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Miami Returns Kickoff for TD After 8 Laterals, Play Nearly Negated by Flag

What in the world just happened?

With Duke leading Miami 27-24 and just six seconds remaining on the clock, a loss for the Blue Devils seemed impossible.

Well, the impossible happened.

Miami lateraled the ball what felt like 100 times (it was really eight) on the kickoff and wound up reaching the end zone.

But, hold on. There was a flag for an apparent illegal block to the back:

After review, the touchdown was upheld (and evidently the flagged was picked up) and the Hurricanes took home an absolute shocker of a victory.

[Twitter]

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Kirk Herbstreit Exits Screen on Live TV After Getting Scared by 2 Monsters

Chris Fowler, you trickster.

While Kirk Herbstreit was trying to drop some knowledge about Notre Dame Saturday night, his partner unleashed the Halloween fury.

Two ghouls emerged in the booth, and Herbstreit was genuinely terrified. He wanted zero part of that scene and darted off-camera.

Fowler cackled as his colleague shrieked in fear, proving once and for all that you can't trust a soul when it comes to the final day of October.

[Vine]

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Jake Rudock Injury: Updates on Michigan QB's Head, Neck and Return

Michigan Wolverines quarterback Jake Rudock departed Saturday's game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers to have his head, neck and back examined, per MLive.com's Nick Baumgardner

Continue for updates. 

Rudock Replaced by Wilton Speight Sunday, Oct. 31

According to MLive.com's Brendan F. Quinn, ESPN reported during Saturday's broadcast "that Rudock told Speight on the sideline that he's not going to be able to return."

Rudock was starting to come along as Michigan climbed up the Associated Press Top 25. After a nightmare start against Utah in which he threw three interceptions, he helped lead the No. 15 Wolverines to five straight victories before losing to Michigan State.

After transferring from Iowa, where he was a two-year starter, the senior Rudock beat out junior Shane Morris for the starting job.

While he has improved, Rudock has been conservative, almost hesitant to go for a big play, while being inconsistent. ESPN college football analyst Chris Spielman spoke with the Detroit News' Angelique S. Chengelis about Rudock's play.

"To me he's one of those guys, when he's hot and going, he's really, really good," he said. "But he can make a few bad decisions here and there and can be erratic. If he's got it going, he can be really good. Jake is a good fit for Michigan."

While Morris may have seemed to be the next man up, having battled Rudock in the preseason for the job, he hasn't attempted a pass all season. Speight, a sophomore, is the only other Michigan player to attempt a pass this season.

 

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.

Follow Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) on Twitter.

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Winners and Losers from Week 9 of the 2015 College Football Season

And here we thought Week 9 of the college football season was shaping up to be boring. It's Halloween night. How could anyone have been so naive? 

In a matter of minutes, Minnesota came up just short against Michigan and Miami pulled off a kick return miracle. This sport never ceases to disappoint. 

The rest of the college football landscape was eventful as well. The nightmare continues for Nebraska after losing to Purdue on the road. In the SEC, Georgia's offense looked lifeless against Florida. From Kyler Murray's big day for Texas A&M to Gunner Kiel's perfect performance for Cincinnati, it's time to look back at all that happened in college football this week. 

Who were the winners and losers from Week 9? We break down all that was good, bad, ugly, gorgeous and more in the following slides.

 

As a reminder, Winners and Losers is live even though games are still being played. Fear not, as we will update this post throughout the night as events warrant.

Begin Slideshow

Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer Mocks Temple with Wing Flap After TDs

Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer is as cocky as he is fast.

The sophomore signal-caller taunted Temple Saturday night as the Fighting Irish looked to move to 7-1 on the year. Kizer used his legs to convert his team’s first two scores, and he didn’t hesitate to taunt the Owls after either one.

Note the wing flap.

After scurrying for a 79-yard score, Kizer again broke out the mocking gesture.

Was he responding to trash talk, or is Kizer just ruthless?

Probably a little bit of both.

[Vine]

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Clemson vs. NC State: Game Grades, Analysis for the Tigers

It was a wild and crazy game, but the Clemson Tigers escaped Carter-Finley Stadium with a 56-41 win over the North Carolina State Wolfpack. It was a big day for both quarterbacks, as Clemson's Deshaun Watson and N.C. State's Jacoby Brissett combined for 10 total touchdowns. 

Watson was 23-of-30 passing for 383 yards and five passing touchdowns. He also added 54 yards and a score on the ground. Brissett threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns, and he added another score on the ground. His elusiveness was on full display Saturday, as he often evaded Clemson tacklers and kept plays alive. 

The first half started off with a frenzy of points, as the score was 16-13 after the first quarter. The two teams traded quarterback touchdown runs to start things off, but it was the 100-yard kickoff return by Nyheim Hines that put N.C. State up, 13-7, early on. The two teams both scored touchdowns right before the half, and it was the Tigers that held the 26-20 lead at the intermission. 

Clemson jumped up by 20 points late in the third quarter, but N.C. State fought hard and never went away. The Tigers defense was pushed to its limits today—giving up 389 yards of total offense—but it made the big plays it needed to late in the game to preserve the lead. 

N.C. State's offense gave Clemson all it wanted today, but the defense failed to come up with many stops. The Wolfpack allowed 623 yards of total offense and gave up way too many chunk plays in the second half. 

It was the balanced attack offensively that stood out the most from the Tigers, as they passed for 383 yards and rushed for 240 yards. Running back Wayne Gallman rushed for 172 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. 

For the Wolfpack, they will travel to Boston College next Saturday as they attempt to move to 2-2 in ACC play. The Tigers have the big showdown with Florida State in a week that will likely decide the ACC Atlantic, so they have to regroup and refocus quickly.

You can find the complete box score for this game here, per NCAA.com. 

 

Passing Offense

The Tigers found a ton of success through the air in this game. Watson threw for 186 yards in the first half, and he had some big passing touchdowns in the second half as well. He averaged 12.8 yards per completion and was almost perfect throwing down the field. He had touchdown passes of 42, 57, 40, 35, and 36 yards. 

N.C. State struggled to stop the run early on, but after adjustments were made, the Tigers were able to find success on deep passes. Watson completed passes to eight different receivers in this game, so the passing attack was balanced. 

