Soccer | November 4, 2022
WHO: USC vs. Cal
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
When: Saturday, November 5 at 7:30pm PT on ESPN
All Time Series: USC leads, 71-32-5
Last meeting: Cal won 24-14 at Berkeley
Cal Player Spotlight:
The quarterback Jack Plummer:
More of a traditional pocket passer compared to the various mobile quarterbacks USC has seen so far this season
He has been sacked 25 times this season
He sat out last week’s game against Oregon with what was described as a neck injury, but is expected to play Saturday
Linebacker Jackson Sirmon:
Leads Cal in tackles with 76
Has recorded at least 8 tackles in 7 of 8 games played
He went 10+ innings in the Bear’s last two games
Son of Cal defensive coordinator and former USC linebackers coach Peter Sirmon
The Victory Podcast – Cody Kessler and Keely Eure preview USC vs. Cal:
Keep up the “Next Man Up” mentality.
The Trojans saw key contributions on both sides of the ball last Saturday in light of several injuries sprinkled throughout their roster. Redshirt freshman year Mason Murphy he answered the call and was praised for his first start as a Trojan in left. Also, wide receivers Kyle Ford i Tahj Washington was on occasion because of Jordan Addison i Mario Williams absences On the other side of the ball, safety Bryson Shaw earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for his presence in the USC secondary and his game-changing interception.
While Riley shared Thursday that all of the Trojans’ injured players have made “good progress” in their recovery this week, it’s still unknown how many will be able to contribute against Cal. Just like last week, USC’s success depends on the contribution of every part of its roster. There will likely be roles for certain players, and it’s vital that they live up to it.
USC’s offense continues to impress every week. It looks like this quarterback Caleb Williams has found his stride as he has led the Trojans to new heights in back-to-back games. The sophomore broke his collegiate record for most passing yards in a single game against Arizona, while USC eclipsed his season-high in total yards for the second straight game.
The Trojans should look to continue their scoring success Saturday and put the game away early. Cal’s offense averages 23 points per game and is not designed for high-scoring games. USC can put the game out of reach quickly if their offense can sustain drives and score early and often.
Focus on the basics
USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch described his staff as “sick to the stomach” when assessing their last two group games. The Trojans have allowed their opponents over 500 total yards and haven’t quite lived up to their “bend but don’t break” mantra of late. While injuries have certainly hurt USC’s performance, Grinch on Wednesday emphasized a sense of urgency to correct the mistakes of its defense.
Luckily for the Trojans, they have a chance to right their wrongs on Saturday. Cal’s signal-caller Jack Plummer is a pure pocket passer and is nothing like the tenacious, dual-threat quarterbacks USC has faced for several weeks in a row. Plummer has been sacked 25 times so far this season, so the Trojans backfield should take advantage of the opportunity to make the Bears quarterback uncomfortable. Ultimately, it will be critical for the Trojans to remember their assignments and stay fundamentally sound.
“We have to be honest [Cal’s] The level of excitement is going to come here on Saturday and we understand, in terms of, we’re going to get the best version of them,” Grinch explained Wednesday. “We’re looking forward to it. We’re going to make sure we give them the best version of us and we haven’t done that in a long time.”
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