Saturday, November 26, 2011
By Pedro Moura
That was, uh...almost perfect from Matt Barkley. He was on his game from the start Saturday, completing 16 of his first 17 passes. Freshman Marqise Lee had another ridiculous game and Robert Woods fought through injuries to post a double-digit, double-TD catch performance.
Lane Kiffin didn't want to run the ball much in an obvious attempt to get Barkley, Woods and Lee their records, but Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler both did well with their brief chances. McNeal wasn't touched by a UCLA defender on his 73-yard scoring run.
IN THE TRENCHES
USC allowed one sack Saturday, meaning the Trojans allowed only eight all season, meaning this rag-tag group broke the record for fewest sacks given up in a year. Combined with the defensive line's consistent pressure on Kevin Prince, that's certainly worth an 'A.'
Completing a steady course of improvement throughout the 2011 season, the USC defense shut down the Bruins' productive pistol offense whenever it got close to the end zone. This was Monte Kiffin's famed bend-but-don't-break style perfected. Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman couldn't get going at all.
The kickoff-return team that has been a bit of a dark spot for the Trojans this season didn't have any big mis-haps this time. Punter Kyle Negrete boomed the ball whenever he was called onto the field. USC's kicker and punter will be serious strengths in 2012.
Maybe Kiffin's sportsmanship can be questioned after he refused to let up on UCLA in the second half, but his play-calling certainly can't. He knew exactly how to beat the Bruins' defense time and time again and didn't shy away from doing so whatsoever.