LOS ANGELES -- Matt Barkley passed for 324 yards and a
school record-tying five touchdowns to five different receivers,
and Southern California's slumbering offense came alive after two
mediocre outings in the Trojans' 38-17 victory over previously
unbeaten Syracuse Saturday night.
Barkley completed 26 of 39 passes without being intercepted. The
junior from nearby Newport Beach threw for five touchdowns twice
last season and is one of five players to accomplish the feat at
USC. He has thrown nine TD passes while being picked off just once
USC's offensive explosion snapped a string of six straight games
in which the Trojans had scored fewer than 30 points. The Trojans
entered the game ranked 90th in scoring among the country's 120 FBS
schools, averaging 21 points.
Robert Woods caught eight passes for 82 yards and a touchdown
for the Trojans (3-0), giving him 33 receptions this season, the
most in any three-game span by a USC player in school history.
Keyshawn Johnson caught 32 passes in the final three games of the
Ryan Nassib completed his first 11 passes for 74 yards, but
finished 25 of 37 for 230 yards for the outmanned Orange (2-1).
USC had scored only one offensive second-half touchdown in its
first two games, but Barkley threw a 44-yard scoring pass to
wide-open freshman Randall Telfer on the fourth play of the third
quarter, giving the Trojans a 24-3 lead.
The Orange reached the USC 35 on their next possession, but
Nassib was sacked on third down by DaJohn Harris and Shane Horton,
forcing a punt. The Trojans then went 80 yards on eight plays,
scoring on a 43-yard pass from Barkley to freshman Marqise Lee to
make it 31-10.
Barkley's final TD pass was a 9-yarder to freshman Xavier
Grimble early in the fourth quarter. Nassib's 12-yard scoring pass
to Lemon with 6:34 to play completed the scoring in the game.
The Trojans piled up 501 yards in total offense to 331 for the
Ross Krautman kicked a 23-yard field goal on Syracuse's first
possession for a 3-0 lead. The Trojans responded by moving 66 yards
on 10 plays to go ahead 7-3, scoring on Barkley's 5-yard pass to
Nassib didn't throw his first incompletion until the opening
minute of the second quarter. He wouldn't complete another pass
until the final 90 seconds of the first half.
With that, the USC defense began asserting itself, putting
pressure on Nassib and stuffing the Syracuse running game. The
opportunistic Trojans' offense took advantage, scoring 10
second-quarter points for a 17-3 halftime lead.
First came a 31-yard touchdown pass from Barkley to Woods,
capping a 58-yard drive aided by a pass interference penalty
against Kevyn Scott. Andre Heidari added a 26-yard field goal with
1:34 left in the period, but was wide left on a 46-yarder on the
final play of the half.
USC raised its record to 3-0 against Syracuse, having won 16-0
at the Coliseum in 1924 and 34-16 at the Meadowlands in 1990. Todd
Marinovich passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns for the
Trojans in that game.
Mikhail Marinovich, Todd's younger brother, started at defensive
end for the Orange Saturday night and recovered a fumble in the
fourth quarter at the Trojans' 24. But Nassib fumbled on the next
play and USC's Will Andrew recovered, accounting for the game's
The game was played before a crowd of 65,873 at the Coliseum.
USC plays its first road game of the season next Saturday night at
No. 22 Arizona State (2-1), a 17-14 loser at Illinois on Saturday,
while Syracuse entertains Toledo (1-2).
Ohio State remained No. 1 in the AP Top 25 and tied a poll record Sunday despite lagging support from voters. Meanwhile, No. 2 TCU and No. 3 Baylor edged forward and No. 4 Michigan State slipped.
Will Grier threw four touchdown passes to four receivers -- all in the first half -- and No. 25 Florida downed third-ranked Mississippi 38-10 on Saturday night.
Leonard Fournette highlighted his SEC-record third straight 200-yard game with a 75-yard touchdown run, and No. 9 LSU overcame Eastern Michigan 44-22 on Saturday night.
An officiating error led to an Oklahoma State touchdown Saturday in the Cowboys' 36-34 win over Kansas State.
Texas A&M receiver Ricky Seals-Jones, who was ejected for targeting midway in the second quarter of Saturday's game, took to Twitter late in the game, retweeting a tweet that questioned the call.
As if things weren't going bad enough at Texas, the Longhorns appear to have players on Twitter during lopsided losses and jabs at their coach accidentally being sent from other nearby teams.