USC defensive lineman Morgan Breslin sacks Cal quarterback Zach Maynard… (Harry How / Getty Images )
USC 27, California 9 (final)
USC got the victory it needed to get its season back on track, but maybe it was good a large chunk of Trojans fans couldn't watch because of a lingering cable network dispute.
They didn't miss much in the way of well-played football.
A mostly subdued Coliseum crowd saw the Trojans commit three turnovers but get a pair of standout rushing performances from Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal during a 27-9 victory over California on Saturday.
Redd finished with 158 yards and a touchdown in 21 carries and Curtis McNeal added 110 yards in only 10 carries, though he did have a fumble.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley had two passes intercepted for a second consecutive week but also threw for a pair of touchdowns. He completed 22 of 34 passes for 192 yards.
USC 27, California 9 (5:56 left in the fourth quarter)
It could be a costly victory for USC.
Even though Matt Barkley's second touchdown pass of the game to Marqise Lee has given the Trojans a commanding lead against California, injuries are once again a concern for the short-handed team.
USC lost center Khaled Holmes with 9 minutes 40 seconds left in the game when he susetained a leg injury and had to be helped off the field. That's a potentially devastating blow to the Trojans if he's out for any extended period because they struggled mightily without him last week during a loss against Stanford.
Barkley has completed 22 of 34 passes for 192 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions -- not terrible numbers, but not worthy of some of his eye-popping performances of the last few seasons.
It's been a better day for the USC running backs. Silas Redd has 158 yards and a touchdown in 21 carries and Curtis McNeal has 115 yards in only 10 carries.
USC 20, California 9 (14:10 left in the fourth quarter)
Andre Heidari's comeback has been a good one.
The USC kicker made his second field goal of the game, a 41-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter that has put the Trojans two scores ahead of the Golden Bears at the Coliseum.
Heidari sat out the last two games after injuring his knee in the Trojans' season-opening victory over Hawaii. His return was shrouded in mystery because of USC's new policy not to discuss injuries.
He kicked before the game but was not in uniform. Now that he is in pads, he's making his presence felt in a big way. Heidari has also converted both of his extra-point attempts.
USC 17, California 9 (5:05 left in the third quarter)
T.J. McDonald to the rescue.
With California on the verge of scoring a potential score-tying touchdown, the USC free safety stepped in front of a Zach Maynard pass and intercepted the ball at the Trojans' seven-yard line.
Drive over. Threat averted.
It was McDonald's seventh career interception.
USC 17, California 9 (7:58 left in the third quarter)
California just keeps chipping away.
Vicenzo D'Amato's third field goal of the game, a 35-yarder midway through the third quarter, has pulled the Golden Bears to within 17-9 against USC on Saturday at the Coliseum.
Cal's drive took a predictable turn. The Golden Bears moved inside the Trojans' 20-yard line. They couldn't go much further. Out came D'Amato, who tied a career high set against Southern Utah on Sept. 8 with his third made field goal.
Now USC gets a chance to see if it can distance itself from Cal or risk suffering a second consecutive defeat against a Bay Area rival.
USC 17, California 6 (11:56 left in the third quarter)
California seems to have its field-goal woes figured out.
But the Golden Bears are going to need to find a way to get into the end zone to win their Pac-12 Conference opener against USC at the Coliseum.
Vicenzo D'Amato's 26-yard field goal early in the third quarter pulled Cal to within 17-6, but the Golden Bears probably should have come up with seven points after getting a first down at the Trojans' 12-yard-line.
A three-yard gain and a pair of incomplete passes later, D'Amato came trotting onto the field. The kicker has now made two of three attempts against the Trojans after struggling mightily last week against Ohio State.
USC 17, California 3 (halftime)
It's shaping up as a memorable day for Curtis McNeal.
Not so much for Matt Barkley.
Barkley had a second pass intercepted in the second quarter, thwarting a Trojans drive, and then fell on a third-down play inside California's 20-yard line.
Andre Heidari then kicked a 40-yard field goal with three seconds left before halftime, giving the Trojans a seemingly commanding two-touchdown advantage.
McNeal has 113 yards rushing in only six carries, surpassing 100 yards for the fifth time in his career in only one half at the Coliseum.
Barkley has completed 15 of 22 passes for 135 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
USC 14, California 3 (7:01 left in the second quarter)
Matt Barkley is re-familiarizing himself with his favorite targets.