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Lane Kiffin says USC will regroup after giving up big points

The Trojans gave up 101 points and 1,318 yards in their last two games, losses to Arizona and Oregon. Kiffin says USC will get back on track this week.

November 06, 2012|By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times

The numbers are mind-boggling.

After playing fairly well for most of the season, USC goes into Saturday's game against Arizona State having given up 101 points and 1,318 yards in its last two games.

Perhaps looking for a bright side, USC Coach Lane Kiffin on Monday referred to last season, when the Trojans regrouped after giving up a combined 84 points in a loss at Arizona State and a victory over Arizona.

"We had the same thing happen to us last year in … back-to-back weeks and finished playing really well," he told the school's website. "So we'll get back on track this week."

USC ranked 54th among 120 teams in total defense last season and 45th in scoring defense.

Two weeks ago, USC ranked among the top quarter nationally in several defensive categories.

Before its 39-36 loss at Arizona on Oct. 27, USC was 30th in total defense. But after giving up 588 yards to the Wildcats and a school-record 730 in Saturday's 62-51 loss to Oregon, the Trojans are 65th. They have dropped from 18th to 49th in scoring defense.

Arizona State does not have a top-five offense, as Arizona and Oregon did before playing the Trojans.

But the Sun Devils, under first-year Coach Todd Graham, run a spread attack that could prove problematic. Especially if USC players overlook a team that has a three-game losing streak.

Consider: Arizona State's skid came against three teams now ranked in the top 20.

Second-ranked Oregon beat the Sun Devils, 43-21, and then-unranked UCLA rallied for a 45-43 victory that vaulted the Bruins into the top 25.

Last week at Corvallis, Ore., 13th-ranked Oregon State topped the Sun Devils, 36-26.

"They have had many opportunities in the last three weeks to implode or to take a step backward," Graham said Monday of his players. "But they haven't done that."

Quarterback Taylor Kelly has passed for 20 touchdowns with six passes intercepted, and the Sun Devils average 457.8 yards a game.

Running backs D.J. Foster, Cameron Marshall and Marion Grice are running and receiving threats who average a combined 218 yards of total offense. They have scored 26 of Arizona State's 39 touchdowns.

Quick hits

USC receiver Marqise Lee leads the nation in all-purpose yardage, averaging 223 yards a game. The sophomore is second in receptions (9.78) and receiving yards (142.9). He is 11th in kickoff returns (29.4 yards) …. Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley, who has passed for 30 touchdowns, with 10 passes intercepted, is 11th nationally in passing efficiency…. Saturday's noon kickoff is the earliest at the Coliseum since 1998…. USC leads the series against Arizona State, 18-10. The Sun Devils have not won at the Coliseum since 1999.

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