USC isn't used to playing Thursday night football games at the Coliseum, but it's quickly becoming used to Nelson Agholor putting on a show.
The junior wide receiver was terrific in a 38-30 win over California that lacked much drama until the end but featured plenty of USC's prolific passing attack.
Agholor became the first receiver in the Trojans' illustrious history to record back-to-back games of more than 200 yards through the air, finishing the night with 16 catches for 214 and two touchdowns. That comes nearly two weeks after torching Washington State for a career-high 220 yards.
The impressive outing might have come against one of the worst pass defenses in the country, but Agholor no doubt will enjoy watching the film in the coming days. It was a performance that evoked some of the other big days by wide receivers in the Cardinal and Gold recently, including Buffalo Bills star Robert Woods' school-record 17 receptions in a 2011 game and the career day Marqise Lee had against Arizona two seasons ago. Agholor didn't quite rack up the stats those two did, but was every bit as dominant in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.
Much of Agholor's success came because quarterback Cody Kessler had a clean pocket to throw from, allowing him to connect on 74 percent of his passes for 379 yards and four touchdowns. His only mistake came on a drive that was heading toward the red zone in which he threw just his third interception of the season. Running back Javorius "Buck" Allen had his streak of games with 100-plus rushing yards snapped at six, rushing for just 57 vs. Cal, but he did make plays in the passing game with four catches for 49 yards.
Although he didn't have the big stat line that his teammates did, defensive lineman Leonard Williams continued to shine and flashed a lot of the attributes that have NFL scouts buzzing. He played both defensive end and tackle and was able to create a consistent push on every snap. If he wasn't getting to the quarterback (two sacks on the night), he was shedding blocks and wrapping up ball carriers. At one point, Cal attempted to run a play away from him and block him one-on-one, but Williams still ended up making a play.
The Golden Bears' normally potent offense was contained for most of the night. The team averaged less than four yards per carry and quarterback Jared Goff, a rising star out West, failed to crack 300 yards passing for the second straight game. There were some positives for coach Sonny Dykes' young squad, but that's likely not what they'll dwell on when they get back to Berkeley.
Both teams will have plenty to clean up from the game, but both are likely to zero in on penalties in practice in the coming days. The pair racked up 25 penalties for a remarkable 280 yards in a very sloppy game.
In the end, though, the Agholor Show was too much for Cal on a chilly Los Angeles night.