Success in Seattle

It was another offensive domination for the USC Trojans on Saturday as we simply had too many weapons for the Washington Huskies and it resulted in a 43-23 Trojan victory in front of 72,015 fans at Husky Stadium. It was the second straight week that USC went on the road to a place where they had not experienced much success recently but once again it was the offense that paved the way and never let up until the game was well in hand.

Rambling Reggie

He first started to show his special style at an early practice in fall camp. Those who were there on the first Sunday of camp will not forget the show Reggie Bush put on against the first string defense by gobbling up huge chunks of yardage and making veteran defenders grasp for air with his amazing moves.  One ESPN columnist who was in attendance quickly named Bush one of the top 100 players in college football even though Reggie had yet to gain a yard at the college level.  We are now eight weeks into the season and there is little doubt about the game breaking abilities of this young man but one interesting twist we saw in this game is how he can be used as a pass catching weapon who can do major damage in the open field.  Can you imagine being a linebacker facing the prospect of having to guard Bush coming out of the backfield?  The opportunities for a mismatch in that situation are enough to make Norm Chow giddy.  One of the tenets of the Chow offensive philosophy is to make the defense guard every inch of the field from a possible Trojan attack and Bush allows him even more flexibility to get that done.  Reggie took off like a shot down the middle on his touchdown to open the third quarter and Pete Carroll commented on how it's "pretty cool" to watch Bush finish off a TD run once he gets behind the defenders.  He later finished off the scoring for the Trojans by coming out of the backfield again and catching a well thrown ball down the sidelines from Matt Leinart before cruising into the end zone.  Reggie also did his usual damage on the ground as a runner but it was his record setting performance as a receiver (no USC running back has ever had more receiving yards in a game) that allowed him to power his way to 270 total all-purpose yards against the Huskies.  He's a special player with the kind of speed and moves that don't come along very often and it's going to be a pleasure to watch him for years to come. 

Notes from the Sidelines

Will Poole came to USC with only one year of eligibility but he is making the most of his brief opportunity.  He was matched up for much of this game with one of the top WR's in the nation and, while Reggie Williams may have put up good numbers in the first half, Poole led the way toward shutting him down for the rest of the game.  Will also added 9 tackles to lead the Trojans.

It was a good day/bad day for Ronald Nunn as he returned an interception for a touchdown and also recovered a fumble in the first half but he later had to leave the game after suffering an eye socket injury when his helmet jammed into his face during a tackle.

Matt Leinart continued to roll along with pinpoint passing including his throw on a rope to Colbert for the opening score.  Matt missed a few receivers on the day but he more than made up for it by completing 19 of 29 for 351 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. 

Kenechi Udeze had a strong second half and impacted the game in so many ways including a timely forced fumble, a sack, several tackles and constant pressure on the Husky QB…..Mike Williams tweaked his ankle in the first half and that limited his effectiveness but he still ended the game with six catches.  Keary Colbert continued his steady ways with three catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.  One of the best things about Keary is that he always seems to make the key catch when we need it…..John Drake got the start at RG and showed his quickness in getting outside to block his man, particularly on the touchdown run by LenDale White….Hershel Dennis ran extremely well with as much burst as we've seen from him all season….

Key to the Game— Two big turn of events

There were two major points in this game where a key Trojan defensive play turned the momentum.  The first came on a 2nd down play near midfield with the score tied 7-7 in the first quarter with a hit from Jason Leach near the sideline as Reggie Williams had his hands on the football and was headed to the ground.  Leach arrived just in time to knock the ball away to prevent the first down and force a long 3rd down situation for the Huskies.  Shaun Cody got good pressure on the next play and Cody Pickett threw up a floater pass in the flat that was picked by Ronald Nunn and returned for a touchdown.  Instead of UW getting a 1st down on the Williams catch and driving for a possible score to take the lead and gain some confidence we quickly turned the tables and went up 14-7.  The second momentum changer came courtesy of Kenechi Udeze after Hershel Dennis had fumbled the ball inside the Trojan 20 yard line.  Washington lost yardage on first down and Pickett went back to pass on 2nd down but was met with a strong rush by Udeze who raised his big paw and knocked the ball to the ground.  A mad scramble ensued with the Huskies eventually recovering the ball after some lost yardage and they ended up facing a 3rd and 50.  They obviously were unable to convert and the danger was averted.  The Trojan offense was a big story on this day, and for good reason, but the defense provided a couple big plays which kept us in the game at key times.   

