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USC 48, Arizona 41 (final)

October 1, 2011 |  3:55 pm


It was a day for records but not for defenses.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley passed for a school-record 468 yards during the Trojans' 48-41 victory over Arizona on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum, with receiver Robert Woods collecting 255 of them on the way to his career high.

The teams combined for a whopping 893 passing yards -- and 1,136 total -- and if it wasn't for two first-half interceptions by USC's T.J. McDonald, Arizona could have easily emerged with a victory.

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles completed 41 of 53 passes for 425 yards and four touchdowns and was outplayed by his counterpart; Barkley was that impressive. The USC junior completed 32 of 39 passes with four touchdowns and one interception.

The Wildcats actually rushed for 129 yards, 15 more than the Trojans. That's a stunning development considering Arizona had struggled mightily to move the ball on the ground before the game.


Photos: USC vs. Arizona

USC 48, Arizona 41 (1:00 left in fourth quarter)

Crazy, crazy, crazy.

Arizona momentarily made a game of it after Nick Foles connected with Austin Hill in the back of the end zone on a four-yard touchdown play.

But the Wildcats couldn't recover the onside kick and USC will run out the clock.

The teams have combined for more than 1,000 yards, by the way. Where's a defensive coordinator when you need one?

USC 48, Arizona 34 (2:08 left in fourth quarter)

USC's defense got the stop it needed and now the Trojans are near midfield attempting to run out the clock.

It won't be a memorable day for the Trojans' defense. Besides safety T.J. McDonald's pair of first-half interceptions, Arizona has pretty much driven at will against USC.

USC 48, Arizona 34 (9:28 left in fourth quarter)

Matt Barkley now stands alone atop the USC single-game passing chart.

The junior broke Carson Palmer's record of 448 yards with a 25-yard completion to Brice Butler that gave Barkley 453 yards. Trojans running back Curtis McNeal then scored on a nine-yard touchdown run to restore USC's two-touchdown edge over pesky Arizona.

Barkley has completed 30 of 36 passes for four touchdowns with one interception. A stop by the USC defense would likely seal the outcome.

USC 41, Arizona 34 (11:09 left in fourth quarter)

It's shaping up as one of those games where whoever has the ball last is going to win.

Arizona continues to have its way with the USC defense on drives during which Nick Foles doesn't float a pass into the Trojans secondary. Foles just connected with Juron Criner on a 12-yard touchdown pass that has again made it a one-touchdown game.

The Wildcats defense has stopped USC only once and is going to need to come up with at least one more stand to help its team draw even.

UCS 41, Arizona 27 (14:39 left in fourth quarter)

The fourth quarter got off to a rousing start for USC, with quarterback Matt Barkley connecting with Marqise Lee on a 45-yard pass that gave the Trojans a first and goal at the Arizona one-yard line.

Officials initially ruled that Lee's leaping grab was a touchdown before reviewing the play and giving USC the ball at the one.

Barkley then plunged into the end zone on the next play to put the Trojans back in control. Barkley has completed 28 of 33 passes for a career-high 427 yards, the second-highest total in USC history.

USC 34, Arizona 27 (0:52 left in third quarter)

Arizona's offense kicked into high gear after its defense finally got a stop.

Wildcats defensive back Shaquille Richardson intercepted a Matt Barkley pass, giving Arizona the ball at its own 41-yard line. Six plays later, Ka'Deem Carey bulled into the end zone on a 16-yard touchdown run to make things suddenly very compelling.

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles has completed 27 of 36 passes for 268 yards.

USC 34, Arizona 20 (4:22 left in third quarter)

Arizona won't go away. Too bad its defense still hasn't shown up.

The Wildcats made it a two-possession game again after Ka'Deem Carey plunged into the end zone on a one-yard touchdown run and quarterback Nick Foles flipped to Austin Hill for a two-point conversion.

That prompted the first audible "U of A!" chants from the small contingent of Wildcats fans. But Arizona needs to stop USC to have a chance. The Trojans have scored on all six of their possessions.

USC 34, Arizona 12 (12:57 left in third quarter)

The school records could start falling soon.

USC receiver Robert Woods just made his 12th catch, a 28-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Matt Barkley, to give Woods a career-high 232 yards receiving.

Barkley could set some records too. He has completed 25 of 29 passes for 346 yards with nearly two full quarters to play. He has previously tied the school record this season with five touchdown passes in a game.

USC 27, Arizona 12 (halftime)

Nobody can claim USC's offense is inefficient.

The Trojans scored on all five of their first-half possessions against Arizona at the Coliseum in taking a commanding lead. It looked like they were on their way to a touchdown on their final drive, moving the ball to the Arizona seven-yard line for a first and goal.

