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No. 11 USC reins in Barkley, but keeps winning

Associated Press Modified: October 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm •  Published: October 14, 2012

SEATTLE (AP) — After one of the more mediocre performances of his career, Matt Barkley faced a slew of critical questions.

At least none of them had to do with another loss.

Barkley insisted there was nothing wrong following No. 11 Southern California's 24-14 win over Washington on Saturday night that included a scoreless second half for the Trojans and Barkley's fewest completions in a game since late in his sophomore season.

"They didn't want to get beat over the top and they knew the threats we had with Marqise (Lee) and Robert (Woods) so they played very deep and played a lot of two high defenses which forced us to run the ball which we did very well," Barkley said. "It just happened to be one of those games."

Barkley attempted only 10 passes in the second half, completing just three. When the Trojans faced third downs, they often chose to hand off to either Silas Redd or Curtis McNeal and not subject Barkley to any hits from the pass rush.

"Remember two times ago we went on the road and we weren't sitting here with a win," Kiffin said. "Yeah we played conservative once we got a lead like that. We've said it all along, this isn't about anybody's numbers or Heisman or any of that. This is about winning games."

Barkley's 10 completions were his fewest since he was 10 of 19 for 75 yards late in the 2010 season when the Trojans were upset at Oregon State. But in that game, Barkley was done by halftime with a sprained ankle and the Trojans were forced to go with Mitch Mustain in what turned out to be a blowout loss to the Beavers.

Barkley's worst game in terms of numbers actually came in a Trojans victory when he completed just 7 of 22 passes in a 14-9 win at Arizona State his freshman season.

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