The Trojans took on one of their biggest challenges yet this season, as they visited the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Indiana. USC came back to Los Angeles with an impressive 31-17 road victory that has propelled the national media members and collegiate football head coaches to rank the team as high No. 20 (AP) for this week.
“I would say it’s our team’s biggest win since we’ve been here because of all the stuff around it,” second-year USC head coach Lane Kiffin says.
With the win, the Trojans are now 6-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play. And they can keep improving on this rather improbable season that will not let them see postseason time; they face No. 4 (AP) Stanford over the weekend.
Junior stud quarterback Matt Barkley played as usual, delivering a solid performance. Barkley threw for 224 passing yards and three touchdowns on 24-of-35 throwing attempts. His rating for the game surpassed 150.
Despite not scoring any touchdowns, running back Curtis McNeal rushed for a remarkable 118 yards on 24 rushes. Marc Tyler, who was suspended for the season opener after appearing to be intoxicated while degrading the image of USC in irrational comments to TMZ, carried the ball 13 times and grabbed 67 yards. Both Tyler and McNeal’s longest carries of the affair were 15 yards.
The receivers did their part as well. Nine different receivers caught passes from Barkley, with Randall Telfer connecting for one score. Sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods continued his excellence on the field. Woods caught a whopping 12 catches for 119 yards with two touchdowns.
“They can try to do whatever they want to him. It’s just crazy. He still had 12 catches for over 100 yards. and they were crowding him it seemed almost every play when he was singled out over there,” Barkley remarks of Woods. “I think those play actions helped get him open.”
With less than seven minutes to go in the first quarter, Barkley connected with Telfer to give the Trojans an eventual 7-0 edge. The future first-round pick quarterback then helped the Trojans to 14-0 lead after passing to Woods down the middle before the quarter ended.
Freshman kicker Andre Heidari added to USC’s advantage, making the score 17-0 after a 25-yard field goal. Before halftime, the Fighting Irish cut the deficit to seven points after earning a touchdown and field goal.
Despite another touchdown by Notre Dame in the fourth quarter, USC’s separate quarter touchdowns did not allow the host to mount their proposed ferocious comeback. Splendid offense truly was the key to the win for the Trojans; they collected 29 first downs.
Nevertheless, the USC defense also stepped up in simply stopping Notre Dame when necessary.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was not very happy after the game.
“This is the first time that I’ve leaned on my guys pretty hard in the locker room. I was not happy. We are better than that. And, to turn the ball over in the ridiculous fashion that we have … just makes me crazy. I just don’t understand how something so easy can come out the way it does,” Kelly tells the media after the team’s loss.
The Trojans host Stanford on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 5 p.m. at the L.A. Coliseum.
Surprisingly, the UCLA Bruins suffered an embarrassing defeat against the Wildcats in Arizona by a score of 48-12.
“We failed,” junior middle linebacker Patrick Larimore tells reporters, “couldn’t stop anything they did. They were very ready for what we were doing. I don’t know what to say. We couldn’t stop anything. We came out flat and it started off downhill, and we didn’t recover.”
UCLA only trailed by a touchdown after one quarter of play, but the Wildcats erupted with 28 points in the second quarter to grab complete command of the affair. The rest was history.
With the loss, the Bruins dropped to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in conference action. They next host the California Golden Bears on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m. at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Sports: Football [Pigskin Blitz]
Trojans Conquer Irish, Bruins Suffer
By Marvin Vasquez
Article posted on 10/24/2011
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