No. 13 USC rebounds with 27-9 win over California
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Barkley knew he wasn't exactly polishing his personal credentials while Southern California grinded out a win with its dominant defense and a steady running game.
Nobody wins the Heisman by handing off, after all.
The star quarterback wasn't thinking about his own trophy case, though, while getting the Trojans back on track for much more important rewards.
Barkley passed for 192 yards and threw two touchdown passes to Marqise Lee, and No. 13 USC bounced back from its first defeat with a 27-9 victory over California on Saturday.
Lee had 11 catches for 94 yards, Silas Redd rushed for 158 yards and a score and the Trojans (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) methodically rolled to their ninth consecutive win over the Golden Bears (1-3, 0-1) in the schools' 100th meeting.
"I'm not looking out every week to get stats or get a flashy game," said Barkley, who threw two interceptions for the second straight week. "I think we left a lot of points on the field ... but we were moving the ball today. If defenses are going to stay back, play a cover-2 shell and force us to run, that's what we've got to do."
Did they ever: Curtis McNeal rushed 115 yards for the Trojans, giving them two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2008. USC's defense also dominated, holding Cal to 250 total yards and sacking Zach Maynard seven times.
A week after the preseason No. 1 team got shut out in the second half of a 21-14 loss at Stanford, USC drained any lingering suspense from this matchup with a methodical 75-yard drive that consumed more than half of the fourth quarter, capped by Lee's 3-yard TD catch with 5:56 to play.
"I was surprised, because they didn't have a running attack the previous game, and the previous game before that," Cal cornerback Steve Williams said. "They came out here and pounded the ball."
Barkley, meanwhile, struggled to find All-American receiver Robert Woods, who had only five catches for 30 yards.
Yet Barkley still went 22 for 34 and kept the Trojans moving on several long drives. Center Khaled Holmes' return to the lineup undoubtedly helped, although the senior limped off the field again in the fourth quarter.
"Obviously, it's not as fun," USC coach Lane Kiffin said of his workmanlike game plan. "It's fun winning 50-0, but that doesn't happen every week. Throwing the ball so much earlier in the year ... people are trying to take (Lee) and (Woods) out of the game."
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