Dawg Blog - USC

Here is the Dawg Blog for Saturday, October 22, 2005, as USC and Washington square off at Husky Stadium. It's the first time Husky Stadium has hosted a number-one team since 1969.

38 minutes to kickoff: Washington is going through their pre-game stretching exercises and USC is whooping it up on their sideline. C.J. Wallace and the other Huskies need to get to their spot and it's right where the Trojans are doing their little pre-game dance. Wallace proceeds to walk right through it to his spot, and doesn't get a very warm and fuzzy greeting. Refs and coaches have to break it up before it becomes a pre-game melee. We'll see if that means anything come gametime...

33 minutes to kickoff: It's the battle of the bands. The UW band is split up into two parts, one playing in front of the USC fans that have come up from California and the other half playing in front of the students. The USC band is going through a drum jam the Grateful Dead would have been proud to call one of their own.

20 minutes to kickoff: Tons of recruits on the sidelines today, including Jake Merrill (Gig Harbor), Jason Harris and Cody Habben from Skyline, Ryan Tolar (Pasco), junior lineman Mike Wells from Eatonville, Jermain Delgardo and Emeka Iweka from Rainier Beach, Jesse Hoffmann (Shorecrest), Garrett Kulczyk and Jordan Greco - both juniors from Mead, Jeffrey Solomon (Ingraham), Quentin Richardson (O'Dea) and Jordan DeVos (Nathan Hale).

8 minutes to kickoff: The USC contingent is in place, the rest of the stadium appears half-full. Too bad, considering it's about as nice a day weather-wise as you could ask for and the home team just happens to be playing the number-one team in the country. Talk about being late to the party.

4 minutes to kickoff: USC comes out,walking on the track to the edge of the field.

3 minutes to kickoff: UW comes cruising out of the tunnel, led by Tyrone Willingham.

2 minutes to kickoff: UW's captains - Dashon Goldson, Donny Mateaki, James Sims and Casey Paus win the toss and elect to receive. This should be interesting, if the Dawgs can get momentum and put a drive together.

Kickoff: Marlon Wood gives UW what they have been sorely missing, a bomb of a return. A 92-yard return gives the Huskies excellent field position, but they may have lost Wood to a knee injury. It's the longest return in school history that didn't result in a touchdown. Just as it has been this year, it seems like it's always good news-bad news.

13:03/1st: After two productive plays, Isaiah Stanback looks like he loses grip on the ball while trying to make a play. He holds on, and Evan Knudson pounds through a field goal. Not what you would like if you're Willingham to start the game that deep in USC territory, but it's a better start than what they had against Oregon.

12:21/1st: Durrell Moss makes his first career start today...USC QB Matt Leinart is going to be able to dink and dunk his way wherever he wants to, based on early returns.

11:21/1st: The Trojan OL is opening holes that I could run through. The UW defense is seriously scrambling around, trying to figure out their assignments and positions.

7:33/1st: This five minute-plus drive has been flat-out surgical, but it has been helped out by missed assignments. Sorry Husky fans, there's nothing Washington's defense is going to do against this offense. You better hope Kent Baer has some miracle half-time adjustments up his sleeve. Chris Singleton is back to return the kick in place of Wood.

6:48/1st: Wood has been taken to the locker room for x-rays on his injured ankle. Hopefully we'll know more after half-time. In better news, Joe Toledo is back and playing for the Dawgs, a fantastic sign.

4:24/1st: The Huskies are doing offensively exactly what Willingham would want to see - they are responding to the other team's drive. They are getting push on the line of scrimmage and the combo of Louis Rankin and Kenny James are going downfield instead of side-to-side.

1:28/1st: Stanback connects with Chambers on the fade against USC's Justin Wyatt to jump back into the lead. Good thing the official wasn't paying too much attention to Craig pushing off Wyatt's facemask. Chambers is definitely the best UW receiver in 'jump ball' situations. An 80-yard drive by this team against the two-time defending national champs? It just happened, folks.

1:16: Darnell Bing's first kickoff return and the UW special teams gave him 68-yards of red carpet. One play later and USC is back on top of the scoreboard to no-one's surprise. Leinart is going to have a field day unless UW can put some pressure in his face. He's now tied with Andrew Walter for most TD's thrown in a career in the Pac-10. Looks like another opponent is going to set some records today.

14:17/2nd: The Huskies were going to have to play mistake-free in order to have any chance of staying in the game, and they just gave the ball away on a backwards lateral that in theory shouldn't have been thrown backwards. That mistake goes on Stanback's shoulders.

13:46/2nd: Bush plows through the middle of the line for 6. This game could get seriously out of control if the Huskies can't make a play on defense. A rare miscue by USC - they took a delay penalty on the try and subsequently missed the PAT when it was moved back. Huskies down 10, but they've shown they can move the ball. We'll see if they can bounce back. Sonny Shackelford takes back the kickoff to the UW 25. Maybe the Huskies will set a mark for most return men used in one game.

12:43/2nd: A third-down pass to Russo not even close to the first down. Why make that offensive call? Rankin and James are both out with turf toe and shoulder problems respectively.

11:47/2nd: Bush the Magnificent does his thing. Ty Eriks had him dead to rights - nope. He twists out of the grasp of at least three UW players, spins around toward his sideline, gathers steam and is gone for an 86-yard return. There isn't another player in the game today that can make that play. My 55-10 prediction may come true by halftime.

11:28/2nd: Anthony Russo didn't get set on the line, negating a 50-plus catch and run by Sonny Shackelford. Is it any wonder Washington can't buy a break nowadays? Stanback turns the wrong way on the next play, botching a handoff to James - recovered by USC's Frostee Rucker. Talk about getting rattled!

