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Stanford's final hit is to USC title hopes

STANFORD, Calif. — Matt Barkley took numerous shots Saturday, but none as big as the hit USC's postseason hopes took in a 21-14 loss at Stanford.

USC went from No. 2 to 13 in the Associated Press poll released Sunday, and the Cardinal moved up 12 spots to No. 9.

A fourth straight loss to Stanford does not end USC's national title aspirations, particularly since it still plays highly ranked Oregon, and Bark­ley can keep alive hopes for a Heisman, which is usually won with great games in November.

But the defeat ended a tumultuous week for USC, which began with coach Lane Kiffin trying, and failing, to ban Los Angeles Daily News writer Scott Wolf because Wolf reported that kicker Andre Heidari was scheduled to have knee surgery. Kiffin said Wolf violated a team policy in the way he obtained the information, but Kiffin's bosses overruled him.

"This isn't the end of the world," Kiffin said of the loss.

After the game, Barkley lowered his head and struggled to find words.

"We were prepared, they played better, they outplayed us," he said.

Was he surprised to be shut out in the second half, outscored 14-0? "No.''

His thoughts on a final drive that ended on a fourth-and-40 incompletion? "Disappointing.''

Stanford coach David Shaw said the game plan was to make the Trojans throw the ball.

"That sounds crazy," he said, "to put it in the hands of that quarterback and those receivers, but we knew we could play smart, sound football and keep those receivers in front of us and rally to the ball and make tackles."

LSU took USC's spot in the polls, trailing Alabama and setting up a possible undefeated matchup Nov. 3 in Baton Rouge, La. LSU has the tougher schedule before that game, including Florida and South Carolina.

Nebraska: Coach Bo Pelini returned to work a day after he was taken to a hospital during a game against Arkansas State for precautionary tests. His symptoms were not revealed.

Notre Dame: Safety Jamoris Slaughter (torn left Achilles tendon) is out for the season.

Late Saturday

UCLA 37, HOUSTON 6: Redshirt freshman Brett Hundley passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns and Sheldon Price tied a school record with three of the host Bruins' five interceptions. Johnathan Franklin moved into second place on UCLA's career rushing list with 3,210 yards. Gaston Green gained 3,731 yards from 1984-87.

texas 66, mississippi 31: David Ash threw for a career-high 326 yards and four touchdowns and the visiting Longhorns gained 676 yards. It was the most points given up by the Rebels since 1917.

UTAH 24, BYU 21: The host Utes won when the Cougars missed two last-second field goals. The first kick, a 51-yarder by Justin Sorensen with one second left, was blocked, but Utah was penalized 15 yards when fans rushed the field. Then Riley Stephenson's 36-yarder hit the left upright.

ARIZONA 56, S.C. STate 0: Matt Scott accounted for 349 total yards and four touchdowns in three quarters and the host Sun Devils had a school-record 43 first downs.

Stanford's final hit is to USC title hopes 09/16/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 16, 2012 11:32pm]

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