Friday, November 4, 2011
By Pedro Moura
Aside from his one poor pick, a very questionable decision to throw to Randall Telfer in triple coverage and a couple of overthrows, Matt Barkley was on his game Friday -- as were receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. Both players topped 100 yards and two scores on the day.
Once again, Curtis McNeal maximized his carries, rushing for 86 yards on 10 touches. But he didn't get the ball very often, and neither did D.J. Morgan or Amir Carlisle behind him. But more than 5 yards per carry has to net you a pretty solid grade.
IN THE TRENCHES
USC's offensive line continued to improve with its Week 10 performance against Colorado, and the defensive line forced Tyler Hansen out of the pocket a number of times. Still, Nick Perry & Co. again failed to produce a big number of sacks.
Aside from Colorado's opening-drive touchdown that put the Buffs ahead in a game for the first time in more than a month, USC's defense did a commendable job of limiting Hansen, Paul Richardson and Rodney Stewart. No turnovers means no A, though.
Two blocked field goals and solid directional punting from Kyle Negrete earn an automatic top grade. But if Tony Burnett hadn't been penalized on Woods' third-quarter kick return for a TD, we might have been giving this unit our first A+.
It looked like Lane Kiffin's crew might have come in susceptible to a letdown right away, but the Trojans settled down and eliminated any of those thoughts by halftime. His play calling was fairly imaginative and fairly effective, working in a number of offensive options.