When: Saturday, November 17, 12 p.m. PT
Where: Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)
Andrew Fielding/US PresswireLed by freshman QB Brett Hundley and senior RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA is sitting atop the Pac-12 South standings.
Radio: ESPNLA 710 (pre-game show begins at 7 a.m. PT)
Scouting UCLA: The Bruins, under new coach Jim Mora Jr., scored a 44-36 victory at Washington State last Saturday, giving UCLA its most wins (eight) in a season since 2005.
UCLA’s offense is among the nation’s best, ranking 13th nationally in total offense (496.8, third in Pac-12), 17th in passing efficiency (155.3, third in Pac-12), 22nd in scoring (37.7, third in Pac-12) and 23rd in rushing (210.9, third in Pac-12).
Redshirt freshman QB Brett Hundley (226-of-328, 68.9 percent, 2,729 yards, 24 TD, nine INT in 2012, plus 111 carries, 272 yards, 2.5 avg, six TD), who is 17th nationally in passing efficiency (157.5, third in Pac-12) and 19th total offense (301.1, second in Pac- 12), directs the offense. Senior TB Johnathan Franklin (199 carries, 1,270 yards, 6.4 avg, eight TD plus 24 receptions, 276 yards, 11.5 avg, two TD), the school’s career rushing leader (3,939) and owner of 17 100-yard rushing games, is sixth nationally in rushing (127.0, third in Pac-12) and 17th in all-purpose running (155.1, fourth in Pac-12). Top receivers include junior WR Shaq Evans (39 receptions, 571 yards, 14.6 avg, two TD), senior TE Joseph Fauria (31 receptions, 417 yards, 13.5 avg, nine TD) and redshirt frosh WR Steven Manfro (27 receptions, 279 yards, 10.3 avg, one TD, plus 15 punt returns, 132 yards, 8.8 avg and four kick returns, 80 yards, 20.0 avg and eight carries for 70 yards and two TD).
The UCLA defense creates pressure on opposing quarterbacks, as it is tied for fourth nationally in sacks per game (3.7, third in Pac-12) and is seventh in tackles for loss per game (7.8, fourth in Pac-12) thanks to the play of junior OLB Anthony Barr (54 tackles, 17 for loss, 11 sacks, three forced fumbles). Other key defenders include sophomore ILB Eric Kendricks (101 tackles, five for loss, two sacks, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble), who is tied for 16th nationally in tackles (10.2, first in Pac-12), soph FS Tevin McDonald (62 tackles, one INT, six passes defense, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble) and senior OLB Damien Holmes (43 tackles, nine for loss, 4.5 sacks, one fumble recovery).
Here is the USC 10 following the 38-17 win over Arizona State:
1. Marqise Lee: The hits just keep on coming for Lee as he continues to build his reputation as one of the most dynamic players in college football. Not only did he have another big day of production, but he did it after suffering an allergic reaction prior to the game.
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Trojans defensive end commit Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley), who intends to enroll early, took a trip to Washington for the Huskies' final regular-season home game against Utah, his first official visit. He is scheduled to take his official to USC on the weekend of Dec. 7, along with the rest of the early enrollees. Recent decommit Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) was also in Seattle for an official visit. He also expects to take trips to LSU and Oregon in the near future.
Four-star defensive tackle commit Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) took an unofficial visit to Cal, while four-star quarterback commit Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) was at the Coliseum for the Trojans' 38-17 victory against Arizona State.
Also attending Saturday's game were Class of 2014 offensive lineman Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), who made the cross-country trek for an unofficial visit, as well as Class of 2013 commits Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) and Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany).
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No more penalty problems
One positive item dominated all conversation for Kiffin on Sunday night: USC's sudden increase in on-field discipline.
Kiffin said he was more pleased with the Trojans' penalty total on Saturday -- just four -- than any other statistic.
USC has now committed just seven penalties in its last two games after being called for 23 in the prior two games.
There's still one more big thing to fix, though: the turnovers. The Trojans have given their opponents the ball eight times during the last two weeks and have created just five of their own.
“Red-zone turnovers have really cost us this season," Kiffin said. "We've left a lot of points out there."
