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USC Football: Trojans Air It Out On Syracuse In 38-17 Win

Scott Enyeart |
September 17, 2011 | 11:05 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

USC QB Matt Barkley tossed a school record-tying five TDs. (McKenzie Carlile/Neon Tommy)
USC QB Matt Barkley tossed a school record-tying five TDs. (McKenzie Carlile/Neon Tommy)
In a primetime showdown between two undefeated teams, the USC Trojans edged the Syracuse Orange Saturday night 38-17 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley tied a school record with five touchdown passes for the third time in his career and went 26-for-39 for 324 yards.

Syracuse (2-1), led by quarterback Ryan Nassib (25-37, 230 yards and 2 touchdowns), marched right down the field on their opening possession, but could only manage to come away with a field goal to take the 3-0 lead. 

USC TE Rhett Ellison (McKenzie Carlile)
USC TE Rhett Ellison (McKenzie Carlile)
The Trojans (3-0) answered quickly, as Matt Barkley connected with fellow captain Rhett Ellison (seen left) on the following drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to go up 7-3. USC never trailed again. 

After opening drive scores for each team, the game's next score didn't come until midway through the 2nd quarter when Matt Barkley hooked up with Robert Woods for a 31-yard scoring toss. 

Woods finished, once again, as the game's leading receiver, with 8 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.

The first half scoring culminated with a 26-yard field goal by USC's Andre Heidari and USC took a 17-3 into the half. 

USC opened the second half right where they left off, taking their first possession of the 3rd quarter down the field, where Matt Barkley found wide-open TE Randall Telfer for a 44-yard TD strike, making it 24-3.

But Syracuse responded on the following series by finding the end zone for the first time all night, via a pass from WR Alec Lemon to fellow receiver Van Chew, making it a two-score game. 

USC WR Marqise Lee (McKenzie Carlile)
USC WR Marqise Lee (McKenzie Carlile)
After trading punts, Barkley threw his fourth touchdown of the game, this time to Marqise Lee (right), who outran Syracuse corner Brandon Reddish to give USC a 31-10 lead. 

Not to be outdone by their offensive counterparts, the USC defense largely held the Syracuse offense in check throughout the game. 

The Trojans' defense once again shut down an opponent's running game, limiting the Orange to just 73 yards on the ground. Led by freshman LB Dion Bailey's 9 tackles and a sack, USC held Syracuse to 331 total yards on the night.

It was the third consecutive week the Trojans held their opponent under 350 yards, which is typically a good formula for success. Even more importantly, USC also maintained a three-game streak of holding opponents under 20 points. 

"This was a big night for us on defense," Trojans LB Chris Galippo said. "The first two weeks we gave up too many big plays and big drives, tonight we were able to avoid that." 

However, this was ultimately the offense's night to shine. Before all the scoring was said and done, Barkley tied his own school record (shared with four others) for touchdowns in a single game. USC finished the game with 501 total yards of offense. 

"We are really pleased to get to 3-0 this week," USC head coach Lane Kiffin said after the win. "Our guys fought hard all night for us and I'm really proud of that. We showed a great deal of improvement in all areas of the game."

(Editor's note: Kiffin's press conference can be found at the bottom of this story.)

USC defense
USC defense

Syracuse managed one last touchdown on a fourth-quarter pass to Lemon, but not until after the Trojans began emptying the bench, using a season-high 54 players in the game.

USC now turns its attention to Arizona State, as it will face its first road test of the season in Tempe. It's a challenge Barkley welcomes. 

"I'm ready for it. I almost like the road games better than being at home because you can feel the energy of the crowd hating you," Barkley said of next week's trip to Sun Devil Stadium.

"We will practice hard all week with the crowd noise and be ready to go."


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