Matt Barkley stands in disbelief as after a fumble in the end zone lost USC… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Matt Barkley has led USC to victories over all but one Pac-12 Conference opponent: Stanford.
Former Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck engineered a rout of the Trojans in 2009, a last-second victory in 2010 and a triple-overtime win last season.
So when Barkley famously spoke of "unfinished business" while announcing his return for a final season, beating Stanford qualified for a prominent place on his to-do list.
Barkley gets his final regular-season chance Saturday when second-ranked USC plays at Stanford Stadium. The Cardinal is ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press media poll and No. 16 in the coaches' poll.
Luck, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, now plays for the Indianapolis Colts.
Fourth-year junior Josh Nunes, an Upland High graduate, replaced him and has led the Cardinal to victories over San Jose State and Duke. Nunes has passed for 400 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception.
Stanford barely got past San Jose State, 20-17, but played better in a 50-13 victory over Duke last Saturday. Afterward, Stanford Coach David Shaw took a page right from former coach Jim Harbaugh's pregame playbook.
"The game that we played tonight," Shaw told the Associated Press, "still wouldn't be good enough to beat USC."
Stanford went toe to toe with USC last February in recruiting battles for three offensive linemen.
Max Tuerk of Santa Margarita High signed with the Trojans. San Clemente's Kyle Murphy and Andrus Peat of Chandler, Ariz., signed with the Cardinal.
USC Coach Lane Kiffin said that Harbaugh set the groundwork for success and that Shaw has continued to recruit well in California and nationally, making for pitched battles with USC, especially for offensive linemen.
The Cardinal plays a pro-style system and sometimes utilizes formations that call for more than five linemen.
"That's a selling point," Kiffin said, "You may not be in their top five, but you're still going to get down to their six- seven-linemen package. I think that's really benefited them."
A large contingent of family and friends gathered around Trojans running back Silas Redd at MetLife Stadium after he rushed for 107 yards against Syracuse.
It had been a little over a month since Redd, who grew up in Norwalk, Conn., transferred to USC from Penn State.
"Through all that has transpired, it's certainly enjoyable," said Redd's father, Silas Sr. "But what I most enjoyed about this is that I know he's happy.
"And that I know he's transitioned to Los Angeles and, in particular, the University of Southern California, in a pretty seamless manner. And when he's happy, we're happy."
Best foot forward
Freshman Alex Wood joined USC's program as a walk-on at the start of training camp. He hoped that he would eventually succeed Andre Heidari as USC's kicker.
Instead, with Heidari sidelined because of an unspecified injury, there was Wood in the second game of the season, kicking six extra points in USC's 42-29 victory over Syracuse.
"Luckily, I got my chance," he said, "and took advantage of it."
USC leads the series against Stanford, 59-28-3. ... USC's Sept. 22 game against California at the Coliseum will kick off at 3 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.