Blog Entry

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:05 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 3:53 am

Posted by Bryan Fischer

LOS ANGELES -- Lane Kiffin did what he could to get Matt Barkley to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

USC receivers just kept running routes and, thanks to Barkley, UCLA fell on the wrong end of a rout once again.

It had been 534 days but USC could finally say they were bowl eligible too.

The Trojans have to win at least six games next season to qualify for a bowl of course - a near certainty given the amount of talent returning in 2012 - but on the Coliseum turf Saturday night, they could finally say they had the right to play in one after shutting out their crosstown rival UCLA 50-0.

The only question left in 2011: One more year or thanks for the memories Matt?

"This night is too special to take away from what we've done," Barkley said. "I don't want to worry about my future, I want to spend my time enjoying the night. We've worked hard for this and we deserve to celebrate a little bit."

Barkley's team jumped the gun a little, singing the fight song while he was in the middle of his press conference.

"That gave me chills."

In what could have been the quarterback's final performance under center, he went out close to perfect: 35-for-42, 423 yards and a school record-tying (his own, by the way) six touchdown passes.

The fans want an encore next year and you can understand why.

"When he gets back from New York we will sit down," Kiffin said. "Unless he just wants to do it to be a special Trojan, he is not coming back.

"I probably shouldn't say this but I look up to Matt Barkley. He has been through a lot of adversity. Basically all of his dreams about football were taken away with the sanctions. I don't know any 39-year olds that can handle things the way he did, much less any 19-year olds."

The pitch to stay is easy enough he doesn't have to say much at all.

USC started just only four seniors, two of whom were on offense. Just nine players who saw any significant playing time won't be back next year prior to any NFL defections. Biletnikoff finalist Robert Woods (13 catches for 113 yards, two touchdowns) will return and Marqise Lee (13 catches for 224 yards, two touchdowns) will be just a sophomore. Every starter on the offensive line could return, including potential first round left tackle Matt Kalil, who he said is a "package deal" with Barkley earlier in the week.

Even the defense is loaded, with two freshman tying for the lead in tackles for the first time in school history.

So the question will be, for the next several weeks, will he stay or will he go?

"I've been in his ear trying to get him back," Woods said. "Of course the decision is his but I feel like we could go a long way with him."

"I haven't started yet," Lee said with a grin. "But I'm going to."

Kiffin has been on record saying that sure-fire first round picks should leave but his tune has changed over the past few months. Not much of a joker, he's cracks plenty about his quarterback coming back.

With Barkley the Trojans can emerge from their bowl ban (and start scholarship reductions) as a top five team, primed to compete not only for a Rose Bowl but a national title like the good old days under Pete Carroll. The blond-haired Southern California kid could lead his dream school out of the program's toughest days and back to the promise land.

"We are coming out of the dark," said Kiffin about 2012.

USC has a great film department so they may have already sold the script to Disney.

"It means a lot knowing the Trojan family has my back. It's going to be tough," the signal-caller added. "I'm still enjoying that game and enjoying this night."

The Coliseum crowd started the "One more year" chant early. After watching the Trojans' scoreboard get a workout though, it wasn't clear who they wanted to come back more, Barkley or UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel.

The loss dropped him to 26-32 overall, 17-15 in the conference at his alma mater. Though Neuheisel has yet to beat USC, he talked about the gap between the school 14 miles away being closed earlier in the week - after UCLA backed into the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon.

"That was a pretty strong statement to make," Kiffin said. "Our players took that very personal. It was talked about a lot and not by me at all. I think they really felt disrespected."

After Saturday, the gap may never have been wider.

"I'm going to evaluate this program at the end of the year like I always have," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said. "We've got another game to focus on and it's a big game.

"It's a devastating loss for any Bruin fan or anybody in that locker room or any of the coaches."

UCLA gave up a 98-yard scoring drive and defensive backs had trouble all night preventing receivers from getting behind them for long scores. They allowed the Trojans' smallest offensive player, running back Curtis McNeal, to take a simple off tackle play 73-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Quarterback Kevin Prince was the lone bright spot but ended up as the team's leading rusher, not exactly the plan.

In many ways it was over before it began.

"The first drive," Neuheisel said of when he knew he had a problem. "We couldn't stop them and we were too inconsistent on offense to be in a scoring fest and it just got out of hand."

The Pac-12 office said USC could only say they finished in first with their 10-2 record and could not call themselves South champions. They gave their blessing for UCLA to do, despite finishing second, however.

Tomato, tohmato. First place vs. South champion, the scoreboard did the talking.

"It shows who really is the Pac-12 champion," Kalil said.

In the locker room after the game, the team found shirts adorned with "Pac-12 South Champions" awaiting them from athletic director Pat Haden.

Across the country there are plenty of fierce rivalries but nothing quite like the crosstown showdown that takes place at the end of the season every year in Los Angeles. Office bragging rights are at stake. Friends won't speak to each other afterward. In plenty of cases it pits brother versus brother - including on the field.

Tim McDonald was a two-time All-American safety for USC. Son T.J. followed in his footsteps and started for the Trojans when he was a freshman at the position. Younger brother Tevin took a different path and signed with the Bruins, ending up as the starter opposite his brother Saturday night.