 

Rushing Offense

One of the season's biggest surprises has been the Tigers' ability to consistently run the ball. The offensive line was dominant a week ago versus Miami, and it did not disappoint in this one. Gallman had 74 yards at the half and finished with 172 yards and a touchdown on the ground. It was a masterful effort from this group that totaled 240 rushing yards as a team and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. 

Watson was also dangerous in the running game, going for 54 yards and a touchdown. His ability to run the ball has kept defenses on their heels and opened up holes for Gallman and Zac Brooks. 

 

Pass Defense

Brissett ended up with good numbers through the air—254 yards and three touchdowns—but the Tigers secondary came up with plays when they had to. N.C. State had some chunk plays through the air, but overall, it wasn't a terrible performance from this group. 

Cornerback Cordrea Tankersley was in a good position on one touchdown reception, and he came up with a big play on fourth down in the fourth quarter to help preserve the 56-41 lead. 

 

Run Defense

It was probably the worst performance from the defense in regards to stopping the run, but N.C. State still only came away with 135 yards on the ground. There were a couple of long rushing plays—a 41-yarder by Matt Dayes and a 66-yarder by Jaylen Samuels—but the Tigers also had their share of negative stops. 

The two long plays drove the overall total yards up, but the Tigers will have to shore up on the little mistakes before Florida State comes to town. 

 

Special Teams 

There were two sides to the play of the special teams on Saturday, so we give the performance here a B-minus. Greg Huegel was a perfect 3-of-3 on his field-goal attempts, but there were also some glaring issues with this unit.

The Wolfpack had two big kickoff returns, with one going 100 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. The Tigers also missed on two extra-point attempts, but the solid field-goal kicking evens it out here. 

 

Coaching 

The offensive play-calling was excellent on Saturday. We have seen improvements with each game from co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, and it was another solid day at the office on Saturday. It was clear that the Tigers once again wanted to control the line of scrimmage with the running game, but Elliott also called a number of deep passes that gave a perfect balance to the offensive attack. 

The defense allowed some big plays, but it wasn't really anything schematic. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables called a good game and brought pressure at the right times, but it was missed tackles and poor angles that hurt this unit. 

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Is It Time for Georgia to Admit Brian Schottenheimer Was a Bad Hire?

Take away a unit's best player, and the entire group is bound have some sort of drop-off.

But the Georgia Bulldogs may have set themselves up for offensive disaster before Nick Chubb's devastating knee injury against the Tennessee Volunteers.

The Bulldogs were a complete mess Saturday in a 26-3 loss to rival Florida in Jacksonville. They didn't score a touchdown and posted fewer than 300 yards for the second consecutive game.

Faton Bauta, who received the start at quarterback despite not recording a single pass attempt in Georgia's seven games, completed less than half of his passes and had four interceptions.

Since obliterating an awful South Carolina defense, Georgia's offense has regressed heavily against SEC competition. It moved the ball and scored 31 points in a loss against Tennessee, sure, but even that performance had some major red flags.

Now, after Georgia's worst offensive performance of 2015—one that somehow came off a bye week—head coach Mark Richt has to face the facts in a season that is going off the rails.

It's past time to reconsider the decision to hire offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Richt's offseason move to replace Mike Bobo, who took a head coaching job at Colorado State, with Schottenheimer received some skepticism when it happened—specifically from Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee.

"Brian Schottenheimer was abysmal in the NFL," Sallee said all the way back in January. "Now granted, he hasn't had much quarterback play to work with at the NFL level, but it's not like Georgia has a proven quarterback, either." 

Those words rang true all the way in October during Saturday's Florida game, as Bauta took over for the inconsistent Greyson Lambert in the starting lineup.

Things didn't go well for the first-time starter—and some of Schottenheimer's decision-making didn't help, either.

Bauta, who was a dual-threat quarterback in high school, had almost as many rushing yards as passing yards in his limited work as a Georgia quarterback.

But Bauta only recorded two runs Saturday, and a sack gave him three official carries for just nine yards. As Morgan Moriarty of Cox Media Group and UPROXX put it on Twitter, the game plan from Schottenheimer was quite confusing:

The Georgia running game, which had been a deciding factor in several of the most recent matchups with Florida, seemed to take a back seat Saturday. The Bulldogs attempted more passes than runs in every single quarter, with Sony Michel only getting 13 touches.

A pass-first mentality is fine when a team is down by multiple scores in the second half, sure, but the Bulldogs came out firing with a brand-new quarterback from the first quarter.

Schottenheimer's play-calling went under the microscope early in the fourth quarter, when Georgia had its longest sustained drive of the game. 

After a couple of completions and a roughing-the-passer call got Georgia into Florida territory, Michel broke a seven-yard run to set up a 3rd-and-short situation. Three plays later, he put the Bulldogs at the 3-yard line with a 10-yard run.

But facing 1st-and-goal three yards away from a touchdown, Georgia called back-to-back pass plays—an incompletion and an interception. The Bulldogs would miss out on scoring again.

As the level of competition has stepped up for Georgia, the offense has gotten worse.

Chubb's injury took one of the nation's best playmakers away from Schottenheimer, but it wasn't like his offenses were necessarily lighting it up with him. Eighty-three of Georgia's 299 yards against Alabama came on just one big run from the star sophomore.

And it's not like Georgia hasn't been in this situation before. Even with injuries to star running backs such as Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, Bobo was still able to put together effective offenses.

Schottenheimer has a former 5-star in Michel to replace Chubb and an experienced offensive line to work with him. That still hasn't prevented a catastrophic drop-off for the offense.

Georgia's quarterback situation didn't look promising this offseason after the departure of Hutson Mason, and even though Lambert had a few bright spots earlier in the season, it's even more bleak under Schottenheimer.

As his NFL resume shows, Schottenheimer wasn't the ideal hire to solve Georgia's problems at the position. 

Georgia's first-year offensive coordinator has somehow taken a bad situation with inconsistent quarterbacking and an injured Chubb and made it even worse.

For the sake of his own future at Georgia, it might be time for Richt to put an end to the Schottenheimer experiment.

