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Barkley, defense help lead USC to 38-28 victory over Utah

Matt Barkley notched his 12th career 300-yard passing game, throwing for 303 yards and three touchdowns in helping lead the Trojans to a 38-28 victory over Utah.

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

No. 13 USC notched its second straight win and first conference win on the road, topping Utah 38-28.

Here are three quick observations from the game tonight.

1. USC's defense was lights out.

If the Trojans' offense doesn't give away two touchdowns (recovered fumble for touchdown and another fumble that led to a touchdown) to Utah, then this USC defense only gives up seven points. Nickell Robey's pick-six sealed the game and Morgan Breslin, again, was a frequent visitor to the Utes' backfield. Aside from a meaningless touchdown with 38 seconds left, Utah struggled on offense the entire second half and the Trojans' defense held off the Utes' time and time again in that third quarter. And remember, Utah had come into the game outscoring its opponents 34-3 in that frame.

2. Matt Barkley was razor sharp.

Aside from that mishandled snap at the beginning of the game, there wasn't much to complain about Barkley's play. The senior signal caller was very, very accurate tonight, finishing 23-of-30 for 303 yards and three touchdowns. And if he weren't the unlucky beneficiary of dropped balls, his line would have looked even better. He connected with Marqise Lee and Robert Woods time and time again. He notched his 12th career 300-yard passing game in his career and looked like the ole' Barkley at the end of last season. His touch and his long ball was on point tonight and there really wasn't anything Utah's secondary could do to contain Barkley or his receivers.

3. Trojans showed resiliency on the road.

It could have been easy for USC to lay down, especially after that first play. And then to be down two touchdowns less than three minutes into the game, it certainly wasn't looking pretty early. The crowd was a factor all night long (numerous false starts throughout the game), but the Trojans hung in there, fought back and stayed the course.