Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Despite receiver Marqise Lee’s record-setting efforts, the USC Trojans fell to Arizona on Saturday, with their second loss ending any remaining national title aspirations. Lee had a monster day, breaking both the USC and Pac-12 single-game records for receiving yards, with 16 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns, but he left the field in tears after failing to catch Matt Barkley’s Hail Mary pass as time expired. He put the blame on himself for not catching the ball, but he’s the last Trojan who should be held responsible for the loss. It starts at the top, with head coach/offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s questionable play-calling. Once the Trojans took the lead, he played not to lose, rather than to build the lead and win resoundingly. The Wildcats had no answer – none – for Lee, yet his number was barely called in the second half of the game. The receiver reportedly received an IV at halftime, but he was still in the game; Barkley just wasn’t throwing to him. When they did target Lee, the play calls weren’t what they needed. At one point, early in the fourth quarter, when the Trojans had fourth and two, they went with Lee on a bizarre reverse that resulted in a gain of one yard. The Trojans turned the ball over on downs and Arizona’s next possession resulted in a Ka’Deem Carey touchdown run to give the Wildcats the lead. Many of the better play calls simply were not executed well. Though he threw for 493 yards and four touchdowns, Barkley looked off much of the game. On the Trojans’ first series, he threw two consecutive passes that were almost intercepted, and the next one, which hit off Lee’s hands, was instead snagged by Arizona’s Marquis Flowers, which ultimately put the Wildcats up, 7-0. He also missed a wide open Robert Woods on what would have been a sure touchdown in the third quarter, the only play Kiffin admitted he’d like to have back. There were a lot of penalty flags the Trojans would like back, though. USC is now the most-penalized team in college football. The lack of discipline all season has been utterly appalling, and despite Kiffin’s weekly halftime declarations that they’re going to get it fixed, it’s still a huge problem that has absolutely been a factor in USC’s disappointing performances this season. The Wildcats actually had even more penalty yards than USC this week – fourteen penalties for 129 yards, compared to the Trojans’ thirteen for 117 yards – but the flags on USC, including two personal fouls called on safety T.J. McDonald, often kept Arizona scoring drives alive. It was clear before this weekend that the Trojans had a lot of work to do if they wanted to get back into the national title picture. One loss to Stanford wasn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but in hard-fought wins over Syracuse, Washington, and Utah, the Trojans did not impress. They didn’t look sharp enough on offense or disciplined enough overall to pull off what would certainly be tough victories over Oregon and Notre Dame, the kinds of wins that would impress the BCS and improve their standings, but the kind of wins this year’s team is not playing well enough to get. The Trojans can still get to a Rose Bowl, which would be a wonderful accomplishment for a team that’s been banned from the postseason for the last two years. Their last trip to a bowl game was to the Emerald Bowl, and representing the conference in the Grandaddy of Them All is always a huge honor. If USC wants to get to Pasadena on New Year’s Day, though, they must do a better job of effectively using their ridiculously talented players, and they absolutely cannot continue to give up major yards on stupid, senseless penalties. The Oregon Ducks travel to Los Angeles this weekend. The Trojans have entirely too much work to do to get ready for them.  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

UNC to honor Coach K's 1,000 wins prior to game with Duke

Peterson’s dad: Vikings are trying to inflate trade value

Joint with Aaron Hernandez’s DNA found at murder scene

Report: Lynch agrees to new contract with Seahawks

Marques Colston restructures contract, will remain with Saints

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Syracuse loses scholarships, vacates 108 wins, on probation

Bryce Harper on Nationals: ‘People want to see us fail’

Gary Bettman on shootouts: 'Fans like the way the game is'

Indianapolis Colts to part ways with Reggie Wayne

Report: Jets to release Percy Harvin

NFL teams shed Top 5 salaries, eye free agency

WATCH: Hawks pregame tribute to Dominique Wilkins

Bucs cheerleaders win $825K in lawsuit with team

Small conference tourneys: this weekend of madness

NFL Draft prospect decapitated a Sports Science dummy

Jeanie Buss says Lakers will celebrate Kobe’s 20th season

Winners and losers in the Brandon Marshall trade

Photo of plane by Giants' Larry Donnell in NY Times

WATCH: Matt Harvey looked fantastic for the Mets on Friday

Timeline of Yankee captains

Reggie Miller shares great Jordan trash talking story

Winston's film vs. Oregon is why scouts love him

Ndamukong Suh: Show him the money

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Hawks tribute to Nique

Small conference tourneys: this weekend of madness

Winners, losers in Marshall trade

Timeline of Yankee captains

Reggie Miller shares great MJ story

Ndamukong Suh: Show him the money

Winston's film vs. Oregon is why scouts love him

Report: Jets acquire Brandon Marshall

With Pence out, Giants have options

Analyzing the top-five free agent QBs

NBA players set to make biggest impact

Larry Bird trash talks Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.