Extra Points

LenDale White broke several tackles with his hard running style as he pounded his way into the end zone on a 21 yard touchdown run. White also showed his blocking ability with a terrific pass block to allow Matt Leinart time and Matt was able to hit Keary Colbert downfield on the first USC scoring drive…..Marcell Allmond forced a fumble by Reggie Williams which was recovered by Ronald Nunn…..Frostee Rucker got the start and the majority of playing time with Omar Nazel nursing his hand injury and Frostee responded with eight tackles in a solid effort.  Frostee has excellent speed and does a great job pursuing plays downfield…..Ryan Kileen missed two field goals and an extra point but then came back to hit a field goal in the 2nd half.  Kileen has seen problems in the state of Washington (we all remember the WSU game last year) and there have been struggles as well when kicking on the Field Turf surface but hopefully those problems will be rectified upon a return to the Coliseum for the next 3 out of 4 weeks because we'll need him down this final stretch of Pac-10 play…...Brandon Hancock continues to make his presence felt out of the backfield with another receiving touchdown. Brandon has more speed than is usually available with a fullback and Leinart hit him right in stride as he headed down the sideline…..After catching nine balls for 115 yards in the first half it was easy to see why Reggie Williams is considered one of the top receivers in the country but the Trojan defense shut him out in the 2nd half and that is an accomplishment worth noting…..

Final Thoughts

The Kings of the Road are returning home and for these Trojans it can't come a moment too soon.  After spending four of the last five weeks on the road the  USC team now sees 3 of the final 4 games scheduled for the friendly confines of the LA Coliseum and a home crowd that will most certainly welcome their team with open arms.  The Trojans have put themselves in a position that allows them to control their own destiny in the conference race for the Rose Bowl with the outside possibility that BCS forces could allow for a alternative trip to the Sugar Bowl and a shot at the national title.  With that being said, the only focus for the Trojans right now is the upcoming game with Washington State because there are a lot of memories when it comes to the Cougars and how a stumble against them last season cost the Trojans a shot at playing in Pasadena.  The good news is that the current USC team is playing with a level of confidence and execution that is what the coaches would hope.  On offense, we're doing a good job of spreading the ball around and taking advantage of the multiple weapons at our disposal.  On defense, the pressure led by our outstanding front four allows us to choke the life out of opposing offenses at a predicable pace.  Any sign of offensive weakness, whether it be the inability to throw the ball with Notre Dame or the lack of a run game with Washington, and the Pete Carroll led defense will crank it up a notch to expose that glaring hole.  On special teams, Tom Malone leads the nation in punting although there haven't been too many opportunities for him to show his stuff in recent weeks.  There is a minor concern right now when it comes to injuries and the Trojans can't afford too many more bumps and bruises along the way.  We need for Matt Grootegoed and Omar Nazel to be healthy and the ankle injury that hobbled Mike Williams through much of the Washington game will hopefully be close to 100%.  You can be sure that any signs of overconfidence will not be present for the Trojans when they face the Cougars on this Homecoming weekend.   Washington State comes in with a high national ranking too and an overall record that matches the Trojans only the Cougars are also undefeated in conference play.  The boys from Pullman will not be sneaking up on anybody, not even after most Pac-10 observers figured they were headed for a down year after Mike Price jilted them in favor of greener pastures in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  A funny thing happened to Price on his way to being coach of the Crimson Tide and a funny thing has also happened to his former team as they not only have continued the standard he set but so far this season they have also raised it a notch.  The game this weekend will go a long way in determining just how far they have come even though the victory over Oregon State last Saturday left much to be desired in the way of style points.  Everything the Trojans could ask for has been laid out in front of them for the month of November because if we can take care of our own business we will reap the rewards.  Pete Carroll has yet to lose in November as coach of USC and there's no better place for that streak to continue than at home on Saturday against the Cougars. Top Stories