Why is there an obsession with the quarterback?
After being dominated for most of the game last Saturday (12 September), the Southern California Trojans drove virtually the length of the field to steal one in Columbus from the Ohio State Buckeyes. It was an excruciating drive as the Trojans ate up the clock and slowly but surely moved downfield to beat the Buckeyes.
First, big ups to the Buckeyes. They seem to be getting better in the big games. It is not making Buckeye fan feel any better, but their bowl performance last season and the game against Southern Cal this year seems to indicate that they are getting it.
Now, the drive. Who really led it? Most people have been quick to point out that Trojan QB Matt Barkley was the one to lead the drive. And oh did the dick-sucking on him sound loud on Monday!
But, at best (for Barkley) it was a split lead downfield as Joe McKnight had a lot to do with that drive. And worst (for Barkley), he had very little to do with it as it was McKnight who got them out of the hole.
After getting sacked, the Trojans were backed up to their own five after a false-start penalty. On second down, McKnight ran an iso up the middle for ten yards. On third down, Barkley found McKnight open in the middle of the field and the running back broke out for 22 yards.
Those two plays alone saved the Trojans and helped lead the team downfield. It was McKnight’s play — the run for some breathing room and then the catch and run to keep the drive going — that helped Southern Cal continue their march.
Barkley then does make a nice play to McCoy, the tight end, on the next play. Then after a fourth down conversion by Barkley, which followed an incomplete pass, a one-yard run by McKnight and an eight-yard pass play, it is back to McKnight. Four yards, off-tackle. Seven yards, off-tackle…ERR, excellent cut-back run. Nine yards, off-tackle (and a power run).
Then final, Stefon Johnson punches it in.
Barkley did make two good pass plays and a couple of key sneaks (especially the fourth down run). But between the two, it was all McKnight.
He is the one who should have been heralded, not Barkley.