More on Marqise
Kiffin was exceptionally coy about potentially using Marqise Lee on defense against UCLA on Saturday, saying a variety of factors could determine whether he logs any time there.
Those factors included kickoff temperature and Lee’s recovery from the allergic reaction that kept him at less than 100 percent against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Kiffin again mentioned the deep ball that went off Lee's hands as evidence that his star receiver wasn't feeling great.
"I know it's kind of crazy, but he wasn't himself on Saturday," Kiffin said, despite Lee’s 10 receptions for 161 yards. "He wasn't Marqise."
Lee, now firmly cemented as a Heisman Trophy contender, went in as a free safety for one fourth-down play on Saturday, then left the field after Arizona State called a timeout and decided to punt.
The uniform question
USC and UCLA have a tradition of each wearing their home uniforms for the annual rivalry game between the two schools.
The Bruins broke it last season with an all-white get-up at the Coliseum, but Kiffin said he intends to have his team dressed in the Trojans' home cardinal uniforms at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
He said he had not discussed the jersey situation with UCLA coach Jim Mora.
Advice for Mora?
On the topic of Mora, Kiffin was asked what sort of suggestions he'd have about the nature of the USC-UCLA rivalry for his crosstown counterpart experiencing it for the first time.
"He doesn't need my advice," he said. "He's ranked ahead of us in his first year. He's doing really well over there."
The coach is right: UCLA is 17th in both the BCS standings and the AP poll, whereas the Trojans are 18th in the BCS and 21st in the AP poll.
Final notes: Kiffin said left tackle Aundrey Walker played his best game of the season, subbing for Max Tuerk on Saturday. … Kiffin said the wind at the Coliseum on Saturday was unusual and attributed Kyle Negrete's unusually poor punting to the conditions. ... Two of the three interceptions quarterback Matt Barkley threw against Arizona State were the result of "phenomenal plays" by Sun Devils defenders, Kiffin said. … UCLA's defense has "kind of had some very different games," Kiffin said, which appeared to be his way of saying the Bruins have been inconsistent on D. … Kiffin said he hoped running back Silas Redd would be available to play against UCLA. Redd did not play on Saturday but was in uniform on the sideline.
The headliners now are Class of 2013 cornerback Jermaine Kelly, a UCLA commit, and dual-threat quarterback Jihad Vercher, whose stock has been rising in recent weeks. Kelly had three total touchdowns and Vercher had four Friday night in an easy 74-7 victory against an overmatched San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) Capistrano Valley Christian team.
The next wave for Salesian, though, might be even more impressive. A pair of coveted Class of 2014 recruits, linebacker Jamardre Cobb and defensive end Marquis Ware, each had touchdown runs Friday on top of their stellar defensive play. Class of 2014 cornerback Rodney Carr had an interception and 159 rushing yards.
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RB Justin Davis (Stockton, Calif./Lincoln): The USC running back commit had 311 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 52-7 victory against Merced (Calif.) in the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs on Friday. Davis seems to have saved his best for the postseason.
WR Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany): The Trojans receiver commit had 216 receiving yards and two touchdowns to lead Alemany (9-2) to a 42-14 win against Moorpark (Calif.) in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs.
QB Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline): Browne passed for 278 yards and three touchdowns on 10-of-21 passing to lead top-seeded Skyline (11-0) to a 42-0 victory against Lake Stevens (Wash.). Skyline advanced to the Division 4A quarterfinals.
CB Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy): Ramsey had a 46-yard touchdown reception and blocked a field goal in a 44-17 victory to guide Brentwood Academy (9-2) past Eads (Tenn.) Briarcrest. Brentwood Academy moved on to the Division II-AA semifinals.
The sophomore athlete from Memphis (Tenn.) Central will visit UCLA and USC in January, Ohio State in the summer and, eventually, Ole Miss, according to Central coach Bryan Williams. The Rebels, who are about a 90-minute drive from Memphis, have been the most aggressive.
"Right now, Ole Miss is the strongest on him right now," Williams said of the sophomore.
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USC coach Lane Kiffin comments:
The storylines: “The storyline was the defense. We really felt like we’ve played good defense for seven-and-a-half weeks and for five-and-a-half quarters we played bad. We were aggressive and got after the ball, and that was great to see. On offense, the story is our offensive line. A really good second half.”
