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USC Vs. Colorado: Matt Barkley Climbing Touchdown Leaderboard, Trojans Lead At Halftime 28-10

Matt Barkley has thrown four first-half touchdown passes to three different receivers, leading the USC Trojans to a 28-10 halftime lead over the Colorado Buffaloes at halftime at Folsom Field in Boulder. Barkley began the quarter by finding freshman tight end Xavier Grimble in the back of the end zone for a five-yard score. Then with 7:02 remaining in the half Barkley lofted a 15-yard touchdown to Robert Woods.

Marqise Lee, who caught a touchdown from Barkley in the first quarter, was three steps behind the defense on what would have been a 51-yard touchdown pass from Barkley but Lee bobbled, then dropped it. But Barkley went right back to Lee two plays later for a 25-yard strike over a Colorado secondary looking like it is running in molasses.

Lee had seven catches for 103 yards in the first half, and two touchdowns.

Barkley completed 17 of 27 passes in the first half for 195 yards, and one interception. He could be on his way to a record-setting season for the Trojans, having already climbed to eighth place on the single-season touchdown passing list, tied with...himself.

USC Single Season Touchdown Passing Leaders
Player Year Games Comp% Yards TD Int
Matt Leinart 2003 13 63.4% 3,556 38 9
Mark Sanchez 2008 13 65.8% 3,207 34 10
Carson Palmer 2002 13 63.2% 3,942 33 10
Matt Leinart 2004 13 65.3% 3,322 33 6
Rob Johnson 1993 13 68.6% 3,630 29 6
John David Booty 2006 13 61.7% 3,347 29 9
Matt Leinart 2005 13 65.7% 3,815 28 8
Matt Barkley 2011* 9 67.0% 2,485 26 6
Matt Barkley 2010 12 62.6% 2,791 26 12
*through one half Friday night

Barkley co-holds the school record with five touchdown passes in a single game, something he has done three times. Might that record fall in the second half?

The Trojans' defense made a big improvement from their opening drive, perhaps motivated by defensive line coach Ed Orgeron busting a dry erase board trying to "motivate" his squad during the first quarter. The Buffaloes marched 69 yards on six plays for a touchdown on their opening drive, but managed just 31 yards on 15 plays on their next four drives.

Colorado did manage what looked like a scoring drive midway through the second quarter, but tight end Rhett Ellison, all 6'5" of him, blocked a 31-yard field goal attempt.

For more on the Trojans, head over to Conquest Chronicles.