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Mays follows the black and blueprints at safety

November 09, 2008|Gary Klein and Diane Pucin | Klein and Pucin are Times staff writers.

USC safety Taylor Mays continued his recent spectacular play on Saturday in seventh-ranked USC's 17-3 victory over No. 21 California at the Coliseum.

Mays, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior from Seattle, made several bone-crunching hits to break up pass plays. He also intercepted a pass that was nullified by a penalty.

Mays said he patterned his game after former USC All-Americans Ronnie Lott and Troy Polamalu.

"Just following what the safeties before me did," said Mays, who had five tackles.

Mays has stepped up with strong safety Kevin Ellison out for the second game because of a knee injury.

"Don't throw it down the field because he'll knock you out," Coach Pete Carroll said of Mays. "His experience is really showing and he's just plowing people."

More from Moore

Senior defensive end Kyle Moore had a sack and two of the Trojans' 10 tackles for losses.

Moore said the Trojans learned from watching Oregon end Nick Reed against the Golden Bears last week.

"We felt like we could do the same thing and we feel like we have a lot more coming from everywhere on our D-line from all sides," Moore said.

Bearing it

For the seventh time this season, California Coach Jeff Tedford played both quarterback Nate Longshore and sophomore Kevin Riley.

Longshore, a senior from Canyon Country, started the game and played the entire first half, leading the Bears to their only score. Riley played the entire second half.

Tedford said he made the switch because he felt Riley was more mobile.

"With the pass rush they had in the first half," Tedford said, "I felt like Kevin could move around and make some plays. Nate wasn't playing poorly. He had a couple of bad decisions on interceptions we were able to get back on penalties though, and I didn't feel like those were good decisions. And I felt there was a lot of pressure on Nate and maybe Kevin could make some plays."

Longshore completed 11 of 15 passes for 79 yards. He was sacked once. Riley, who didn't start in part because he was recovering from a concussion, was four of 16 for 59 yards with an interception. He was sacked three times.

Riley said it was hard to scramble away from USC's defensive pressure. "I was trying to move around the pocket, but they stepped up and kept getting hands on me."

USC's Carroll made a point of speaking to Longshore on the field after the game.

"That was great," Longshore said. "He just told me I should be proud."

Getting offensive

Though USC scored only 17 points, the Trojans' 411 total yards was the most given up by Cal this year.

The Trojans have outscored Coliseum opponents this season 180-16.

Getting defensive

USC has given up only 60 points. The last time USC opponents had fewer points through nine games was in 1962.

The Trojans have given up only one touchdown in opponents' last 62 drives -- a touchdown that came after an Arizona fumble recovery in a drive that was only 15 yards.


When Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio kicked 35-yard field goal with 8 minutes 50 seconds left in the first half to tie the score, 3-3, it guaranteed the Bears would not be shut out for the 116th consecutive game.

Cal has scored 2,822 points since last being held scoreless Sept. 11, 1999, second only to USC (3,264) in the Pacific 10 Conference.

Good night

The Trojans have a 27-game winning streak in night games (started after 5 p.m.) at the Coliseum. USC's last night loss at the Coliseum was in 1997 to Florida State.


They could be confused . . . but probably not.

Cal has Cameron Jordan, and USC has Jordan Cameron.

Jordan, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound sophomore has started at defensive end for the Golden Bears for the last two years.

Cameron, a 6-5, 220-pound redshirt sophomore, is a receiver who hasn't caught a pass for the Trojans.


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