Sunday, October 28, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Arizona 39, USC 36
By Johnny Curren
LOS ANGELES -- A look at the positives and negatives from USC’s 39-36 loss to Arizona on Saturday:
1. Marqise Lee: On a day when there were holes in just about every other facet of the Trojans’ performance, Lee was phenomenal. Making 16 receptions for a Pac-12-record 345 yards and 2 touchdowns. It’s hard to imagine a better receiver in college football right now. He made his mark on special teams, too, with a 72-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter that set up the Trojans’ final score.
2. Matt Barkley: While his outing was far from perfect -- he did have two picks -- it would be difficult to pin this Trojans defeat on Barkley. Showing flashes of standout play, he completed 31 of 49 passes for a USC-record 493 yards and 3 touchdowns.
3. T.J. McDonald: McDonald was easily the most active Trojans defensive player against the Wildcats, pacing the team with 13 tackles. There were times when his spirited play got the best of him, however, most notably when he was flagged twice for personal fouls.
1. Second-half performance: USC again failed to close out an opponent, and this time the Trojans paid with a loss. Holding a 28-13 lead in the third quarter, the offense suddenly couldn’t execute and the defense collapsed. The Wildcats scored 26 consecutive points, and a huge third-and-22 Arizona conversion from Matt Scott to Austin Hill in the fourth quarter seemed to break the Trojans’ spirit.
2. Turnovers: The Trojans came into the game with a plus-9 turnover margin -- No. 2 in the Pac-12 -- but they’re sure to plummet in that category after turning over the ball five times against the Wildcats, and collecting just one in return. Along with Barkley’s two interceptions, Silas Redd, D.J. Morgan and Jawanza Starling each had fumbles.
3. Penalties: The Trojans continued their trend of undisciplined play and racked up 13 penalties for 117 yards against the Wildcats. No matter how hard he has tried to correct it, USC coach Lane Kiffin just hasn’t been able to get through to his players in this phase of the game -- they entered the contest ranked dead last in the nation with 10 penalties per game.