By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times
Matt Barkley was mad on Saturday and still angry on Sunday.
But after coming to terms with Oregon's dominating victory over USC -- his first loss as the Trojans' starting quarterback -- Barkley has been his usual even-keel self while preparing for the Trojans' final road game, at Arizona State.
"Those losses are humbling," Barkley said Tuesday. "It makes you realize you've got to come back and work harder and really be better than everyone else."
Barkley did not play in USC's defeat at Washington on Sept. 19, but he was at the controls of an offense that generated only three points in the second half of USC's 47-20 defeat at Oregon's Autzen Stadium.
"People can say that [Oregon] scored as many points as they did, and that it was our defense, but in reality . . . we didn't control the ball in the second half and made it harder on our defense," Barkley said.
After completing 16 of 22 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against the Ducks, Barkley was five for 16 for 49 yards with an interception in the final two quarters.
"We just kind of got out of our groove," Barkley said. "We didn't really have a rhythm going."
Barkley and the Trojans hope to recapture an offensive flow Saturday against Arizona State, USC's sixth road opponent in nine games.
Another raucous crowd is expected, but that will be nothing new for Barkley.
The 106,000 Ohio State fans who crammed Ohio Stadium in September were louder than the record crowd of nearly 60,000 that rocked Autzen Stadium last week, according to the freshman.
"They brought it though," Barkley said of Oregon's fans. "You could definitely feel the energy."
Coach Pete Carroll said the Trojans would never play a more challenging road schedule than this season's. The experience is expected to serve Barkley well.
"There were enormous opportunities for him to grow and he has," Carroll said.
Tailbacks Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford did not participate in most of practice because of knee soreness, so C.J. Gable and Curtis McNeal shared first-team snaps.
Despite starting every regular-season game in 2008, Gable has been buried on the depth chart since fumbling in the regular-season finale against UCLA and the Rose Bowl against Penn State.
If McKnight or Bradford remain sidelined, Gable could finally get an opportunity.
"He's been waiting and he's done a great job of being patient," Carroll said. "I don't mind him being frustrated, I think he should be, the kind of guy he is and the kind of competitor that he is.
"I hope he gets the chance to jump in there and play some more in really critical situations because he can answer that call. He's done it for years and I know he can now."
Linebacker Malcolm Smith (shoulder) will not play Saturday. Shane Horton is expected to start in his place. Receiver David Ausberry (leg) and safety Drew McAllister (hip) also are out. . . . Defensive end Everson Griffen (toe) did not practice but was cleared to play. . . . Tight end Anthony McCoy (ankle) is expected to receive a customized brace today, but he remains questionable along with defensive lineman Nick Perry (shoulder) and linebacker Jarvis Jones (neck). . . . Safety Taylor Mays is a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's top college defensive back.
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