USC wide reciever Kyron Hudson (10) catches a pass against California defensive back Nohl Williams (3) (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins at the California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, but in a game where getting the ‘W’ is what matters, the No. 24 USC Trojans (7-2, Pac-12, 5-1) defeated the California Golden Bears (3-5, Pac-12, 1-4) 50-49 in a back-and-forth game that saw the often-maligned Trojan defense end a two-game losing streak during the final minute of the game, shutting down a two-point conversion attempt by the Bears. It was a massive play for the defense, who also forced four turnovers.

“We made plays when we needed to,” said Trojan defensive end Jamil Muhammad.

It was the 110th meeting of the two teams, and Trojan safety Jaylin Smith saved the day as he broke up Cal’s two-point conversion attempt with 58 seconds remaining in the game. The Bears would lead most of the game except for the first quarter. The Bears began the fourth quarter leading 43-29. At 11:16, Trojan quarterback Caleb Williams scored on a 1-yard run followed by a 9-yard touchdown run by MarShawn Lloyd and a 7-yard touchdown run by Austin Jones to take the lead, 50-43.

Related Stories

Cowboys Crush Rams 43-20

UCLA Defeats Colorado 28-16

With 0:58 on the clock, Bears quarterback Fernando Mendoza would find Jaivian Thomas for a 13-yard touchdown pass. The Bears would go for two points rather than tie the game and miss the two-point conversion attempt. The Trojans joyously celebrated the one-point win.

“That was a wild one,” Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley said. “I’m really, really proud of that group. They could have folded there in the fourth quarter. In the last two weeks, things haven’t gone our way. To step up here on the road and go find a way to get this sucker done was huge,” he said.

It was a wild game, with the game start delayed about 10 minutes by students who sat on the field protesting, according to Cal police, the suspension of Professor Ivonne del Valle. Cal police removed the students from the field without incident.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams (13) celebrates with Austin Jones (6) after scoring a touchdown against Cal (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

In another interesting turn of events, both coaches were called back to the field during halftime after officials determined that the Trojans should have been given one more play with one second left at the Cal 16-yard line. After halftime, the Trojans tried a 33-yard field goal, which kicker Denis Lynch missed. The third quarter would officially begin after the field goal attempt.

Caleb Williams threw for 369 yards and two touchdowns. MarShawn Lloyd carried the ball 17 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Bears. Cal’s QB Fernando Mendoza passed for 299 yards with an interception.

This was the final foreseeable matchup for both teams as USC heads for the Big Ten next season and the Bears, along with Stanford, will join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

The Trojans are out of competition for a national title but remain in Pac-12 title contention. The road to the Pac-12 championship game in Las Vegas is a difficult one for the Men of Troy, as the

Trojans will face the No. 5 Washington Huskies at the Coliseum on November 5, the No. 6 Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Oregon on November 11, and the No. 20 UCLA Bruins at the Coliseum on November 18. Head coach Lincoln Riley believes that their season can end with a conference championship.

“I believe this team can win this league. Hell yeah, I do. I know it can. We gotta go do it. We got some fun, exciting challenges ahead coming up. We know that,” Riley said.