BILL PLASCHKE

Nobody beats talented but undisciplined Trojans like themselves

Folks were waiting for Kiffin's father, Monte, to change the defense to stop the seven consecutive Arizona runs when the Wildcats were killing the clock late with a backup quarterback who wouldn't have passed if his scholarship depended on it.

Folks were also waiting for Barkley to pull out at least a tie when their high-powered offense took over at their 13-yard line with 55 seconds remaining and no timeouts.

Yet Kiffin called a series of time-consuming midfield passes while refusing to order Barkley to spike the ball even once to stop the clock. The drive ended not in a makable field-goal attempt — a realistic goal — but a Hail Mary pass that was batted away as Lee crumpled to the ground.

Kiffin never really explained why he didn't spike the ball, and Barkley didn't try.

"I don't make those decisions on the field,'' Barkley said.

Lee actually thought he could have caught that final flailing pass. Count him among the dwindling few who still believe in a 6-2 team that is no lock to win any of its four remaining games, beginning with powerful Oregon next week.

"Until the end of the game, I was focused and thought we were going to pull it out," he said brightly. "We are 'SC!"

Are they?

bill.plaschke@latimes.com

twitter.com/billplaschke

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