Today’s Pac-12 matchup between the #11 USC Trojans and the Colorado Buffaloes shouldn’t be a close one – if both teams play to their abilities, USC should win big – but it could be a record-breaking day for two USC players.
Senior quarterback Matt Barkley needs just three touchdown passes to match the school and Pac-12 career touchdown record set by former Trojan Matt Leinart. With 96 career touchdown passes, Barkley would need four to set a new record against Colorado. The USC offense hasn’t been quite as pass-happy as it was last season, but that mark is still well within reach for Barkley, who threw a school-record six touchdown passes against Colorado last season.
If Barkley ties or breaks that record against the Buffaloes, he’ll probably get some help from junior wide receiver Robert Woods, who’s within reach of setting a school record of his own. Woods has 212 career receptions, four shy of the USC record set by Dwayne Jarrett. Woods hasn’t been targeted as much this season as he was in the last two years, but the Barkley to Woods connection should be strong today with both players so close to adding their names to the record books.
They couldn’t ask for a better opponent than the Buffaloes’ when they’re aiming to set new marks for offense. Colorado’s scoring defense is the worst in the nation, and their passing defense is in the bottom 20. As long as USC can keep Barkley on his feet, they should roll over the Buffaloes at home, but protecting the quarterback has been a challenge for the Trojans’ offensive line at times this season.
Barkley has been sacked eight times this season, matching his total for all of 2011. The left tackle spot has been an issue since Matt Kalil left for the NFL, and both Aundrey Walker and Max Tuerk are expected to play against Colorado. They’ll have their hands full with CU defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe, who is in the top 20 in the nation with six sacks.