It was just like old times.
USC won its third straight game of the season, defeating the Syracuse Orange 38-17. USC, trailing for the first time in the season after a field goal by Syracuse kicker Ross Krautman, managed to rebound and respond with 24 unanswered points.
Senior running back Marc Tyler was named the starting tailback before game time and had 15 carries for 41 yards, while adding three receptions for 46 yards.
Tyler made his 2011 season debut for the Trojans last week against Pac-12 opponent Utah. In his two starts, Tyler has a combined total of 39 carries, 154 yards, one touchdown and four receptions for 65 yards.
“We went with Marc early on because we knew Syracuse would play tough against the run,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “Marc is an asset in pass protection and that was a big part of our game as we went with the vertical pass game tonight.”
Despite not seeing consistent playing time in the first two games, junior tailback Curtis McNeal managed to make the most of his opportunity against Syracuse. McNeal had five carries for 79 yards for the Trojans.
“Curtis McNeal is the real neat story of the day,” Kiffin said. “He ran well and made plays on special teams.”
Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib started 11-for-11 in the first quarter for 74 yards.
After the first quarter, however, Nassib was just 14-of-26, finishing 25-of-37 for 230 yards.
“It took some time for us to adjust to the formations that they were coming out in,” senior linebacker Chris Galippo said. “[Syracuse] showed some stuff they hadn’t used against anyone else.”
With his first 11 completions, Nassib had completed 22 consecutive passes in a row, dating back to the Rhode Island game. He fell four passes shy of the FBS record of 26 completed passes in a row, held by then-California quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
With 25 completions, Nassib now has 312 in his career at Syracuse and becomes the seventh Orange quarterback to complete at least 300 passes.
USC junior quarterback Matt Barkley tied a school record by throwing five touchdown passes in a single game. Barkley had previously tied the record last season against Hawaii and California. Barkley threw for 324 yards, and all his touchdown passes went to five different receivers.
Sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods, freshman wide receiver Marqise Lee, redshirt freshman tight end Randall Telfer, senior fullback Rhett Ellison and freshman tight end Xavier Grimble all added touchdowns for the Trojans.
Telfer’s 44-yard touchdown catch was the first of his career.
“I already knew what the offense was going to be, where the quarterback was going to place the ball,” Telfer said. “Once the ball was snapped, I just had to catch the ball.”
Unlike the two previous games, where the USC defense had to close out the game, the Trojans did not have to be concerned about a potential game-winning field goal.
“This is great momentum [for us] coming into the Arizona State game,” sophomore cornerback Nickell Robey said. “We just got to focus on the mistakes that we have, clean them up in practice and come out for another great week.”