Lee leads No. 18 USC's 40-17 rout of Washington
LOS ANGELES—Marqise Lee caught a touchdown pass and returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a score, and Curtis McNeal had a 79-yard TD sprint among his career-high 148 yards rushing in No. 18 Southern California's 40-17 victory over Washington on Saturday.
Matt Barkley passed for 174 yards and one touchdown while running for an early score for the Trojans (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12), who made sure the Huskies had no chance to beat them on a last-second field goal, as they did in each of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian's first two meetings with his former employer.
Marc Tyler also rushed for a score for the bowl-banned Trojans, who have won five of six heading into next weekend's trip to Oregon.
Keith Price passed for just 125 yards for Washington (6-4, 4-3) before leaving with an injured left knee in the third quarter of the Huskies' third loss in four weeks to Top-25 opponents.
Chris Polk rushed for a season-low 36 yards and a touchdown for the Huskies, who have lost to Stanford, Oregon and USC since their 5-1 start.
Sarkisian finally lost to the powerful Trojans, who employed him as an assistant coach to Pete Carroll for most of the past decade. Washington beat Carroll's final USC team and Lane Kiffin's first squad on two last-gasp field goals by Erik Folk, including a kick at the gun last year in the Coliseum.
But Kiffin's current team seems to get better every week down the stretch, culminating in this surprisingly one-sided win. USC took a 20-point halftime lead despite a rare quiet game from receiver Robert Woods, who had a season-low two catches -- one on a forward pitch -- for 5 yards.
Barkley also didn't need to do much after throwing a school-record six TD passes last week at Colorado. Barkley's offense outgained the Huskies 401-148 in the first three quarters.
Price went 12 for 16 for 125 yards -- his lowest total since the Huskies' season opener -- and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time all season. The sophomore from nearby Compton was shaken up repeatedly while getting sacked four times before he was replaced by Nick Montana.
Joe Montana's son threw his first career TD pass with 13 seconds to play, hitting Kasen Williams with a 20-yard fade.
Kiffin had the jump on Sarkisian, his longtime friend and co-offensive coordinator at USC for several seasons, from the opening minutes.
After Barkley scored the Trojans' first points on a sneak, USC went up 14-3 on Tyler's short TD run to cap an 80-yard drive highlighted by punter Kyle Negrete's 35-yard run up the middle on a picture-perfect fake. Tyler had barely played the past two weeks while recovering from a shoulder injury.
A penalty, a catch overturned by video review and a terrible shotgun snap then resulted in a safety when USC's Devon Kennard sacked Price in the end zone. USC fielded the ensuing punt and marched down for another score, with McNeal's steady runs setting up Lee's 9-yard TD catch.
Lee, Woods' freshman counterpart and former high-school teammate, had his second straight impressive game with nine catches for 74 yards.
He also opened the second half with a phenomenal kick return, almost coming to a stop before breaking out the back side of a scrum and running down the USC sideline, where he made a devilish stutter-step to lose the last Washington defender. Lee's return even stunned Barkley, who forgot to run onto the field to hold for the ensuing extra point, resulting in a penalty that didn't matter.
Washington's offense immediately awoke with a 53-yard pass to Kevin Smith, setting up Polk's 1-yard TD run just 84 seconds into the second half -- but on USC's next play, McNeal easily broke down the Huskies sideline and scored when pursuing cornerback Will Shamburger whiffed on a tackle at the 15.
Not everything went well for the Trojans, who lost star safety T.J. McDonald for the second half with an apparent concussion.