Robert Woods remains on pace to set USC, Pac-12 receiving records


USC receiver Robert Woods, slowed for a few games because of injuries, is still on pace for a record-setting season going into Saturday’s finale against UCLA at the Coliseum.

The sophomore has 99 receptions, three shy of the school and Pac-12 Conference record set by Keyshawn Johnson in 1995. Woods has scored 13 touchdowns.

Woods was announced Monday as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to college football’s top receiver.

The other finalists: Oklahoma State junior Justin Blackmon (103 catches and 15 touchdowns) and Oklahoma senior Ryan Broyles (83 and 10).

“If he doesn’t get hurt and stays healthy,” Coach Lane Kiffin said of Woods, “then he probably wins this thing easy.”

Woods caught a season-low two passes two weeks ago against Washington and then sat out several practices last week, Kiffin claiming Woods might not be able to play against Oregon.


However, on USC’s first offensive play quarterback Matt Barkley tossed the ball to Woods. He caught seven passes, two for touchdowns, in the Trojans’ 38-35 upset victory.

USC on Monday released a promotional video for Barkley, hyping the junior for the Heisman Trophy.

Former Trojans quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart won the Heisman in 2002 and 2004.

Each was a finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, presented annually to the top quarterback, though neither won it the year he won the Heisman.

Barkley was not among the O'Brien Award finalists announced Monday. They were Baylor junior Robert Griffin III, Houston senior Case Keenum and Stanford junior Andrew Luck.

Offensive tackle Matt Kalil, projected as a top NFL draft pick, is not among the finalists for the Outland Trophy, presented to the top interior lineman. Stanford’s David DeCastro, Alabama’s Barrett Jones and Penn State’s Devon Still are the finalists.

Precautionary measures

In the aftermath of violent pregame incidents outside the Rose Bowl last year, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero released a joint statement announcing increased “emphasis and visibility of game day security, particularly given the 7 p.m. kickoff time” for Saturday’s game.

“Security staff will be bolstered by over 25% for this game,” the statement continued, “and there is an integrated effort between both universities and a host of local law enforcement organizations to make the entire game experience around the Coliseum safe and secure.”

Managing the rivalry

Rivalry week kicks off Tuesday night when student managers from USC and UCLA square off in their annual flag football game.

The series was suspended for one year in 2007 after several players required hospital emergency-room treatment in 2006 because of injuries. USC has won the last three seven-on-seven games.

“We’re definitely expecting to go for the four-peat,” said Brian Wagner, USC’s head student manager, who passed for three touchdowns in a 21-7 victory last season.

Wagner, though, anticipates a hard-fought effort from the Bruins.

“I believe we’re favored by 12 points,” he quipped.

Quick hits

Freshman receiver Marqise Lee and freshman linebacker Hayes Pullard were selected Pac-12 offensive and defensive players of the week. … Donations for a “Kiff’s Kids” toy drive can be made at the Coliseum on Saturday. Toys or unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at collection boxes set up around the stadium. Information: (909) 519-1148.