One of the main keys to avoiding being upset in college football is to limit turnovers and penalties. But the Trojans played a very undisciplined game which allowed the Huskies to stay close and nearly pull off an upset. The Trojans committed 16 penalties for 161 yards. USC also had three turnovers which Washington turned into 14 points. You can be sure that these issues will be addressed by Pete Carroll during practice this week.
The USC running game remained the strength of the Trojans offense Saturday against Washington. USC had two backs rush for over a hundred yards. Stafon Johnson had a game high 122 yards rushing on 14 carries and Chauncey Washington carried the ball 21 times for 106 yards.
Another Big Night for Fred Davis
Tight end Fred Davis had another big night Saturday for the Trojans. The big tight end has become John David Booty's most reliable target. Davis had 4 catches for 72 yards including a critical 32-yard reception in the third quarter that led to a Trojans touchdown.
Last year the tipped pass was a big issue for John David Booty and the Trojan offense and it resurfaced as a problem Saturday. John David Booty had two passes tipped at the line of scrimmage on critical third down plays against Washington.
Play of the Game
Cornerback Terrell Thomas came up with the most important play of the game. Up by seven with just over seven minutes to play, USC punted after going three-and-out for the third straight possession. Thomas ran down on punt coverage, stripped the ball from Anthony Russo and recovered the fumble at the Washington 43-yard line. The turnover came just as the Huskies were gaining momentum. The Trojans then drove 27 yards on 9 plays and David Buehler connected on a 33-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 27-17 lead.
The Washington Huskies have a real rising star in redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker. Locker, aided by several Trojan mistakes, kept the Huskies close all game with his impressive scrambling ability. The young quarterback kept the Trojans defensive ends and linebackers off balance all night while rushing for 50 yards. While Locker was able to gain yards with his feet, the Trojans defense contained the Huskies passing game. Locker started fast completing six of his first seven passes for 48 yards, but ended the night 13-28 for just 90 yards and an interception.
It's all About the Ball
During the Trojans great run under Pete Carroll, USC has always stressed getting takeaways on defense and limiting turnovers on offense. But Saturday the Trojans had three turnovers that Washington converted into 14 points. The Trojans have been uncharacteristically careless with the football so far this season. Winning the turnover battle is something that Pete Carroll takes great pride in so you can be assured that this is an area that will be addressed during practice this week.
The Trojans had three starters go down with injuries during Saturday's victory over Washington. Offensive linemen Chilo Rachal and Kristopher O'Dowd both sustained injuries to their right knees on the same play. O'Dowd dislocated his right knee and Chilo Rachal has a sprained right knee. Sophomore cornerback Shareece Wright pulled a hamstring. CJ Gable didn't play because he was resting his injured groin. On a positive note Matt Spanos returned from injury and filled in at center for the injured Kris O'Dowd.