After big performances against Hawaii and Syracuse to start the season, Matt Barkley has struggled in his last two games against Stanford and Cal.
But USC's leader under center will get back on track against Utah on Saturday.
In the 21-14 loss to Stanford in Week 3, Barkley went 20-of-41 for 254 yards (6.2 yards per attempt) while tossing two interceptions. And while the Trojans beat a lesser opponent in Cal in Week 4, 27-6, it wasn't primarily because of Barkley. It was because USC rushed for 296 yards and a touchdown and forced two turnovers of its own.
Barkley went 22-of-34 for 192 yards (5.6 yards per attempt) while tossing two touchdowns to two interceptions in that game.
After throwing just one interception in his first two matchups this season, Barkley has posted four interceptions in his last two games. For a player widely considered to be the best quarterback in the country before the season (and the best NFL quarterback prospect), this has certainly been out of character for the senior.
The good news for Barkley is that his upcoming opponent, Utah, has allowed 6.9 yards per attempt (62nd in the nation) and seven passing touchdowns (tied for 60th) this season. That includes allowing Arizona State sophomore Taylor Kelly to go 19-of-26 for 326 yards and three touchdowns two weeks ago.
At some point, you have to think Barkley will get back to business after his spectacular season in 2011, and he's set up to excel against the Utes on Saturday. Don't forget that he tossed 39 touchdowns last season (third in the nation), while getting picked off just seven times.
Barkley has hit a little bump in the road, but USC fans can rest assured that he will pick things up against Utah before the Trojans' matchup against No. 23 Washington.