USC's Matt Barkley is a primary tormentor of Cal's secondary

Barkley, USC's junior quarterback, is 2-0 against California, and last year he tied a school record with five touchdown passes in a 48-14 win over the Golden Bears — all of them in the first half.

October 11, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • USC quarterback Matt Barkley has had some memorable performances against California.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley has had some memorable performances against… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

USC quarterback Matt Barkley has made a habit of breaking records.

The junior, who established a USC milestone for yards passing in a game on Oct. 1 against Arizona, has tied the school record of five touchdown passes in a game three times in the last two seasons.

In fact, on one occasion last season, Barkley had five scoring passes before halftime — against California, when he sparked the Trojans to a 42-0 lead en route to a 48-14 victory.

"Barkley played about as well as he could play," Cal Coach Jeff Tedford said Tuesday.

Heading into Thursday night's game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, the junior from Newport Beach is 2-0 against the Golden Bears.

In 2009, a few days after Barkley said he didn't expect Cal's home crowd to be as loud as Ohio State's, fliers were taped to seats throughout Memorial Stadium in Berkeley instructing fans to disrupt the then-freshman. Barkley also found one in his helmet.

Barkley passed for 283 yards, with one interception, in a 30-3 victory.

"I hope they pass out pamphlets again," he said after practice Tuesday.

Last year at the Coliseum, Barkley and receiver Robert Woods connected on two of the five touchdown pass plays against the Golden Bears. Barkley completed 25 of 37 passes for 352 yards.

"I've been really well-prepared every time we've played them because they try to be confusing with their defensive fronts and what they do with their schemes," Barkley said.

Barkley has passed for 14 touchdowns with four interceptions this season. He is ranked eighth nationally in yards passing per game (317.4), 14th in passing efficiency.

Ready to go

George Farmer, who had been expected to redshirt, could make his debut against Cal.

"It's a coach's decision but I'm prepared," he said. "If my number is called, I'm ready."

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Farmer moved from receiver to tailback during the bye week and said he also felt comfortable on special teams.

"When they told me I was going to redshirt, I just took the time to work and get better," he said. "I fought through that whole little five weeks and worked on everything I could.

"I guess you could say it's paid off."

Quick hits

Quarterback Jesse Scroggins practiced for the first time since undergoing surgery for a thumb injury in August. "It's still a little sore following through — it's not all the way there," said Scroggins, who participated in a few individual drills. Scroggins hopes to participate in full workouts next week in a bid to reclaim the backup role. Freshman Cody Kessler is No. 2 on the depth chart, but has not played. . . . Defensive lineman Armond Armstead went through a few drills for the first time since Coach Lane Kiffin announced that the senior would redshirt because of an unspecified medical condition. Amstead was hospitalized last summer because of chest pains. He has said that he does not have a heart condition but has not elaborated. Armstead, who is from Sacramento, will accompany the Trojans to the Bay Area. "His No. 1 focus right now is getting his degree," Kiffin said. "He's got a big decision to make in December or January, whether he comes back and helps us win a championship or whether he goes to the NFL."

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