USC tailback Curtis McNeal enjoyed his most productive game of the season Saturday in USC's 38-17 victory over Arizona State at the Coliseum.
With junior Silas Redd sidelined because of an undisclosed injury, McNeal rushed for a season-high 163 yards and two touchdowns in 31 carries. He also turned a screen pass into a 22-yard touchdown.
McNeal, a fifth-year senior, was the Trojans' top returning tailback after gaining 1,005 yards last season.
But Redd's transfer from Penn State to USC before the start of training camp reduced McNeal's role.
McNeal rushed for 115 yards against California last month, his only 100-yard game of the season until Saturday.
"It felt good," said McNeal, who has rushed for more than 100 yards six times in his career. "But … no matter if I get the ball or not, I'm going out just to compete with my team and get a W."
USC quarterback Matt Barkley passed for 222 yards to become the Pac-12 Conference's all-time passing yards leader.
Barkley has passed for 12,026 yards, breaking the record of 11,818 held by former USC quarterback Carson Palmer.
Barkley completed 20 of 33 passes against Arizona State, three for touchdowns. But he also had three passes intercepted for the first time since a 55-21 loss to Stanford on Nov. 14, 2009.
"I'm definitely pleased with the win — it's a better feeling than anything," Barkley said. "You never want that to happen though; you never want those picks."
Barkley has passed for 33 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
Deflated footballs aftermath
Barkley and other USC players said they were unaware that a student manager deflated game footballs — presumably making them easier to throw and catch — below NCAA-specified levels during the Trojans' loss to Oregon last week.
USC was reprimanded and fined $25,000 by the Pac-12. Coach Lane Kiffin and school officials have said that the student manager acted on his own. The manager was relieved of all duties.
"I didn't know anything was going on," Barkley said.
Receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee also said they had no knowledge of the situation. "I couldn't even tell the difference," Woods said. "I never knew what was going on."
Kiffin said he was not bothered by media reports about his status in the days leading up to Saturday's game.
"I'm a big boy," he said. "We've been here before. That's nothing new and that's part of the job no matter where you are, especially in L.A."
Safety T.J. McDonald, middle linebacker Lamar Dawson and defensive lineman Leonard Williams intercepted passes for the Trojans.
Williams, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound freshman from Daytona Beach, Fla., returned his 24 yards.
"I was thinking, 'Man, I have to make a play.' Everyone on the D-line has a sack and I don't have any," Williams said.
Williams was credited with one of the Trojans' seven sacks. Tackle George Uko and end Morgan Breslin each had 11/2 and end Wes Horton had one. Linebackers Hayes Pullard and Anthony Sarao also each had one.