Nov. 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The Arizona State University football team struggled on offense for the second consecutive game and the No. 21 USC Trojans were able to pull away in the second half en route to a 38-17 victory in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Matt Barkley had three touchdowns for the Trojans - despite throwing a career-high three interceptions - as USC (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12) scored 24 unanswered in the second half to turn the game into a rout against the Sun Devils (5-5, 3-4 Pac-12), who are now losers of four straight.
Taylor Kelly had a tough game for ASU, finishing 19-of-30 for 174 yards and a touchdown but throwing three interceptions in the process - two of which came in the fourth quarter with ASU attempting to mount a rally.
Following a Carl Bradford interception to begin the second half, the Sun Devils knocked in a field goal to take a 17-14 lead. But it was all USC from there.
The Trojans took advantage of good field position (59 yards and 52 yards, respectively) on its two ensuing drives, scoring 14 unanswered to regain the lead and take a 28-17 edge into the decisive frame.
An Andre Heidari field goal and a Curtis McNeal touchdown in the fourth provided all the scoring the Trojans needed to put things away.
Marqise Lee had another huge game for the Trojans, catching 11 balls for 171 yards and a touchdown and also posting 55 yards on five carries on the ground while McNeal had 162 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the contest, adding a 22-yard receiving touchdown as well.
Barkley finished 21-34 for 232 yards and three touchdowns.
The Sun Devils put up just 250 yards of total offense for its lowest total of the season. Its four turnovers on the game also matched a season-high.
The ASU defense had one of its bigger games of the year, forcing a season-high five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) but they were on the field nearly 13 minutes longer than an ASU offense that just couldn't get anything going in the second half.
ASU got on the board first for the ninth time in 10 games this season, taking advantage of a Lee fumble on the Trojans' first drive of the game that spotted ASU the ball on the USC 38-yard line.
Up 7-0, a blown coverage by the Sun Devil defense opened up the field for an 80-yard catch-and-run by Lee following an ASU punt to even things up at seven apiece with 1:36 left in the first quarter.
The Sun Devils jumped back in front following a USC touchdown called off by a pass interference call that set up a 70-yard interception return by Alden Darby for his first career touchdown. It was the longest interception return for a touchdown since Troy Nolan took one back 100 yards to the house in 2008 against UCLA and put ASU up 14-7 with 11:15 left in the first half.
The Trojans would go on to knot things up on a methodical 13-play, 88-yard drive in 5:52 that was capped by a four-yard Barkley pass to Xavier Grimble to knot things at 14 heading into the half.
The Sun Devils return home next weekend, as they will take on the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, Nov. 17.