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Insider

Five Storylines: USC

9/6/2012

Each week we will take a look at five important storylines heading into Saturday's game. Here are some things to watch for at the Trojans travel to New York to take on Syracuse.

1. Matt Barkley in the Big Apple: One of college football’s marquee players in the biggest media market of them all. The spotlight will be bright and America will get an up-close look at how real it is with Barkley, on and off the field. There will also be talk of a possible return to the city for the Heisman Trophy ceremony in December.

2. Establishing the run game: The Trojans only rushed for 81 yards against Hawaii, not a bad number but certainly one that Lane Kiffin wants to improve on in the coming weeks. Don’t be surprised if Curtis McNeal gets a lot of early touches.

3. USC secondary vs Syracuse passing game: As Lane Kiffin reminded his players, almost every team in college football played last week and nobody threw for more yards than Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. The ball figures to be in the air and the Trojans showed some struggles against Hawaii at the corner spot opposite Nickell Robey.

4. Will the D-line step up again?: The USC defensive line was one of the big question marks heading into the season opener last week but they responded with multiple sacks and good pressure. A repeat performance against Nassib would go a long way toward helping the Trojans secondary.

5. Will Robert Woods have a breakout game?: There was nothing wrong with Woods’ stats from the Hawaii game; six catches, 42 yards and two touchdowns. It’s just that his standard is set so high that numbers like that seem almost pedestrian. He says the ankle feels fine but USC fans will be convinced when he has a big “Woods-type" game.