Robert Woods handed the football to Matt Barkley after he caught the Southern California quarterback’s 100th touchdown pass – and Barkley promptly tried to throw it to an official.
”I had to say, ‘No, that one is special!”’ Woods said.
The All-American receiver really didn’t need to worry. Woods and Barkley could have gone home from the Coliseum with a whole bunch of souvenirs after a record-setting day in their prolific partnership.
Barkley threw for 298 yards and six touchdowns while establishing USC’s new career mark for TD passes, and Woods set a pair of school records himself in the 11th-ranked Trojans’ 50-6 victory over Colorado on Saturday.
Barkley and Woods connected on scoring throws of 39, 29, 17 and 3 yards in the first 35 minutes for USC (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12), which finally showcased its offensive might against hapless Colorado (1-6, 1-3) after a season of mostly unintimidating performances. The two stars who stuck with the Trojans through heavy NCAA sanctions have been rewarded with lofty spots atop USC’s record book, and they savored the moment.
”It’s definitely an honor to have my name with guys like that,” said Barkley, who surpassed Matt Leinart’s USC and conference records for career TD passes. ”It’s special to be able to celebrate it with Robert and the guys.”
Woods set a single-game school record for TD catches, and he passed Dwayne Jarrett on USC’s career receptions list with his 217th career catch on his third scoring grab.
”I grew up watching all those receivers, ever since I understood what USC football was,” Woods said. ”It’s fun to follow in their footsteps, to be one of those great receivers.”
And though Barkley’s Heisman Trophy candidacy has all but vanished during the Trojans’ recent streak of grind-it-out games, he put up some awfully gaudy numbers against Colorado.
Barkley tied his own single-game USC mark for TD passes while going 19 for 20 to break Rick Neuheisel’s conference record for completion percentage in a game with at least 20 passes. Barkley also hit Marqise Lee and Xavier Grimble for scores, and his only incompletion was a drop by Curtis McNeal.
Woods finished with eight catches for 132 yards, blowing past Jarrett’s record midway through his junior year. Lee, who could probably threaten Woods’ marks next year, had six catches for 103 yards.
”We just saw so many things happen today,” said USC coach Lane Kiffin, who keeps an eye on statistical superlatives for his players. ”We’ve been playing for 124 years here. … Just an unbelievable day.”
USC has won four straight since its only loss, at Stanford, and the Trojans’ second home game in seven weeks turned into the preseason No. 1 team’s most lopsided of the season. The Trojans took the lead 50 seconds in on Lee’s 55-yard TD catch, and eventually carved up Colorado’s defense for 313 yards and 33 points on just 27 plays in the first half.
”That’s the kind of game we needed, the kind that’s been expected from us all year,” USC center Khaled Holmes said. ”That’s what we’ve been trying to do all season.”
Jordan Webb passed for 210 yards for Colorado, which hasn’t beaten a ranked team on the road in 19 tries over the past decade. The Buffaloes’ defense has yielded 246 points in the past five games, and its veteran leaders are getting angry.
Safety Parker Orms criticized several unnamed teammates after the game, saying they aren’t studying and preparing well enough.
”It’s embarrassing, but we’ve just got to keep fighting, even if we’re getting blown out,” Orms said. ”Captains try to get on those guys (who don’t prepare) all the time. … We have to see who’s willing to compete in this conference.”
USC safety Drew McAllister made an impressive leaping interception in the end zone to end Colorado’s opening drive, and Woods easily shed two tacklers on a 39-yard romp down the sideline. After McAllister recovered a Colorado fumble, Barkley tied Leinart’s mark on a short TD throw to Grimble just 41 seconds later.
The Buffaloes managed two field goals before Barkley hit a streaking Woods in stride for the 100th TD.
”We’ve got to see what’s wrong and get it fixed,” Colorado coach Jon Embree said. ”We’re young, but we’re going to have to grow up and compete. The one thing you can’t say about this team is, ‘They don’t compete.”’
USC was prepared for Barkley and Woods moving into history: After Barkley set the mark, he was greeted with a standing ovation and a video tribute on the Coliseum scoreboard featuring congratulations from Leinart, Carson Palmer, former USC coach Pete Carroll and several Los Angeles sports luminaries, including Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Barkley didn’t play in the fourth quarter, and backup Max Wittek threw another scoring pass to D.J. Morgan as USC set the school record for TD passes in a game.
Not everything was as perfect as the Trojans’ passing game: USC committed five penalties and fumbled twice in the first half, and promising freshman defensive tackle Leonard Williams was ejected in the second quarter for throwing a punch at a Colorado player while they were on the ground.
USC led 33-6 at halftime, but Kiffin gathered his team on the sideline for a demonstrative tongue-lashing before the Trojans ran to the locker room.
USC lost starting left tackle Aundrey Walker to an undisclosed injury early in the third quarter, with the sophomore walking gingerly to a cart. Walker’s teammates said he wasn’t in the locker room after the game.