They were a point of emphasis through fall camp and it's paying off for the Trojans. USC forced four turnovers Saturday night inside the loud CenturyLink Field. First it was linebacker Dion Bailey who read quarterback Keith Price the entire way to intercept a pass, which the Trojans would eventually convert into a touchdown.
Then fourth quarter with Washington surging toward the goal line, safety Jawanza Starling forced Price to fumble and then recovered the ball to save a Washington touchdown and prevent the Huskies from coming within a field goal of tying the game. "It's a testament to how we have been practicing," Starling said after the game. "We have been practicing very hard and that has carried over to the game."
Bailey was in Price's away again in the fourth, forcing a fumble to be recovered by defensive lineman Leonard Williams. Bailey has four interceptions on the season and one forced fumble.
Safety Josh Shaw took reps at cornerback throughout the week and was thrown right into the fire when Torin Harris was forced to leave the game. Shaw pulled in his second pick of the season with just under five minutes to go in the game.
"Phenomenal job by our defense, especially in the fourth quarter," Coach Lane Kiffin said after the game. "If you've been covering us over the last three years, that's been our issue, fourth quarter defense. So I thought our guys really played well, closed the game out."
Redd Goes Running
The Trojans amassed 371 yards of total offense and 155 of them belonged to Silas Redd. The Penn-State transfer had 26 carries for 162 yards and a touchdown, including a 57-yard run on the Trojans' first offensive play of the game. The carry was the longest of the season for Redd.
"That first half, our offensive line – they were lights out," Redd said after the game. "We were really able to get the ball moving."
This was Redd's 10th career 100-plus yard rushing game and his third at USC.
Penalties Continue to be a Problem
Penalties have been an issue all season and there seems to be no easy answer. On Saturday the Trojans stacked up 10 penalties for 70 yards.
A personal foul, offsides, false starts, holding, you name it – the Trojans seemed to make it happen. "It was one of those things where he just kept bothering me the whole game and I snapped back I guess," Robert Woods said after the game of the personal foul he picked up in the second quarter.
Placekicker Andre Heidari was plagued by two field goal misses a week ago at Utah and he missed again on Saturday at Washington. It was a 41-yard attempt that the Huskies Desmond Trufant got a hand on causing the failed attempt. He is now 5-8 this season after going 15-17 just a season ago.
Cornerbacks Torin Harris and Kevon Seymour left the game with injuries. Players said Harris left after colliding with UW running back Bishop Sankey to "play it safe" after he "hurt his head."
Anthony Brown, who has seen his playing time diminish at cornerback throughout the season came up with a huge punt block on special teams. He recovered his own block to return it 21 yards for a touchdown.
Receiver Robert Woods is now second of all-time on USC's career receptions list. The junior has 212. Record holder Dwayne Jarrett has 216.