Over seven weeks of football, the big question for USC has consistently been, “Where’s the offense?”
Against Colorado at home in the Coliseum, the Trojans showed us that the offense is right here, and it is alive and kicking.
In a near-perfect performance, Matt Barkley completed 19 of 20 passes for 298 yards and six touchdown passes, an effort that now ranks his as the USC and Pac-12 leader in career TD passes, with 101. Fellow Trojan Matt Leinart previously held the record, and he along with a number of former Trojans and pro athletes congratulated Barkley on his new record, via a video montage on the big screen in the Coliseum.
After he set his record via a 29-yard touchdown pass to Woods, Barkley helped Woods set his own record when he hit him again on the following drive for a 17-yard touchdown, and Woods’ 217th career catch. That reception vaulted Woods past Dwayne Jarret as USC’s new leader in career catches, and he did it in eight less games than Jarrett did. He also caught four TDs on the night, surpassing the previous record for most TDs in a game–which Woods also held–of three.
When it wasn’t the Matt Barkley and Robert Woods show, Barkley was hitting WR Marqise Lee for 103 yards on the day and heaved a TD pass to TE Xavier Grimble, really showing how deft he is at spreading the ball amongst many options.
The final nail in the coffin came on the leg of Andre Heidari, who nailed a 37-yard field goal to give USC half a century’s worth of points and covering their 40.5-point spread, just the second time they have covered all season.
The last time USC hung 50 on an opponent, they had a statement to make. This time around, they are making another one, and it says that this offense is indeed as deadly as it was thought to be back in August.
Colorado showed glimpses of what this young team will do once everything clicks for them, but they really had no chance at all in this contest. The Trojan defense kept them out of the endzone on every drive, only allowing two FGs and forcing five turnovers on the night. They did surrender 346 yards of offense (though some of that did come in garbage time), committed a series of stupid penalties, and freshman DE Leonard Williams even got ejected for letting anger get the best of him and throwing a punch. This was easily the least composed the Trojan defense has looked all season, and no doubt Lane and Monte Kiffin and D-line coach Ed Orgeron will tear into them about that during practice next week.
Aside from the record-breaking performances, it was a game of first for a number of Trojans.
DE Kevin Green recorded hist first sack in his career in the third quarter when he brought down Colorado QB Jordan Webb and also forced a fumble, which was recovered by J.R. Tavai. Backup QB Max Wittek threw his first TD pass of his career when he hit RB D.J. Morgan on a wheel route in the 4th quarter from 24 yards away, also Morgan’s first touchdown. S Gerald Bowman recorded his first interception of his career, and Cody Kessler came in for USC later in the fourth quarter and hit TE Jalen-Cope Fitzpatrick for his first college reception.
USC ended the night with 455 total yards of offense, more than 300 of them coming through the air, and a new sense of confidence that they will carry with them to Arizona next week.
To be sure, USC was supposed to win this game, and they were supposed to win big. But they way they did it, having three touchdowns in their first two minutes of possession and having set all kinds of records in the process, the Trojans really showed that no one should count them out this season. The kind of offensive firepower that we saw from them on Saturday is exactly the kind of performance that they needed to earn them some style points with the voters, one that could maybe bolster them a spot or two in the impending BCS rankings.
With this win, USC advances to 6-1 on the season.