USC vs. Syracuse: live in-game report
USC 42, Syracuse 29 (final)
Ryan Nassib finished off his big day by directing a 74-yard scoring drive and capping it with a one-yard dive for the touchdown in the final minute.
But it wouldn’t be enough as the Trojans recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Matt Barkley completed 23 of 30 passes for 186 yards and six touchdowns for the second-ranked Trojans in a game that featured a 1 hour 10 minute weather delay.
Barkley connected with Marqise Lee for three touchdowns, Robert Woods for two and tight end Xavier Grimble for another to tie his own school record for touchdown passes in a game.
Lee had 11 receptions for 93 yards and three touchdowns. Silas Redd rushed for 107 yards in 15 carries.
Linebacker Dion Bailey intercepted two passes for the Trojans.
Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who passed for 482 yards last week against Northwestern, was 30 of 46 for 327 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
USC 42, Syracuse 22 (5:45 left in fourth quarter)
With a little help from Syracuse and a lot from Silas Redd, USC has pulled away again.
Down 13 points and with time slipping away, Syracuse tried an onside kick -- and USC recovered.
Redd then ripped off a 40-yard run on the next play, and the Trojans were back in business.
Redd added five more yards with two more carries, then turned things over to Matt Barkley, who connected with Marqise Lee on yet another scoring pass.
This one covered three yards. Lee has been on the receiving end of half of Barkley’s six touchdown passes.
Redd has 107 yards in 15 carries.
USC 35, Syracuse 22 (7:36 remaining in fourth quarter)
Anyone watching Syracuse go 79 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown would doubt that USC is the No. 2 team in the nation.
Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib connected with Marcus Sales on a 17-yard touchdown and USC Coach Lane Kiffin is now pacing the sidelines with a look of concern.
Or maybe that’s anger.
At least the Orange’s two-point conversion pass failed.
Nassib has completed 25 of 40 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns – both to Sales, who has seven catches for 92 yards.
USC 35, Syracuse 16 (11:38 left in fourth quarter)
Didn’t we just say Robert Woods was doing a little bit of everything?
Well, he hadn’t carried the ball from scrimmage yet, so Coach Lane Kiffin decided to try that.
And Woods took off on a bobbing, weaving 76-yard run to set up yet another Trojans touchdown.
The scoring pass covered four yards, from Matt Barkley to Marqise Lee. And for the first time today, USC has a little breathing room.
Barkley has thrown for five touchdowns -- for the second year in a row against Syracuse. He has completed 22 of 29 passes for 189 yards.
Lee and Woods each have 10 receptions and two touchdowns.
USC 28, Syracuse 16 (14:26 left in fourth quarter)
Robert Woods is doing a little bit of everything for USC today.
His 31-yard punt return to set up a touchdown is the latest example.
Woods’ return gave USC the ball at the Syracuse 22-yard line, and after two incomplete passes, Matt Barkley connected with Xavier Grimble on a scoring pass.
Barkley took care of the first 12 yards, hitting Grimble in the numbers at about the 10-yard line.
Grimble did the rest, shedding four defenders and bulling his way into the end zone.
As for Woods, he has 10 catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
Barkley has completed 21 of 28 passes for 179 yards and four touchdowns.
USC 21, Syracuse 16 (end of third quarter)
Syracuse has the ball to start the fourth quarter with a chance to go ahead.
USC’s last two drives of the third quarter ended with an interception and a punt that put the ball in the hands of a senior who has completed 17 of 27 passes for 176 yards and touchdown, with one interception.
Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley is 20 of 25 for 158 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
USC 21, Syracuse 16 (3:42 left in the third quarter)
Matt Barkley had a pass intercepted for the first time this season -- and it cost the Trojans.
Safety Shamarko Thomas picked off a throw intended for Robert Woods, putting the ball back in the hands of Orange quarter Ryan Nassib.
Syracuse started at the 50-yard line and drove to the end zone in six plays. Prince-Tyson Gulley made the score 21-16 with a two-yard touchdown run. Nassib attempted a bootleg for the two-point conversion but he was tackled.
Nassib has completed 16 of 26 passes for 173 yards.
