=== 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
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
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
"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
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
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
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.
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