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Matt Barkley and Robert Woods connect the darts in USC's 50-6 win

Matt Barkley's six TD passes in rout of Colorado make him conference's career leader. Robert Woods has four TD catches and becomes USC's career receptions leader.

October 20, 2012|By Gary Klein

Celebration was the order of the day at the Coliseum.

With quarterback Matt Barkley and receiver Robert Woods primed to establish records, USC set the stage with multiple salutes.

The Trojans' 1972 national championship team was honored during the game. So were representatives of the Los Angeles Kings, with the Stanley Cup in tow.

Meanwhile, USC Coach Lane Kiffin played master of ceremonies, orchestrating a pass-happy game plan that allowed Barkley and Woods to continuously shine Saturday in the No. 11 Trojans' 50-6 rout of Colorado.

"It was a special day," said Barkley, who was one dropped ball from a perfect day and finished with six touchdown passes to become the Pac-12 Conference's all-time leader.

Four of Barkley's touchdown passes went to Woods, the fleet and tough junior who is now USC's all-time receptions leader.

It all added up to a easy victory, and perhaps marked the debut of the multidimensional passing attack most envisioned when the Trojans began the season.

"We really felt like this was going to happen," said Kiffin, whose team improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12.

The question, of course, is can the Trojans continue to perform like that against the tougher competition that awaits in the last five games?

Kiffin and his players did not want to look that far ahead on a day when Barkley and Woods led an offense that produced the bulk of its 458 yards in less than three quarters.

Even the defense, which caused six turnovers, could sense the celebratory vibe.

"You could feel it on the sideline," said safety Drew McAllister, who intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. "Everyone fed off it."

Barkley, who torched Colorado for six touchdown passes last season, once again had his way with one of the worst pass defenses in major college football.

The senior completed 19 of 20 passes for 298 yards, with no interceptions. The one incompletion came on a second-quarter swing pass to tailback Curtis McNeal, who bobbled the ball and then dropped it.

"There's a reason why he'll go high in the draft," Colorado Coach Jon Embree said of Barkley. "He's a great player and I'm glad I don't have to see him again."

Barkley went into the game needing four touchdowns to pass 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart's record of 99, achieved in three years as a USC starter from 2003-2005. Barkley has 102.

"I've been here for four years," Barkley said, "so some of those career records are bound to be broken."

For the last month, Kiffin has said repeatedly that he did not care about records or statistics, only victories.

But Colorado, a 40-point underdog, offered the perfect opportunity to make history and perhaps move Barkley back into the Heisman Trophy discussion.

USC came out in a no-huddle offense and wasted no time chasing records. After a short pass to Woods, Barkley connected with Marqise Lee for a 55-yard touchdown.

On the next possession, Woods caught a pass and blitzed through two weak tackle attempts for a 39-yard touchdown. Barkley's short touchdown to tight end Xavier Grimble less than a minute later tied Leinart's record.

Barkley set a new standard with a beautifully thrown 29-yard touchdown pass to Woods early in the second quarter.

"The perfect ball," Woods said. "I was happy I could catch it and be a part of Matt's history."

After the pass, the Coliseum video board played prerecorded congratulatory messages from Leinart, 2002 Heisman winner Carson Palmer, former coach Pete Carroll and former star receiver Keyshawn Johnson, among others.

Then it was time for Woods to make history. On the next possession, Barkley connected with the former Gardena Serra High star on a 17-yard scoring play that pushed Woods past Dwayne Jarrett's record 216 receptions.

Once again, the video board played congratulatory messages.

"I don't think of it as being No. 1," said Woods, who finished with eight catches for 132 yards. "I feel I'm part of an elite group."

Barkley and Woods hooked up one more time for a short touchdown early in the third quarter, giving Woods the USC record for touchdown catches in a game.

That was it for Barkley, who gave way to redshirt freshman Max Wittek on the next possession.

The Trojans again committed too many penalties and saw several players, including left tackle Aundrey Walker, go down because of injuries.

But with a trip to Arizona next week and No. 2 Oregon coming to the Coliseum the week after, the Trojans were happy with the records and the rebirth of the passing game.

"I wouldn't say we're there," Barkley said, "but I think it was a good turning point."

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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