California prepares to host USC

After starting the Pac-12 season with back-to-back losses,

California has a lot more to worry about than a blowout loss a year

ago to Southern California.

When that loss was as thorough and humiliating as that 48-14

game at the Los Angeles Coliseum was for the Golden Bears, it’s

hard to forget it completely.

”It’s always a new season, a new game,” safety Sean Cattouse

said. ”It’s all about us this year, just doing things right this

year. But it’s definitely something that we’re amped to get the

taste out of our mouth from last year. It’s a motivation. Probably

not the biggest, but it’s nothing that we’ve forgotten.”

It would be hard to forget that day when the Trojans rolled out

to a 42-0 halftime lead and coasted to the victory. USC gained 373

yards in the opening half and held Cal scoreless until the closing

minutes of the third quarter after it was already 45-0.

Matt Barkley threw a school record-tying five touchdowns, Robert

Woods had seven catches for 116 yards and two scores and the

Trojans had their way with the Bears.

”Everybody has those games every year or two where even if you

call a play that’s not supposed to work, somebody makes a great

play or they get a ball tipped,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. ”It

was just one of those games where everything went our way and

nothing went their way. That’s why it was 42-0 at half.”

Cal (3-2, 0-2) looks to put together a much stronger performance

in this year’s rematch against the Trojans (4-1, 2-1) at their

temporary home of AT&T Park on Thursday night.

Cal’s offense looks much different this year than it did under

stationary quarterback Kevin Riley in 2010. Zach Maynard provides a

scrambling threat at quarterback

”It’s been different than what we’ve faced the past couple of

weeks,” Kiffin said. ”We’ve had some extra time and have really

focused on stopping him running. We don’t want to let him beat us

with his feet. We want to take away his run game and make him beat

us throwing the ball.”

Maynard has struggled to do that so far this season, completing

just 51.4 percent of his passes. He does have a knack for the big

play, averaging 13.7 yards per completion.

He struggled last week with his mechanics in a 43-15 loss at

Oregon, completing just 20 of 41 passes and failing to lead Cal on

a single scoring drive in the second half.

”His feet were a little live,” coach Jeff Tedford said. ”He

was a little jittery and it caused him to miss a couple throws

where we had some guys open. I think he rushed himself a little

bit. Early there were a couple that the ball was really wet, you

could see it come out of his hand funny, but he threw some great

balls, too. There were a couple he missed because was rushing

himself a little bit.”

Maynard will have to be much better this week because

unfortunately for Cal, USC’s offense looks quite similar to last

year’s model.

Woods was just starting to break out as a freshman in his big

game against Cal a year ago, but now he has become one of the

nation’s top receivers.

He leads the nation with 149.4 yards receiving per game and is

averaging 11 catches a contest.

”He’s very fast, catches the ball exceptionally well, runs very

good routes,” Tedford said. ”And after he catches the ball he’s

very hard to bring down. He’s elusive, he can make you miss and he

can make big plays. They can throw him a 5-yard hitch and it can

turn into a very long play.”

Making the task of dealing with Woods even more difficult is the

fact that freshman Marqise Lee is also a dangerous threat with 21

catches for 323 yards and three scores.

The Bears have their own dynamic duo at receiver with Keenan

Allen and Marvin Jones, who have combined for 68 catches for 1,109

yards and seven touchdowns.

”I’m not going to shoot them down,” Lee said. ”I do believe

they’ve got a great receiver corps over there. It’s going to be a

competition with the best of the best receivers. I always feel

we’re one of the top receiver corps in the nation. I don’t want to

say we’re the top, but I feel like we’re up there with the other

ones. We’ve got to keep competing, showing what we can do.”

Cal will likely have to deal with that duo without injured

cornerback Marc Anthony, who is expected to be replaced in the

lineup by freshman Stefan McClure.

”We’re going to try to keep an eye on him and communicate with

him,” Cattouse said. ”Just try to be there for him, make sure

he’s where he’s supposed to be and just look out for him when I

can. He’s going to handle himself. He’s in a good place right


AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed to this