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireSenior safety T.J. McDonald finished with seven tackles and an interception against Arizona State.
On Marqise Lee: “About 45 minutes before the game, Marqise comes in the locker room freaking out because his face is swollen with an allergic reaction. I’m thinking, ‘This isn’t happening.’ As well as he played (227 all-purpose yards), that long (80-yard) touchdown pass isn’t even contested if he’s feeling himself. He’s arguably the best player in college football.”
ASU coach Todd Graham comments:
On the loss: “We just played poorly offensively. Give their defense credit. They played well, but we were off with our timing, took sacks, threw interceptions and were not good.”
On Marqise Lee: “That guy is special. He’s a great receiver and a great guy. He’s only a sophomore. Still young. He’s good, he’s good.”
More notes and anecdotes
Keys to victory: Curtis McNeal ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns, including a critical 5-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter that helped the Trojans regain the lead, 21-17.
1. Marqise Lee
Lee once again proved himself to be arguably the most electrifying player in all of college football, hauling in 10 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown, while also picking up 66 more yards on the ground. Included in his extensive reel of highlight plays was a phenomenal 38-yard cutback run that set up a USC field goal in the fourth quarter.
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- Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona: Posting the ninth-best rushing total in FBS history probably gets you a helmet sticker. Carey rushed for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and five touchdowns in the win over Colorado, averaging 14.6 yards on his 25 carries.
- Curtis McNeal, RB, USC: Rushed 31 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a 22-yard touchdown in USC's win over Arizona State.
- Lamar Dawson, LB, USC: The linebacker helped pace a USC defense that forced four turnovers and limited the Sun Devils to 17 points and 250 total yards. He tallied a team-high 11 tackles and also had an interception.
- Keith Price, QB, Washington: He accounted for three touchdowns in leading the Huskies past visiting Utah. Price, who completed 24 of 33 passes for 277 yards, had a pair of touchdown passes and also ran for a third.
- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: The accolades continue as Mariota matched an Oregon record by throwing six touchdowns. He completed 27 of 34 passes for 377 yards. He also carried six times for 42 yards.
- Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA: To go with his eight tackles (including three for a loss) and 2.5 sacks, he also tallied a safety.
- Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford: On 19 carries, Taylor rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the third straight season. He also had a 40-yard touchdown reception -- a dump pass that he turned into what head coach David Shaw called one of the finest plays of his career.
Hogan was the right choice for Stanford: It seemed like odd timing that Stanford coach David Shaw switched starting quarterbacks as his team headed into its biggest game of the year, but freshman Kevin Hogan made his coach look smart, though it wasn't always pretty. Hogan completed 22 of 29 passes for 254 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in a 27-23 victory over Oregon State. He also rushed for 49 yards on 11 carries. His biggest pass was a 13-yard strike to tight end Zach Ertz for the winning points. Hogan was effective with his feet and his arm, and he didn't wilt when things didn't go his way through most of the second and third quarters. Now he faces a bigger test: Oregon at Autzen Stadium.
Ed Szczepanski/US PresswireKevin Hogan kept an even keel in Stanford's comeback victory over Oregon State.
Ducks are banged up with Stanford coming to town, but will that matter? Oregon arrived at California with major injury issues, particularly with its defensive front, and things only got worse as the game went on. The Ducks, however, pulled themselves together and dominated the Bears in the second half, winning 59-17. Still, Stanford, which visits Autzen Stadium on Saturday, is a much better team that Cal, particularly on the offensive line. Will the Ducks get some guys back, such as defensive linemen Ricky Heimuli, Dion Jordan and Isaac Remington? The Ducks don't talk about injuries, but injuries will be something lots of folks are talking about this week. Or speculating on.
UCLA gets its big shot at vulnerable USC: While UCLA let up in the second half at Washington State -- the Bruins were outscored 29-7 and won only 44-36 -- that doesn't change the big possibilities that lie ahead. Now 8-2, the Bruins can win the Pac-12 South Division if they beat archrival USC in the Rose Bowl on Saturday. That would mean stomping on the Trojans' once-hyped season, which would inspire plenty of consternation in Heritage Hall. UCLA fans would love to do that. And it would mean the Bruins could end up in the Rose Bowl, either as the Pac-12 champions or as an at-large selection. So big stakes are at hand.
