Saturday, October 9, 2010
Postgame thoughts: Stanford
By Pedro Moura
STANFORD -- Notes, quotes and video from USC's 37-35 loss to Stanford at Stanford Stadium:
Hey, now that was fun. For the second straight week USC lost on a last-second field goal, but this time the Trojans were more competitive than many expected them to be, matching almost every Stanford score until the final seconds. But while coach Lane Kiffin was "pleased" with the resolve his team exhibited Saturday, the Trojans weren't. "It is really disappointing to lose two games like this," said USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who completed 28-of-45 passes for 390 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in what was probably the best game of his young career. "We are at the lowest of lows and it is very tough because we were at the highest of highs just two weeks ago."
Added backup linebacker Shane Horton, on a more positive note: "We're growing. With the new guys and the new staff, we're growing together as one. So sometimes you gotta take these on the chin. Compared to last week, I think we know where we're going -- we're going in the right direction."
USC lacked discipline again late in the game, but the Trojans were not lacking one key aspect that looked to be at times absent earlier this year -- effort. "That's the one thing that Coach Kiffin said," linebacker Chris Galippo said after the game. "There's no one on the coaching staff that's gonna question anyone's effort. The bottom line is that we played our butts off. But, at the end of the day -- once again -- the ball didn't really go our way. That's not to say we couldn't have got better, that we didn't make [bad] decisions at times, that we didn't miss tackles at times, but our team fought until the very end and that's all you can ask."
About Galippo, the redshirt junior actually played a lot more against the Cardinal than he had in any game this season. Linebackers coach Joe Barry said postgame that the coaching staff decided early this week to have Galippo and starter Devon Kennard split the snaps at middle linebacker becaue of Galippo's consistently solid play early this season. The decision paid off, as Galippo had a key sack and forced fumble in the fourth quarter that gave USC the ball and allowed the Trojans to take the lead. "He deserves to play," Barry said afterward. "I was happy for him -- he went in there and made two huge plays."
The USC run game was nonexistent -- with just 33 rushing yards, Barkley tied Allen Bradford for the team lead on the ground -- but the Barkley to Robert Woods connection made up for it. Woods, a true freshman who didn't catch a ball last week against Washington, caught 12 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. We'll have more on this tomorrow.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was perhaps even better than Barkley, completing 20-of-24 pass attempts for 285 yards and three touchdowns. His 83 percent completion percentage was by far the best of his career, and he was sacked only once on the evening to boot. But USC wasn't so enamored with his performance. "I mean, he was good," safety Jawanza Starling said, "but, again, we beat ourselves. We had plenty of opportunities, penalties late in the game. Had them on third-and-long and got a sack and penalties just killed us."
Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, on his postgame feelings: "No could have predicted this game. We talked all week with our team, and no one could have been able to tell that it would all unfold the way it did today. It was going to be pretty much a three and a half hour arm-wrestling match. We felt like we would be game winners if we didn't give in and we didn't quit. There were times that there were big hurdles and obstacles that had to be overcome. To a man, I thought everyone on our team did that. As a head coach, I could not be more proud of everybody."
Stanford kicker Nate Whitaker missed the extra-point attempt on Stanford's last touchdown of the game, an error that looked to hurt the Cardinal severely when USC scored a touchdown in response and converted the PAT to take a one-point lead. But Whitaker was able to absolve his mistake when Luck drove Stanford all the way to the USC 13-yard line in the final minute. He easily made a 30-yard field goal as time expired to give Stanford the victory. "I knew I had to make it," he said postgame. "That's it. It was my chance to redeem myself and give the team what I needed."
Injury report: Dillon Baxtersprained the toes on his left foot, Smith hurt his knee but will be fine, per Barry, and tight end Jordan Cameron was icing his knee when he walked out of the locker room after the game...Cornerback T.J. Bryant, who played as USC's nickel corner the last two weeks, played sparingly in the game. He said afterward that he was fine physically and just didn't get into the game.
Kiffin, who now owns a college record of 11-8, addressed the media afterward and was clearly more positive than in weeks past.
See what the coach said:
USC safety T.J. McDonald talked after the game about the Trojans' defensive struggles but spoke with positivity about where the team goes from here.