 

Game statistics courtesy of StatBroadcast. Unless otherwise noted, other statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com. Star ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

Justin Ferguson is a college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson Slowly Building Heisman Campaign

Entering the 2015 season, serious Heisman Trophy buzz surrounded Deshaun Watson, and with good reason. Clemson’s sophomore quarterback had impressive size and skills, and piloted a high-powered offensive system. 

But after some sluggish efforts against Louisville and Notre Dame, that buzz died down.

Now, as the Tigers prepare for a final College Football Playoff push, Heisman hype is building around Watson, and deservedly so. Clemson’s offense is hitting a high gear, and so is Watson. Saturday that offense picked up a weak defensive effort in a 56-41 victory at N.C. State, and Watson had the most impressive game of his sophomore season.

While Watson remains on the periphery of the Heisman Trophy race, he is making his case for inclusion as the chase for the stiff-arm trophy enters its final month. Saturday, he completed 23-of-30 passes for 383 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.

It was Watson’s best game since his first career start, which saw him throw for 435 yards and an ACC single-game record-tying six touchdowns against North Carolina.

Although the Tigers defense wasn’t sharp, Watson was always there to pick them up and give the team a little separation. With Clemson trailing 20-19 late in the first half, a missed field goal gave the Tigers the ball at their own 27 with 48 seconds left.

Two plays later, Clemson was in the end zone, courtesy of a 31-yard strike to Artavis Scott and a 42-yard touchdown toss to Charone Peake. After the teams traded touchdowns to start the second half, Watson uncorked his best pass of the day, a 40-yard pill down the left sideline to Deon Cain. Clemson’s lead never slipped under two touchdowns the rest of the way.

It was an impressive effort, given that N.C. State entered the game No. 3 nationally in total defense, allowing 251.3 yards per game (albeit against a schedule that included Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, South Alabama and Wake Forest).

After failing to hit the 300-yard passing mark in his first five games this fall, Watson has done it twice in his last three, coupling Saturday with a 420-yard effort against Boston College.

And after throwing 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions in his first six games, Watson has thrown six touchdowns with no picks in his last two games.

Despite losing returning 1,000-yard receiver Mike Williams to a neck fracture in the season opener, he has developed chemistry with a wide range of wideouts, including Cain, Scott, Peake and walk-on Hunter Renfrow.

He is also showing increased confidence in running on a surgically repaired knee, carrying 14 times Saturday for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Does Watson have the stats of Heisman frontrunners like TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (2,927 yards, 28 touchdowns against five interceptions, 524 rushing yards and six touchdowns) or LSU tailback Leonard Fournette (1,352 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns)? Not yet.

But a matchup against Florida State will be a major showcase for his abilities, and a closing stretch of Syracuse, Wake Forest and South Carolina could also help Watson pad his stats. A strong November would certainly help him make his case for the Heisman, especially if Fournette or Boykin stumble.

At the very least, Watson has made it clear he’ll be a legit contender for the Heisman Trophy as long as he’s in a Clemson uniform. The next month will tell us how quickly his candidacy will unfold.

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Florida vs. Georgia: Game Grades, Analysis for Gators and Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators went at it on Saturday afternoon, and it was the Gators that came away with the 27-3 win.

The Gators did not play a complete game, but they were able to make plays when they needed to on offense, defense and special teams. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, made mistakes in all three phases of the game, and their chance of going back the Georgia Dome in December is done.

Here are game grades for the Gators and the Bulldogs.

 

Passing Offense

Treon Harris did not have a great game when it comes to throwing the ball, but when a play was needed to be made, he made it with his arm. Harris completed less than 50 percent of his passes, threw for 155 yards and one touchdown. He was able to hit Antonio Callaway on 66-yard touchdown pass, which started the Florida rout on the Bulldogs.

 

Rushing Offense

Florida has not done a good job running the ball all season, but they did a solid job on the ground on Saturday as they rushed for more than 250 yards.

Kelvin Taylor had one of his best games this season has he rushed for 121 yards. Harris was able to run for 39 yards on 10 carries.

The Gators were able to attack the Bulldogs with Taylor as well as Jordan Scarlett in the second half, which was why they were able to close out the game with no issues.

 

Passing Defense

The Gators defense did a very solid job of making things rough for Faton Bauta. They forced four interceptions and Bauta threw for just 154 yards in the loss. The Gators defensive line and linebackers were able to apply a fair amount of pressure on Bauta, which led to Vernon Hargreaves, Keanu Neal, Marcus Maye and Jarrad Davis notching interceptions.

 

Rushing Defense

One of the reasons Bauta was in the game for the Bulldogs was to help with the run game. Well, Bauta had only three attempts for four yards and the team as a whole rushed for 66 yards. The front seven for Florida did not allow any running room for Georgia all game long, which made the Bulldogs one-dimensional. Davis had a monster game as he tallied six tackles and half a tackle for a loss to go along with his interception.

 

Special Teams

The Gators scored their first touchdown of the day with a recovery on a muffed punt. They also were able to stop a fake punt by the Bulldogs later in the game. Austin Hardin did miss a field goal early in the first quarter, but overall it was a great showing on special teams as they played with discipline and patience.

 

Coaching

Jim McElwain and his coaching staff did a great job preparing for a team that was looking to get back in the mix for the SEC title. The Gators stuck to their game plan on offense, defense and special teams and they were able to capitalize on the numerous mistakes the Bulldogs made the entire game. McElwain has earned the right be in the talks for conference and national coach of the year.

 

 

Passing Offense

The Bulldogs have struggled in the passing game all season, but on Saturday night, things took a step in the wrong direction.

Bauta got his first career start and he did not looks sharp, completing less than 50 percent of his passes and throwing four interceptions. Bauta is known for being a dual-threat quarterback, but he spent almost all of his time throwing the football, which was not his strength against Florida.

 

Rushing Offense

But here’s the thing. Bauta did not run the ball well at all against the Gators. He only had three rushes for four yards and the coaches never really used his skills as a runner.

As a team, the Bulldogs rushed for 69 yards and averaged three yards per carry. Sony Michel never got going, but he also had to leave the game for a little bit due to an injury. And Keith Marshall should have seen more carries than three if Bauta was not going to run the ball.