But a sideline interference call, an incompletion and a three-yard loss by Marc Tyler brought out Andre Heidari, who kicked a 31-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley has been nearly perfect, completing 22 of 26 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Receiver Robert Woods has been the primary beneficiary, catching eight passes for 187 yards and a touchdown.

Arizona's ground game has gained some traction, getting 83 yards -- more than the Wildcats had averaged in four games this season. But the Wildcats have managed only two scores despite moving into USC territory on all five possessions; quarterback Nick Foles floated two passes that were intercepted by Trojans safety T.J. McDonald and another drive ended in a punt.

Arizona must stop a USC drive or two in the third quarter to create any drama the rest of the way.

USC 24, Arizona 12 (4:05 left in second quarter)

The Trojans aren't half bad so far.

Their offense is purring but their defense has sputtered at times, including an inability to bring down Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey on a 27-yard touchdown reception that has halved USC's lead.

On the plus side for the Trojans, Matt Kalil blocked the extra point.

USC 24, Arizona 6 (5:45 left in second quarter)

USC's offense is looking more like it did during Pete Carroll's heyday than the slopfest of last week.

The Trojans have scored on all four possessions this afternoon, with Matt Barkley throwing for three touchdowns. His latest came on a seven-yard completion to tight end Xavier Grimble in the back of the end zone.

Barkley has completed 13 of 14 passes for 227 yards without an interception.

USC 17, Arizona 6 (10:53 left in second quarter)

The fourth time was the charm for Arizona.

On the Wildcats' fourth drive that reached USC territory, the Wildcats finally converted. Fullback Taimi Tutogi took a short pass from Nick Foles and bulled his way into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown.

Arizona missed the extra point, but the way the Trojans are moving the ball, it might not matter.

The Wildcats' first three drives past midfield had ended in a punt and a pair of interceptions by USC safety T.J. McDonald.

USC 17, Arizona 0 (end of first quarter)

It's Gardena Serra High 14, Arizona 0. Not really, but two former Serra receivers have now caught touchdown passes for USC, with Marqise Lee hauling in a 38-yarder from Matt Barkley to put the Trojans in command.

Barkley connected with former Serra standout Robert Woods on an 82-yard pass play for USC's first touchdown. Safety T.J. McDonald has two interceptions for the Trojans, who have thwarted three Arizona drives that have crossed midfield. 

USC 10, Arizona 0 (3:58 left in the first quarter)

Two possessions, two scores for the Trojans.

Receiver Robert Woods made the big play on a second consecutive possession, taking a short pass from Matt Barkley and turning it into a 28-yard gain. USC's drive eventually stalled inside Arizona's 30-yard line before Andre Heidari kicked a 46-yard field goal to give the Trojans a two-score advantage.

USC 7, Arizona 0 (7:19 left in the first quarter)

Arizona moved the ball with some success on each of its first two drives, but each ended with nothing to put on the scoreboard.

The Wildcats picked up four first downs on their first drive before punting, and their second drive ended when quarterback Nick Foles threw a pass that USC safety T.J. McDonald intercepted at the Trojans' 30-yard line.

USC 7, Arizona 0 (10:49 left in the first quarter)

Two offensive plays into the game for USC and it's already The Robert Woods Show.

The sophomore receiver caught a nine-yard pass from quarterback Matt Barkley, then took another short pass, slipped a tackle and put his track skills to good use for an 82-yard touchdown.

It was the longest pass completion of Barkley's career and the longest for USC since a 93-yarder from Carson Palmer to Kareem Kelly against Oregon in 2001.


It seems silly, calling this a must win for a USC team that has won three of its four games this season. But with the heart of the Pacific 12 Conference schedule ahead, including matchups against Stanford and Oregon, not to mention the annual Notre Dame grudge match, a loss to Arizona would be crippling to the Trojans' hopes for a 10-win season. Not that it will dent their bowl hopes during the final year of their two-year postseason ban.

The Wildcats (1-3) come into the game with zero momentum, having lost three consecutive games to ranked teams. So maybe they'll be up for the challenge after USC fell out of the Associated Press' top 25 in the wake of its 43-22 loss to Arizona State.

Arizona's primary weakness has been the ground game, both on offense and defense. The Wildcats are averaging only 62 yards rushing a game while giving up 233 yards. That's not going to help you beat many teams not named Northern Arizona.

USC is looking to bounce back from a turnover-plagued debacle in which quarterback Matt Barkley had two passes intercepted and lost one of the Trojans' two fumbles. He also had a slip of the mouth that earned him a reprimand from the Pac-12 after he called Arizona's Vontaze Burfict "a dirty player."


USC secondary in need of a turnaround

How USC matches up with the Wildcats

Marqise Lee working to overcome freshman mistakes

--Ben Bolch

Photo: USC receiver Marqise Lee catches a 38-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley against Arizona cornerback Trevin Wade in the first quarter Saturday at the Coliseum. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times