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USC hopes to pick apart Washington's defense

The Trojans want to attack the Huskies with passing and rushing. Senior tailback Marc Tyler has been cleared to play, but junior Curtis McNeal could start for USC.

November 10, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • USC quarterback Matt Barkley looks to hand off to tailback Marc Tyler, who makes his return to the lineup this week.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley looks to hand off to tailback Marc Tyler, who… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

With Matt Barkley enjoying a record-breaking season and Washington coming to the Coliseum sporting a porous pass defense, USC hopes to pick apart the Huskies.

The No. 18 Trojans also will try to assert their rushing attack Saturday.

USC had success running the ball against the Huskies last season, with since-departed tailback Allen Bradford rushing for 223 yards and two touchdowns in a 32-31 loss.

Senior tailback Marc Tyler, sidelined last week against Colorado, said Thursday that his balky left shoulder was sound and that he was looking forward to playing against former Trojans assistants Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt.

Sarkisian, Washington's head coach, recruited Tyler for USC out of Westlake Village Oaks Christian High. Holt was USC's defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008, when Tyler spent much of practice on the scout team working against defensive starters.

"It's going to be fun," Tyler said.

Though Tyler has been cleared to play, junior Curtis McNeal could start for the second consecutive game.

McNeal has rushed for a team-best 639 yards. Against Colorado, he gained 87 yards in 10 carries but lost a chance for a possible long touchdown when he slipped after a 21-yard gain. McNeal later suffered two thigh bruises.

"I think I did pretty well but I could've done better," he said.

McNeal's injuries opened the door for freshman Amir Carlisle, who ran for 90 yards in 10 carries and also scored on a screen pass.

Redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan also played extensively for the first time since fumbling in consecutive games early in the season.

"It was exciting getting back into the game in critical situations," said Morgan, who gained 56 yards in nine carries. "Even though it was my first time playing in awhile, I just got my confidence back and that was a big thing."

Folk legend

Washington kicker Erik Folk beat the Trojans with late field goals each of the last two seasons.

In 2009, the former Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High standout kicked a 22-yard field goal with three seconds remaining for a 16-13 victory.

Last season, the last of Folk's four field goals was a 32-yarder on the game's final play.

This week, Folk told Seattle-area reporters he would prefer that the Huskies win easily so that he would not be needed. But he added, "If it does come down to me, I'll be ready."

Quick hits

Linebacker Dion Bailey, sidelined against Colorado because of a concussion suffered against Stanford, has been cleared to play and will start, Coach Lane Kiffin said…. Defensive lineman DaJohn Harris (ankle) did not practice and his status will be a game-time decision.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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