Huskies step up, Utes step back: Utah and Washington squared off as teams that weathered midseason adversity and had won two in a row. But only one could maintain positive momentum. The Huskies' decisive 35-14 victory boosted their record to 6-4, earning them bowl eligibility. They can continue to climb the pecking order if they can beat Colorado and Washington State over the next two weekends, though both games are on the road. The Utes' offensive surge came to an end, with only 55 yards passing. They need to win their next two games, at home to Arizona and at Colorado.
Picking two first-team All-Pac-12 running backs won't be easy: Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey rushed for 366 yards -- a new Pac-12 single-game record -- and five touchdowns in Arizona's 56-31 win over Colorado. He will take over the Pac-12 rushing lead, as Oregon's Kenjon Barner (65 yards) and UCLA's Johnathan Franklin (66 yards) had subpar games. The final two weeks probably will decide the two guys who end up first-team All-Pac-12.
LOS ANGELES -- USC (No. 19 BCS, No. 21 AP) played a strong second half to comfortably beat Arizona State 38-17 on Saturday at the Coliseum. Here are notes and quotes from the game that won't make it into our other coverage off the day:
McNeal's big game
Curtis McNeal hadn't ran the ball more than 11 times all season as he settled into a clear-cut backup role behind Penn State transfer Silas Redd.
But with Redd hurt on Saturday, the Trojans used McNeal more than he's ever been used before, running him 31 times. He gained 163 yards on those carries, including two touchdowns, and added a 22-yard scoring grab.
USC coach Lane Kiffin praised McNeal after the game. Kiffin said he was especially proud that only one of McNeal's carries went for negative yardage throughout the contest.
"It felt good," McNeal said. "But the only thing I'm worried about is getting the W. No matter if I get the ball or not, I'm just going out there to compete with my team."
Kiffin said Redd was not available for Saturday's game. He did not specify why.
Redd was in uniform and on the USC sideline throughout the game.
Much better on defense
USC played horrible defense against Oregon last week -- that much is indisputable. But the Trojans looked a lot better this week, and that's what players were focusing on by the time they left the stadium on Saturday night.
Defensive tackle George Uko said it feels like USC has been going against nothing but no-huddle offenses all year long. The key to its success, he said, was stopping one part of Arizona State's offense and letting everything flow from there.
"The biggest thing was we stopped the run," Uko said. "And that allowed us to have a pass rush and know they were passing on certain downs."
The Sun Devils ran the ball 35 times but gained just 71 yards. As a whole, they gained 250 yards, which tied the least amount USC has allowed this season.
ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly also was credited with minus-9 yards rushing, his worst total of the year.
Phasing Woods out?
Marqise Lee had 16 offensive touches; Robert Woods had two.
"That's a good question," Kiffin said. "I don't really have the answer."
Kiffin said USC made a concerted effort to get Woods the ball in the second half, but he didn't even touch the ball once on offense in that 30-minute stretch.
Woods said he wasn't upset about it after the game, but he certainly didn't exude happiness.
"There was a couple plays where they tried to get me the ball," Woods said. "It just happens -- one of those games where the defense was playing well."
Woods said one of the times Matt Barkley tried to throw to him was the tipped interception by Carl Bradford. Another one was the overthrow from Barkley.
Kiffin said he felt like Woods was a "little down" after the game.
"He's human," Kiffin said. "You're going to want the ball. It was nothing negative; just from our relationship I could feel it."
Lee said he didn't think Woods was bothered by the lack of involvement in the offense at all.
"He gives up himself for me, basically," Lee said.
A rested -- and improved -- offensive line
Since Max Tuerk stepped in for Aundrey Walker against Colorado, USC's offensive line has looked better.
That continued on Saturday, with Tuerk playing most of the game and Marcus Martin and Abe Markowitz switching in every other series at left guard. Barkley was largely kept off the ground all game.
"I definitely think we're steadily progressing," right guard John Martinez said. "We still have little mistakes here and there, but I definitely think we're progressing on an upper slope.
"We're just creating competition and wanting to find the best from the group."
