training room.
Tyler sustained an injury to his left arm or wrist on USC's first play from scrimmage of the second half, a run in which he gained two yards.
USC put together an impressive drive anyway, moving from its own 28-yard line to the Cal 5 before stalling.
Running back Curtis McNeal picked up where Tyler left off, carrying five times for 31 yards and catching a pass for a gain of 10 yards.
USC settled for Andre Heidari's 23-yard field goal, his third of the game.
USC 20, California 0 (halftime)
Cal is playing a gracious host to USC at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The Golden Bears have fumbled four times, losing two, and quarterback Zach Maynard has been intercepted twice -- and could have been picked twice more.
Matt Barkley has completed 13 of 22 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Marqis Lee, who is not wearing pads as the Trojans are preparing to start the second half, has four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
The leading rusher is Marc Tyler, who has 29 yards in nine carries. Curtis McNeal has 27 yards in three carries.
For Cal, Isi Sofele has 36 yards in eight carries. Maynard has completed eight of 15 passes for 102 yards. His favorite target has been Keenan Allen, who has six receptions for 61 yards.
USC 20, California 0 (halftime)
Cal finally got its offense untracked on its last possession of the half.
The Golden Bears had the ball first and goal from the USC 10-yard line when Cal quarterback Zach Maynard did what he was been doing for most of the game -- throw the ball up for grabs.
This time Maynard threw into triple coverage in the end zone, and linebacker Dion Bailey made a leaping grab for USC's fourth turnover of the half -- two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Bailey's pick was made with 49 seconds left in the half, preserving the shutout.
USC 20, California 0 (2:46 left in the second quarter)
Not that USC has needed a whole lot of help, but California is giving it anyway.
This time, instead of turning the ball over, the Golden Bears gave it back after punter Bryan Anger was stopped two yards short trying to run for a first down on a fourth-and-seven play.
That gave USC the ball at the Cal 37 and the Trojans scored five plays later on a seven-yard pass from Matt Barkley to Brandon Carswell.
USC's drive went this way: Curtis McNeal for runs of 16 and eight yards. A six-yard pass from Barkley to Robert Woods, then a quick out pass to Carswell, who powered past Cal cornerback Steve Williams on the way to the end zone.
USC 13, California 0 (4:25 left in second quarter)
Coach Lane Kiffin will only like half of this equation.
USC has forced three first-half turnovers by Cal tonight.
That’s the part he’ll like.
The other part: The Trojans have all of six points to show for it.
Chris Galippo intercepted a Zach Maynard pass at the Cal 20 -– which Galippo really couldn’t avoid, since Maynard hit him right in the numbers with the pass.
But three plays later, USC was left with a field goal, Adam Heidari connecting from 29 yards.
Tough to tell if USC’s defense is playing better, or Cal is just having a terrible game.
The Trojans have also dropped a couple of potential interceptions that might have been returned for touchdowns.
USC 10, California 0 (7:36 left in second quarter)
USC finally found a little bit of a running game, and it enabled the Trojans to score on a pass.
USC went 80 yards in six plays, the score coming on a perfectly thrown pass down the right sideline, from Matt Barkley to Marqise Lee. The play covered 39 yards, with Lee barely staying in bounds after hauling in the pass over his shoulder at about the 10.
Before that, USC, which started the series with two yards rushing in seven carries, got a two-yard gain by Barkley, followed by 19 yards rushing in three carries by Marc Tyler. The Trojans also benefited from a 13-yard pass interference call on Cal cornerback Stefan McClure -- the same player Lee beat for the touchdown.
USC 3, California 0 (8:25 left in second quarter)
Matt Barkley just scrambled for two yards, doubling USC's rushing yardage for the game.
That's right, the Trojans had two yards to show for their first seven carries.
And now USC is going nuts. The Trojans just got a five-yard run by Marc Tyler for a first down, followed by a pass interference call on California to move the ball near midfield.
USC 3, California 0 (6:01 left in first quarter)
USC has forced two fumbles and only has three points to show for it.
Andre Heidari's 39-yard field goal gave the Trojans the lead and also quelled some of the screaming from Trojans fans flabbergasted at USC's first series.
Jawanza Starling forced a fumble on Cal's first possession, giving USC the ball at the Golden Bears' 37-yard line.
A 31-yard completion from Matt Barkley to Marqise Lee gave the Trojans a first and goal at the six.
That's where it got dicey for the Trojans.
Freshman George Farmer got his first carry at tailback on a pitch play to the left. He was stopped for a four-yard loss.
On second down, Barkley lofted a screen pass to tailback Marc Tyler moving to his left. He was eventually knocked out of bounds for a two-yard loss.
Barkley threw incomplete on third down, setting up an apparent field-goal attempt.
But the Trojans lined up in a spread formation, and center Chris Pousson hiked the ball to the left to fullback Rhett Ellison. Ellison fumbled and Cal recovered toend the threat.
USC got another chance a few minutes later when defensive end Nick Perry caused Cal quarterback Zach Maynard to fumble. Middle linebacker Chris Galippo recovered at Cal's 30-yard line.
But the Trojans went nowhere and Heidari came on to kick the field goal.
--Gary Klein, reporting from San Francisco
Photo: USC receiver Brandon Carswell scores on a seven-yard pass against Cal in the second quarter Thursday night at AT&T Park. Credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images