 

Passing Defense

Harris did not pass for a ton of yards, but the Bulldogs secondary did not make plays when it needed to. On the Harris touchdown pass to Callaway, Jonathan Abram was on the coverage and he just got beat. At the same time, he did not get any help from the cornerback which led to the score.

The secondary for the Bulldogs is young, with a number of freshmen on the depth chart, so growing pains like they went through in the Florida game are something they have been dealing with all season.

 

Rushing Defense

This is the second consecutive year the Bulldogs do not have an answer for Kelvin Taylor. He finished the game rushing for 121 yards and two touchdown and the team rushed for 258 rushing yards overall.

The defense was worn out because they were one the field for 36 minutes. It’s not their fault as the offense turned the ball over four times. But that’s not an excuse to get run over by a team that is No. 13 in the SEC in rushing offense.

 

Special Teams

The Bulldogs had Brice Ramsey as their punter, Reggie Davis muffed a punt which led to a Gators touchdown and they failed to convert a fake punt. It was another bad day for the Bulldogs on special teams and once again it was a key reason the Bulldogs fell short on Saturday. The good news is Marshall Morgan made his lone field goal to prevent the Bulldogs from being shutout.

 

Coaching

There were a lot of things that made fans scratch their heads when watching the Bulldogs take on the Gators.

The first is why didn’t the coaches play to Bauta’s strength, which is running the football?

Also, if Richt said he was going to use more than one quarterback, why was Bauta in for the entire game?

And with Bauta not looking sharp throwing the ball and Michel injured, could Keith Marshall not get more than three carries against the Gators?

This was not a great game for the coaching staff, and they need to get the players better prepared the rest of the way if they want to have a respectable record.

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Georgia vs. Florida: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party was great if you're a Florida fan, as the Gators' staunch defense dominated the Georgia Bulldogs' anemic offense en route to a 27-3 victory on Saturday.  

Florida's win moved its SEC record to 5-1 (7-1 overall). With every other team in the SEC East having at least three losses, the Gators are one win away from clinching a spot in the conference title game, which they can get next week at home against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Both teams came out of the gate sluggish. Georgia's problems weren't surprising, as quarterback Faton Bauta was making his first career start because of Greyson Lambert's struggles. 

However, Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's early play-calling was not helping his young quarterback, per Mike Huguenin of NFL.com:

B/R's Barrett Sallee was critical of Schottenheimer after the game:

That's not to say Bauta was helping the situation, as this image from CBS Sports perfectly encapsulated:

Bauta finished the game 15-of-33 for 154 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. Georgia has not scored a touchdown since the fourth quarter of its 38-31 loss against Tennessee three weeks ago. 

Of course, Florida's defense wasn't giving up much of anything. The Gators held Georgia's running game in check, allowing just 69 yards on 22 carries, and forced four turnovers. The Florida special teams created another turnover by recovering a botched punt return by Georgia's Reggie Davis. 

Florida struggled running the ball in the first quarter before Kelvin Taylor broke out and finished with 121 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.

Quarterback Treon Harris, who is still adjusting to his expanded role, threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway late in the second quarter to give the Gators a 13-0 lead. 

At halftime, Scott Carter of GatorZone.com predicted a heavy dose of Taylor in the second half partially because of Harris' poor completion percentage:

Callaway, who was a big-play machine in the game, continues to dazzle and rewrote one page in the Florida record books, per Zach Abolverdi of the Gainesville Sun:

Harris struggled for most of the day. The sophomore went 8-of-19 for 155 yards but made plays when he needed to and got help from his stellar defense. In addition to his 66-yard touchdown to Callaway, the two hooked up for a 33-yard connection on a 2nd-and-24. 

Per Carter, Florida head coach Jim McElwain said on the radio heading into halftime the offense wasn't playing up to snuff:

Even though the offense never looked like a cohesive unit, despite strong efforts from Callaway and Taylor, the defense did phenomenal work. Georgia's best drive came early in the fourth quarter. Trailing 20-3, the offense went 86 yards in eight plays to get inside Florida's 5-yard line. 

On 2nd-and-goal, Bauta rolled to his right and tried to force a pass into the end zone with a Florida defender pulling him down. The pass was deflected and picked off by Keanu Neal, ending any hope the Bulldogs had for a rally. 

Not surprisingly, Georgia head coach Mark Richt was the source of criticism for the quarterback situation, notably from Anthony "Booger" McFarland of the SEC Network:

Florida's defense came into the day ranked 14th overall in scoring defense, 16th in total defense and 24th in average passer rating against. That's not the kind of group a head coach wants a first-time starting quarterback to face.

Given the problems Georgia's offense is having, dating back to the season-ending injury star running back Nick Chubb suffered Oct. 10 against Tennessee, there was likely nothing Richt and his staff could have done to overcome the Gators attack. 

This is an excellent bounce-back win for Florida after the team fell to LSU two weeks ago. McElwain has the Gators in position for a rematch with the Tigers in the SEC Championship Game if things fall into place.

Harris has to show more consistency moving forward, but with the defense being among the best in college football and Taylor elevating his game this week, Florida is set to do more damage in its last four regular-season games.

 

Postgame Reaction

Despite the win, McElwain was not overly pleased with the way his team played, per Carter:

However, also per Carter, McElwain was not about to appear modest about what his Gators have an opportunity to accomplish with a win next weekend against Vanderbilt:

Understanding the situation his team is in, McElwain almost seemed to challenge them, per Chris Harry of GatorZone.com:

Not a lot of coaches would so blatantly challenge their team's maturity, but McElwain wasn't a conventional hire because he lacked the "star" power a major program often looks for. It's hard to argue with his results in year one. 

That's not to say McElwain underestimates his team, as he said at the podium, per Kevin Brockway of GatorSports.com:

On the other side, Richt has been in this situation before, having lost 10 of his 15 games against Florida in this rivalry. 

Per Anthony Dasher of UGASports.com, Richt was exercising caution in his postgame press conference:

Speaking about his quarterback Bauta, Richt did say he's confident in how the junior will respond to a difficult game, per Graham Hall of Alligator Sports:

It's just been one of those years where nothing goes right for a team. Georgia had high expectations when 2015 started, but everyone is seeing how vital Chubb was to making the offense go. The Bulldogs will be good again soon, but they may have growing pains for the rest of the year. 

