After a sloppy and sluggish first half in which USC committed seven penalties for 65 yards, the Trojans offense came alive late in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead over Virginia at halftime.
USC scored first, thanks to a four-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley to Jordan Cameron with 3:54 remaining in the first half. On their ensuing drive, the Cavaliers marched down the field on a six-play, 69-yard drive, culminating in a six-yard rushing touchdown by Keith Payne to tie the score at 7-7 with 1:24 remaining.
However, Barkley led USC on a scrambling touchdown drive, aided by a late hit penalty on Virginia. Barkley rolled right and found Brandon Carswell for the go-ahead touchdown with just one second remaining in the first half, to take a 14-7 lead.
Barkley finished the first half with 148 yards on 14-for-21 passing and two scores.
Virginia kicker Robert Randolph missed a 45-yard field goal in the first quarter.