He got the chance at nose tackle with Antwaun Woods battling an ear infection all week. "It might be that I'm a little too excited out there," Townsend said of his first extended action after missing last season with an injury. But not bad "for my first start."
"I do have to finish plays," he said of Sark's comments that several USC pass-rushers may have been playing too high and need to play the quarterback through the midsection in the pocket.
"I do have to finish plays," Townsend said. "I was excited." But not, the former Beverly Hills High star agreed, the most excited person in his family.
"I'm surprised you couldn't hear my mom from LA," he said, "and you know my dad [and former NFL star] . . . is reliving [his football career] through me," he said with a smile about Greg Sr., a familar presence at USC practices..
BY THE NUMBERS
4, 2Nelson Agholor's second punt return TD this season gives the junior a USC record four for his career.
48For the second straight game, USC dressed 48 originally recruited scholarship players, the fewest all season, Previous low in recent years came last year at the Las Vegas Bowl when USC suited up just 44.
2 for 11USC played long ball but the Trojans were flat out awful converting third downs going just two for 11 there.
87 X 2That 87-yard TD toss from Cody Kessler to Agholor was a career-long for both players.
25,012They had to be kidding releasing this attendance figure for Martin Stadium Saturday. Not even remotely close to that. Unless for Halloween, 7,500 of that number came disguised as seats.
6 X 100Buck Allen's sixth straight 100-yard plus game on the ground is the most at USC since Marcus Allen did it 11 straight games in 1981.
11,304Career passing yards for the nation's leading passer Connor Halliday after his 40 against USC on six of nine before he was seriously injured and carried off the field in the first quarter.
7-70,5-48Once again USC led the penalty parade with seven for 70 yards to Washington States five for 48.
400, 2 X 12Kessler's career-high single game passing 400 yards on a five-TD performance that gives him 12 career games with two or more TD passes.
19.0Kessler put those 400 passing yards up on just 21 completions, a 19.0 average that has been seldom seen from this USC team that finally figured out how to get yards in chunks.
Injury report:The X-rays were negative . . . the hopeful talk is that Su'a Cravens will be back from a sprained knee in 12 days for the Cal game thanks to the bye . . . but until all the tests are in, USC players and coaches were holding their breath . . . Antwaun Woods' ear infection was behind him and he handled the ugly weather well although in a nonstarting role with Townsend getting his first career start -- and at nose tackle . . . Adoree Jackson's injury turned out to be just getting the wind knocked out of him, something he'd never experienced . . . and on that play, Leon McQuay III not only slammed Adoree in the midsection although Leon didn't realize he was there focusing on the interception as he came down on his shoulder bruising it a bit . . . Gerald Bowman (sprained foot) and George Farmer (hamstring) were both back and looking back up to speed . . . Damien Mama dressed but did not play.
SU'A CRAVENS "They think it's just a sprain. I won't know for sure until tomorrow . . . I actually hurt it three plays earlier and then I made a cut and went down."
HAYES PULLARD On the Trojans: "I love this team," and on Su'a: "we thought it was going to be something serious but he's going to be back for the Cal game. he was walking around on it in the locker room."
LEONARD WILLIAMS On this team's challenge on defense: "It's hard when you don't have the numbers . . . you have to play a lot of plays . . . but we have a lot of tough guys."
STEVE SARKISIAN On the meaning of 'finish."We've been preaching "'finish'. We've been preaching belief in ourselves and the ability to execute at the critical moments. I think that showed up tonight with some really cool plays that were needed when we had to have them."
WSU BACKUP QB Luke Falk On Connor Halliday: "My thoughts and prayers are with Connor. We hope everything is all right. I need to be better. I think we had a chance to stay in the game."
CODY KESSLER On WSU's defensive strategy: "They really wanted us to have to pass to beat them . . . if I need to throw the ball a ton, I can."
WSU COACH Mike Leach On the meaning of losing Halliday: "I think our team needs to remain competitive when there's adversity. There's always going to be adversity in football. You have to remain competitive . . . We're too up and down emotionally."
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