USC Overcomes 'Weird' Day to Knock Off Syracuse
To hear USC players tell it, the theme of Saturday’s 42-29 win over Syracuse was “weird.”
Instead of playing on campus at Syracuse, the game was played at MetLife Stadium just outside New York City, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets.
Attendance in the 82,566-seat stadium was sparse to say the least. The official paid attendance was 39,507, and the actual attendance was probably much less.
Then there was a 65-minute weather delay just after halftime due to severe thunderstorms passing through the area. Football is almost always played through the rain, but it was the threat of lightning that forced stadium officials to halt the game.
Regardless of all the oddities, the Trojans eventually managed to put together an impressive showing in front of the NYC fans.
Scoreless after the first quarter, USC quickly ended the deadlock in the second. Taking advantage of a short field and three consecutive Curtis McNeal rushes of four, 16 and 22 yards respectively, the Trojans found themselves in the red zone for the first time. On the very next play, Matt Barkley found Marqise Lee for a 13 yard touchdown.
That scoring drive covered 55 yards over four plays in 1:31. The next was almost the opposite.
Using an impressive balance of run and pass, USC drove to the Orange 29, where Barkley found Robert Woods for a 29 yard score.
Syracuse managed a field goal before halftime to enter the break down 14-3, and after being held up for the weather to pass both offenses exploded.
Linebacker Dion Bailey snagged his second interception of the day on Syracuse’s first drive of the second half, and the offense did its part, with a four yard pass to Robert Woods on third and goal to give USC a 21-3 lead.
With Matt Barkley’s first interception of the season sandwiched between a Syracuse touchdown and a field goal, the Orange cut the lead to 21-16 at the end of the third.
But Barkley responded, hitting Xavier Grimble from 22 yards for his fourth touchdown of the day.
Robert Woods then took the first play of the Trojans next drive 76 yards on an end around to the Orange four, then Barkley found Lee from there to put USC up 35-16.
Not done yet, Barkley found Lee one final time to tie his school record with six passing touchdowns in one game, cementing the Trojans 42-29 win.