After three straight victories in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum crowd, the University of Southern California Trojans set their eyes on Tempe, Ariz., and the Arizona State Sun Devils, looking to post their twelfth consecutive victory against their conference foes.
While the offense was unable to post more than three points at a time in the first half, the defense had its hands full with the Sun Devil offense, as ASU spread the field, using an Oregon-like offense to keep the Trojans defense on its heels, taking a 21-9 halftime lead before taking advantage of three second half turnovers en route to a 43-22 Pac-12 South victory.
Heading into halftime, the Trojans knew they had a chance to leave Tempe with a victory, especially after settling for a field goal on their final possession of the first half instead of a touchdown that would have made it a 21-13 game. Instead, the Trojans settled for three to make it 21-9.
In the second half, USC came out clicking on - what appeared to be- all cylinders, scoring on two consecutive drives to make it a 22-21 game, but the Trojans were shut down after that, as turnovers - two fumbles, an interception and a turnover on downs - ended any hopes of USC keeping pace with the high-flying Sun Devils.
Trojan quarterback, who mentioned earlier in the week he liked playing on the road more than at home, did not look comfortable at times, as the junior play-caller completed 21-of-33 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, while throwing two interceptions.
His lone touchdown was thrown to freshman Marquise Lee, who gained 50 yards on 4 catches. Robert Woods continued his strong showings, catching 8 passes for 131 yards, but he and Barkley were unable to hook up in the end zone.
While the Trojans passing game did not perform in the same light as the week before (Barkley threw five TD’s, all to different receivers), Marc Tyler had an impressive outing, gaining 149 yards on 22 carries, but fumbled as the Trojans were driving with just over 4 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Trojans may have outgained the Sun Devils, 402-392, but the final score was all that mattered.
Leading the Sun Devils was Cameron Marshall, who gained 141 yards on 25 carries and scored three times, the longest of those a 70-yard touchdown run. Lending a helping hand was quarterback Brock Osweiler, who completed 25 of his 32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns as the junior from Montana found eight different receivers for completions.
ASU sealed the deal when Shelley Lyons picked off Barkley before taking it 41 yards the other way for a Sun Devil touchdown.
After a week on the road, the Trojans return home for another Pac-12 South contest, this time taking on the University of Arizona Wildcats.
The Wildcats (1-3) have lost three straight after blowing Northern Arizona out in the season opener, 41-10. But do not overlook Arizona, as their three losses are all to ranked opponents - No. 9 Oklahoma State (37-14), No. 6 Stanford (37-10) and No. 10 Oregon (56-31).