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USC Trojans Lead Wildcats 21-13 At Half Despite Turnovers, Penalties

Jeremy Bergman |
October 27, 2012 | 2:50 p.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

Marqise Lee is having a big day, while Matt Barkley has struggled (James Santelli/NT)
Marqise Lee is having a big day, while Matt Barkley has struggled (James Santelli/NT)
In the Arizona heat, Marqise Lee has caught fire, already boasting 255 receiving yards on 12 catches and one TD, and is nearly the only bright spot for the Trojans, who lead the Arizona Wildcats at the half, 21-13. 

For USC, the first half - and more accurately, the first quarter - was a regrettable one. The Trojans lost two fumbles and Matt Barkley threw two horrific interceptions that stalled drives with momentum.

But it wasn't just the turnovers that killed USC early on - most of the wounds were self-inflicted. The Trojans maintained their reputation as the most penalized team in the FBS, getting flagged eight times for 79 yards. 

Barkley finished the half with 321 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two picks, with 55 of those yards going to Robert Woods and nearly everything else going to Lee.

Arizona's fast-paced offense under Rich Rodriguez found some success against a lax USC defense. Arizona QB Matt Scott finished the half with 191 yards, one TD, and one INT. His teammate, WR Austin Hill, has also had a big day, catching seven balls for 143 yards. 

The Trojans offense started hot, driving down the field deep into Wildcat territory with a mixture of runs and passes. But the drive ended poorly, with Matt Barkley gunning three straight risky throws into tight coverage, the last being tipped and picked by Marquis Flowers.

On the ensuing drive, the Trojans almost escaped with a three-and-out if it wasn't for a stupid personal foul penalty on T.J. McDonald for taunting. The Wildcat march down the field continued and resulted in a Matt Scott 8-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Jackson, giving Arizona a 7-0 lead.

Arizona increased their lead to 10-0 two drives later on a 27-yard John Bonano field goal.

USC's rough start continued when, after a 65-yard drive, Redd fumbled in the red zone, surrendering a golden opportunity to put points on the board.

The Trojans responded on their next drive though, completing just three passes - including a 50-yard bomb to Marqise Lee - to go the full 84 yards to the endzone. Barkley capped off the drive with a 12-yard TD pass (or catch-and-run) to Xavier Grimble, shortening the Arizona lead to 10-7.

After a few failed Wildcat drives and another Barkley interception, the senior Heisman candidate redeemed himself, gunning a dart to Marquise Lee who then turned on his state record jets, blazing past the Arizona secondary for a 49-yard touchdown catch-and-run. 

And he wasn't done.

On USC's final scoring drive, Lee accounted for nearly all the Trojan yardage, catching three balls for 33, 15, and 28 yards each. D.J. Morgan finished the drive off with a three-yard TD run, giving USC the 21-13 lead that they'd take into the half.


Reach Associate Sports Editor Jeremy Bergman via e-mail and follow him on Twitter.



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