Offense’s struggles are frustrating for Matt Barkley
USC quarterback Matt Barkley continued to struggle on Saturday in the Trojans’ 14-9 victory over Arizona State.
Barkley completed only seven of 22 passes for 112 yards, 75 of which came on a catch-and-run touchdown by receiver Damian Williams.
Barkley was four for 11 for 24 yards in the first half and three for 11 for 88 yards in the second. He had one pass intercepted, and might have had two more if not for a penalty that overturned one and a drop that prevented another.
Barkley, who also struggled in the second half against Oregon, said he was “a little frustrated” against the Sun Devils.
“I just felt like we couldn’t get into a rhythm,” he said.
Barkley has completed 125 of 221 passes for 1,839 yards, with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Strain and sprain
Williams’ 75-yard touchdown in the third quarter was the longest USC pass play since Carson Palmer connected with receiver Kareem Kelly for 93 yards in 2001 against Oregon.
After taking in a short pass from Barkley, Williams made a highlight-reel run, though it was originally ruled he was forced out of bounds just before the goal line.
However, instant replay showed Williams reached forward far enough to hit the end zone pylon with the ball just before he landed, so the Trojans were awarded a touchdown.
Williams’ longest gain with a reception had been 57 yards.
Williams wasn’t a factor after the touchdown because he suffered a sprained ankle.
Start for an end
USC freshman defensive end Devon Kennard enjoyed a nice homecoming.
Kennard, who attended high school in Phoenix, started in place of fellow Arizona native Everson Griffen, who did not make the trip because of a toe injury. Kennard made two tackles.
Malik Jackson, who rotated with Kennard, had two tackles, including a sack, and also broke up a pass.
Arizona State got contributions from several of the five former Corona Centennial High players on its roster.
Freshman linebacker Vontaze Burfict led the Sun Devils with six tackles, including four solo. He also broke up a pass.
Sophomore linebackers Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee each had one tackle, as did freshman defensive tackle William Sutton.
What a difference a crowd makes.
USC has played road games the last two weeks in vastly different environments.
The Halloween night crowd at Oregon’s Autzen Stadium could not have been more raucous, jam-packed and rowdy.
By contrast, you could have read a book in some of the empty sections of Sun Devil Stadium. Sun Devil Stadium holds 71,706, and there are 67,082 students enrolled at Arizona State.
You wouldn’t think rounding up the student body would be that difficult. The stadium is in within walking distance of the campus.
USC leads the series against Arizona State, 17-9. . . . Arizona State Coach Dennis Erickson is now 1-7 against the Trojans in stops at Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State.
Times staff writer Chris Dufresne contributed to this report.