BERKELEY -- Cal special teams coordinator Mark Tommerdahl has held the same position at five schools that played in nine bowl games. Saturday wasn't a game he'll want to add to his resume.

Cal's punt unit allowed USC to score three touchdowns in the first half, and the Bears never recovered in a 62-28 loss at Memorial Stadium.

Tommerdahl took the failings personally.

"Our team would have been in position at halftime to be there right to the end," he said. "We have a lot of things to correct. There's nobody responsible for this but me."

Coach Sonny Dykes said there were specific mistakes made on each of the three punts that USC turned into TDs. He also noted there are six freshmen on Cal's punt team.

California Golden Bears’ Kenny Lawler (4) reaches for a touchdown pass in front of USC Trojan’s Kvon Keymour (13) in the second quarter of
California Golden Bears' Kenny Lawler (4) reaches for a touchdown pass in front of USC Trojan's Kvon Keymour (13) in the second quarter of their game at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) ( JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO )

Cole Leininger delivered a line drive kick on the first one, which Nelson Agholor returned 75 yards for a touchdown just 1:55 into the game.

Then, after the Bears scrambled back from a 21-0 hole to within a touchdown, a blown blocking call allowed the Trojans to block a kick from deep in Cal territory that was returned 14 yards for a TD by Josh Shaw.

By the next time Cal punted, Dykes said Leininger was instructed to kick the ball out of bounds. He didn't, and Agholor brought it back 93 yards for a touchdown that made it 41-14.

"I'm not going to put that on Cole," Tommerdahl said. "It's my job to coach him to get that done."

Tommerdahl said he knows what happened on each play. "Obviously, they're not fixed yet," he said. "That's my job."


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  • Cal switched punters in the second half, going to Noah Beito, a redshirt freshman backup place-kicker. His two punts covered 23 and 13 yards, but both went out of bounds.

  • Agholor became the first USC player to return two punts for scores in the same game since Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett did it at Cal in 1965. Oregon's Bralon Addison returned two punts for touchdowns against the Bears in the rain at Eugene on Sept. 28.

  • The loss wasn't Cal's worst to the Trojans. USC won 74-0 in 1930. But the 62 points are the most USC has scored against the Bears in a game at Berkeley.

  • Cal ran for a season-high 195 yards, including 61 yards on 10 carries by freshman Khalfani Muhammad and 55 on 10 attempts by freshman Jeffrey Coprich. But 121 of those yards came in the second half, many of them after USC's first-team defense was on the sideline.

  • The Bears' first-quarter woes never end. USC outscored them 21-0, pushing Cal's season deficit to 157-41 in the opening quarter.

  • Cal ran 45 more plays (96 to 51) than the Trojans and had 10 more first downs (30 to 20), but USC averaged nearly twice the production per play (9.8 yards to 5.0).

  • Dykes thanked Cal fans for showing up and sticking around to the game's finish. He said he expected to come out of the locker room at halftime to a stadium that was emptying but was appreciative to see most of the 49,199 still at Memorial Stadium.

  • Linebacker Khairi Fortt (biceps) and receiver Richard Rodgers (thumb) did not play. Linebacker Hardy Nickerson left the game with a foot injury. Dykes had no report on his status for next week.

    For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo.