6-Points: USC 38, Syracuse 17

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The Trojans cap the three-game homestand with the season's first blowout victory.

Click here to watch Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley and Chris Galippo in the post-game press conference.

Click here for the official stats and game recap.

  • With all the (deserved) hoopla over Robert Woods' incredible start to the season, "the quarterback," as Lane Kiffin likes to call him, has been pretty exceptional himself.  Matt Barkley tied his own (and others) school record with five touchdown passes.  "It felt different because I didn't really notice it," Barkley compared his big night to others in his career.  "Tonight, I was throwing the ball around to different receivers."  In fact, five different receivers accounted for the touchdowns as opposed to his previous career games, which were dominated by Ronald Johnson (Hawaii) and Woods (Cal). 
  • Screen shot 2011-09-17 at 11.11.48 PM.pngThe post-game chatter was all about "The Robert Woods effect."  After the 17 catch opener, the sophomore is consistently attracting double and triple coverage, which provides wide open teammates the opportunity to make plays like Randall Telfer's unabated 44-yard TD grab down the seam.  "If they're going to double team him, other players are going to have to step up," Barkley said.  Seven other players made receptions and Woods (photo by AP/Mark J. Terrill) still found a way to lead the team with eight catches for 82 yards and a TD.
  • Marqise Lee is happy to take advantage of the open space.  In fact, the freshman wide receiver is just happy about everything on a night when he made his first career touchdown catch.  "I was happy, excited, couldn't stop laughing and didn't want to give up the ball for some reason," Lee described his emotions.  "Most teams are focused on [Woods], so it gives us the opportunity to show them what we got.  That one-on-one coverage is amazing." 
  • The running game was a tale of two halves and maybe one speech.  The Trojans had six yards rushing in the first half, but finished with 175 ground yards on the night.  Running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu delivered a fiery halftime address to his unit, which obviously worked and was particularly evident in Curtis McNeal's energetic display late in the 4th quarter.  The head coach acknowledged McNeal in front of the team in the post-game locker room as an example of a player who consistently works hard in practice and then makes the most of his limited game touches.
  • The defense put in another solid shift.  Thanks to the offensive outburst, the coaches were finally able to sub more freely and keep the first team fresh.  While the game was still competitive, freshman LB Tre Madden and redshirt junior safety Drew McAllister made their season debuts defensively.  Anthony Brown worked in as the nickel corner.  True freshman MLB Lamar Dawson spelled Chris Galippo for several series until the Kentucky native came limping off in the fourth quarter.
  • Bailey-Sack.pngThe young linebackers are a different breed.  "The days of having big 260 pound linebackers are over," said Galippo about his outside mates Dion Bailey (200 lbs.) and Hayes Pullard (225 lbs.).  Bailey (9 tackles) and Pullard (7 tackles) were the two leading tacklers in the game for USC.  The Trojans should be in a much better position to defend spread offenses with their sideline-to-sideline speed.  Madden (220 lbs.) and Shane Horton (200 lbs.) are more of the same coming off the bench. (Bailey pictured by AP/Mark J. Terrill)
Two-point conversion...

  • Kiffin jokingly tried to shift blame on the play-action call late in the game when Barkley got sacked going for his sixth TD pass.  The head coach has seen Barkley, Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer tie the school record and apparently wanted to take a shot to break it.
  • The offensive play-caller was in a good mood after a game that featured three USC plays over 40 yards.  "We got one today that felt like the old days," Kiffin said about his team's performance.
Here is Barkley in the locker room after the game chatting with us, while his teammates were distracting him.  (Luckily, the moon was eclipsed before the camera got a look!)

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