11:01/2nd: The play is under review? Which one? The original call (touchdown to USC)? Or the incomplete call that was subsequently made by an official CLEAR ACROSS the field? Unbelievable.

9:08/2nd: Help wanted - cornerbacks that aren't playing catchup to receivers all day long. Can start immediately. Please see: Tyrone Willingham.

8:20/2nd: Let's see if Stanback and company can take some more baby steps and move the ball. Sims is now carrying the ball, and at least he's moving the pile forward forward.

6:08/2nd: Sims still carrying the rock. Weird thing, USC is blitzing pretty liberally and is leaving receivers wide open well before Stanback starts back. It would be nice to see if they could catch the Trojans with their pants down once and just heave it out wide where only the Huskies are at. It's almost as if USC's coaches already know because of down and distance what Washington is going to do.

4:45/2nd: Stanback is getting the ball downfield, spreading it around and moving the chains. It's been a productive half for the offense. Too bad the defense cashed it in after the first drive.

2:47/2nd: Stanback calls his own number from the one and gets in...another impressive drive. A kick into the endzone! An original thought...

1:25/2nd: A three-and-out! Lewis and Lobendahn come up with big stops. Now Stanback has to come up money with another drive that gets points - even if it's just three. That still gets them to within two scores going into the half. Shackelford takes the punt to Washington's 35-yard line.

:45/2nd: Stanback continues to dance around the pocket without much of a sense to tuck it and run. Just the mere appearance of him breaking containment causes BIG problems, but he refuses to take advantage.

:37/2nd: And when Stanback does scramble, he still shows zero awareness of the situation and what needs to happen. He has a blocker in front and could probably get the first down if he stays in-bounds and tries to make a play, but instead he bails out of bounds. Note to Isaiah: IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT YOU SAVED TIME ON THE CLOCK WHEN YOU HAVE TO PUNT! As a result, UW botches the punt and USC has a chance to score late from the UW 31.

:04/2nd: Is ANY UW LINEMAN going to put their hands on Leinart at all today? It's flat-out embarrassing. Danelo puts three more on the board to put USC 20 clear of the Huskies.

Halftime: Dana Hall is going to be the Husky Legend featured at the end of the third quarter...the students started up a chant to see frosh RB J.R. Hasty, but it's not going to happen.

14:46/3rd: If the opening play of the quarter isn't a microcosm of UW's season, I don't know what is. Leinert threw out wide and the WR dropped the ball. There were three UW players there, and NONE of them decide to go after the ball. And right after that Greyson Gunheim whiffs on a chance to take Leinart out and the USC QB completes a first-down pass. He's made a small career this year out of turning sure sacks into big plays for the other team. This defense - to put it mildly - has ZERO killer instinct. None. They play hard, but have the hardest time closing the deal of any UW defense I've ever seen.

11:07/3rd: Buoyed by a late penalty in the drive, USC stalls at the UW 31 and decides to go for it on 4th and come up empty. If Stanback can engineer a drive here for paydirt, that would be a huge confidence booster for this team.

8:52/3rd: For a player that has so much ability, it's just gut-wrenching to see Stanback just make poor decision after poor decision. He gave up at least 10-15 yards of field position on a 4th down sack. Just mind-boggling. It doesn't look like he has an idea as to where USC's blitzes are coming from.

7:36/3rd: Willingham is pissed as he rants up and down the sideline, and rightly so. Unless the refs have decided to just not throw any flags in this game, they have to start calling some of the blatant holds that are happening. It's ridiculous.

4:10/3rd: Pete Carroll has given the UW defense two chances on this drive to take over possession, but UW simply can't make a play, even after sacking Leinart. It's gotten almost comical.

3:13/3rd: When it's third and ten and the other team just runs a simple off-tackle play for a first-down, you know there's little hope.

3:06/3rd: Leinart and Jarrett are done toying with their little play-thing known as the UW D and hook up on a pretty pass completion in the back-right corner of the east end zone. Suprised there was no review of the play, as the entire UW coaching staff was on the field waiting for the call to be made. Instead, USC banged home the PAT and now the Huskies are down 27. Leinart is now the Pac-10's greatest touchdown thrower. And he did it at Husky Stadium. Chris Singleton returns the subsequent kickoff, the fourth UW return man used today.

1:09/3rd: God bless Cody Ellis. Bails Craig Chambers and Stanback out of poor plays the previous series.

14:47/4th: And again, the short pass that's nowhere near first-down range. Clearly they are looking at all four downs. Stanback rolls-out and gets the first down, but it is nullified by a holding penalty. Willingham is about to burst as the punt team comes on the field.

11:59/4th: John David Booty is in the game at quarterback for USC. New boss, same as the old boss...LenDale White is rolling.

9:45/4th: USC's first holding penalty.

7:57/4th: Dashon Goldson looked up and found a football waiting in his arms, courtesy of John David Booty. A 76-yard return for 6.

5:15/4th: Patrick Turner gets Roy Lewis completely turned around. The true frosh puts the veteran defender on his butt as he goes in for six. The coup de grace. DuRocher is bound to get some PT now.

5:08/4th: Lo and behold, Johnny DuRocher makes his appearance into the game.

1:45/4th: DuRocher is moving the team down the field and making the throws. If he scores, does that mean that there's a QB controversy brewing at Montlake?

:08/4th: The Huskies can't get it done in the red zone against the Trojan twos, and the game is (mercifully) over.

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