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USC Football: Trojans Out-Duel Arizona On Matt Barkley's Record Day

Scott Enyeart |
October 1, 2011 | 6:44 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Robert Woods (#2) came just shy of a USC record with 255 receiving yards. (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
Robert Woods (#2) came just shy of a USC record with 255 receiving yards. (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)

Check out a slideshow of the best photos from the game here.

A week removed from a disastrous performance in Tempe, USC rode a record-setting Saturday by quarterback Matt Barkley to defeat the Arizona Wildcats 48-41.

Despite never trailing in the contest, the Trojans (4-1, 2-1) needed an onside kick recovery by T.J. McDonald to seal the game for USC in front of 65,707 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Leading 48-34 with under 1:51 to go in the game, and facing a fourth and two from the Arizona 47-yard line, USC elected to go for it, but failed to convert on a pass intended for Brandon Carswell. 

Arizona (1-4, 0-3) would take over, and score in just 52 seconds on a 4-yard pass from Nick Foles to Austin Hill.

In what seems to be the norm under the Lane Kiffin-led Trojans, the game would come down to the final series. But just as it has done twice this year, USC managed to make the play it needed when McDonald made leaping recovery of the Wildcat's onside kick attempt. 

The play capped off a huge day for McDonald, who had two interceptions to go along with his six tackles. An impressive day to say the least after the junior safety became somewhat of a scapegoat after committing three personal foul penalties last week at ASU.

USC defense (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
USC defense (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
Though Arizona never got within seven points of the Trojans, U of A was able to put up 554 yards of offense, and a USC opponent-record 37 first downs.

Nick Foles led the Wildcats on offense going 41 of 53 for 425 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs.

But the bend-but-don't-break defense was all part of the plan against Arizona's receivers, according to USC coach Lane Kiffin.

"The game was a little bit as expected for us, because of Arizona's great quarterback and receivers," Kiffin said. "We wanted to make sure these guys didn't come out and make big plays against us."

To their credit, the Trojans defense didn't allow an offensive play longer than 27 yards on the day. Dion Bailey led the team with 14 tackles, and Nick Perry added 10 tackles (2 for loss), including USC's only sack of Foles.

USC QB Matt Barkley (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
USC QB Matt Barkley (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
Matt Barkley and the USC offense's efficiency ensured that the Trojans would still come out on top.

The junior signal-caller, coming off his worst performance of the year against ASU, was 32-of-39 for a USC record 468 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. Barkley also added another TD on a QB sneak in what Lane Kiffin described as the greatest performance by a quarterback in USC history.

Breaking the single-game passing record set by Carson Palmer was an accomplishment Barkley took great pride in.

"It's definitely an honor and it feels great," Barkley said of cementing his place among USC's great QB's. "I grew up looking up to Carson Palmer and he's one of my heroes, so to be on that list is pretty cool. It's definitely a dream [come true]."

Sophomore Robert Woods also had a career day, catching 14 passes for a career-high 255 yards, just five yards shy of the USC single-game record set by R. Jay Soward. Woods also had two touchdown receptions.

"I think we came out and made a statement that we do have a great offense and we're capable of putting up numbers like this," Woods said.

USC RB Curtis McNeal (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
USC RB Curtis McNeal (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
Barkley also found Marqise Lee eight times for 144 yards and a touchdown. Running back Curtis McNeal (seen left) led the way for the running game with seven carries for 74 yards and a TD.

(You can see more of Barkley, Woods and McDonald talking about their victory at the bottom of this page.)

The Trojans now head into a bye week as they prepare to hit the road once again, this time to the Bay Area to face the Cal Golden Bears.

"It's a good chance for us to get healthy and improve in practice," Kiffin said, "To look at new things and what other people are doing around the conference."


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