Kenjon Barner knew it was his last chance to play back home in Southern California with dozens of friends and family members in the Los Angeles Coliseum stands, all of them waiting for something special.
The Oregon tailback had a little something for them, all right – and with plenty of help he kept the No. 2 Ducks on track in the national title race.
Barner ran for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns, Marcus Mariota threw four TD passes, and Oregon produced another landmark offensive performance in a 62-51 Pacific-12 Conference victory over No. 18 Southern California on Saturday night.
Barner celebrated every touchdown with vigor, although the Riverside, Calif., native playfully refused to talk about what he might have shouted to the Trojans’ dismayed fans.
Oregon (9-0, 6-0 Pac-12) racked up 730 yards and 62 points — the most ever allowed by USC, which began playing football in 1888.
“Well, I’m from L.A., so it means a lot,” Barner said with a shrug. “We know we have an exceptional offense, but this was a great test for us to have to play four quarters and fight to the end. We’re going to benefit from this in the long run. As a competitor, you want to be in a great game if you can.”
The teams combined for the third-highest-scoring game involving ranked teams in the 76-year history of the AP poll. The ones ahead of it also came this year, with West Virginia beating Baylor, 70-63, and Texas A&M topping Louisiana Tech, 59-57.
Barner set a rushing record for a USC opponent by the third quarter, topping Curtis Enis’ 241 yards for Penn State in 1996, and smashed LaMichael James’ Oregon record shortly afterward.
He didn’t get his usual late-game break, either: With Matt Barkley and his receivers shredding Oregon’s defense, the Ducks’ offense stood up to its first late-game pressure of the season.
“We’re built for that, though,” said Mariota, who went 20 of 23 for 304 yards without an interception. “We go through a lot of conditioning, and we’re always ready to play four quarters. This was a good test for us.”
Josh Huff caught two touchdown passes, and De’Anthony Thomas and Daryl Hawkins also scored as the Ducks outlasted USC in a back-and-forth second half to extend their winning streak to 12 games since the Trojans (6-3, 4-3) won in Eugene last season.
Barkley passed for 484 yards and four touchdowns while hitting Marqise Lee with 12 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans, who have lost two straight after a 6-1 start.
Oregon, which is likely to move up in the BCS standings after this win and Notre Dame’s narrow victory, had won every game this season by at least 17 points.
At No. 13 Oregon State 36, Arizona State 26: Cody Vaz recovered from a shaky start to throw for 267 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Beavers past the Sun Devils.
Terron Ward rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown for the Beavers (7-1, 5-1), taking on extra work when starting running back Storm Woods left early in the game with a sore left knee.
Arizona State (5-4, 3-3) scored on the return after Vaz fumbled on Oregon State’s opening drive, but the Beavers pulled away after a 19-all tie at halftime to keep the Sun Devils from bowl eligibility.
No. 15 Stanford 48, at Colorado 0: Kevin Hogan picked apart the nation’s worst defense, throwing for 184 yards and two touchdowns and running for 48 more in just two quarters, as the Cardinal (7-2, 5-1) handed the Buffaloes (1-8, 1-5) their first shutout at home in 26 years.
Colorado hadn’t been blanked at Folsom Field since a 28-0 loss to Oklahoma on Nov. 15, 1986, snapping a streak of 150 games.
FRANKLIN SETS MARK
Tailback Johnathan Franklin became UCLA’s career rushing leader in the first quarter during the 25th-ranked Bruins’ 66-10 thrashing of No. 24 Arizona in Pasadena, Calif.
Franklin, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior from Los Angeles, entered needing 21 yards to overtake Gaston Green, who gained 3,731 yards from 1984-87. Franklin moved into the top spot on the school’s rushing list with a 37-yard touchdown run on his third carry of the game, raising his career rushing total to 3,758 yards.
The game was halted briefly while Franklin was congratulated by his teammates in the end zone following his record-breaking run, which capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive following the opening kickoff.
Franklin carried 24 times for 162 yards and scored twice as UCLA (7-2, 4-2) snapped a five-game losing streak to Arizona (5-4, 2-4) and is off to its best start since 2005 under first-year coach Jim Mora.