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Crowd noise doesn't faze Matt Barkley

Fans had been urged to make things loud for the freshman quarterback.

October 04, 2009|Gary Klein

BERKELEY — When California fans arrived at their seats in Memorial Stadium on Saturday, they got specific instructions about how to disrupt USC.

The Trojans and quarterback Matt Barkley prevailed, though, 30-3, before a crowd of 71,799.

Barkley had said last week that he wasn't expecting the crowd to be as loud as it was at Ohio Stadium, where the Trojans overcame the Buckeyes and a crowd of more than 106,000 to win in the second week of the season.

Taped to thousands of seats at Memorial Stadium were pieces of paper with the following message:

USC QB Matt Barkley thinks that "the crowd [at Memorial Stadium] definitely won't be as loud as Ohio State, which will be nice . . . "

Let's show him how nice it will be:

-- Make noise on defense, especially when USC is in the huddle, then when they're trying to audible at the line of scrimmage, get even louder.

-- Third downs are critical. Follow the students by raising your hands, clapping progressively faster, then yelling to disrupt USC and force a communication breakdown or false start.

Barkley quieted the crowd with a 31-yard completion to tight end Anthony McCoy on the Trojans' first series after Taylor Mays intercepted a pass in the end zone.

The quarterback was asked after the game whether noise was a factor.

"No, it wasn't at all," he said, "and it usually never is."

As for the fliers?

"Someone put one in my helmet before I went out," the freshman said.

Barkley completed 20 of 35 passes for 283 yards with one interception.

Slow motion

Only four starts into his college career, Barkley said the game has started to slow down for him.

"I really think since the San Jose State game I've realized how fun it is and how easy it can be if you make it that way, if you make it easy," he said.

Mays' pick

Taylor Mays' tireless work catching balls after practice finally paid off.

Mays' momentum-changing interception in the end zone was his first since the 2007 season against Stanford. He has five in his career.

Brothers in arms

Third-year sophomore Shane Horton made his first start at weak-side linebacker and redshirt freshman Wes Horton started at defensive end, marking the first time in 20 years that brothers started the same game for the Trojans.

In 1990, senior defensive lineman Don Gibson and freshman center Craig Gibson started the last seven games of the season.

Shane, who transferred to USC from Nevada Las Vegas in the spring of 2008, had seven tackles against Cal. Wes had one tackle.

Happy return

Damian Williams' punt return for a touchdown was the first for the Trojans in four years.

Reggie Bush was last player to score on a punt return, the Heisman Trophy winner doing it in a 51-24 victory over Washington on Oct. 22, 2005.

Quick hits

USC has prevented its opponent from scoring a touchdown eight times in 18 games since the start of last season -- including 17-3 and 30-3 victories over Cal. In three other games, the Trojans gave up no more than seven points. . . . USC leads the series against Cal, 62-30-5. . . . Cal had won nine consecutive home games since losing to USC, 24-17, in 2007.


Times staff writers Ben Bolch and Mike Hiserman contributed to this report.

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