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Trojans ride out the storm

The start of the third quarter was delayed for 1 hour and 10 minutes because of possible lightning storms approaching the stadium.

September 08, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times (ma22t2pd20120908172538/600 )

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — — Quarterback Matt Barkley said he took off his pads, put his feet up and put on his headphones. He also had a trainer stretch his arm to keep it loose.

Meanwhile, teammates changed out of wet shirts and tried to relax before meeting with coaches.

That's how USC spent more than hour Saturday after the first half of a 42-29 victory over Syracuse at MetLife Stadium.

The start of the third quarter was delayed for 1 hour 10 minutes because of possible lightning storms approaching the stadium. Fans were instructed to leave their seats and take cover and the teams were kept inside their locker rooms.

"We just tried to stay focused on our objective," said linebacker Dion Bailey, who had two interceptions.

Coach Lane Kiffin said he was informed before the game that it would probably be delayed at some point because of weather projections. The plan, he said, was to prevent players from wasting energy while readying for the third quarter.

"We met with our offense and kind of reinstalled everything that was going to come," he said.

It wasn't the first time USC has been affected by the elements.

In 1990, for example, the Trojans defeated Ohio State, 35-26, in a game that was suspended with 2 minutes 36 remaining because of thunderstorms.

In 1986, USC played Baylor at Waco, Texas. The last six minutes were played in a driving rainstorm and USC won on a last-second field goal.

In 1967, the top-ranked Trojans lost at Oregon State, 3-0, on a rain-soaked sloppy field.

Redd line

Junior tailback Silas Redd rushed for 107 yards in 15 carries, including a 40-yard run that set up the Trojans' final touchdown.

After the game, the Penn State transfer was greeted by a large contingent of family and friends, many wearing USC T-shirts.

Redd is from Norwalk, Conn., and was happy to perform well in his return to the East Coast.

"It felt incredible," he said. "Especially just to show out in front of my family and friends. Man, it really meant a lot to me. It's a blessed feeling. I feel very blessed."

Tough to tackle

USC tight end Xavier Grimble scored on a 22-yard pass play that featured the 6-foot-5, 255-pound sophomore shedding four tacklers.

Grimble said his main concern was holding onto the ball because rain had made it slippery.

"I knew the hits were going to come but, you know, they're little guys so I'm not really scared of that," he said. "I was 'They just kept coming — one, two, three, four — I'm gone.'"

Holmes hurt

Center Khaled Holmes suffered an unspecified leg injury in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field. He was on crutches after the game.

Holmes, a fifth-year senior and team captain, was hurt during a run by Redd with 6:08 left .

Redshirt freshman Cyrus Hobbi replaced Holmes.

Stepping in

With kicker Andre Heidari sidelined because of an apparent leg injury suffered against Hawaii, walk-on Alex Wood handled extra points and converted all six.

Woods is a freshman from Mercer Island, Wash.

Sophomore walk-on Craig McMahon handled kickoffs.

Back to work

Cornerback Torin Harris and defensive end Wes Horton, sidelined for the opener because of injuries, did not start but played.

Harris, a junior, started the first four games last season before suffering what turned out to be a season-ending shoulder injury. He had eight tackles against Syracuse. Horton, a senior, did not make a tackle.

gary.klein@latimes.com

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