After three home games USC is going on the road to take on Arizona St.
Hopefully the three home games worked out enough of the kinks so they can stay focused while playing in front of raucous crowd in Tempe.
After Coliseum victories over Minnesota, Utah and Syracuse, USC is preparing for a key Pacific 12 Conference South Division game at Arizona State.
"Going on the road is kind of like starting all over," Coach Lane Kiffin said Sunday night, a few hours after the Trojans reentered the Associated Press media poll at No. 23.
Kiffin was speaking, specifically, about his younger players.
In USC's 38-17 victory over Syracuse, the Trojans received big contributions from freshman receiver Marqise Lee, redshirt freshman tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble and redshirt freshman linebackers Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard.
Think any of the true freshman will some butterflies as they play their first road game? There will be some jitters and ASU isn't the best place I would want to play my first road game.
I can guarantee that they won't be as nervous as Matt Barkley was when he played his first road game against Ohio State...in the 'shoe!
Apparently, Matt Barkley thrives on the road games...
Say this for USC quarterback Matt Barkley: More times than not, he'll tell you how he feels, with very little sugar-coating involved.
Sure, he's mostly positive -- Pete Carroll-esque, even -- but you get the sense that he's usually being honest.
He won't say, heading into this Saturday's game against Arizona State, that his offensive line has been spectacular. He won't say, with the Trojans' biggest game in 2011 to date on the docket, that his receivers have done a great job catching the ball.
But he will say this: Sometimes, he likes playing on the road more than he does at the Coliseum. He said that Saturday, less than an hour after the Trojans decisively topped Syracuse at home, and he said that again this week when asked about going on the road.
"I love it," Barkley said. "I almost like away games more, for whatever reason. Just being in that environment, everyone’s yelling at you.
"You almost have to focus more, I think. I’ve just always loved away games and that feeling you get."
For the most part Barkley has done well on the road but ASU is a better team than they have been in the past. As I noted yesterday ASU has a nasty defense that is going to do all it can to throw their best shots at at USC's offensive weapons.
Burfict wants some revenge...he wants to beat 'SC just once before he goes to the league after this season or probably next season.
Barkley hopes that this trip is better than his last trip to Tempe...
In 2009, Barkley was a freshman starting for the eighth time. He completed only seven of 22 passes for 112 yards, 75 coming on receiver Damian Williams' catch-and-run touchdown.
"It was terrible," Barkley recalled after practice Tuesday. "I don't know if I was sick or if I was tired. I just felt lethargic and dead the whole game. It was not good."
Neither were the Trojans, who won, 14-9, despite converting only two of 13 third downs and committing nine penalties.
"That was probably one of the worst football games I've ever been a part of just overall," Barkley said. "I've grown in a lot of ways. We'll be a lot more prepared in a lot of areas to handle their defense."
That was a bad night, 'SC was lucky to get out of Tempe with a win.
USC LB Chris Galippo has some thoughts on ASU (video in the piece)...
"For a while there, they did a good job of feeding off the guys that 'SC wasn't offering," Galippo said. "For Coach Carroll's span, if there was a No. 1 recruit in Southern California, USC was getting him.
"And schools like Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon and UCLA, they did a good job of taking those three- or four-star guys that ended up being great players in college, that maybe SC sort of overlooked or didn't offer or something like that."
Dennis Erickson can recruit, he has put a decent team together, but injuries and stupid mistakes have kept ASU from really capitalizing on their talent
A victory would keep 3-0 USC unbeaten and position the Trojans to make a run at finishing with the best record in the Pac-12 South Division.
Not that it will help USC reach a bowl game.
The Trojans are in the final year of their NCAA-mandated two-year bowl ban, leaving them ineligible to play in the Pac-12 championship game.
But Arizona State Coach Dennis Erickson expects that to serve as motivation for USC.
"They can't win that championship, so they obviously have a chip on their shoulder," Erickson said Monday during a news conference with Arizona media. "They want to win every football game and they're handling it the right way because they are" winning.
After last years early season performances USC has to feel better about how they are playing as they go on the road. Yes, the first two games certainly had issue and Syracuse is probably a 7-5 team but it is a motivating factor to go on the road being 3-0 coming on the heels of blow out win. It doesn't always have to be pretty...you just have to win.
ASU on the other hand wants to wash the bad taste out their mouth from losing to Illinois. They gave that game away.
They want this win...Bad.
The question is will the ASU O-Line be able to stop the USC defensive front four? Brock Osweiler was sacked six times last week. It will be interesting to see just how well the ASU O-Line plays.
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Here are a few videos...
And some links...