Washington-Southern Cal Preview
With Matt Barkley sidelined, USC’s dominating run against
Washington came to an end last season.
The No. 18 Trojans hope the presence of Barkley in this year’s
meeting will help them gain some revenge when the Pac-10 rivals
meet at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday night.
USC (4-0, 1-0) had won seven straight over Washington (1-2)
before a 16-13 loss in Seattle last year. Barkley sat out with a
sore shoulder and the Trojans turned in a sluggish effort after
winning at then-No. 8 Ohio State the week before.
This should be the toughest game to this point for Lane Kiffin,
who worked with Washington coach Steve Sarkisian with the Trojans
for five years under former coach Pete Carroll. Sarkisian earned a
marquee win in his first season with the Huskies with last year’s
upset, and is aware that USC is eager to return the favor.
“I’m sure there are a couple of other teams on their schedule
that they circled too from last year,” Sarkisian said. “To me this
is the Pac-10 opener and why we play the year and what we are
striving for. It’s a tremendous challenge.”
The Trojans cruised past Washington State 50-16 in their
conference opener last Saturday, as Kiffin became the first USC
coach since Jess Hill in 1951 to start 4-0 in his first season. The
coach has faced questions about the legitimacy of that unbeaten
start due to a soft early schedule, but he isn’t dwelling on
“Our goal was to be 4-0, be healthy, and not worry about the
scores,” Kiffin said.
Barkley completed 16 of 25 passes for 290 yards and three
touchdowns last week, but also had two first-half
“Those turnovers make this win not feel so good,” said Barkley,
who has four interceptions in the last two games.
The Huskies took advantage of Barkley’s absence last year, as
the Trojans’ Aaron Corp went 13 of 22 for 110 yards and one
interception in his first collegiate start. USC failed on all 10
third-down chances and had three turnovers inside the Washington
Sarkisian helped recruit Barkley to USC, and he’s told the
Huskies that they’ll be facing a more experienced quarterback this
“He’s a really good pocket passer,” Washington safety Nate
Williams said. “He likes to use all of his receivers and all of his
options. If his long option isn’t there he’ll check it down to one
of his running backs. We just have to stay in our coverages and
The Trojans have been buoyed by a running game that accumulated
a season-high 285 yards last weekend, with Allen Bradford gaining
84, fullback Stanley Havili 80 and Dillon Baxter 75.
“This is the closest we have played to a complete game,” Kiffin
said. “If you take out the three first-half turnovers, it was a
The USC defense remains a work in progress after allowing 323
yards of offense last weekend. That unit could be short-handed
after defensive end Wes Horton left the victory with an apparent
Horton, who had a sack and blocked a punt, is uncertain to
The Trojans defense will try to accomplish what it failed to do
last season – slow down Jake Locker. He completed 21 of 35 passes
and guided the Huskies on a 68-yard drive that led to the winning
field goal with three seconds left.
Locker and the Huskies have not played since the worst game of
the quarterback’s career, a 56-21 loss to then-No. 8 Nebraska on
Sept. 18. The senior went 4 of 20 for 71 yards as Washington was
overwhelmed in its first game against a ranked opponent this
The Huskies’ next one probably won’t be too much easier.
“I think it will make me better going forward,” Locker said. “It
wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to play individually and where
we wanted to play as a football team.”