USC Football: What Utah Means for Washington

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Oct 4, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) throws a pass against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. USC defeated Utah 38-28. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Against Utah: Matt Barkley finished 23-30 for 303 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Marqise Lee logged 12 catches, 192 yards and a touchdown. Eleven of Barkley’s 23 completions went for 10 or more yards, including an 83-yard bomb to Lee.

What this means for Washington: After a woeful first quarter in which two early mishaps from injured center Khaled Holmes gave the Utes a 14 point cushion and an effective scoring drive was followed by a punt and a field goal, it looked like it would be another long night for the Trojans.

Then Lane Kiffin did something that Trojan fans have been calling for all season: He opened up the passing game. Free to go down field to two of the best receivers in the country, Barkley looked like the Heisman candidate who was hyped in the preseason and if not for big drops by Lee and TE Xavier Grimble his numbers would be even more impressive.

Barkley’s resurgence comes at an important time because Washington’s pass defense is ranked 13th in the nation and 2nd in the conference. Also, their defense is a much more effective unit at home – four of their five interceptions on the season came at home where opposing quarterbacks have been held to 51% completion percentage.

The good news is that in pass efficiency defense the Huskies drop to 43rd in the country and sixth in the conference. Of even greater importance to Barkley, Washington ranks 91st in sacks, 11th in the Pac-12. So if Kiffin keeps his foot on the gas and Barkley keeps this momentum going, the Utah performance could be just the beginning for this Trojan offense.

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