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USC vs. Cal: Game Grades, Analysis for the Trojans

The USC Trojans pulled out an impressive 27-21 road victory Saturday over the California Golden Bears. 

Running back Ronald Jones II, along with the USC defense, led the way as the Trojans overpowered California with their physical play, which has been an emphasis under interim head coach Clay Helton. 

The victory keeps USC very much alive in the Pac-12 South race, something that was not expected after the turbulent firing of Steve Sarkisian nearly a month ago. Here is a look at how the Trojans graded out by unit in Berkeley: 

Pass Offense

Despite his status as one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, Cody Kessler was more of a game manager Saturday. He attempted only eight passes in the second half as USC leaned on the running game to wear down the California defense. Kessler finished with 186 yards and no touchdowns on 18-of-22 passing. However, the reduced role did not seem to affect the senior after the game, per the Daily Trojan:

A reason for USC’s lack of a passing attack was the ineffectiveness of star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The sophomore was limited with an injury, recording just 55 yards through the air. Helton addressed the situation after the game: 

The passing game was still good enough to command some respect from the Cal defense, which in turn allowed the running game to continue to thrive. 

 

Run Offense

Jones totaled 80 yards and a touchdown on only 11 carries, and Tre Madden added 62 yards and a score to lead the Trojans offense. The team racked up 185 rushing yards in total. This unit sealed the game on its final drive, converting on multiple third downs to run out the clock. The critical play in the series came on a busted play that Madden turned outside for an 11-yard gain on fourth down.

Take a look at what Madden salvaged:

Kessler also noted the importance of the run game, according to Shotgun Spratling of the Los Angeles Times:

The unit would have earned an “A” grade, but logging only 3.7 yards per carry means there was definitely room for overall improvement. 

 

Pass Defense

Coming into the game, the unit that would decide whether or not USC prevailed was the secondary. California quarterback Jared Goff and his talented receiving group make up one of the nation’s best passing attacks. The Trojans secondary was inconsistent at times, particularly in the first half, but it came up with two huge interceptions, including this pick-six from Adoree’ Jackson:

This play was the difference in the game. USC held Goff to less than 300 yards passing, which is an accomplishment considering his past success. 

 

Run Defense

The return of Cal running back Daniel Lasco provided another challenge for the USC defense. However, California’s running game was not much of a factor. Lasco finished with 64 yards and a touchdown as his team totaled just 117 rush yards. This allowed USC to turn California into a one-dimensional offense and ultimately resulted in the victory. 

 

Special Teams

USC’s specialists did not particularly stand out Saturday, which means they did their jobs. Alex Wood connected on both of his field goals, including a career-long 43-yarder. Punter Kris Albarado was superb as well, averaging 42 yard on his four attempts. Wood’s field goals did not appear too significant at the time, but the six points were the difference on the scoreboard. 

 

Coaching

All eyes are on Helton to see how he would handle a difficult situation at USC, but he has been excellent so far. He and his staff made a few solid adjustments during Saturday’s tilt. The offense got away from excessive bubble passes and focused on the run, which made a huge impact on the outcome. USC also implemented a nice mix of man and zone coverages in the secondary to confuse Goff, which resulted in two picks.

An increased focus on the run game is something Helton has tried to establish this season, per USC football reporter Paolo Uggetti:

The third-down play-calling was mediocre as Cal stopped the Trojans multiple times on 3rd-and-short because of overly complicated plays. Regardless, Helton seems to have changed the culture at USC.

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USC vs. Cal: Game Grades, Analysis for the Trojans

The USC Trojans pulled out an impressive 27-21 road victory Saturday over the California Golden Bears. Running back Ronald Jones II, along with the USC defense, led the way ...

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Should USC Hire Clay Helton as Full-Time Head Coach If Trojans Keep Winning?

Interim head coach Clay Helton led USC to a 27-21 win over Cal, shoring up his bid to become the Trojans' full-time head coach.

The much-maligned USC defense held Cal to a season-low 398 yards, and the somehow-even-more-maligned offensive line, a constant source of frustration, owned the line of scrimmage on the last drive of the game, helping the Trojans run out the clock after Cal cut the lead to one score.

Bleacher Report's Bryan Fischer praised Helton for the new brand of football:

For sure, Helton remains a long shot to win the full-time job. He's never led a team in the capacity. If USC let Ed Orgeron, a former SEC head coach who thrived after replacing Lane Kiffin two years ago, walk instead of giving him the real job, why would it promote the greener Helton?

That's a fair question.

But if USC keeps winning, the answer becomes, "why not?"

The Orgeron-Helton parallels are so obvious they smack you in the face.

Both, for example, replaced head coaches who flamed out in messy fashion. Kiffin was fired on the tarmac after returning from a 62-41 loss at Arizona State; Steve Sarkisian was fired after reportedly showing up to a meeting drunk and amid reports of his struggles with alcohol use, according to the Seattle Times' Adam Jude

Both also sparked immediate turnarounds. Orgeron led a 3-2 team to an 8-2 finish, losing to Notre Dame and UCLA but upsetting then-No. 5 Stanford. Helton has led a 3-2 team to two wins in three games, losing, like Orgeron, in a close game at Notre Dame but upsetting then-No. 3 Utah.

The way USC is playing, it's reasonable to think it can run the table. Arizona, Oregon and UCLA remain on the schedule, but all three have been worse this year than last year. If the Trojans win out and Utah drops one more game, they would also win the Pac-12 South.

If that happens, Helton becomes a favorite to win the job. How could he not? He said upfront he wants to be the eventual head coach, and turning Sarkisian's wreckage into a division (or conference) championship requires magic. If magic's not enough to win the job, what would be?

But even if Helton loses to UCLA, following the exact same template as Coach O, he should probably earn a serious interview. If the Trojans had a chance to do it over, would they not just hire Orgeron over Sark? Considering all the chaos that's happened since?

Would they really ignore such a clear chance for redemption?

