USC 38, Syracuse 17 (final)
USC quarterback Matt Barkley passed for five touchdowns as USC remained unbeaten with the victory over the Orange at the Coliseum.
Barkley connected with fullback Rhett Ellison, receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee and tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble to help the Trojans improve their record to 3-0 heading into next week's Pacific 12 Conference game at Arizona State.
Barkley completed 26 of 39 passes for 324 yards, without an interception.
The Trojans led 17-3 at halftime and blitzed to a 38-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib completed 25 of 37 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown for the Orange (2-1).
USC 38, Syracuse 17 (6:34 left in the fourth quarter)
Syracuse scored, but the real drama involves whether USC quarterback Matt Barkley will come back onto the field in a blowout to attempt to break the school record of five touchdown passes in a game.
The Orange might have helped Barkley's bid to make history by cutting into the Trojans' lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Nassib to Alec Lemon.
USC 38, Syracuse 10 (11:51 left in the fourth quarter)
Matt Barkley is on the verge of a record-breaking day.
The USC quarterback just tied a school single-game record by completing his fifth touchdown pass, a nine-yard connection with tight end Xavier Grimble that has given the Trojans an insurmountable lead. Barkley was the last USC quarterback to pass for as many scores, doing it last season against Hawaii and California.
Barkley has completed 27 of 40 passes for 326 yards without an interception, and there's still nearly 12 minutes to play. Will we see the likes of Jon Manoogian, Cody Kessler or Max Wittek the rest of the way, or will Coach Lane Kiffin allow Barkley to go for the record?
USC 31, Syracuse 10 (2:54 left in the third quarter)
It's another big game for the receivers from Gardena Serra High.
Marqise Lee just hauled in a perfectly thrown 43-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley, the quarterback's fourth scoring pass of the game.
Robert Woods has eight catches for 82 yards and a touchdown and Lee has two catches for 63 yards. Barkley has completed 24 of 35 passes for 309 yards and has not had a pass intercepted.
USC 24, Syracuse 10 (10:43 left in the third quarter)
Syracuse isn't going to roll over.
Now the onus is on Syracuse's defense, which has been unable to slow Matt Barkley. The USC quarterback has completed 19 of 28 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
USC 24, Syracuse 3 (12:58 left in the third quarter)
That was easy.
Four plays into the third quarter, USC added to its lead when quarterback Matt Barkley connected with a wide-open Randall Telfer on a 44-yard touchdown pass.
The Trojans even got their running game going on the drive, with Marc Tyler gaining 17 yards in two carries -- more than three times as many yards as he had in the first half. Tyler's most productive carry came when he took a direct snap and ran 11 yards.
Something to consider for the future.
USC 17, Syracuse 3 (halftime)
Good thing for the Trojans that Matt Barkley is playing well because their running game has ground to a halt.
Marc Tyler has five yards in eight carries -- an average of 0.6 yards per carry. In something of a mystery, the video board operator chose to post his stats at halftime for all to see at the Coliseum.
Robert Woods is USC's leading rusher, and that came courtesy of a 14-yard reverse. Barkley also has one rushing attempt for seven yards. No one else has carried the ball for the Trojans.
Moving the ball through the air hasn't been nearly as troublesome for USC. Barkley has completed 16 of 25 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Woods has six catches for 70 yards.
The Trojans have put the clamps on Ryan Nassib after the Syracuse quarterback completed all 11 of his passes in the first quarter; he was only two of 10 in the second quarter.
USC gets the ball to start the third quarter, and Syracuse is going to have to do a better job of stopping the Trojans on crucial plays to get back in the game. USC has converted on four of six third-down plays.
USC 17, Syracuse 3 (1:34 left in the second quarter)
The Trojans appear on the way to their first convincing victory of the year.
They are moving the ball effectively, particularly through the air. And they have pretty much shut down Syracuse's offense after the Orange's opening drive.
USC drove inside Syracuse's 10-yard line again before a weird ruling helped the Orange hold the Trojans to Andre Heidari's 26-yard field goal. Receiver Robert Woods took a flip from Marc Tyler and appeared to gain five yards on a play in which his helmet popped off.
But the officials reviewed the play and ruled it was dead when Woods' helmet came off. So it was only a two-yard gain, and on third down a Matt Barkley pass fell incomplete.
USC 14, Syracuse 3 (7:33 left in the second quarter)
Matt Barkley and Robert Woods are in sync again.
Two weeks after Woods hauled in a school-record 17 passes from Barkley, the USC receiver is on pace for another big game. His fourth catch was a 31-yard touchdown reception that has given the Trojans a 14-3 lead over Syracuse.
Woods also ran for a 14-yard reverse on USC's 58-yard drive and nearly caught another pass that appeared to go through his hands.
The Trojans' running game is still leaving plenty to be desired; Marc Tyler has two yards in five carries.
USC 7, Syracuse 3 (13:46 left in the second quarter)
Ryan Nassib isn't perfect.
It had looked otherwise in the first quarter, when the Syracuse quarterback completed all 11 of his passes for 74 yards.
But Nassib's first incompletion and a false start on the Orange's most recent drive put them in a third-and-long situation, and Nassib scrambled for only four yards.
USC takes over at its own 21-yard line.
USC 7, Syracuse 3 (3:25 left in the first quarter)
USC did Syracuse one better on its first drive, getting inside the 10-yard line and then punching it into the end zone on Matt Barkley's five-yard touchdown pass to fullback Rhett Ellison.
Barkley completed six of eight passes for 60 yards on the drive. His incompletions came after the Trojans had a first-and-goal at the Orange five. There was a shovel pass that fell to the turf and a pass that Robert Woods caught before his foot landed on the line in the back of the end zone.
Woods had three catches for 23 yards on the drive, but USC's rushing game couldn't muster much. Marc Tyler had one yard in two carries.
Syracuse 3, USC 0 (8:16 left in the first quarter)
Syracuse got the game's first points, but USC scored its own victory.
After the Orange moved to the Trojans' five-yard line, USC's defense stiffened. The Trojans stuffed Syracuse on back-to-back plays, with cornerback Nickell Robey stopping Dorian Graham well short of first down on third and five.
The Orange came away with a 23-yard field goal from Ross Krautman.
Most worrisome for the Trojans about Syracuse's opening drive was that quarterback Ryan Nassib completed all eight of his passes for 55 yards. But USC made the stops when they mattered most.
USC and Syracuse are both 2-0, but what do those undefeated starts mean?
The Trojans have a pair of less-than-convincing triumphs over unranked teams, and the Orange struggled to beat Wake Forest and Rhode Island.
A victory Saturday at the Coliseum would certainly be an eye-opener for Syracuse. Not so much for USC, which has lost only once at home against nonconference opponents since 2001.
Statistically speaking, the Trojans appear to have an edge. They are averaging more yards passing and rushing while giving up fewer on the ground and through the air than their counterpart.
Photo: USC quarterback Matt Barkley delivers a touchdown pass to Robert Woods against Syracuse in the second quarter Saturday at the Coliseum. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times