6-Points: Preseason Game #2

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For the complete stats from this 140-play marathon, click here!  Here's the story...

  • Barkley-scrim.jpgLane Kiffin challenged Matt Barkley to improve his completion percentage, but the starting QB and his understudies were victimized by a succession of first half drops.  The junior finished 17 of 27 for 135 yards with a TD pass and no INTs.  Max Wittek (12/23 for 157 with 2 TDs/1 INT) and Cody Kessler (14/21 for 86 yards with 1 TD/1 INT) continued to impress as they vie for the backup role. 
  • Curtis McNeal started the game at running back, but he injured his right knee just three carries into the afternoon.  While the coaches wait for more information on McNeal's condition, Dillon Baxter moves to the top of the depth chart.  The sophomore continued his total makeover with a solid 16 carries for 101 yards and a dazzling 21-yard TD catch-and-run.  "By far his best week since he's been here," said Kiffin.  "It's good to see someone doing things right in practice, off-the-field, and have it pay off here."
  • The starting defense led by a dominant pass rush gave up just six points to the starting offense before taking the second half off.  While Kiffin did not hint at answers for the second safety or second corner spots, DB Drew McAllister and CB Torin Harris had interceptions.  "I thought Torin Harris showed up today," Kiffin said.  "He made a number of plays, including tackling, which is something we're emphasizing with him."
  • In the first half at least, freshman PK Andre Heidari was the offensive MVP.  He accounted for all the scoring by making kicks from 21 and 46 yards out.  He's been perfect in the two fall camp scrimmages.  "I think it's awesome playing in the Coliseum now twice and feeling what it's going to be like on game day," Heidari said.
  • Marqise Lee has distanced himself from the other freshman wide receivers.  With Robert Woods (ankle), Brice Butler (knee) and Brandon Carswell (both quads) on the sidelines, Lee turned in an impressive 7 catch performance totaling 87 receiving yards, including a 56-yard catch-and-run, which was the longest play of the day.  "He's flashed in practice the last two days especially and really showed up today," Kiffin said about Lee.
  • For now, Rhett Ellison is starting at fullback, which leaves healthy tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble to battle it out for the #2 spot or potentially #1 if Ellison stays put.  Telfer (4 catches for 39 yards) got off to a strong start, but he had two drops.  Grimble showed up in the red zone with two TD grabs.  "That's what I am here to do," said Grimble about his touchdowns.  "Catch some short passes, be violent with the DBs and linebackers and soften up the secondary."
Extra point...

  • True freshman Charles Burks, who moved from fullback to his natural defensive end just yesterday, made an immediate impression with three sacks today.
Here's Lane Kiffin with the complete injury report, his disappointment in the offensive guard play and more...

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I love these updates. Quick and full of facts. Thanks!

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