Instead, there was Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian smiling and playfully telling a group of reporters, most of whom he knew from his days as a USC assistant, "Why don't you guys look excited?
"It's a great game," he said before directing the most important drive of his young career as a head coach.
For Sarkisian and Washington, it was a great game as for the second consecutive season Erik Folk kicked a field goal as time expired to knock off USC, this time in a 32-31 win Saturday night at the Coliseum before an astonished crowd of 82,796.
Again Trojan players and coaches were left shocked by quarterback Jake Locker, who threw for 310 yards and one touchdown and rushed for another 110 yards, in what several referred to a game they should have won.
"If you can erase those penalties and the yards we lost, we definitely would have won this game," wide receiver Ronald Johnson said.
Instead, USC was defeated for the first time under new coach Lane Kiffin and must now regroup before facing No. 9 Stanford, smarting after losing 52-31 at No. 4 Oregon.
Locker drove the Huskies (2-2, 1-0 Pac-10) 61 yards on 10 plays in the final 2:34 to set up Folk's 32-yard kick, including an 18-yard completion to D'Andre Goodwin on fourth and 11.
"The quarterback obviously played phenomenal. That was the worry all week," Kiffin said.
Running back Chris Polk added 37 of his 92 yards rushing on the final series, including a 26-yard burst.
"We were dead," Kiffin said of his decision not to try and stop the clock for one last desperation attempt, instead trying twice to ice Folk.
Locker's performance negated a career day by USC running back Allen Bradford, who rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns.
The senior running back pushed the Trojans (4-1, 1-1 Pac-10) to a 28-23 lead on his 16-yard third-quarter touchdown, but was largely bottled up in the final quarter as they looked to extend their lead.
"I'm not worried about how many yards or how many carries I got. My team lost, so that hurt," Bradford said.
Sporting a hand-drawn version of the logo worn by Marvel Comics superhero "The Punisher" on his undershirt, Bradford said after the game he tried to establish an attitude for USC, which cannot play in a bowl game this season.
"I got to go out there and set the tempo for the offense and the team. The defense feeds off me. I was running so they keep running," he said.
But it was a complete breakdown, offense and defense, which allowed Washington to stay alive. Both fourth-quarter Trojan possessions ended in Joe Houston field goal attempts, one he hit from 27, another he missed from 40 that would have pushed the lead to five.
Matt Barkley, who threw for 186 yards on 14 of 20 passing, twice missed wide open receiver on third down to salt the game away.
"Unfortunately for us, we had so many opportunities to finish the game out," Kiffin said. "If you are going to be a championship team, you have to finish people off when you have the ball."
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