USC Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 8 Game vs. Colorado
For Trojan fans, trying to glean information about their team based on Saturday's game against Colorado is like trying to get your political views from a Doonesbury comic strip.
In other words, there isn't much to be learned.
Nonetheless, there were some very nice Trojan moments in this game, and although this one was over after the first five minutes, it did provide for some record-breaking stats for players who will go down in the annals of USC football lore.
This slideshow will look at the winners (many) and losers (not so much) from a game that was a mismatch from the start.
Now let's get started on this review of a game that the Trojans hope will act as a springboard for what they expect to be an undefeated second-half BCS run.
Loser: Leonard Williams (Defensive Tackle)
I am really stretching it here by calling young defensive tackle Leonard Williams a "loser" in this game, but, gosh, I have find something to complain about, right?
Williams, a true freshman who has been nothing short of marvelous this season, finally showed his youthful immaturity (at least for this game) by losing his temper and throwing a punch in a first-half scrum.
For his trouble, Williams was immediately ejected and given a stern lecture by his unit coach, Ed Orgeron.
The good thing is that Williams is a bright young man and he will learn from his mistake, but for this one game, he finds his way into the loser category.
Loser: USC Discipline
In what is becoming a weekly ritual, the Trojans once again found themselves the recipients of many a yellow-colored hanky.
One of the most heavily penalized teams in the nation, USC has made a habit of giving their opponents a decided advantage in that portion of the game, and against Colorado it was more of the same.
The Trojans had 90 yards of penalties, as opposed to the Buffs, who were ticketed for 46.
Included among the infractions were the aforementioned ejection of Leonard Williams and, for the second week in a row, his defensive tackle cohort, George Uko, received an unsportsmanlike penalty as well.
I guess if you are looking for a silver lining, the Trojans finally made it to under double digits for total penalties (first time in weeks),but only just barely, with nine.
This won't do against the quality teams USC has coming up.
Winner: Trojan Defense
Okay, it was against the hapless Buffs, who couldn't get out of their own way, but anytime a team is held without a touchdown and you force six turnovers, you have had a pretty good day defensively.
And it wasn't just the usual cast of starters responsible for the gaudy stats, either.
While the first-team defense carried the day early, it was the reserves who put up the flashy numbers in terms of stats, as guys like defensive end Kevin Greene (two sacks, two fumbles recovered and one forced), safety Drew McAllister (one fumble recovered and an interception) and linebacker Will Andrew (one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery) all had their moments.
Throw in interceptions from Gerald Bowman and Tony Burnett, among other heroics provided by the backups, and it is easy to see why Monte Kiffin and his defensive staff were all smiles Saturday.
Winner: Lane Kiffin
Talk about going to extremes...
One week after Lane Kiffin was criticized for only throwing 20 times against Washington, he did an about-face and limited his primary running backs, Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal, to six carries, three each.
Whatever. The important thing for fans of the Men of Troy is that for the first time this season, it felt like the high-powered offense USC promised for 2012 was finally delivered.
The game stats (458 total yards) don't really reflect the offensive domination, as the Trojans only ran a total of 48 plays (the Buffs ran 85), but when you average 9.5 yards per play, you don't need a lot of them to destroy your opponent.
Kiffin dialed up the passing game often, and while it was the players who executed, it was their coach who gave them the opportunity to do so.
And although he has suffered the barbs of derision for his team's offensive woes in 2012, Kiffin should be credited when they do well.
Even if it was against a team that is the doormat for the conference.
Winner: Robert Woods
On a day when Trojan records toppled like dominoes, wide receiver Robert Woods set a big one of his own.
With eight receptions for 132 yards and four touchdowns, Woods not only became USC's all-time receptions leader, but he also did it with style.
Finally looking like the receiver who hauled in 111 passes in 2011, Woods simply could not be stopped, as he and his quarterback Matt Barkley played pitch-and-catch for the two-and-a-half quarters they played.
It's not often that a receiver like Marqise Lee and his 100-plus yards receiving in a game are relegated to an afterthought, yet that is what Woods accomplished Saturday.
Winner: Matt Barkley
You think Matt Barkley likes playing quarterback against Colorado?
With six more touchdowns thrown Saturday against the Buffs, Barkley now has thrown for 12 over the last two seasons against the Buffaloes.
Along the way, Barkley broke fellow Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart's previous record of 99, which was also the Pac-12 mark for scoring strikes.
And, man, was he efficient. Like 19 passes completed in 20 attempts efficient.
That productivity allowed him to set a couple of Pac-12 records as well.
Two-hundred-and-ninety-eight yards later, his day ended when his coach called off the dogs and put in Barkley's backups for their first meaningful moments of 2012.
But not before No. 7 took his place among the legendary Trojans, right where he belongs:
At No. 1.