Nelson Agholor

Trojans receiver Nelson Agholor breaks into the clear on a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown against California in the second quarter Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. Agholor had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images / November 9, 2013)

All the usual good-game indicators went out the window for California at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

The Golden Bears ran nearly 100 plays without a turnover, had 483 total yards, and held a time-of-possession edge over USC of more than 11 minutes.

And got crushed, 62-28 -- the most points scored by the Trojans since they defeated Washington State, 69-0, on Oct. 18, 2008.

All because USC running back Jarvorius Allen and receiver Nelson Agholor insisted on playing a game of “Can You Top This?”

Agholor touched the ball seven times and had 205 all-purpose yards, a record 168 yards on punt returns he took back for touchdowns, the first covering 75 yards and the second 93.

Allen also touched the ball seven times. He gained 192 yards and scored three touchdowns – on runs for 43 and 79 yards and a short pass he took 57 yards.

For good measure, freshman Ty Isaac got a chance to play and gained 87 yards in 11 carries, including touchdown runs of four and 37 yards.

USC improved to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in Pac-12 Conference play. The Trojans are 4-1 under interim Coach Ed  Orgeron.

Cal fell to 1-9 overall and 0-7 in conference games under first-year Coach Sonny Dykes.

Agholor established a school record for punt return yards, surpassing Mike Garrett, who had 162 yards and scored twice on punt returns against Cal in 1965.

USC also tied an NCAA record with three punt returns for touchdowns. The other was turned in when Soma Vainuku blocked a Cal punt and Josh Shaw snatched it out of the air and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown.

Allen finished with 135 yards rushing in six carries as USC ran for 256 yards even though top back Silas Redd was limited to 19 yards in six carries before leaving the game in the first half with an injured right knee.

Quarterback Cody Kessler completed 14 of 17 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He was replaced midway through the third quarter by Max Wittek, who completed three of four passes for 73 yards.

Jared Goff completed 34 of 48 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns for Cal.

Here's a game recap:

USC goes three and out and hurts its per-play average, netting just one yard.

Ty Isaac, in his bid to reach triple digits in rushing, lost two yards in two carries and is down to 88 yards.

Cal has run 90 plays.


USC 62, Cal 28 (5:08 left in fourth quarter)