On November 16, 2019, the California Golden Bears (5-4) and the USC Trojans (6-4) squared off at Cal Memorial Stadium. Cal needed a victory to become bowl eligible for the second straight season. Chase Garbers was returning as the Bears starting quarterback who was extremely successful and got the Bears off to a 4-0 start and a Number 15 ranking. Last week the Bears had an impressive 33-20 victory over Washington State. Many in the betting community expressed that USC head coach Clay Helton needed this victory to secure his job.
The Bears took the opening drive 75 yards for a touchdown and all seemed to bold well in securing a bowl bid. On the ensuing possession, the Trojans responded with their own 75-yard touchdown drive to tie the game 7-7. With the score tied 10-10, Garbers was injured again and Bears were searching for answers. The Bears running back Deshawn Collins provided 103 yards and a formidable ground game to keep Cal’s defense off the field.
For the next 41 minutes, the USC air raid offense went to work and outscored the Bears 37- 10. The story of the game was USC’s freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis. Slovis completed 29-of-35 passes for 406 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He had an astronomical 218 passer rating. Trojan head coach Clay Helton summed up the game in his press conference.
“Good win for our football team. There were some big playmakers all over the place. Defensively, I was nervous coming into the game. I thought Cal had done a wonderful job against Washington State the week before. Offensively, couldn’t be more proud of how we operated as an offense. Four touchdown passes, I think that defense had only given up nine total for the entire year. That’s a really, really good defense and I’m proud of our kids for how they operated.”
Cal’s Head Coach Justin Wilcox was complimentary of the USC wide receivers. “I’ve got to say, I’ve never seen a receiver group like that in our conference in 20 years.”
This season left the Bear faithful wondering what could have been if the players could have stayed healthy.