Nov. 13, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Marc Tyler barely practiced last week because of an injured ankle, then put on a workhorse performance befitting the great Southern California tailbacks of years gone by.
Tyler, who said his workouts last week were limited to "a little bit on Thursday," ran for 160 yards on 31 carries, both career highs, and Southern California climbed into a tie with Arizona for third in the Pac-10 with a 24-21 victory over the 18th-ranked Wildcats on Saturday night.
"I don't think I've ever carried the ball over 30 times," Tyler said, "in high school, Pop Warner, nothing."
The junior, son of former UCLA great Wendell Tyler, has three career 100-yard rushing games, all this season. He said he's finally learned to go "north and south" rather than trying to be fancy.
"I have problems at times of trying to make too many moves," Tyler said. "I think that's my dad's fault. He was real shifty so at times I try to make too many moves rather than just going north and south, but I'm getting better."
He said sitting out the practices helped him handle so many carries.
"I felt good. I had fresh legs," Tyler said. "But right now I feel horrible."
Matt Barkley passed for one touchdown and sneaked for another as the Trojans (7-3, 4-3 Pac-10) jumped ahead 14-0 and never relinquished the lead.
Arizona (7-3, 4-3) lost its second in a row and next plays at No. 1 Oregon. The Wildcats were blown out at Stanford 42-17 last weekend.
"Our inability to stop the run consistently hurt us," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. " ... Marc Tyler is great on the vertical push. He ran well all night, and some of that can be attributed to our lack of discipline. They pounded us pretty hard tonight, and we just have to get better."
USC, which won its sixth straight in Tucson, rushed for 206 yards and had the ball almost 15 minutes longer than the Wildcats did. Foles completed 32 of 48 with no interceptions in his second start after missing two games with a knee injury. Barkley was 21 of 35 for 170 yards with one interception.
"Our offensive line has taken a lot of criticism, especially from me, but we ran behind them for 200 yards and they didn't give up a sack," Lane Kiffin said after what had to be his most satisfying victory in his first season as coach of the sanction-strapped Trojans.
Neither team punted in the first half as USC took a 21-14 lead.
Barkley and Foles each completed 13 of their first 15 passes, but a fumble by the Arizona quarterback and a missed 34-yard field goal by the Wildcats' Alex Zendejas paved the way for an early 14-0 Trojans lead.
Arizona, which used an Oregon-style, hurry-up offense throughout, went 80 yards in nine plays to cut it to 14-7, Foles throwing five yards to David Douglas for the score.
The Trojans then used up almost nine minutes with a 17-play, 66-yard drive that ended with Tyler's 3-yard touchdown run to put USC ahead 21-7 with 3:43 left in the half.
With the drive stalled at the Arizona 11, the USC field goal team went on the field, but Mitch Mustain took the snap from center and threw to Jordan Cameron for the first down. Tyler scored two plays later on a 3-yard run.
Arizona quickly drove for a touchdown before the half ended.
Foles threw 31 yards to Travis Cobb for a touchdown to cap another 80-yard scoring drive and slice the lead to 21-14 with 1:24 left.
The Wildcats forced the game's first punt on the opening possession of the second half. With a couple of big third-down catches by Juron Criner, Arizona drove to the Trojans 19, but Douglas fumbled at the 15 and Shareece Wright recovered for USC.
The Trojans used up another 6 1/2 minutes driving to the Arizona 13, where Joe Houston's 30-yard field goal boosted the lead to 24-14 with 3:35 left in the third.
The Wildcats were in a hole in a hurry.
After Zendejas' miss on Arizona's opening possession, Barkley went 5-for-5 on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with his 1-yard sneak for the score.
Arizona kept the ball for just four plays after the subsequent kickoff when Wright sacked Foles, who fumbled and USC's DaJohn Harris recovered at the Wildcats 22, setting up Barkley's 7-yard TD pass to Rhett Ellison to put the Trojans ahead 14-0 with 1:34 still left in the opening quarter.