USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin has confirmed what many suspected: quarterback Matt Barkley will not play against Notre Dame on Saturday, this according to Ryan Abraham of Rivals. In his place, the Trojans will start redshirt freshman Max Wittek against the Irish. It will be the first collegiate start for the product of Mater Dei High School.
Barkley was injured in USC's loss to cross-town rival UCLA on Saturday, suffering what was believed to be a separated shoulder. Prior to leaving the game late in the fourth quarter, Barkley was 20-for-38 with three touchdowns and two picks. Wittek replaced him with just 40 seconds left in a 38-28 game; he went 3-for-3 with 40 yards.
Kiffin felt bad for Barkley missing his 2 home games vs ND in his career after beating them twice in South Bend.— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) November 19, 2012
Barkley suffered a sprained ankle in 2010 against Oregon State, keeping him out against the Fighting Irish.
Earlier on Sunday, fearing the worst, SB Nation USC community Conquest Chronicles looked ahead to the Max Wittek era:
One thing is for sure, we are about to find out what potential Wittek has. The bigger question is will Kiffin open up the whole playbook?
Beating Notre Dame and dashing their hopes of going to the BCS title game will be a small consolation prize to this disappointing season, but sweet none the less. Beating the Irish won't salvage the season...not with the high expectations that opened the season but it could give us a snapshot of what the future will be post Matt Barkley.
USC hosts Notre Dame, No. 1 in the latest BCS Rankings, in the regular season finale on Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. ET.