Cal trailed USC 10-0 last weekend, but it was early. However, beginning with the last play of the first quarter, star tailback Jahvid Best did not touch the ball on the Bears' next seven offensive plays. Cal managed one first down during those two possessions, which were sandwiched around a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown by the Trojans' Damian Williams.
Once considered a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, Best has fallen off the national map the past two weeks as opposing defenses dare Cal to beat them through the air. The Bears' inconsistent passing attack has failed to do the job, leaving one of the most talented players in college football virtually helpless in the backfield. "With players like Jahvid and Shane (Vereen) in the backfield, defenses are going to say, 'We have to stop this,'" Cal offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said. "When an opponent does that, they leave other opportunities that you have to try to exploit. We haven't had the success exploiting those opportunities."
Best had just 14 carries against the Trojans, and only eight in the first half when the game was still relatively competitive. In each of the past two weeks against Oregon and USC, the Bears have been forced to throw in an attempt to erase big deficits.