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6-Points: Arizona 39, USC 36

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The Trojans fall to 6-2 despite Marqise Lee's heroic effort.

Click here for the game recap and final stats.

Click here for Lane Kiffin's post-game press conference.

Marqise the Magnificent

Lee-AZ-Wally-Skalij-LA-Times.jpgSophomore WR Marqise Lee put on a remarkable show as he hauled in 16 receptions for a Pac-12 record 345 yards.  He also scored two touchdowns, and tallied 469 all-purpose yards.  "I've only seen two skill guys like this probably ever...No. 5 and No. 9," Lane Kiffin said referring to Reggie Bush and Lee.  "It's unbelievable.  He's in there like he lost the Super Bowl.  I don't know how you can do more than he does."  Lee was despondent after the game despite his superhuman efforts.  "It's not about the stats.  The main focus is actually winning the game," Lee said.

The Mistakes

The Trojans did not win the game, and the cause of defeat can be traced back to five turnovers and 13 penalties.  "Our mistakes caught up with us," Kiffin said.  On the persistent penalty problem, the head coach is baffled.  "I'm open for any suggestions.  We've tried it all," he said.  The turnovers included two interceptions thrown by Matt Barkley.  "We're not going to win a game if we're not controlling the ball.  We kept shooting ourselves in the foot," said the senior quarterback.

The Missed Opportunity

Despite the penalties and turnovers, USC was in control of the game in the third quarter leading 28-13 with the ball when Robert Woods broke wide open on a double move for a sure touchdown, but the pass was overthrown.  "I'll be thinking about that ball all night," said Barkley. "I got a little too excited seeing how open he was.  I just misjudged it."

Fast Break Offense

Lee-Bleacher-Report.jpgGive Arizona credit.  The Wildcats have a high-powered offense led by future pro QB Matt Scott, who passed for 369 yards and ran for 100 more.  When the USC offense hit a lull in the second half, Rich Rodriguez's offense took advantage with a 26-0 run.  "That's a really good team that we played with a really good quarterback," said Kiffin. 

The Final Drive

Trailing 39-36 with 55 seconds left, USC had one last chance to drive for a game-tying field goal or game-winning touchdown.  The Trojans moved the ball well with three consecutive passes for first downs, but quickly ran out of time.  Barkley did not spike the ball after any of the completions to stop the clock, which he said was a coach's decision.  Kiffin decided to go for the big chunk when the Trojans got it to midfield explaining that Arizona had been jumping Lee on the short routes, but the pass fell incomplete, which forced USC into a Hail Mary toss.

Moving Forward

While USC's national championship hopes appear dashed, the Trojans still control their own destiny for the Rose Bowl.  The players are not focusing on anything other than next week's showdown with the Oregon Ducks.  "Stick together," said Matt Barkley about this week. "That's the beauty of football.  You experience the most exhilarating moments of your life and you learn how to cope and deal with losses like this.  Next week, we'll come out firing."

Extra Point...

The Hail Mary

Lee truly believes that he should have or at least could have caught the final pass.  "I really thought No. 9 was going to catch it," Kiffin also believed.  "It wouldn't have surprised me at all.  He caught everything else today."

(Top photo by Wally Skalij/LA Times)

(Bottom photo by Matt Kartozian/US Presswire)

Here is Barkley after the game with the media...


3 Comments

I've been a USC fan for 50+ years - yesterday's loss was one of the hardest to swallow - the team was completely undisciplined, i.e., unnecessary penalties, etc. They have the distinction of being the most penalized team in the nation - this I blame on the coaching - Kiffin and Kiffin have got to go !! Bring on John Gruden !!

You forgot point 7: Lane's staff completely out-coached

The game was hard to take as a lose I've been a USC fan since I turned 13 and started to actually follow football and I do agree it was one of the hardest loses and the reason for that is is we had plenty of time to get into field goal range.

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