Game 5 wrap-up: Barkley shines in wild west Shootout
The poor performance in Tempe didn’t make for a gun shy Matt Barkley in his follow-up game. Against the Sun Devils, the junior had more turnovers (3) than scoring passes. It was a different and bigger story on Saturday, as the quarterback bounced back with style, throwing for a school-record 468 yards in the Trojans’ 48-41 victory over the Wildcats.
Barkley moved pass Carson Palmer and into the top spot on the USC single-game passing list. He did so by completing 32 of 39 passes, while throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for another. The lone blemish was an interception, giving him 3 in the last two games, after tossing just one through the first three weeks.
Overlooked in the fireworks display was the performance of Arizona’s quarterback. Nick Foles started poorly, going 9 of 16 with two interceptions that ultimately proved to be the difference in the outcome. But the senior settled down to make a game of it, completing 32 of his final 37 passes for a total of 425 yards and 4 touchdowns.
In the Red
What started out as a potential woodshed paddling suddenly turned into a game. There’s a reason for it. The Trojan defense carries a national rank of 110th in the red zone. Of the 17 trips inside the USC 20-yard line, season opponents have scored 16 times for a total of 105 points. Only two of those scores came off the foot of a kicker, with six coming by way of rushing touchdowns, and eight through the air. Arizona was a perfect 5 for 5 in the red zone on Saturday, which accounted for 35 of the team’s 41 points.
Robert Woods should easily be a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, yet his name hardly surfaces in discussions. The sensational sophomore added another 14 catches and 255 yards to his season total, to lead the nation in receptions and receiving yards. It’s no secret that voters favor quarterbacks and running backs, being that they receive more touches per game than any other. But if you add Woods’ contribution on special teams, and the fact that his presence alone frees opportunities for teammates, he should appear somewhere near the top of the list of ‘most outstanding football players’. If he falls short of the criteria by being a pass catcher, I suggest the award’s definition be altered to reflect the ‘most outstanding passer or runner’.
- After allowing opponents a total of 48 points through the first three games, USC has surrendered 84 in the last two weeks.
- Arizona has now lost 9 of its last 10 meetings with USC.
- After converting just one third down conversion two weeks ago, the Trojans were 70 percent on third down attempts versus Arizona.
- USC has yet to play an error-free game, committing another turnover on Saturday, which is the 10th of the season.
- Arizona is now 1-4 overall and 0-3 in conference, thanks to a brutal stretch in consecutive weeks consisting of Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon, and USC.