Berkeley, CA – The final home game of the 2019 season did not go accordingly to plan for the California Golden Bears (5-5, 2-5), as they fell to the USC Trojans (7-4,6-2) in a 41-17 rout on senior night.
The opening quarter brought what appeared to be a fairly even matchup with the return of quarterback Chase Garbers (7) for the Bears, who led the offense down the field for an opening-drive touchdown capped off by a 5-yard dash to the endzone by running back DeShawn Collins (26).
The Trojans would also score on their first drive, marking the first of four touchdown passes on the night, all to different receivers, for quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) who found Amon-Ra St. Brown (8) for an 18-yard strike to make it 7-7.
USC would take a 10-7 lead heading into the second quarter with a 41-yard field goal from Chase McGrath (40) before the Bears would tack on 3 points of their own with a 37-yarder from Greg Thomas (39).
It was in the second quarter, however, that everything started to fall apart for Cal.
First came the loss of Garbers. Again.
The sophomore quarterback would leave the game after going down on a short scramble to his left side, much like the play in which he was injured against Arizona State and forced to miss nearly half the season.
Then it was Evan Tattersall (54), who left the game on a stretcher after receiving medical attention for several minutes following a hard collision in kickoff coverage. Tattersall was ultimately taken to the hospital but it was confirmed that he was alert and demonstrating movement of his extremities following the game.
The final blow for Cal in the second quarter, and what would be the beginning of USC’s march toward a blowout win, was a 33-yard touchdown pass from Slovis to Michael Pittman Jr. (33) with just 43 seconds remaining in the half.
In the second half, it was all USC with Slovis delivering two more scoring strikes, first to London Drake (15) and then to Josh Falo (83), to go along with a 2-yard rushing score from Stephen Carr (7).
The Trojans effectively ripped apart the Cal secondary, tallying 462 total yards of offseason with 406 through the air on 29-of-35 attempts from Slovis.
Collins provided a late spark for the Bears, shedding tacklers on his way to a 34-yard rushing score to give the Bears their only points of the half, but it was far too late for any hope of a comeback.
After the game, Cal head coach Justin Wilcox noted just how impressive the Trojan’s offensive weapons had been.
“I’ve never seen a receiving corps like that in this conference, not in 20 years,” he said.
Cal, on the other hand, struggled to produce a passing attack strong enough to go along with a decent rushing performance, led by Collins who contributed 103 yards of the Bears’ 166 total on the ground as well as both of his team’s rushing touchdowns on just 15 carries.
Quarterback Devon Modster (6), after delivering his strongest performance yet for the Bears against Washington State last week after becoming the go-to man under center after the first injury to Garbers, was unable to provide the level consistency his team needed in this one.
He finished 11-of-22 for 95 yards passing with 2 interceptions and added just 19 yards rushing.
The Bears now look to cross-bay rival Stanford, as they will head down to The Farm next week for the 2019 edition of The Big Game before finishing the regular season at UCLA.
“We have to own this. All of us. It’s disappointing that we didn’t perform better,” Wilcox said. “We knew we had to perform well against a team with that type of talent. We have to regroup on Monday. I know that’s exactly what we will do.”
The Trojans will welcome the UCLA Bruins in the final game of their regular season next week.