A year ago when the two teams met in Los Angeles USC came away with a 45-24 win as Darnold threw five touchdowns for the Trojans. "I totally understand. That's our profession".
Wilcox arrived at Wisconsin in 2016, and the Badgers finished seventh nationally in total defense. "It's not always the most fun, but that's the way it is".
Their recent string of victories have been particularly dramatic, including last Saturday's double-overtime win over Texas, with Darnold orchestrating a game-tying scoring drive with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter. If the Trojans struggle to run the ball once more, DeRuyter will be able to turn the pressure up on Darnold and allow his secondary opportunities to get that key interception. The Bears give up yards, third-down conversions and first downs but are stingier in the red zone.
Often, the offense appeared out of sync. Wilcox said he wouldn't have an update on Robertson's status until game time but his absence would be big if he can't play.
Cal might offer a formidable test, led by Wilcox and defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter.
Cal is a surprise to this point, beating North Carolina and Ole Miss have raised some eyebrows on the young season.
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The Golden Bears might have one advantage.
USC's defense came up with the biggest play of the game so far. After being held out in the early part of the week, the linebacker, armed - or kneed as the case may be - with a brace, returned to practice Wednesday.
After California took possession following McGrath's go-ahead field goal, defensive tackle Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of the grasp of California quarterback Ross Bowers before he could attempt to loft a throw downfield.
"If it was a year ago, I'd be really anxious right now", Helton said. You need a bunch of stat-sheet victories to overcome a team like USC, but you can't expect to lose in the turnover column and come out on the winning end of the final score. The ball fell onto the Memorial Stadium turf deep in the Golden Bears' territory. It was 60 percent last season under former Coach Sonny Dykes, who had installed his "Bear Raid" offense.
Cameron Scarlett scored three touchdowns and Jet Toner kicked three field goals to help the Cardinal (1-1 Pac-12, 2-2) win their 10th straight over the Bruins after losing starting quarterback Keller Chryst to an injury in the first quarter.
Helton said Bowers "has some great accuracy down the field vertically". The 6-foot, 170-pound receiver leads the Trojans with five touchdown grabs and is averaging 115.5 receiving yards per game. Only three Pac-12 running backs have averaged more this season.