Virginia Falls Short at No. 16 Southern Cal, 17-14

Sept. 12, 2010

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  • LOS ANGELES (AP) -Matt Barkley threw first-half touchdown passes to Jordan Cameron and Brandon Carswell, and No. 16 Southern California hung on for a 17-14 victory over Virginia on Saturday night in Lane Kiffin's home head coaching debut.

    Barkley passed for 202 yards for the Trojans (2-0), who struggled offensively for long stretches in their first game at the Coliseum since the program was hit with serious NCAA sanctions.

    USC also committed 13 penalties for 140 yards in front of a subdued crowd, giving them 24 penalties in Kiffin's first two games.

    But the Trojans' defense mostly smothered Virginia (1-1) just one week after yielding 588 yards to Hawaii, and USC recovered a late onside kick to seal it.

    Keith Payne rushed for a score and Marc Verica threw a TD pass to Kris Burd with 4 seconds left in the Cavaliers' first game in California.

    The late-starting, slow-paced game ended at nearly 2 a.m. Charlottesville time for Virginia, which missed two field goals. Verica went 17 for 36 and threw a first-quarter interception in the USC end zone.

    Both teams made costly mistakes in the first half. After Verica's end-zone pass was intercepted by T.J. McDonald, USC's Ronald Johnson caught a 47-yard scoring pass early in the second quarter - but it was erased by a holding penalty on Tyron Smith.

    Star Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling warmed up and was in uniform, but sat out his second straight game with a hamstring injury. After 26 scoreless minutes, the Trojans finally went after Dowling's replacements, with freshman Robert Woods catching two passes before Cameron's 4-yard scoring grab in the back of the end zone 3:43 before halftime.

    Virginia immediately answered with a 69-yard scoring drive capped by Payne's dive into the end zone 2 1/2 minutes later. But USC kept throwing, and Barkley found Carswell among three defenders for another score with 1 second left before halftime. Carswell nearly transferred from USC after the NCAA sanctions but Kiffin begged him to stay.

    After a scoreless third quarter, USC went up by 10 points on Joe Houston's 34-yard field goal with 5:52 left. Virginia finally got moving with the help of more USC penalties, but couldn't score until Burd's late TD catch.

    Touted freshman Dillon Baxter debuted with the USC offense after being suspended for the opener for violating team rules. Baxter, a three-position skill player in high school, shook off early jitters to rush for 49 yards.