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Victory has style and substance

November 15, 2010|Gary Klein

Reflecting on his team's 24-21 victory at Arizona the night before, USC Coach Lane Kiffin said Sunday that he was most pleased with the "style" with which it was achieved.

But there was substance as well in the win over the then-No. 18 Wildcats.

The win over a ranked opponent, on the road, qualifies as the most significant of Kiffin's short tenure.

"In our first year together, to have a game like that is very critical," Kiffin said during a teleconference with reporters.

The Trojans won't be playing in a bowl game, but the victory propelled USC back into the Associated Press media poll. The Trojans (7-3) are ranked 20th with a chance to continue climbing if they win their next three games.

Less than an hour after defeating Arizona, the Trojans had turned their attention to their next opponent.

"Whenever you win, you carry that steam over to the next game," linebacker Malcolm Smith said. "We're excited about Oregon State. Guys are talking about it already."

Throughout the season, Kiffin has mostly deflected talk of how a bowl ban would affect his team's psyche.

After Saturday's game, however, and again Sunday, Kiffin said he was "sad" for the team's seniors as the season moves toward conclusion.

"Now as we're getting close to that, it's become more of a reality," he said.

Barkley banged up?

Quarterback Matt Barkley limped after running for a first down in the fourth quarter.

"We were going to go back to a similar play [later in the drive] but he said, 'I can't run that far on it,' " Kiffin said.

Kiffin did not specify Barkley's injury but said the sophomore felt better Sunday and that he should be fine this week.

Kiffin praised Barkley's game management but also noted that he "missed a couple big plays." The most glaring was an underthrown pass to receiver Ronald Johnson in the second quarter.

Wright off

USC got burned over the middle repeatedly against Arizona with Pacific 10 Conference receiving leader Juron Criner making several key catches.

Asked why senior Shareece Wright did not draw more assignments to cover Criner, Kiffin pointed out that Wright gave up two touchdowns against the Wildcats.

"We love Shareece, but Shareece, I think, would be the first to tell you he's not playing great right now," Kiffin said.

Quick hits

After reviewing film of the game, statistics will be changed to credit USC's Michael Reardon with a blocked field-goal attempt. Reardon deflected Alex Zendejas' 34-yard attempt in the first quarter, a USC sports information official said.

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