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USC's Matt Barkley gets to add another UCLA memory to career

Fourth-year quarterback has had three markedly different experiences in games against the Bruins, who play host to the Trojans on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

November 14, 2012|By Gary Klein

Matt Barkley's memories of three games against UCLA: "Crazy ending. Hurt Ankle. And Blowout."

USC's senior quarterback has known only victory against UCLA.

As a freshman, Barkley passed for 144 yards in a 28-7 victory at the Coliseum that was punctuated by a last-minute 48-yard touchdown pass from Barkley to Damian Williams after then-UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel and then-USC coach Pete Carroll clashed over the timing of a UCLA timeout.

Two years ago, Barkley passed for 198 yards and a touchdown in a 28-14 victory at the Rose Bowl, playing through an ankle injury that he suffered two weeks earlier at Oregon State. The injury forced him to miss the Notre Dame game the week before the UCLA game.

Last season, Barkley passed for 423 yards and six touchdowns in a 50-0 victory at the Coliseum.

"Hopefully," Barkley said Tuesday as the No. 21 Trojans began preparations for Saturday's game against the No. 17 Bruins at the Rose Bowl, "it will be another great story this week."

Barkley is aiming for a more efficient performance than what he turned in last week against Arizona State.

He passed for 222 yards and three touchdowns against the Sun Devils but had three passes intercepted.

Asked what he thought was personally required to avoid a repeat, Barkley said, "Gotta throw touchdowns."

Barkley has passed for 33 touchdowns, with 13 interceptions.

With three games remaining — or four if USC beats the Bruins to qualify for the Nov. 30 Pac-12 Conference championship game — Barkley remains on pace to eclipse his conference record of 39 touchdown passes, set last season in 12 games.

Although Barkley has nearly doubled his seven interceptions of a year ago, UCLA Coach Jim Mora and his players expect to see the fourth-year starter at his best.

"He has the ability to look off safeties and throw the other way," Bruins linebacker Dalton Hilliard said. "He has a great control of that offense."

Bruins safety Andrew Abbott, a Barkley teammate at Santa Ana Mater Dei High, said experience cannot be underestimated.

"Some quarterbacks, you can pick up on their looks and adjust your coverage," Abbott said. "They'll kind of struggle. But he has seen it all. He knows where to go with the ball."

Silas Redd not ready, yet

Tailback Silas Redd, who sat out against Arizona State because of an undisclosed injury, attended the full-pads practice in his jersey and shorts. He wore no brace or other protective equipment and walked with no visible sign of injury.

The transfer from Penn State said he expected to play against UCLA and was "starting to feel the power" of the rivalry.

Redd grew up in Connecticut and watched the Trojans and Bruins from afar.

"I knew it was a big game," he said, "but we always looked at the Notre Dame game as the biggest rivalry."

Quick hits

Barkley and receiver Marqise Lee were among 15 players announced as semifinalsts for the Walter Camp player-of-the-year award. ... In keeping with a tradition reinstated in 2008, USC and UCLA will wear their home jerseys Saturday. Last season, UCLA wore white jerseys and pants.

Times staff writer Chris Foster contributed to this report.

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