Walker played every third series at left tackle. He did similar things last week subbing in for Tuerk.
The ball-deflating incident that dominated Trojans-related conversion on Thursday and Friday was largely hushed on Saturday, to Kiffin's obvious relief.
But the coach brought up the situation -- a student manager was fired for admitting he deflated five balls before last week's game -- on his own during his postgame news conference.
"That was an unfortunate situation, what happened with the ball deal," Kiffin said. "And it was such a story, unfortunately."
Barkley said he had been hearing very little about it from his teammates.
"Players weren't really talking about it in the locker room," Barkley said. "There's attention on it in social media and the media, but we weren't talking about it on the practice field."
He also repeated the story provided by USC in its initial announcement regarding the situation: He had no knowledge of the student manager's actions.
"I didn't know anything was going on," Barkley said. "I can't tell the difference [in football weights]."
Final notes: Lee filed his ticket requests for Saturday's game too late, he said, so his biological father, Elton, and aunt Valencia couldn't come to the Coliseum like they had planned. But they now plan to attend the UCLA game next week, Lee said. ... Lee now has 11 100-yard receiving games in 22 career games. He's also had seven games with double-digit catches this season. ... Barkley became the all-time conference leader in passing yards during the first half, surpassing Carson Palmer's mark of 11,818 yards and setting a new record of 12,026 yards by game’s end. ... The Sun Devils entered the game outscoring their opponents 102-24 in the fourth quarters of games this season, but the Trojans topped them 10-0 in the last stanza on Saturday.
After every game, he will grab a final stats sheet, flip through it a couple of times before addressing the media and invariably at some point will say, “The storyline today would have to be …”
Some days it will be the offense. Others it will be the defense. But more often than not this season, it has been Marqise Lee.
Kiffin was momentarily speechless as he tried to describe Lee’s performance on Saturday after the USC Trojans’ 38-17 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils. Lee finished with 161 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches. It was actually a fairly pedestrian total when you look at the absurd totals Lee had put up the previous two weeks. But as Kiffin leaned back in his chair, he shook his head at the game Lee had. It wasn’t so much Lee’s performance that impressed the coach as much as it was the fact Lee was even able to play.
“I was to the point of thinking there was just some really bad karma going on this week,” Kiffin said. “About 45 minutes before the game, Marqise comes into my locker room and he’s freaking out because his face is all swollen. He had an allergic reaction to something. I’m thinking this really can’t be happening right now.”
Lee’s face was swollen after he ate something that apparently didn't agree with him the night before, and it was getting worse as kickoff approached. “It was like I was in a boxing match and I lost,” Lee said. “My eyes were almost closed.”
USC’s medical staff gave Lee some medication and iced his eyes, which improved the swelling and allowed him to see better. But he still required an intravenous injection at the half.
“I feel like I wasn’t running as fast as I could,” Lee said with a smile after the game. “They actually caught me a couple of times.”
Lee’s smile came after he was asked about a double-reverse in the fourth quarter that will likely be his “Heisman Moment” if he ends up being the first USC receiver to go to New York for the Heisman award ceremony.
With about seven minutes left in the game, Matt Barkley faked a handoff to Curtis McNeal and tossed the ball to Lee, who reversed field when he saw a group of Sun Devils defenders waiting for him. Lee swerved through the defense to gain 38 yards using “Matrix”-like moves the Coliseum perhaps hasn’t seen since Reggie Bush. After the game, Lee was still upset he didn’t score on the play.
“You kind of expect greatness from him and whenever he touches the ball,” Barkley said. “That reverse, when he reversed the reverse, was pretty special. He’s the catalyst to moving that ball.”
While most of the preseason hype for the Heisman Trophy was centered on Barkley after he returned for his senior year, it has been his favorite target this season who has gained the most traction recently. Even USC’s athletics department, which had pushed Barkley for the award before the season, has switched gears and has started to back Lee.
This week the school released a YouTube video that began with the question, “Who is the best player in college football?” The query was followed by Lee’s highlights and stats played to “Revolution 9” and “Helter Skelter” by The Beatles. The video ended with the Twitter hashtag #BELEEVE, which USC hopes will be trending the last three weeks of the season as the Trojans prepare for the UCLA Bruins, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and a potential rematch with the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 championship game.
