Matt Barkley, who's thrown more touchdowns than any FBS quarterback in 2012, was ruled out of this weekend's Notre Dame-USC game with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, coach Lane Kiffin announced Sunday evening. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek, who has thrown nine passes at the collegiate level, will get his first career start against the No. 1 Irish Saturday night.
Barkley entered the 2012 season as a Heisman Trophy favorite on the nation's preseason No. 1 team, but has thrown 15 interceptions as USC has lost four of its 11 contests to drop out of the top 25. He developed an outstanding rapport with sophomore wideout Marqise Lee, who leads FBDS receivers with 107 receptions for 1,605 yards and is third in touchdowns with 14.
The prospect of facing USC without its longtime quarterback didn't phase Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, though, who said Sunday the Irish wouldn't change their gameplan based on who was starting for the Trojans.
"No, because they have obviously great weapons," Kelly said. "Lee and (Robert) Woods and the running back situation, they've got two great backs. We're going to have to defend all of those players, not just one. ... The offense is still going to be about getting the ball to their play makers. So it really won't change much in terms of what we do."