Your instincts told you that Matt Barkley’s six touchdown performance against Syracuse last Saturday was something that hadn’t been seen in a very long time, right?
The ESPN research department verified it.
On its “Stats & Info” blog (linked here), it noted that USC’s Heisman Trophy candidate became the first FBS quarterback in the last 12 seasons to throw at least six touchdown passes with less than 200 yards passing in a game (he had 187, a career-low 3.7 “air yards” per attempt).
USC receivers, most notably Marquis Lee and Robert Woods, turned the short passes into 137 yards after the catch — marking 10 straight games where USC has 100 or more yards “after the catch” yards posted.
Also, Barkley has a nation-leading 10 TDs this season, but the 20 he has in his last four games are six more than any other player in FBS during that span. So, just take the snap, turn left, or right, and throw sideways. It’ll all seem to work itself out.
Barkley remains atop psuedo polls that measure Heisman potential, including the No. 1 spot on HeismanPundit.com . USC’s Lee is fifth. But UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin , whom Fox play-by-play man Gus Johnson couldn’t stop referring to as a future L.A. mayoral candidate, is merely tied for eighth, despite leading the nation on rushing.
ESPN’s blog notes that Frankin’s 215.5 rushing yards per game not only leads FBS this season, he’s averaging more than 90 teams. He leads FBS with six runs that gained 20 yards or more, and is one of two players with two touchdown runs of at least 60 yards.