He'd hurt his wrist in the third quarter and USC were reeling from the pain in the ears and a scoreline that read uncomfortably for much of the second half: Ohio State 15, USC 10.
It wasn't great watching for the Trojans, who couldn't get any sort of purchase against the Buckeyes 'D', playing their lives out in front of a record crowd for over 100,000 mostly wearing red.
Although one drive right at the end of the first half showed what the Trojans' offence was capable of - which tied the game at 10, the story was really about how they managed to suffocate Terrelle Pryor for much of the game.
Well, it was the story until second-to-last drive of the game, when Barkley took the ball with around five minutes left, and drove his side nearly 90 yards down the field for the leading touchdown, which was then followed up by a two-point conversion.
While Barkley had a wonderful supporting cast around him - namely his offensive line that managed to help him get an important 4th and inches conversion in the middle of the winning drive, as well as Joe McKnight, who'd played like he'd had one too many dacquiris at the Louisiana drive-through until he magically decided to become playmaker, slicing through Ohio State's 'D' like a cheesewire.
And then, Terrelle Pryor. Although he'd suffered an early touchdown, it was Pryor - not Barkley- who was looking king of the show. Pryor had the poise, and the support. Everything was going well. But as the screams of the Buckeyes fans became more desperate, Pryor couldn't come up with the goods, and it wouldn't be too out of order to blame him for failures on the last drive, including an awful throw out of bounds with no-one within twenty yards as well as a couple of errant throws.
Both quarterbacks are going to be great. But on this performance, you can't help thinking Barkley will get there quicker.