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USC Football: Barkley Throws 6 TD Passes, Trojans Win 42-17

James Santelli |
November 4, 2011 | 9:26 p.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor

USC QB Matt Barkley had a record night in Boulder. (James Santelli/Neon Tommy)
USC QB Matt Barkley had a record night in Boulder. (James Santelli/Neon Tommy)
Playing at the high elevation of Boulder, it was fitting that USC aired it out in their 42-17 victory over Colorado.

Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley broke the school record with six touchdown passes in the victory, after having tied it in previous games. Barkley went 26-for-40 with 326 yards on his record-breaking night.

WR Robert Woods caught nine passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns on the evening, and Marqise Lee matched his numbers almost exactly: 10 receptions, 131 yards, and 2 TD.

USC's defense forced six Colorado punts and the special teams blocked two field goals to keep the issue out of doubt for the Trojans.

The Buffaloes opened up the game with a strong passing game of their own, taking advantage of a USC secondary that was without starting safeties Jawanza Starling and T.J. McDonald. QB Tyler Hansen hit receiver Toney Clemons for a 37-yard touchdown to give Colorado an early lead.

But Matt Barkley and the Trojans offense responded right away. Barkley went 4-for-5 on the opening drive, finding Marqise Lee at the goal line pylon for a 33-yard TD pass, his first of many.

Colorado's offense stalled out over the rest of the half. The Buffs gained only 30 yards on their next four possessions. A solid 63-yard drive by CU in the middle of the 2nd quarter was rendered fruitless as Rhett Ellison blocked a field goal attempt by Will Oliver.

USC receiver Marqise Lee (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
USC receiver Marqise Lee (Mac Carlile/Neon Tommy)
Meanwhile, USC continued to attack. In the 2nd quarter, Barkley added three touchdowns: one Xavier Grimble in the back of the endzone, another Robert Woods wide open, and finally to Marqise Lee (seen left) to put the Trojans up 28-7.

An interception by Colorado's Jason Espinoza on an odd middle screen play near the end of the 2nd quarter was one of the few wrinkles in Barkley's performance. That INT set the Buffaloes up at USC's 8-yard line, but they would have to settle for a field goal to close out the half.

USC started the second half with a short possession and a punt downed at Colorado's 3-yard line. The Buffaloes looked to gain some life on a 77-yard drive, including a 35-yard run by Hansen. But the Trojans special teams shut the door once again, as Randall Telfer blocked the field goal attempt, USC's second block of the night.

After that, it was all about Barkley's quest to re-write the USC record book. His fifth TD came on a marvelous play, as he evaded a pack of Buffaloes defenders, scrambled over the right sideline, and tossed it deep to Robert Woods, who had evaded the CU defense to pull in the 45-yard touchdown.

Colorado kept it somewhat close on the following possession. The Buffs marched down the field, with Rodney Stewart taking five carries for 31 yards and Hansen completing four of five passes, capped off by a 10-yard touchdown to Clemons.

With USC still up 35-17, Barkley got his record, with a little help from some yards after catch. Amir Carlisle went 19 yards into the endzone on a screen pass for the 6th passing touchdown of the game.

Head coach Lane Kiffin was kind enough to give Barkley's throwing arm a break at the end, calling eight straight run plays to melt the snow-covered clock and cinch the victory.

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NCAA record book
NCAA record book
BLOCKBUSTER: The two blocked field goals by USC on Friday night gives the team four FG blocks for the season. The NCAA Division I record for FG blocks by a team in one season is six, set by Kentucky in 2004. The Trojans also have two PAT blocks in 2011, both courtesy of offensive tackle Matt Kalil.

ON THE GROUND: USC mixed up their passing attack with a solid running game against the Buffaloes. Amir Carlisle led the game with 88 yards on 10 carries, while Curtis McNeal was right behind him with 86 yards on 10 carries. D.J. Morgan also saw his first reps since the Cal game on October 13, carrying the ball nine times for 55 yards.

ROD STEWART?: Barkley wasn't the only one to set a school record on Friday night. Colorado RB Rodney Stewart had 87 rushing yards and 69 receiving yards, putting him No. 1 in CU history for all-purpose yards in a career. The former record was held by current Buffaloes offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

SEEING YELLOW: Colorado now leads the FBS in penalties after totaling seven flags for 68 yards on the game. The Buffaloes have committed 80 enforced penalties this season, and second-place Florida has 75.

HOLDING BACK THE BUFFS: The USC defense held Colorado to under 50-percent passing (17-of-37), and also kept the Buffaloes to just 5.4 yards per carry and 5-of-14 on 3rd down conversions.

DON'T GET DOWN: One key for USC's success against Colorado was the ability of the offense to keep drives going. The Trojans converted went 6-for-11 on 3rd downs, and 2-for-2 on 4th downs.

YAHOO SEARCH: A fan disrupted the proceeding briefly in the 1st quarter by running onto the field. The referee clearly did not think too highly of the character, saying about a later call, "The pass was ruled incomplete without any interference from that yahoo."

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Reach James by email or follow him on Twitter, @JamesSantelli.

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