Barner rushes for 321 yards, five TDs as Ducks stop USC
LOS ANGELES – Kenjon Barner knew it was his last chance to play back home in Southern California with dozens of friends and family members in the Coliseum stands, all of them waiting for something special.
The Oregon tailback had a little something for them, all right – and with plenty of help he kept the No. 2 Ducks on track in the national title race.
Barner ran for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns, Marcus Mariota threw four TD passes, and Oregon produced another landmark offensive performance in a 62-51 victory over No. 18 Southern California on Saturday night.
Barner celebrated every touchdown with vigor, although the Riverside, Calif., native playfully refused to talk about what he might have shouted to the Trojans’ dismayed fans.
Oregon (9-0, 6-0 Pac-12) racked up 730 yards and 62 points – the most allowed by USC, which began playing football in 1888.
“Well, I’m from L.A., so it means a lot,” Barner said with a shrug. “We know we have an exceptional offense, but this was a great test for us to have to play four quarters and fight to the end. We’re going to benefit from this in the long run. As a competitor, you want to be in a great game if you can.”
The teams combined for the third-highest scoring game involving ranked teams in the 76-year history of the AP poll. The ones ahead of it also came this year, with West Virginia beating Baylor 70-63 and Texas A&M topping Louisiana Tech 59-57.
Barner, a product of Riverside, Calif., set a rushing record for a USC opponent by the third quarter, topping Curtis Enis’ 241 yards for Penn State in 1996, and smashed LaMichael James’ Oregon record shortly afterward.
He didn’t get his usual late-game break, either: With Matt Barkley and his receivers shredding Oregon’s defense, the Ducks’ offense stood up to its first late-game pressure of the season.
“We’re built for that, though,” said Mariota, who went 20 of 23 for 304 yards without an interception. “We go through a lot of conditioning, and we’re always ready to play four quarters. This was a good test for us.”
Josh Huff caught two TD passes, and De’Anthony Thomas and Daryl Hawkins also scored as the Ducks outlasted USC in a back-and-forth second half to extend their winning streak to 12 games since the Trojans (6-3, 4-3) won in Eugene last season.
Barkley passed for 484 yards and four touchdowns while hitting Marqise Lee with 12 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans, who have lost two straight after a 6-1 start.
Barkley contained any frustration he might feel about USC’s defense, which never slowed down Oregon.
“We’ve done a great job moving the ball since the beginning of the season, and we’ve just got to do a better job putting the ball in the end zone,” Barkley said.
Oregon, which is likely to move up in the BCS standings after this win and Notre Dame’s narrow victory, had won every game this season by at least 17 points.
“We haven’t lost a road game since Nov. 7, 2009, and I think that’s because we don’t make a big deal of it,” Oregon coach Chip Kelly said.
© Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.