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USC Football Notebook: 2012 Spring Game Recap

Will Robinson |
April 14, 2012 | 6:43 p.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

Isiah Wiley (14) breaks up a pass intended for Victor Blackwell (85) (James Santelli/NT).
Isiah Wiley (14) breaks up a pass intended for Victor Blackwell (85) (James Santelli/NT).
In a windy Coliseum, the defense/White team defeated the offense/Cardinal squad in 2012’s Trojan Huddle, 34-27.

A major theme of 2012 spring practice has been the defense being a step ahead of the offense, and things did not change on Saturday.

Quarterback Matt Barkley finished a relatively rough spring with 23-of-39 passing, 212 yards and a touchdown and an interception apiece in the game. He noticeably under-threw some of his targets including spring-standout wideout Marqise Lee.

Lee had an average day, catching seven balls for 57 yards.

The other two quarterbacks to receive significant playing time and vying for the second-string job -- Cody Kessler and Max Wittek -- didn’t do much better and over-threw targets -- 3-of-6, 68 yards, TD, INT and 3-of-7, 27 yards, respectively.

As he alluded to earlier in the week, USC coach Lane Kiffin confirmed that he has yet to decide who will be Barkley’s back up.

Kiffin specifically mentioned linebacker Tony Burnett as being a standout defensive player in Saturday’s scrimmage as well as defensive lineman Morgan Breslin.

Kiffin also named tailback D.J. Morgan the MVP of the day, who produced the offense’s first highlight play: a 47-yard scamper to the end zone, completely unscathed. The rest of Kiffin's presser is here (forgive the Aerosmith):

Notes:

 -- The offensive scoring followed the traditional format, but the defense gained points by stops (3 points) and turnovers (5 points).

-- Cornerback Isiah Wiley played an excellent game. He broke up a deep pass to Lee as well as to Victor Blackwell. He also dropped a sure interception, but no quarterback or receiver throughout the day abused him. See Wiley talk about his day below:

-- Fullback Soma Vainuku had the third and final touchdown off a Kessler pass, going 44 yards.

-- The showing of Trojan fans was strong, with 15,515 fans in attendance

Young USC fan and Make-a-Wish child McClain played with McDonald and Barkley before the 2nd half started (James Santelli/NT).
Young USC fan and Make-a-Wish child McClain played with McDonald and Barkley before the 2nd half started (James Santelli/NT).
-- The highlight of the day came at halftime, when Make-a-Wish child McClain came onto the field and played with Barkley, safety T.J. McDonald and punter Kyle Negrete.

-- Safety Drew McAllister and cornerback Brian Baucham intercepted Barkley and Kessler, respectively.

-- Jesse Scroggins -- who was out of the mix for backup quarterback -- played one series in the third quarter. He did not score.

-- Linebacker Hayes Pullard and cornerback Anthony Brown co-led the defense in tackles with six. Pullard shared the tackling title last year fellow linebacker Dion Bailey.

-- Wideout De’Von Flournoy -- who Kiffin called the most surprising player of spring ball -- led the Cardinal team in receiving with  seven garbs and 69 yards.

-- Here's redshirt senior center Khaled Holmes discussing Saturday's action:

-- Check out the best photos from Saturday's game:

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