T.J. will take home bragging rights once again and likely spend Christmas detailing his interception in the red zone that ended one of the few Bruins scoring threats.

"It's a big thing," McDonald said of the pick. "But for us to get that shutout, for this crosstown rivalry, to play this way in the last game of the season, this was our bowl game. We had nothing to leave out on the field and we did that."

Kiffin's squad took the title of city champions for the 12th time in 13 years. Though they had the (NCAA) book thrown at them and doubters aplenty, they lived up to the school's 'Fight On' motto throughout the turmoil that had engulfed the program the past few years and, it seems, is starting to disperse.

"We had a lot to play for this year," Barkley said. "We were playing for this university, the history of this program. You're playing for personal pride, you don't want to just flush the season down the toilet. There were a ton of things that we were playing for and that motivated us."

Woods became the school and conference leader in receptions early in the second half. Barkley broke Matt Leinart's school and conference record with his 39th touchdown pass of the season.

"It's unreal, I never thought this would happen," he said. "I remember watching that year that he had."

The Trojans were not eligible for the Pac-12 championship or a BCS bowl but they stated their case one final time that they could beat anybody in the country in 2011.

"The way we're playing, I think we could," Barkley said.

So what about next year?


Since: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:16 pm

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

pampered pretty boy

So you think MB is pretty? G-Pile thinks MB is! It's interesting that you would out yourself on a sports blog, hey to each his own. I for one applaud your courage for coming on here and anouncing you're gay, good for you bro.

Bad news though, MB is heterosexual, so you may not want to aim so high. I do know he'd be flattered though and he would wish you nothing but success in trying to find that special guy to fill that gaping voidYellin your life.

Good luck to you and thx for being so brave.

Btw, jealousy doesn't look good on you, so you may want to tone the rhetoric.

Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 10:06 pm

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

Question: How many high school players were on the side lines yesterday at the game?  Looking at the two schools, if you are a top flight football player, which school would you want to go to play football for?

This is where U.S.C. will always beat out U.C.L.A. The kids love Kiffin and will play for him.

11 freshmen played on the first string this year.  All three line backers are freshman.  They are fast and talented.  They will only get better.

Even though U.S.C. only has 15 scholarships for the next three years, the cream of the crop will still come to U.S.C.

The gap widens.  Go Trojans.Smile

Since: Sep 7, 2010
Posted on: November 27, 2011 5:49 pm

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

Hey Goober-Pile it must suck to be you. Your sorry a** attempt to go after a college kid is as pathetic as it is shows your character. I am sure that surfer kid will enjoy the rest of his life.

Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 3:04 pm

Bruins No Match for USC

I watched this game last night and this was a classic mismatch...and I'm trying to be objective here. From the start right until the end of the game USC just dominated UCLA. Being a follower of PAC 12 football there are 3 elite teams in this league...these are Standford, USC, and Oregon...not in any particular order....but these 3 teams over the course of the season are the best in the conference. It is a shame that UCLA wins the South Division in essence by being the tallest midget. Other than USC, the south had no elite teams. Arizona State had a good chance but just went into the dumpster in the second half of the season. So the first PAC 12 championship game is between tallest midget (UCLA) and Oregon. This really sucks....There is no way that UCLA could keep up with the speed of the Ducks offense. They couldn't keep up with the speed of USC...This game I will watch for awhile but if.....or should I say when it gets ugly I'm loading up my DVD to watch Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. At least that contest will be a fair fight. As for UCLA....When Neuheisal started head coaching there UCLA should never have put that one page ad in the L.A. Times stating that USC's Dynasty is over. When you start talking smack you better back it up...only a "real" head coach would back up his words with actions. What UCLA should have done is not ran that ad in the L.A. Times. Because after last night's slaughter that Bruin mascot looks like a clown with cream pie in it's face. As for "Slick Rick" he will get the pink slip. I don't know Rick, perhaps a school like Cal State Sacramento could use your services. However, if you take a coaching job like that....perhaps you should win before talking smack

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 2:13 pm

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

Gober Pie: Dead wrong again.

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 2:11 pm

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

bruinboy: USC 50, UCLA 0. Suck up the rout with some dignity. Next up, Oregon 70, UCLA 3. Tough luck loser.

Since: Dec 10, 2010
Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:31 pm

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

USC the real Pac-12 champ?  Did you forget they lost against ASU and Stanford at home?  

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:39 pm

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

Fake championship for UCLA and Oregon. USC is the real PAC 12 champ and everyone knows it. 

Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:32 pm

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

This pampered pretty boy will get a rude awakening in the NFL. He has the best receiver duo in college football and one of the best lines. It won't be quite the same with Jabar Gaffney and 45 year old midget Santana Moss and a porous offensive line against far better competition. Sunshine Boy there is some dark storm clouds coming your direction to knock that carefree California surfer dude smile off your spoiled pampered face.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:08 am

USC routs UCLA as attention turns to Barkley

The first sentence of this article is crap.  Lane Kiffin did not coach this game to "get Matt Barkley to New York".  Kiffin coaches to win games, and Matt Barkley plays to win games.

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