Kiffin recaps Arizona loss
October, 29, 2012
By Johnny Curren | ESPN.com
Matt Kartozian/US PresswireMatt Barkley and the Trojans put up some gaudy statistics, but it was the other numbers -- penalties, turnovers -- that did in USC against Arizona.Some selected quotes from USC coach Lane Kiffin’s Sunday night conference call following the Trojans’ 39-36 loss to Arizona.
“Obviously, the story of the game I think starts with turnovers, and what that does in a game on the road momentum-wise, and changing of possessions and getting defenses back out on the field. With the double turnover with Jawanza’s [Starling] interception and fumbling it back, we had five turnovers on the day, and only get one [in return], so we’re minus-four on the turnover margin. It obviously makes a big difference. We had a chance at a number of takeaways.”
“A game of a lot of runs, starting off with their 10-0 run, followed by a 28-3 run by us and a 26-0 run by them … Obviously, very disappointing … as we watched the film, there were so many ways to win the game -- obviously with less penalties, less turnovers, just one play here or there.”
“Probably more than anything, the play that sticks out -- we’re up fifteen points, run a double-move by their corner -- who had jumped the post route earlier on Robert [Woods] -- and we weren’t able to connect on it … so unfortunately that didn’t happen. We missed it, and missed a lot of other opportunities in all three phases of the game and we came out of there with a loss.”
On whether or not USC was overrated to begin the season:
“I don’t know. We’ve had every opportunity to win every game. We’ve played eight of them. Six of them we’ve won by double digits, and screwed two of them up, so I think very easily we could be 8-0 if we had played better in these two games. I told the team, we do the hard things -- they practice really hard, they prepare really well -- the easy things are the decision-makings on the penalties, and those are the ones we’re not doing.”
On why the Trojans didn’t spike the ball on their final drive:
“Well, because they all made first downs … I think we went three straight plays of making first downs, which is actually a good thing. So if you can get lined up, you end up not really wasting any time … In slow motion after a lot of time, I probably would have done everything the same until the second-to-last play … We call a double-move to Marqise [Lee] off of the same play we had just run to try to get him up on the outside, which we were actually pretty close to. I probably would have clocked that one if I could do it again. And that’s not because of the time saved, that’s really more about [giving] Marqise a rest, because he had just run a couple plays in a row and was obviously a little bit winded.”
On whether Matt Barkley has the authority to spike the ball on his own:
“No, no, that’s all on me. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of a coach giving the quarterback the ability to do that.”
On whether the Trojans can come out with renewed focus against Oregon:
“Sure, it’s possible. I think that happens a lot in football. One of the hardest things to do as coaches with teams is get teams to have the ability to deal with success. And a lot of times, teams, when they lose a game, they’re more attentive. They’re more [focused on] looking at what the issues are, because winning can mask a lot of things, whether that’s penalties, turnovers, sacks, whatever it is.”
On the team’s continuing issues with penalties:
“I spent a lot of the night and the morning trying to think of something. I took every major penalty from the eight games, put them all on a clip, and that was basically our team meeting today … just trying to put them all together so they see the magnitude of what these things do … There’s some selfishness in there, and a lot of it is over-aggressiveness towards the opponent.”
On going for it on 4th and 2 in Arizona territory in the first quarter rather than attempting a field goal:
“I felt going into that game -- those aren’t just one-second decisions -- regardless of how we had played on defense, that’s a really, really good offense. I figured they were going to score some points and move the ball in the game because they had done it on everybody at home there … So I felt like we needed to score touchdowns, and not field goals.”
Additional statistical notes:
Marqise Lee’s Pac-12-record 345 receiving yards gained against Arizona are the fifth most in NCAA history. His 16 receptions were one shy of the school record -- held by Robert Woods -- and are the third most in conference history. Lee’s 469 all-purpose yards are the second-most in NCAA history.
The 438 combined receiving yards between Lee and Woods against the Wildcats is the most by two players in USC history.
Matt Barkley threw for a school-record 493 yards against Arizona, and his 497 yards of total offense is also a USC single-game record. He also had his third career 400-yard passing game, which ties Carson Palmer’s mark, and he now has thrown and rushed for a total of 111 touchdowns in his career -- a Pac-12 record.
The 94 plays run against USC by Arizona were the most by an opponent since Stanford ran 96 plays in 2000.
Final Washington State 31 13 Arizona State 52 Final 15 Arizona 42 17 Utah 10 Final Stanford 38 California 17 Final Colorado 10 2 Oregon 44 Final 19 USC 20 9 UCLA 38 Final Oregon State 13 Washington 37