If Lee’s next three games are anywhere close to the quality of his past three games, it would be hard to imagine him not getting an invite to New York, which is something Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Williams and Dwayne Jarrett never got. In fact, no USC receiver has ever finished higher than seventh in the Heisman voting. That should change this season.
Lee’s 161 receiving yards on Saturday, combined with 345 against Arizona and 157 against Oregon last week, gave him 663 receiving yards in a three-game stretch -- the most ever over three games in USC history. He actually broke his own three-game receiving yards school record of 608 he set in USC’s last two games in 2011 and the first in 2012.
His performances against Arizona and Oregon didn't receive as much attention as they should have, because USC lost both games. But he was the only reason the Trojans were in position to win both contests in the fourth quarter. Against Arizona, Lee finished with 16 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns, and ended up with 469 all-purpose yards. His 345 receiving yards easily broke the Pac-12 record and was the fifth most in FBS history. Lee then had 408 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns against Oregon the following week.
That Lee “only” had 227 all-purpose yards against Arizona State on Saturday speaks to the difference Lee has made in the way teams play USC. The Sun Devils consistently pooch kicked the ball when Lee lined up as the returner. While Lee finished with no kick or punt returns, USC’s average starting field position was its 42-yard line. (Lee had 66 yards rushing to complete his total for the afternoon.)
Not only has Lee made a difference on offense and special teams, he has started to take practice snaps on defense as well. Lee was put into the game as a safety in the first quarter when Arizona State lined up to go for it on fourth-and-1. His presence on the field may have caused the Sun Devils to call an audible, which resulted in a delay of game, and ASU eventually punted.
Lee would actually like to get more snaps on defense over the next two weeks. He was primarily recruited as a safety out of Serra High School in Gardena, Calif., where he was a receiver for only one season of high school football.
“I’ll never forget how to play defense,” Lee said. “They kept me close and kept me ready to go in, but the defense played so great that I didn’t have to go in.”
As much as Barkley would have liked to be in the Heisman conversation at the end of the season, he smiles when Lee’s name is mentioned as a candidate and is more than happy to throw his support behind his teammate.
“He’s every bit deserving,” Barkley said. “He’s the best player at his position. He’s done some tremendous things this year with the ball, as a receiver and as a kick returner. We’ll see how this pans out over the next couple of weeks, but he deserves to be in the conversation.”
It was over when: With six minutes left in the game, Marqise Lee took a handoff on a reverse, changed direction, got a block from Matt Barkley and raced 38 yards down the sideline to the ASU 9-yard line. The Trojans ended up kicking a field goal on the drive to make the score 31-17, which is where the score stayed until a late USC touchdown.
Stat of game: Turnovers. ASU forced five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumbles) that helped keep the Sun Devils in the game early on. On USC's first offensive play of the game, Lee fumbled. ASU recovered it and quickly scored to take a 7-0 lead. The Sun Devils also added an interception return for a score when Alden Darby read a Barkley pass, stepped in front for the pick and went 70 yards for the touchdown. USC forced four turnovers of its own -- one fumble and three interceptions.
Game ball goes to: USC's defense. A unit that has been much maligned in recent weeks for poor performances against spread offenses put together a solid effort against the Sun Devils' version of the spread. ASU came into the game among the nation's leaders in passing efficiency and scoring offense but Kelly was held to 19-of-30 passing for 174 yards and a touchdown.
Unsung hero: USC running back Curtis McNeal took over as the starter with Silas Redd sidelined and ran for 163 yards on 31 carries with two touchdowns and helped steady the Trojans' offense throughout the game.
Record performance: Barkley set the Pac-12 career passing yardage record. He now has 12,026 yards, breaking the previous mark held by Carson Palmer (USC).
What it means for USC: The Trojans' game against UCLA next week at the Rose Bowl will be a good old fashion rivalry game with high stakes on both sides, as the winner will represent the Pac-12 South in the conference title game.
What it means for ASU: A season that looked to be a rebirth under new coach Todd Graham has turned in the wrong direction with a four-game losing streak. All four losses were to ranked teams but that will be of little consolation to the Sun Devils.