After Coach O led the upset of Stanford, there was steam for him to earn the full-time job.

Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer wrote the following (emphasis my own):

This isn’t about beating UCLA in the final game of the season—although don’t think this won’t loom large in the decision. It's not about one-half of a season and the short-term buzz that has stretched well beyond the West Coast. It’s also not about past failures or how other interim coaches have done when handed the keys to the car. And it's not about landing the big name, the headline-grabbing hire that guarantees nothing but short-term press.

This is about fit, and at this point it’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue that anyone fits this program better than the sword-wielding coach making the most of his opportunity.

Pressure to "land the big name" is normal at USC. How could it not be when former head coach Pete Carroll, who led the Trojans to seven straight BCS bowl games, has since won a Super Bowl (and nearly won a second) with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks?

Trying to reproduce the Carroll years led USC to Kiffin. When that didn't work, it led them to Sarkisian. Both were offensive coordinators under Carroll in the mid- to late 2000s.

Athletic director Pat Haden wanted to thread one regime with another, to hire a coach he could sell for reasons outside of winning. Neither Kiffin nor Sark had ever coached a team to 10 wins. Haden hired them because they fit the story.

Helton would be the opposite: someone hired because of his record, not his resume. He's not the big name USC is looking for, but how many "big names" are even on the market?

Chip Kelly isn't coming, and neither is Brian Kelly. Kyle Whittingham is solid but unspectacular. Brian Harsin, Justin Fuente and Tom Herman remain mostly unproven. Even former Trojans linebacker Jack Del Rio, whose name pops up whenever USC runs a coaching search, seems settled as the Oakland Raiders' head coach.

This all becomes moot if USC falls back, but for now it has a good thing going. Why not ride the hot hand with Helton?

"I am getting more comfortable with each and every game," the interim coach said Saturday, per ATVN Sports.

How good might he be once he is comfortable?

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Should USC Hire Clay Helton as Full-Time Head Coach If Trojans Keep Winning?

Interim head coach Clay Helton led USC to a 27-21 win over Cal, shoring up his bid to become the Trojans' full-time head coach...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Florida's Defense, Run Game Make Gators Legit Playoff Contenders

Georgia entered the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party spinning its wheels offensively, and for 60 minutes inside EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday afternoon, Florida acted as an oil slick.

The Gators baffled Bulldogs starting quarterback Faton Bauta, who made his first career start after serving as the third-stringer for the first two months of the season, en route to a 27-3 win.

It wasn't as close as the score indicated.

Bauta completed just 15 of 33 passes for 154 yards, zero touchdowns and four interceptions and looked as lost as you'd expect a backup to look when making his first start in a key spot.

As Nick de la Torre of GatorCountry.com noted during the game, it was a snooze-fest early thanks to the work of head coach Jim McElwain and defensive coordinator Geoff Collins' crew:

Georgia's offense hardly had momentum, but Florida's defense again proved that it is one of the nation's best and is fully capable of leading the team to the SEC East title and squarely into playoff contention.

Up front, Jonathan Bullard has become a monster along the Gator defensive line. He finished the day with four total tackles, split a tackle for loss with Brian Poole and generally owned the middle of Georgia's offensive line all afternoon. As Chris Low of ESPN.com noted, that sound you hear is the NFL cash register:

Say what you will about Bauta and the decision of Bulldog Mark Richt to mix things up in the biggest game of the season, but Sony Michel and Keith Marshall are still super talented running backs, and Georgia's offensive line is supposed to be one of the best run-blocking units in the country.

There was no room for anything on Saturday, thanks to the Gators.

Michel finished with just 45 yards, Marshall managed just 16, the Bulldogs as a team gained just 69 on the ground and that allowed the Gators to tee off on Bauta once Florida built a lead.

Another important thing happened on Saturday afternoon along the First Coast—Florida found a running game.

Kelvin Taylor rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns, quarterback Treon Harris added 39 yards, freshman Jordan Scarlett racked up 96 and the Gators looked like a bona fide threat on the ground.

Not bad for a rushing attack that came into the day 13th in the SEC with 126.71 yards per game on the ground against a Bulldog rushing defense that had allowed just 21 for an entire game the last time out against Missouri.

Did Harris look great through the air? Not really. He started out 2-of-11 before settling in nicely and finishing with 155 passing yards and a score. But that's on the heels of a solid outing through the air two weeks ago versus LSU.

Now, though, he can fine-tune his game through the air down the stretch. 

South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Florida Atlantic don't exactly strike fear in opposing offenses (although Vandy isn't half-bad), which means the "Florida 2.0" offense under Harris has plenty of time to get right prior to the rivalry game with Florida State to end the regular season.

At that point, Florida will essentially be playing national playoff games.

Beat the Seminoles, and a trip to Atlanta should be for a College Football Playoff berth. 

It's crazy to think that Florida—a team that had to piece together its offensive line on the fly, adjust to a new coaching staff under McElwain and deal with the sudden suspension of starting quarterback Will Grier—could be a legit contender for the playoff

But that's where we are in college football in 2015.

Gators in the playoff discussion—get used to seeing quite a bit of that as the College Football Playoff rankings start getting released over the next month.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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College Football Scores 2015: Week 9 Results, Twitter Reaction and Highlights

Florida State was not about to let Syracuse come to Doak Walker Stadium and even think about scoring an upset. At least that was the plan.

However, when the Orange scored the opening touchdown of the game on an Eric Dungey one-yard TD run, it raised some eyebrows. However, the Seminoles answered one play later when Travis Rudolph caught a 75-yard scoring pass from Sean Maguire, and that shocked the visitors.

Those two combined on a 45-yard TD pitch and catch later in the first quarter, which gave Florida State a lead that it would not relinquish. 

The game turned into a rout in the second quarter as Florida State continued to move the ball up and down the field with little resistance. Syracuse was trailing by 31 points in the fourth quarter when the Orange scored on a late punt return to make the game a bit closer.

Florida State's high-powered offense was the key factor in this game. The Seminoles gained 575 yards and had a 354-130 edge in passing yards.

