Where did Matt Barkley's 468-yard, four-touchdown, one-pick performance against Arizona compare to some of his other top games as a Trojan?
He doesn't know, he said, because he doesn't compare them in-season. He doesn't look at his play against the Wildcats and pit it head-to-head against his play in the season opener against Minnesota or against Syracuse in Week 3.
At the end of the year, he'll look back and compare the progress he has made. But not now, not even after he completed 32-of-39 pass attempts.
"Maybe looking back at it I sometimes do, but I was mad after this last game just because of some of the big shots that I missed still," Barkley said Tuesday. "It’s good when you can count your incompletions on one hand -- that’s what you want to be able to do -- but some of those balls were just terrible throws. Especially that last ball, where I underthrew Brandon [Carswell], and it was eating me up the whole night. It kind of settled in yesterday and Sunday a little bit, just how well our offense played.
"You always want to hold yourself to a high standard.”
Coach Lane Kiffin also holds him to a similar standard but was clearly peeved Tuesday by what he viewed as common criticism of Barkley after the Trojans' loss to Arizona State before the Arizona win. After that game, there were some experts who called out Barkley as an overrated college quarterback and said he wouldn't be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.
That was an overreaction, Kiffin implied. He also compared Barkley's performance to that of his counterpart in the Arizona game, Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles.
Whereas many of Foles' completions came on plays where he was forced to scramble out of the pocket and deliver on-the-run balls to his second or third reads, most of Barkley's passes were more simple. Often he'd take the snap, drop back with three quick steps and deliver a shorter-than-10-yard pass to Robert Woods or Marqise Lee, who then proceeded to double the yardage after the catch.
Which style was better? Kiffin didn't say. But Barkley's team won the game, obviously, and he was named the conference offensive player of the week.
It's clear who won that battle.