The Trojans defense held off the Virginia Cavaliers Saturday at the Coliseum, 17-14, as USC won its second game of the season and the home debut of head coach Lane Kiffin; But Kiffin isn’t in the celebrating mood.
"(That's) probably the most miserable 2-0 locker room I've ever been in," said Kiffin after the game. "Which is good. Our players understand we have to play much better. But we're extremely disappointed with our performance."
USC committed 13 penalties for 140 yards, including two costly personal fouls on the final drive of the game allowing the Cavaliers an opportunity to score a late touchdown to close the deficit to three.
However, the Trojans dodged a serious bullet as the Cavaliers turned the ball over in the red zone once and missed two field goals.
The “bend don’t break” defense bounced back after last weeks performance in which Hawaii’s offense gained 588 yards in total offense. The Trojans thrived against the stagnant pro-style offense the Cavaliers ran which lacked the creativity of Hawaii’s run and shoot.
The Trojans defense held the Cavaliers to just 4 of 15 on third downs but gave up 340 total yards for the game. The Cavaliers’ running backs Perry Jones and Keith Payne gained 77 and 57 yards respectively. The defense also forced one turnover.
Matt Barkley followed up a record-setting performance with a night of inconsistency. Barkley was 20 for 35 passing, threw for 202 yards and had two touchdowns. Marc Tyler carried the load in the running game gaining 67 yards while freshman Dillion Baxter added 49 yards in his season debut before a subdued and non-sellout crowd.
With the win, USC stretches its streak to 13 straight home openers.
The Trojans (2-0, 0-0 Pac-10) head to Minnesota next week to play the Golden Gophers (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) who are coming off an embarrassing loss to South Dakota, a FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) team. The Trojans are currently ranked #16 in the AP Top 25 Poll.