No Dalvin Cook? No problem. Florida State gets 3 TD performances from 3 players to bounce back and beat Syracuse. pic.twitter.com/0nThImATse

— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 31, 2015

Syracuse had no answers for Rudolph, who caught five passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns. It couldn't do much with Jacques Patrick either, who rushed for 162 yards and three TDs.

Stars of the Week

QB Sean Maguire, Florida State

It's one thing to do the expected when you are the starter and a team you are supposed to beat comes to Tallahassee with little hope of winning.

It's quite another to meet the expectations of others when you have to step into the starting lineup and perform like a star.

That's just what Sean Maguire did for Florida State (7-1) in the Seminoles' victory over Syracuse (3-5). Starting quarterback Everett Golson couldn't play because of a concussion, although no announcement was made that Maguire would start until shortly before kickoff.

If Maguire was nervous, it did not show as he completed 23 of 35 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns—all to Rudolph. Maguire threw for 302 yards in the first half, and that's when the Seminoles took charge of their game.

Maguire did not promote himself in a potential quarterback duel/controversy with Golson, but Tim Linafelt of Seminoles.com reported that the quarterback was not averse to giving head coach Jimbo Fisher something to think about:

Sean Maguire joked about FSU’s QB race going forward: "That’s Coach Fisher’s problem. I can only cause him problems, I guess.”

— Tim Linafelt / FSU (@Tim_Linafelt) October 31, 2015

 

QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

Ole Miss (7-2) knew it would have a tough battle going into Auburn to play the struggling Tigers.

This is a down year for Auburn (4-4), but the Tigers lost their previous game in four overtimes against Arkansas and were not about to go down for a second straight game without a fight.

Auburn battled hard, but Ole Miss came up with the 27-19 win, and quarterback Chad Kelly was on top of his game.

Now THIS is a thing of beauty. Chad Kelly drops a dime to Laqaon Treadwell for a TD! #OleMiss 27 #Auburn 19 4thQ pic.twitter.com/PrPEMp23Tb

— Rivals.com (@Rivals) October 31, 2015

He was under pressure from the Auburn defense and was hit hard throughout the game.

Kelly still managed to complete 33 of 51 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns. His 21-yard TD pass to Laquon Treadwell in the fourth quarter allowed the Rebels to turn a one-point lead into an eight-point margin.

Ole Miss has SEC No. 1 passer and receiver. Auburn can't stop anybody. Ole Miss still controls destiny in SEC West

— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) October 31, 2015

 

WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma

Sterling Shepard did a lot of damage in the first half for the Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) as they dominated overmatched Kansas (0-8).

Shepard caught 11 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, as the Sooners simply ran away from the Jayhawks 62-7. Shepard was able to get open throughout the first half when Oklahoma built a 38-7 lead.

Oklahoma outscored Kansas 24-0 in the second half, but many of the starters had left the lineup by that time, and the Sooners cruised to an easy win. 

The 5'10", 191-pound Shepard has caught 43 passes for 732 yards and six touchdowns this season.

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Colorado vs. UCLA: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The Colorado Buffaloes (4-5) nearly earned their first road win over a ranked team in 13 years Saturday afternoon, but the No. 24 UCLA Bruins (6-2) withstood the Buffaloes' second-half push to emerge with a 35-31 win at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA led 21-6 at halftime and appeared to be on its way to a comfortable win a week after smoking Jared Goff and the California Golden Bears, 40-24. 

However, the Buffaloes' 43rd-ranked offense kept the Bruins defense on its heels. Colorado ran 114 plays, and as ESPN.com's Ted Miller observed, UCLA appeared to be winded down the stretch as Colorado attempted to take the lead with time ticking away: 

According to Bleacher Report's Brian Pedersen, Colorado tied the FBS record for offensive plays in a game. 

Colorado torched UCLA with its multipronged rushing attack throughout the afternoon, and the Bruins didn't have an answer as the Buffaloes mounted a second-half charge. Colorado outscored UCLA 25-14 in the second half, including a 15-point explosion in the fourth quarter.

Colorado rushed for 242 yards, including 100 from Patrick Carr, 62 from Donovan Lee and another 45 from quarterback Sefo Liufau, who also threw for 312 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. 

Carr punched in a go-ahead touchdown run with just over 12 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, per the Pac-12 Networks on Twitter, but UCLA responded minutes later:

Quarterback Josh Rosen marched the Bruins 69 yards down the field in just 27 seconds to help give UCLA a four-point lead with 8:28 remaining in the contest, but as Bleacher Report's Bryan Fischer explained, the quick strike wasn't ideal, given the time-of-possession disparity: 

UCLA escaped with the win, but the way Colorado dominated the clock wasn't inspiring for a UCLA team that entered Saturday afternoon ranked 69th in yards allowed per game (397.0). When all was said and done, Colorado (36:25) nearly doubled UCLA's (18:55) time of possession.

SB Nation's Bill Connelly provided a graphic representation of Colorado's statistical domination: 

Despite the outrageous discrepancy, Rosen and the Bruins stood tall. The freshman completed 19 of 33 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown, marking the second straight game in which he didn't toss an interception. Rosen has also thrown for at least 250 yards in five straight contests.

Running back Paul Perkins added 12 carries for 118 yards, 82 of which came on a second-quarter touchdown rumble, per the Pac-12 Networks: 

As the Bruins displayed Saturday, they have the offensive talent to give opponents fits. The task for Rosen, Perkins and receivers such as Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte moving forward will be controlling the clock enough to give the defense breathers. 

A winnable matchup with Oregon State awaits, but Saturday showed UCLA can't take any Pac-12 foe for granted, according to the Orange County Register's Ryan Kartje:

It will be difficult for fans in Boulder, Colorado, to find sources of optimism. After opening the season 3-1, the Buffaloes have dropped four of their last five, with the lone win in that stretch coming over the Beavers. 

Colorado remained competitive against Oregon, Arizona, Hawaii and UCLA, but as ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg noted, that may not be enough:

Considering that the remainder of Colorado's regular-season schedule includes meetings with Stanford, USC, Washington State and Utah, Saturday may have represented the Buffaloes' last chance at a victory this season.

