Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/22/12

The true test of one’s character and what they are made of is found when they face adversity.  USC finds themselves in this situation, stunned by last weeks results, devastated that their shot at a National Championship is now out of their control.

However, their season is far from over.  Now they must take care of business, and hope that a few foes stumble along the way.  Their first crack at bouncing back comes this Saturday against Pac 12, inner state rivals, the California Bears.

Cal proved they could compete on the road last week in Columbus, Ohio, falling to the Buckeyes late, in a 35-28 loss.  Though USC is the more talented of the teams, Cal is riding some momentum.

How will the knights in shinning armor respond to the devastating blow they suffered last week against Stanford? It’s better to stumble early rather then late in the BCS system.

1.) Brendan Bigelow will get 10-15 touches in this one

This kid burst onto the scene last week at Ohio State.  Four rushes for 160 yards is something that you at least must dabble with if you are Jeff Tedford.  This guy needs more than the 6 carries he’s been given all year, and this game will be a great test for the Sophomore out of Fresno.  
The success of the Bears will be dependent on how effective they are able to run the ball.  There is no bigger threat than Mr. Bigelow, but USC won’t be fooled, they’ve been watched game film of this guy and won’t be caught off guard.  How good is he?

2.) Matt Barkley will throw for 325-plus yards, with 4 touchdown, 0 INTs

He’s the leader and his performance was poor last week in the loss.  Barkley will perform valiantly in this one.  The Bears Defense is weak, allowing 32 points a game and no quarterback has thrown for less than 230 yards in each of the 3 previous games.  
Cal’s defense will go up against the nations 18th ranked quarterback in total passing yards, plus Matt has devastating weapons at his disposal. His most popular target, Marqise Lee, is tied for first in receptions (29) and third in total yards (363).   

3.)  Marqise Lee will grab 10 passes, for 160 yards, and 2 Touchdowns

Playmakers make plays, and make their quarterbacks look good.  Things will be no different in this game, as Barkley will target his leading wideout a bunch in this one.  I look for Lee to make 2 big, game changing plays, that propel USC to a victory.

Cal wil keep it close early on, but I look for USC to pull away in the second half in this one.  With superior athletes, Cal finds themselves facing the Trojans at the wrong time.  USC has a lot to prove and will in this one!

Prediction: USC 44 Cal 28  



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