USC’s Robert Woods and Matt Barkley set records against Minnesota
USC receiver Robert Woods and quarterback Matt Barkley enjoyed record-setting performances Saturday in USC’s low-scoring 19-17 victory over Minnesota at the Coliseum.
Woods, a sophomore, caught 17 passes, eclipsing the USC single-game mark of 15 set by Johnnie Morton against Houston in 1993.
Woods was sidelined most of training camp because of a high ankle sprain and also has nursed a sore right elbow. But against Minnesota he caught almost everything thrown his way, including touchdown passes of seven, 43 and two yards. He finished with 177 yards receiving.
“They gave me some room to start and Matt did the rest,” Woods said.
Barkley completed 34 passes, breaking the USC record of 33 set by Todd Marinovich against Notre Dame in 1989.
Barkley was 34 of 45 for 304 yards, with no interceptions.
Half of his completions went to Woods.
“Robert’s awesome but he’s not Superman,” Barkley said. “I’m not just looking for him when I’m out there, I’m checking for everyone. We can’t get to a point where one guy determines our game plan.”
Redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan started at tailback and rushed for 70 yards in 18 carries.
It was Morgan’s first game since 2009, when he suffered a knee injury in a playoff game against Garfield High.
Morgan said coaches informed him and junior Curtis McNeal on Friday afternoon that Morgan would take the first series.
“I didn’t take it that I was the starter,” Morgan said. “I just took it as I was the first one going out and from then on, whoever did the best then would become the starter.”
McNeal rushed for 33 yards in six carries. His 27-yard gain on a second-and-22 play in the fourth quarter kept a time-consuming drive alive.
“It felt good to play football again,” said McNeal, who was academically ineligible last season. “I loved it.”
Sophomore Dillon Baxter was in for only one play, catching a three-yard pass early in the fourth quarter.
“Coach [Lane] Kiffin was talking about how I changed and everything,” said Baxter, sounding more disappointed than angry. “I thought I’ve been doing the right things, so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully there will be a change.”
Trojans defensive backs said they were not distracted by Willie Mack Garza’s resignation on Thursday.
Kiffin said he had not thought about when or with whom he might fill the vacant position on his staff.
Graduate assistant Sammy Knight, a former USC safety and NFL player, said he would “love for them to put my hat in the ring, but that’s a Lane Kiffin decision.”
The Trojans had eight tackles for losses, including three sacks. … Safety T.J. McDonald led the Trojans with five tackles. Redshirt freshman Hayes Pullard started at linebacker and made four tackles…. Freshman receiver Marqise Lee started and caught five passes for 32 yards… Offensive tackle Matt Kalil blocked a field-goal attempt. The 6-foot-7 Kalil blocked an extra-point attempt against Notre Dame last season.
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