USC 21, Syracuse 10 (5:51 left in the third quarter)
Ryan Nassib is showing scouts there is more than one NFL prospect on the field.
Nassib directed the Orange on 12-play, 78-yard scoring drive that he capped with a two-yard touchdown pass to receiver Marcus Sales.
Nassib, a three-year starter, is 14 of 24 for 155 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions.
Matt Barkley has completed 15 of 19 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns. But he just had a pass intercepted by safety Shamarko Thomas.
USC 21, Syracuse 3 (10:24 left in the third quarter)
Robert Woods put on a receiving clinic as the Trojans emerged after a 1 hour 10 minute weather delay to take an 18-point lead.
Woods outmuscled Syracuse cornerback Brandon Reddish for the four-yard touchdown catch but came down hard on his right shoulder.
Linebacker Dion Bailey set up the eight-play, 43-yard scoring drive with his second interception.
Woods’ most impressive play came on third and 12 at the Syracuse 22-yard line.
Woods caught a swing pass to the left side, then cut back across the width of the field and dove for the first down.
USC was hoping to get off to a fast start in the second half after a sluggish performance in the first two quarters.
But game officials just announced that the start of the second half will be delayed because of approaching severe weather.
A tornado touched down at New York Beach earlier in the day and there have been thunderstorms in New York.
The public address announcer is instructing fans to seek shelter.
USC 14, Syracuse 3 (halftime)
Not exactly a scintillating start for the Trojans.
Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib drove Syracuse for a field goal to end the first half, erasing any hint of USC momentum.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley had connected with Robert Woods for a 29-yard touchdown pass play with 1:15 left in the second quarter to give USC its two-touchdown lead.
But Nassib brought the Orange right back to make it an 11-point deficit.
Barkley has completed 13 of 17 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns but has rarely thrown the ball very far downfield.
Marqise Lee has seven receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown, Woods has five receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown.
The Trojans finally got their offense going by establishing a rushing attack.
Curtis McNeal, who has rushed for 55 yards in eight carries, led the first scoring drive that ended with a pass to Lee. Silas Redd carried four times during the second scoring drive. Redd has gained 46 yards in nine carries.
Kicker Andre Heidari is not playing because of an apparent injury suffered last week against Hawaii. Walk-on Alex Wood has kicked the extra points.
Nassib, who passed for 482 yards last week against Northwestern, is nine of 17 for 83 yards, with an interception.
USC 7, Syracuse 0 (12:15 left in second quarter)
Senior tailback Curtis McNeal pined for a larger role after carrying the ball only five times in the Trojans’ opener.
McNeal carried three times for 39 yards during a drive that culimated with Matt Barkley’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Marqise Lee.
McNeal, who rushed for 1,005 yards last season, has six carries for 45 yards.
Barkley has completed seven of 11 passes for 40 yards. Lee and Robert Woods each have three receptions for 17 yards.
USC 0, Syracuse 0 (end of first quarter)
If you’re Syracuse, you’ve got to consider that a victory.
USC had the ball three times and intercepted a pass by the Orange -- and still couldn’t score.
The Trojans’ first series ended with fullback Soma Vainuku stopped on a fourth-and-one play at USC’s 42-yard line. USC went for it on a fourth and 12 at the Syracuse 25, but Matt Barkley’s pass fell incomplete. Barkley was sacked on third down of the final possession of the quarter, forcing the Trojans to punt.
Barkley has completed six of 10 passes for 27 yards. Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib is three of six for 23 yards.
This is a big event, obviously, for Syracuse and USC, as they play today at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and the New York Jets, but moving the buzz needle in New York is a challenge. This is a pro sports town.
The sun is shining, but it has been raining intermittently, with predictions that more could be coming after kickoff. A tornado reportedly touched down at New York Beach earlier in the day.
USC coaches and players have said that slipping from No. 1 to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll did not bother them. So it will be interesting to watch what happens if the Trojans get out in front early.
The Trojans did not travel across the country just to win a game. They want to make a statement in front of an East Coast audience.
Barring a situation where the elements prevent them from doing so, look for USC to put up a big number.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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