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LAst Night's Action: It's All About Preparation

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One of the causes of hemorrhoids is increased intra-abdominal pressure - in other words, too much straining. With all the clenched assholes around USC and UCLA during their first games of the season, I certainly hope both programs have a healthy stock of Preparation-H.

USC’s case was self-inflicted. Quarterback Matt Barkley and receiver Robert Woods had chemistry from the start. On the Trojans’ first play from scrimmage against Minnesota, Barkley hit Woods on a two-yard pass. Of his record 34 completions, a record 17 was caught by Woods.

“I have a trust with him that he will be there every time,” Barkley said. “He runs smart routes with great athleticism. He knows where to be, and I know we can count on him.”

And Woods played his part of the lovefest. “They gave me some room to start, and Matt did the rest. He’s giving me a chance out there, and having a full year of experience to grow together really makes a big difference.”

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So what happened? Barkley had 304 yards of offense with three touchdowns, and the Trojans only coughed the ball up once. So what gives? Why did they barely escape with a 19-17 win?

Head coach Lane Kiffin reinforced his utter disdain of kickers by giving freshman Andre Heidari only one extra point chance that he converted to end the first half. After quarterback Barkley drove the Trojans 66 yards in 13 plays to score a touchdown in their opening drive, Rhett Ellison couldn’t get into the end zone after some trickery.

“We’re trying to run and advantage play and their linebackers happened to step up and make the play to stop us,” Kiffin said.

After Barkley hooked up with Robert Woods 43 yards in the second quarter for their second touchdown, Barkley threw an incomplete pass on the conversion.

“It was just a bad throw, probably one of Matt’s only mistakes in the game,” Kiffin commented.

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It wasn’t until Barkley and Woods hooked up for a touchdown for the third time that Heidari got to score a point for the Trojans.

This went on throughout the game. Leading 19-3 the Trojans opened the third quarter getting down to Minnesota’s 35-yard line. Instead of going for the 50-yard field goal or punting the ball, the Trojans went for it on fourth down. The snap went over Barkley’s head and was grabbed up by Minnesota 35 yards away. Oops. Three plays later Minnesota scores a touchdown and makes it 19-10.

Next possession: Trojans drive to Minnesota’s 20-yard line. Instead of kicking the 35-yard field goal, D.J. Morgan rushed for no gain.

Then their offense went down the drain. Minnesota figured out that USC turned into Bubble Screen U, and despite Barkley’s astronomical completion figures the Trojans were crawling down the field. And like 2010, the Trojans couldn’t get anything done in the fourth quarter. Thankfully Torin Harris got the interception as Minnesota was taking one last shot in the closing minutes of the game to preserve the lead for the Trojans.

Meanwhile UCLA is another set of problems. Quarterback Kevin Prince left the game in the first half with a concussion, and their defense played like the Houston Cougars offense were sweating Crisco. Houston quarterback Case Keenum dinked and dunked through the Bruin defense in the first half to the tune of 31 points.

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Even without Prince, Richard Brehaut did a very good job getting the Bruins back to within three points. But when the Bruins needed stops in the fourth quarter, Keenum took the Cougars 63 yards down the field in just over three minutes to take the 38-28 lead.

Freshman kicker Kip Field missed a 32-yard field goal down the stretch for the Bruins, and that was it.

As warm as it was in Houston, I’m thinking it would be even more scorching anywhere in the general vicinity of Rick Neuheisel. Although it was very nice of him to give a dose of reality to the handful of Bruins fans that had hopes of success. So I guess the question surrounding the Bruins right now is just who will be coaching them next season. Or is that too soon?

All of this tightness even translated to the Dodgers. Tied 1-1 with the Atlanta Braves in the tenth inning, Juan Rivera hit a sacrifice fly to shallow center field to score Dee Gordon from third. The Dodgers have now won 11 of their last 12 games aer 4 ½ games behind the San Francisco Giants for second place in the NL West. Most importantly the Dodgers are only two games below .500 at 68-70.

The Angels beat the Minnesota Twins 10-6 tearing a hole through this fake narrative.

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TONIGHT’S ACTION

LA Dodgers at Atlanta Braves. 10:35 a.m. KCAL9, AM 790 KABC.

Minnesota Twins at LA Angels. 12:35 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.