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USC's Matt Barkley feels no extra pressure going against Stanford's Andrew Luck

Barkley is the Pacific 10 Conference's top-rated passer; Luck is ranked No. 2 in the conference in pass efficiency.

October 08, 2010|By Gary Klein

Reporting from Stanford — USC quarterback Matt Barkley, the Pacific 10 Conference's top-rated passer, said this week that sharing a field with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck on Saturday night would provide no extra pressure or motivation.

"I don't really pay attention to that," said Barkley, who has passed for 12 touchdowns, with four interceptions. "Just the fact that it's Stanford, a great team and a solid defense, that's more of the matchup to me."

Luck, a third-year sophomore and highly regarded NFL prospect, ranks second in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency.

Barkley completed 14 of 20 passes for 186 yards without an interception in last week's 32-31 loss to Washington. But the sophomore misfired on his last two passes, missing receiver David Ausberry in the end zone early in the fourth quarter and tight end Jordan Cameron on a crucial third-down play in the closing minutes.

"Matt's played well and had a good week," Coach Lane Kiffin said. "Hopefully, if we have that shot again like we did last week, he'll finish them off and take the next step from being a good quarterback to a great quarterback."

Middle man

Washington quarterback Jake Locker passed and ran for 420 yards against the Trojans last week.

Luck has averaged 251 yards passing and 40 yards rushing in leading Stanford to a 4-1 start.

"He's similar [to Locker] in that he has running ability and he is a good decision-maker," USC middle linebacker Devon Kennard said. "He's very accurate on his passes, but if he doesn't like what he sees he takes off."

Last season, Luck passed for 144 yards and rushed for 61 in Stanford's 55-21 victory at the Coliseum.

Kennard was a freshman starting for the first time at outside linebacker. He made four tackles, but was among the Trojans defenders struggling to slow down Luck and running back Toby Gerhart.

Now Kennard is starting in the middle.

"[Luck] bails them out of a lot of situations with his legs, so we have to be ready," he said.

Quick hits

USC claims a 59-26-3 record against Stanford in a series dating to 1905. Stanford counts its record against the Trojans as 26-58-3 because the 1918 game was played as part of an unofficial schedule, according to Stanford's sports information office. Both schools count USC's 2005 victory over the Cardinal, USC noting that the win was vacated because Reggie Bush was declared retroactively ineligible…. The Trojans have not lost to the Cardinal at Stanford Stadium since 2000…. This is the first time since 1986 and only the fifth time overall that Stanford has played USC when the Cardinal was ranked higher than the Trojans. Stanford is ranked 16th by the Associated Press. USC was No. 18 until its loss to Washington last week.

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