The Golden Bears' offense mocked the Trojans' defense, getting 601 total yards to fall 22 yards shy of Notre Dame's record for a USC opponent, established in a 26-6 Irish victory in 1946.
In particular, junior tailback Russell White mocked the Trojans' rushing defense, running for a USC opponent-record 229 yards and three touchdowns, and senior quarterback Mike Pawlawski mocked the Trojans' passing defense, throwing for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
In the stands, Cal students mocked the Trojan band.
To the tune of "Tribute to Troy," the song that is played incessantly by the USC band, they sang the following lyrics:
It's the only song you know
It's boring and it's slow
We really wish you'd go
And if he had made the trip, the white horse that serves as USC's mascot might have been shot down by the hillside cannon above Memorial Stadium that shoots blanks every time the Golden Bears score.
As it was, the horse, Traveler, spent the day safe at home in Southern California, which is where the befuddled Trojans returned Saturday night with the booming sound of the cannon still ringing in their ears.
No team had ever scored more points against the Trojans. Notre Dame scored a 51-0 victory over USC in 1966.
"When you're in coaching, you're going to have bad days," Coach Larry Smith said. "There's no question, this is one of the bad days."
Its losing streak extended to three games, USC fell to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the Pacific 10 Conference. Up next are third-ranked Washington, unranked Arizona and 23rd-ranked UCLA and the Trojans must defeat all three, or beat two and tie one, to avoid their second losing season in 30 years.
Cal, keeping alive its hopes to land a New Year's Day bowl bid and no doubt impressing the Sugar, Fiesta and Citrus bowl scouts among the crowd of 70,000, improved to 7-1 and 4-1, its best start in 41 years.
Perhaps venting years of frustration against USC, which is 11-2-1 against Cal since 1977 and 26-5-2 since 1958, the 10th-ranked Golden Bears seemed to revel in the lopsidedness of the score, pointing and posturing throughout and seemingly pouring it on until the middle of the fourth quarter, when Cal Coach Bruce Snyder finally pulled his starters with a 52-14 lead.
Snyder, however, denied that Cal had run up the score.
Smith, characteristically tight-lipped, nevertheless seemed perturbed that Snyder had waited so long to remove his regulars.
"I don't make decisions for their team," he said. "Their coach, whatever decision he has to make . . . he has to live with it."
Smith, of course, had other problems.
White, whose rushing yardage broke by five yards the USC opponent record by Gaston Green in a 45-25 UCLA victory over the Trojans in 1986, ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns in his first five carries.
Cal had 414 yards by halftime and led, 35-7. USC had not given up more points in a half since trailing UCLA, 38-14, in 1970.
"Particularly in the first half, their offense executed as well as any offense I've ever seen," Smith said.
And conversely, Smith said: "Our defense played as poor a defense as you could possibly see. It was a landslide in the first half."
It wasn't much better for USC in the second, when Cal scored on three of its first four possessions.
The Bears had 389 yards rushing, including 87 in 13 carries by backup tailback Lindsey Chapman.
"In the past (this season), we've been pretty decent against the run," Smith said. "We'd give up three or four big plays, but we, at least, would be in the game. Today, it was a landslide.
"It's not fair (to say) till I see the tape, but it looked to me like we were getting knocked off the ball and getting blocked down. Our linebackers weren't making hits, we were missing tackles. There were a lot of things: We didn't contain, we weren't putting any pressure (on Pawlawski).
"The run really hurt us. They threw some, but the run is what really hurt us. They were just tearing us apart."
White set the tone, returning the opening kickoff 66 yards before he was stripped of the ball by USC assistant coach Gary Bernardi. Unfortunately for USC, White was out of bounds when he lost the ball; Bernardi was only trying to stop him before he ran over some equipment.
Or more Trojans.
Cal failed to score on that possession, kicker Doug Brien missing a 41-yard field goal attempt, but the Bears got the ball back when linebacker Jason Wilborn intercepted a pass by quarterback Reggie Perry.
Perry, pulled in the fourth quarter in favor of freshman Rob Johnson, was hit by tackle Chidi Ahanotu as he released the ball.
White scored on a five-yard run and the rout was on.
A 92-yard touchdown run by USC tailback Deon Strother, a sophomore from Oakland who finished with 153 yards and two touchdowns in 17 carries, slowed the charging Bears only momentarily.
White, who averaged almost 10 yards in his 23 carries, scored less than a minute later on a 72-yard run.
Before halftime, wide receiver Sean Dawkins scored on an 11-yard pass from Pawlawski, Brien kicked two field goals and, after another interception, White scored again, this time on a one-yard run.
USC cut its deficit to 35-14 on a two-yard touchdown run by Perry in the third quarter, but Chapman then broke loose for a 41-yard run on Cal's second play of the half, setting up a five-yard scoring pass from Pawlawski to Dawkins.
Later in the quarter, Pawlawski and Dawkins hooked up on another touchdown pass, this one covering 33 yards, and Cal led, 49-14. Brien's 37-yard field goal with 7:55 to play closed the scoring.
Johnson completed six of nine passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, but that hardly soothed the Trojans.
"It was worse than Washington last year," linebacker Matt Gee said, referring to a 31-0 USC loss at Seattle last season. "It was like we couldn't do anything right."
And Cal could do no wrong.
Rob Johnson was expected to be red-shirted this season, but after using him for the first time, Coach Larry Smith said: "I wanted to get him some experience. It doesn't necessarily mean I've changed quarterbacks. We'll evaluate and go from here." . . . USC linebacker Kurt Barber suffered sprained ligaments in his left knee and might be sidelined for the season.