USC defeats Washington State, 27-6
Matt Barkley returned to USC's lineup in a big way, leading the Trojans to a 27-6 victory over Washington State in a Pacific 10 Conference game tonight at the Coliseum.
The freshman from Santa Ana Mater Dei High, nursing a sore shoulder injured two weeks ago against Ohio State, completed 13 of 22 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns.
Barkley didn't play last week and USC was upset by Washington.
USC had a shutout until the game's final minute, when Washington State tailback Dwight Tardy scored from two yards with 22 seconds left to play.
The Trojans improved to 3-1 overall, 1-1 in Pac-10 play, despite two lost fumbles, 13 penalties that cost them 115 yards, and going 0 for 2 on fourth-down plays.
Washington State is 1-3 overall, 0-2 in the Pac-10.
USC 27, Washington State 0 (middle of fourth quarter)
An interception at the goal line by Josh Pinkard has preserved, for now, USC's shutout.
It was Pinkard's first interception of the season, the fourth of his career.
And Aaron Corp is in at quarterback.
Starter Matt Barkley completed 13 of 22 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns.
USC has been sluggish in the second half. Washington State had a nice drive going before the turnover, after taking over at their own 2-yard line after C.J. Gable was stuffed on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1.
The Trojans have 13 penalties.
USC 27, Washington State 0 (early fourth quarter)
A fumble by Washington State tailback Dwight Tardy on the final play of the third quarter has set up another USC touchdown.
USC's Devon Kennard forced the fumble and recovered at the Cougars' 24 yard-line, and three plays later the Trojans were in the end zone.
An 18-yard pass from Matt Barkley to Damian Williams set up a six-yard scoring run by Stafon Johnson with 14:25 left to play.
USC 20, Washington State 0 (midway through third quarter)
Could it be that Matt Barkley is better with a sore shoulder?
The Trojans' freshman quarterback showed great touch on USC's first drive of the second half, a seven-play, 70-yard march that stalled at the Washington State 2-yard line.
Barkley dropped a nice pass over the linebackers and in front of the safeties to tight end Anthony McCoy for a gain of 40 yards.
He then came right back with a 23-yard pass to Blake Ayles on the next play to give USC a first-and-goal situation at the Washington State 9.
USC went for a touchdown on fourth-and-two, and Barkley again put a pass right on target -- but it went threw the hands of Rhett Ellison, who simply whiffed on what should have been an easy catch.
The Trojans were penalized twice more on their first second-half possession.
USC 20, Washington State 0 (halftime)
There's a heavyweight boxing match going on not far from the Coliseum at Staples Center.
In keeping with that theme, you'd have to say Washington State won the second quarter, or round.
Damian Williams lost a fumble after a pass reception and Jordan Congdon left a 43-yard field-goal attempt short, leaving the Trojans scoreless in the quarter.
Meantime, freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel helped the Cougars eat up the clock with a 19-play drive that consumed the final 8:30 of the half but ended with a missed field-goal attempt.
Matt Barkley is eight of 12 passing for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
Williams has three receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. Allen Bradford has rushed for 55 yards in six carries.
Dwight Tardy has rushed for 32 yards in 10 carries for the Cougars.
USC 20, Washington State 0
Jordan Congdon showed plenty of leg last week when he kicked what appeared to be a 47-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
But the officials ruled that USC did not get the snap off on time.
Well, Congdon just left a 43-yard attempt short after the Trojans drove from their own 16 on the strength of junior tailback Allen Bradford.
Bradford rushed six times for 55 yards.
USC 20, Washington State 0 (end of 1st quarter)
Guess USC hasn't learned much from last week when it comes to penalties.
The Trojans were flagged seven times for 75 yards in the first 15 minutes.
Matt Barkley has completed six of eight passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Joe McKnight has rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown in four carries.USC 20, Washington State 0
Whew, that was quick.
Matt Barkley just threw two touchdown passes within a span of nine seconds.
Barkley's 29-yard touchdown pass to Brice Butler with 3:10 remaining in the first quarter increased the lead to 13-0.
It was the first touchdown reception by a Trojans wide receiver this season and the first of Butler's career.
Jake Harfman's punt helped set up the scoring opportunity by pinning the Cougars inside their five-yard line. The Trojans' defense again did its job, forcing Washington State to punt from its end zone.
Damian Williams returned the kick 28 yards to the Cougars' 28. Two plays later Barkley connected with Butler.
Harfman then recovered his own onside kick.
Barkley wasted no time hitting Williams for a 57-yard touchdown.
USC 6, Washington State 0
USC's defense set up the Trojans' scoring opportunity when end Everson Griffen sacked Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, forcing the Cougars to punt from their 10-yard line.
Damian Williams' 27-yard punt return gave USC the ball at the Cougars' 31.
Matt Barkley's 12-yard pass to Williams set up tailback Joe McKnight's 16-yard run to the three.
McKnight scored easily on the next play, but the Trojans botched the extra-point snap.
Safety Taylor Mays is warming up with the first-string secondary, so it appears he will start after missing last week's game because of a knee sprain.
Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday that Mays would start, but the senior had said it was "50-50" and might be a game-time decision.
Looks like the decision was made.
Mays is wearing a brace on his right knee.
USC freshman quarterback Matt Barkley came out to warm up in a T-shirt and shorts.
Barkley, who will start tonight despite a bone bruise in his right shoulder, threw passes for awhile with a member of the training staff and then played catch with a few teammates.
Barkley appeared to be throwing the ball better than he did in practice this week. Barkley had said that he was still feeling pain and could not throw with full velocity.
We'll see in about an hour if he is close to full strength.
Photo: Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley scrambles for a first down against Washington State in the first quarter Saturday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times