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                  === McNeal lifts USC over Arizona State ===
 
 Los  Angeles,  CA (Sports Network)  - Curtis McNeal  scored twice in the third
 quarter  to  lead 21st-ranked Southern California  to a 38-17 win over Arizona
 State.
 
 Matt   Barkley   passed  for  222   yards  with  three  touchdowns  and  three
 interceptions  as  he went  20-for-33 for  the Trojans  (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12), who
 snapped a two-game slide.
 
 McNeal  finished the game with 31 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns and
 also had a 22-yard touchdown catch in the win.
 
 USC  sits one-half game back of UCLA for the top spot in the South Division of
 the  Pac-12  after the Bruins  downed Washington  State on Saturday. UCLA will
 host USC next Saturday.
 
 "We  did make  sure that everybody knew  where we were at, what was at stake,"
 USC  coach  Lane Kiffin said.  "Really, we were in  a two-game playoff for the
 Pac-12  South. We know what our standards are, so we understood what we had to
 do."
 
 Taylor Kelly went 19-for-30 with 174 yards and a touchdown, but was picked off
 three  times for  the Sun Devils (5-5,  3-4), who have dropped their past four
 games.
 
 "The  defense gave us  an opportunity, but the offense has got to pick it up,"
 Arizona  State offensive  lineman Evan  Finkenberg  said. "I  think it's  just
 personal  pride. We've  got a lot of seniors  on this team and we want to send
 them out the right way."
 
 ASU  took  a three-point lead on  its first touch  of the third quarter as Jon
 Mora hit a 28-yard field goal for a 17-14 advantage. The score was set up when
 Barkley was intercepted by Carl Bradford on the first play of the half.
 
 USC got the ball back near midfield after a poor kickoff and McNeal took over.
 He  carried the ball  five times for 36 yards and the fifth carry saw him find
 the  end  zone from five yards  out for a 21-17  lead with 8:49 to play in the
 third.
 
 Arizona  State went for  it on a 4th-and-1 at the USC 39, but Kelly was sacked
 for nine yards and the Trojans again took over with excellent field position.
 
 The team covered the 52 yards in nine plays with McNeal taking it into the end
 zone  on  a 22-yard catch from  Barkley for a  28-17 lead with just 19 seconds
 left in the third.
 
 An Andre Heidari 26-yard field goal gave the Trojans a 31-17 lead with 5:08 to
 play.
 
 A series of three turnovers occurred over four snaps with Lamar Dawson capping
 the mistakes with a pickoff of Kelly. That saw the team put the game away with
 a 27-yard TD run by McNeal.
 
 Arizona  State's  second possession of the  game was a successful one as Kelly
 hit  Chris  Coyle for a  34-yard score for  a 7-0 lead  with 10:51 left in the
 first quarter.
 
 The  score  stayed that way  until late in the  first quarter when USC started
 with  the ball at it's own 20. On the first play, Barkley hit Marqise Lee with
 a pass and he raced down the left sideline for an 80-yard score.
 
 The  Sun Devils  took the lead thanks  to the defense in the second quarter as
 Alden Darby picked off a Barkley pass and raced into the end zone on a 70-yard
 score for a 14-7 lead with 11:15 left in the first half.
 
 USC,  though,  was able  to tie  the game late  in the  frame when Barkley and
 Xavier Grimble got together on a 4-yard score with 35 seconds to play.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Arizona  State hosts Washington  State next week ... USC holds a 19-10 lead in
 the  series ...  USC finished the game  with 225 yards on the ground while ASU
 had 71 ... Lee finished the game with 10 catches for 161 yards.
 
 11/11 03:07:42 ET