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USC's Matt Barkley hoping to bring the electricity back against Notre Dame

Quarterback was sidelined by an ankle injury for the loss to Notre Dame last season.

October 18, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • USC quarterback Matt Barkley is looking forward to playing Notre Dame on Saturday.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley is looking forward to playing Notre Dame on… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Matt Barkley watched from the sideline at the Coliseum last November as Notre Dame ended USC's eight-game winning streak in the series.

The Trojans quarterback had suffered an ankle injury the previous week.

"I was feeling kind of helpless," Barkley said Tuesday. "It's a terrible feeling."

Barkley is looking forward to Saturday's game at Notre Dame Stadium, where as a freshman he passed for 380 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-27 Trojans victory in 2009.

"I just remember it being electric," he said of the environment, adding that it was not as hostile as Oregon's Autzen Stadium or Ohio State's Ohio Stadium.

Barkley hopes to rebound from last week's performance against California.

The Trojans improved to 5-1 with a 30-9 victory, but the junior completed only 19 of 35 passes, missing receivers on several potential big plays.

Afterward, Barkley said his performance was "not good enough to win big games."

On Tuesday, he said he had worked to make necessary adjustments.

USC probably will need Barkley to be at his best against a veteran Notre Dame defense.

Coach Lane Kiffin has described the 20-16 loss to Notre Dame last season, in which Mitch Mustain replaced Barkley, as his worst as a head coach.

"I don't think it will ever leave," he said. "This week brings it back because you have to watch it again and learn from the tape."

Rank and file

Kiffin, his players and Athletic Director Pat Haden did not sound concerned about not being ranked despite having only one loss.

It's the first time a 5-1 Trojans team has not been ranked in the Associated Press top 25 since the poll officially debuted in 1936.

"We're not worried about that," Kiffin said. "I just think in general that's probably the dark cloud over us."

Senior tailback Marc Tyler could not explain it.

"I don't know if it has to do with us being on probation or just people don't like us," he said.

Haden said USC was "probably right where we deserve to be," adding that the Trojans needed to play better during their upcoming stretch of games.

"You are what you are," he said.

USC is 28th in AP voting, one spot behind 4-2 Notre Dame.

Quick hits

Freshman receiver Marqise Lee (shoulder) was limited and Tyler (shoulder) did a few drills. Both said they intend to play…. Tailback Dillon Baxter returned to practice after being absent Sunday. Baxter said he was tending to matters regarding the impending birth of a son in January. "Just excited," he said. "Once he gets here, it's something to work for… I can't wait."…. Kiffin said he was not surprised by the ruckus that followed the postgame handshake between San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit Lions Coach Jim Schwartz on Sunday. Kiffin said he had not had a similar experience. "Even Urban and I got along," he quipped, referring to former Florida coach Urban Meyer.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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