 

Post-Game Reaction

One of UCLA's key defensive cogs explained how the defense was able to survive against a Colorado offense that seemingly never left the field, per Pac-12 Networks: 

Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News relayed Mora's thoughts about his team's defense, as well as a take from a Bruins defensive lineman: 

"That was about a gritty a win as I’ve ever been around," head coach Jim Mora said, per the Daily Bruin's Claire Fahy. "It was one of the most rewarding wins as I’ve been here, three and a half years." 

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Notre Dame vs. Temple: Live Score and Highlights

No. 9 Notre Dame - 0

No. 21 Temple - 0

11:00 1st Quarter

TV: ABC

In the only battle of ranked teams this week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish get an unexpected chance at a College Football Playoff resume builder as they square off against the Temple Owls. 

Stay plugged in below for continued updates, as this game looks to be a thriller. 

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Owners Dress Dog Up as Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

Sometimes, people go overboard with their dogs on Halloween. Other times, the owners give that hound a legendary costume.

This would fall under the latter category.

It’s safe to say these owners are Michigan fans, and instead of dressing their pooch as a Wolverine (hashtag lame), they went all out.

Behold, the “Har-dog."

If the dog embraces the costume, it absolutely will go after the first referee it sees and even toss the nearest clipboard in disdain:


[Twitter, YouTube]

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USC vs. Cal: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The USC Trojans picked up their second win in a row under interim head coach Clay Helton, defeating the California Golden Bears 27-21 on Saturday in Berkeley, California.

While Helton's specialty is the offensive side of the ball, defense is quickly becoming the hallmark for his USC team, as the Trojans intercepted Jared Goff on two occasions and limited the high-powered Cal attack to 389 yards, down from its season average of 505 yards per game entering Saturday.

Goff went 23-of-31 for 272 yards, two touchdowns and two picks—the second game in a row in which he was held to under 300 yards through the air.

Defense played a big role for the Trojans in the win, but the running game was equally vital. Coming into the game, USC ranked 105th in time of possession (27.3 minutes per game). The Trojans held the ball for 35 minutes, eight seconds Saturday. 

USC gained 185 yards as a team on 50 carries. The trio of Ronald Jones II, Tre Madden and Justin Davis helped control the clock and keep the Golden Bears offense off the field.

The Trojans haven't started well in any of their last three games, but in what's becoming a trend under Helton, they have started to find their footing once the second quarter kicks off, per Reign of Troy:

Goff helped put the Golden Bears ahead 7-0 with a six-yard TD pass to wideout Bryce Treggs early in the first quarter, but USC reeled off 24 unanswered points to take control.

Jones got the Trojans on the board with a 13-yard touchdown run to help tie the game 1:33 into the second quarter. Alex Wood then gave USC a slim 10-7 lead with a 22-yard field goal as halftime approached.

Madden added to the lead at the 9:46 mark of the third quarter after finding the end zone on a two-yard run. USC did a great job of wearing down the Golden Bears defense, eating up 67 yards in a little over five minutes on 13 plays.

For Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times, the drive echoed the same trademarks that made the Trojans successful in the past:

While it wasn't a knockout blow for Cal, the next play from scrimmage was disastrous for the Golden Bears and potentially the biggest moment of the game.

Goff is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2016 NFL draft, but the Golden Bears signal-caller did nothing to bolster his stock with this throw on Cal's first drive of the second half, per the Pac-12 Networks:

Goff gifted Adoree' Jackson the interception, but the star defensive back demonstrated his athleticism by weaving his way to the end zone. SB Nation's Brian Floyd noticed that Goff suffered further indignity on the play in addition to the pick-six:

Neon Tommy's Paolo Uggetti highlighted how the USC front seven played a big role in causing the turnover:

Goff rebounded after the interception and led Cal on a 10-play, 81-yard drive that culminated in a six-yard touchdown run by running back Daniel Lasco to help get the home side within two scores, 24-14.

But Wood nailed his second field goal of the game to provide USC with more breathing room. Then, as the Golden Bears looked poised to trim the deficit, Goff threw his second interception of the game. Goff was looking for Kenny Lawler on the sideline but only found Trojans defensive back Kevon Seymour.

SB Nation's Spencer Hall found the silver lining for the junior QB:

Not to be deterred, Goff completed a critical fourth-down throw on Cal's next drive, and the Golden Bears scored on a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Stephen Anderson:

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes eschewed an onside kick, opting instead to rely on his defense. With 3:52 left in the game after Anderson's TD grab, you couldn't blame Dykes for his decision.

The strategy nearly paid off after the Golden Bears looked to stuff Madden on 3rd-and-1, but the senior somehow bounced outside and gained 14 yards. ESPN.com's Arash Markazi provided a great look at how the play was developing before Madden found the open field:

USC picked up another first down, which enabled the Trojans to run out the rest of the clock and secure the victory.

As bad as things looked for USC following its loss to Washington on Oct. 8, the Trojans' hopes of winning the Pac-12 South aren't dead. They're just a game behind Utah, which still has to play Arizona on the road and UCLA, both of which could be tricky games.

USC shouldn't book those tickets for Santa Clara, California, for the Pac-12 Championship Game yet; the Trojans still need some pieces to fall in their favor. Still, fans have to feel better about the team now than they did with former head coach Steve Sarkisian on the sidelines.

For Cal, the defeat all but eliminates the Golden Bears as contenders in the Pac-12 North. With a 2-3 conference record, they need too many teams ahead of them to slip up in order to secure first place.

 

Post-Game Reaction

"We're 2-0 in the second half of the season and dang proud of it," said Helton in his post-game interview with FS1's Molly McGrath (via Markazi).

An injury to playmaker JuJu Smith-Schuster put a small damper on the win for USC, though. According to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, Smith-Schuster has a fracture in his hand, which may require a cast for the immediate future.

On the other sideline, Dykes will have to deal with keeping his players in the right frame of mind after a third consecutive loss, with the defeats to USC and Utah coming by six points apiece.

"It's not good right now. We're disappointed," Dykes said of the mood in his locker room, per Cal football's Twitter account. "We've felt like we've played good enough to win two games. We certainly have played well enough against two teams that have at one time or another been in the top 10 this year. For us to go into the 4th quarter and be in it to win, we want to do it and that's the next step for us."

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