Key Play/Turning Point: Fake punt by USC. With the Trojans leading 7-3 mid-way through the second quarter, Washington got a stop and was prepared to get the ball back deep in their own territory. However, USC punter Kyle Negrete caught Washington's punt return team unaware and ran the ball 35 yards down to the Husky 20. Five plays later, RB Marc Tyler took the ball over from the one to give USC a 14-3 lead and it appeared the game was starting to get away from the Huskies.
Offensive Player of the Game: WR Kevin Smith. Had to dig deep for this one since it was one of the worst performances on offense since Steve Sarkisian took over in 2009, but Smith consistently gave Washington good field position on his kickoff returns and he took his only reception of the game 53 yards to the USC two, setting up one of the Huskies' first touchdown of the day, a one-yard plunge by RB Chris Polk.
Defensive Player of the Game: LB Princeton Fuimaono. Statistically, Fuimaono, Cort Dennison and Sean Parker all had big days, but Fuimaono played probably the best game of his first two years, posting 12 tackles and generally playing a good game. Did he make some mistakes? Sure, but overall he had a solid day and really brought the wood when he arrived at the ball.
Key Stat: Where to begin? Let's see, we could talk about the lack of offense (244 yards and 17 points), seven sacks allowed or the penalties (12 for 91 yards). Washington continues to struggle along the offensive line and that has made the offense look terrible, but what is even more frustrating are the silly penalties (pass interference on third-and-19; late hit out of bounds, illegal motion penalties, etc.) that cost UW field position as well as any momentum they had gained.
Handouts to the standouts: There won't be a lot on offense, but TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a solid day, hauling in four receptions for 48 yards, but was shut down in the second half; Kasen Williams continues to show why he needs to be targeted more, hauling in Washington's only touchdown pass of the day, a 20-yarder from QB Nick Montana as time wound down; Defensively, the Huskies played pretty well for the most part, and Fuimaono's 12 tackles were a real tone-setter; Dennison also had 12 tackles on the day; Parker posted 10 tackles and, while he took some bad angles, continues to improve week in and week out; other than his missed tackle on RB Curtis McNeal's 79-yard touchdown run, S Will Shamburger showed solid tackling skills and good positioning. Like Parker, he is improving week to week.
Needs work: The emotional psyche of the Husky players continues to baffle those that watch them on a regular basis. Washington should have had confidence that they could at least play with the Trojans after beating them the past two years. However, this team looked shell-shocked and scared very early in the contest and didn't appear to have any confidence in the game-plan or their ability to stay with the athletes USC has up and down their roster. The coaches also seemed to coach scared and that has to be a worry going forward.
Game Analysis - UW/USC
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