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Matt Barkley hopes victory is icing on the cake

Quarterback celebrates his 21st birthday as he prepares for Utah's front seven.

September 08, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who turns 21 Thursday, hopes to celebrate another Trojans victory Saturday against Utah.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who turns 21 Thursday, hopes to celebrate… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Matt Barkley didn't do much celebrating last week after his record-setting performance against Minnesota.

The junior quarterback completed a USC-record 34 passes — three for touchdowns — but the Trojans' offense stalled and was shut out in the second half of a 19-17 victory.

Thursday, Barkley was looking forward to a quiet but festive dinner to mark his 21st birthday.

"Going out with the family," he said.

USC fans have watched Barkley grow up as a quarterback.

Three days before turning 19, he led USC to a victory over San Jose State in the 2009 opener.

A week before his 20th birthday, he passed for five touchdowns as the Trojans won their 2010 opener at Hawaii.

After completing 76% of his passes last week, he is preparing for the inaugural Pacific 12 Conference opener against Utah on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Barkley spent part of Thursday morning's practice running a punitive lap after a mistake. He also ran a short lap around the perimeter of the huddle after linebacker Lamar Dawson intercepted a pass.

He expects that Utah's experienced front seven will try to force similar miscues.

"They bring pressure after pressure after pressure, so we'll have to be on top of our stuff," he said.

In the meantime, Barkley was looking forward to his birthday evening.

Asked if he intended to enjoy a celebratory beverage, he said, "That's still to be decided."

Starling starting

Junior Jawanza Starling reclaimed a starting safety job for the opener and is on track to start again opposite T.J. McDonald on Saturday.

Starling started nine games last season and had only one pass deflection. Marshall Jones started the final four games.

"I'm harder on myself than anybody could ever be — that's just how I've been ever since I was young, so of course I didn't feel happy about the way I played," Starling said. "But I guess once I got my starting spot taken, it was a more of a reality check. I knew I had to do something about it."

Quick hits

Senior Martin Coleman worked again at left guard and appears on track to start. Jeremy Galten started the opener at left guard. … Abe Markowitz (foot) did not practice .… Utah has 32 players from California. Trojans right guard John Martinez is the only USC player from Utah. … Running back John White, who rushed for 150 yards and scored two touchdowns in Utah's 27-10 victory over Montana State, played at South Torrance High and Harbor College.

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