No excuses from players in loss to USC

Even though they lost to the best team in the country, the Washington football players that were available to the media still seemed frustrated. Frustrated by mistakes; frustrated by blown assignments; frustrated by missed opportunities.

"Our effort was 110%," junior safety C.J. Wallace said. "The effort was there from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. I'm happy with the way the defense played. A lot of guys stepped up and played today and they never got down. We kept our head up and kept hitting them. It wasn't a lot of mistakes, just the same ones we've been making since game one."

Two big mistakes were the two turnovers deep in Washington's own territory, both leading to USC scores.

"Yeah we gave them points," QB Isaiah Stanback admitted. "We had two fumbles. They didn't hit us or anything, it was just us. I mean, that was 14 points we lost."

Senior LB Evan Benjamin echoed Stanback's statement.

"They had a couple short fields and that made it easier for them," Benjamin said. "They got out to a pretty lead at halftime."

UW also lost points when USC RB Reggie Bush showed why he is the most exciting player in the country. After tracking down a huge Sean Douglas punt, Bush ran straight ahead, got caught up in a pile of players, spun to the outside and then outraced the remaining Huskies for an 84-yard touchdown return.

"I think I'm overdue for a punt return," Bush said, a shy smile belying the confidence of the Trojan playmaker. "The first half of the season we really haven't done the greatest job of being a sound return team. We wanted to really focus on getting back to putting that fear back into people's heart of kicking the ball deep to us."

And strike fear he did. On the day Bush rushed for 51 yards, ran for one touchdown, caught two passes for 18 yards and had the one big punt return.

On the Husky offense, one of the biggest playmakers is WR Craig Chambers, but the Trojans didn't allow the sophomore wideout from Mill Creek, Washington to get untracked. Chambers also helped the effort with his first drop of the season.

"It stinks," Chambers said regarding his drop in the third quarter. "It was the first drop for me this season. I saw something open and I thought I was going to catch it, but I dropped it. I know I can't do that next time. I have to stay focused."

Chambers did have an excellent catch for the Huskies' first touchdown, when Stanback threw a seven-yard fade pattern that Chambers went up over USC CB Justin Wyatt in the right corner of the endzone.

One player who was focused all day was TE Rob Lewis. He had a team-high and career-high four receptions for 50 yards, including one that was placed at the one yard-line that led to a touchdown.

"Some of the stuff they threw to me was by design," Lewis said. "Isaiah threw the ball well and I was open in some of the soft zones they were running. It was nice to get the catches, but I would rather have a win."

Lewis originally committed to USC back in 2003, but after some confusion, his offer was pulled and he ended up signing with Washington. Lewis says that incident gives him a little extra incentive to do well.

"I wanted to score three touchdowns against them today, but I didn't even score one," Lewis said. "Every time I play against them I think I'll have that extra ‘umph'.

"I think (Washington's offense is) trying to get the ball to me a lot more because I haven't got the ball that much. I don't think the defense thinks I'm going to get the ball so, it's open and we're going to take it."

Saturday's game against the Trojans who have won 29 straight games and 40 of 41 was also a chance for the Huskies to erase their horrible outing last season in the Coliseum, that saw them shut out 38-0.

"I think it is self-evident to everyone that we are better this year than last year," Chambers said. "I mean we still didn't get it done, but we definitely scored more points this year. We are improving this year, so we just have to keep improving."

With 5:08 remaining on the clock Johnny DuRocher entered the game and he made the most of his opportunity leading the Huskies on a 13-play drive that, while it failed to generate points, showed that DuRocher has the ability to come in and play if needed.

"We don't play this game to sit on the bench," DuRocher said. "That's the type of mentality I've been taking since I because eligible against Notre Dame and with the bye week a week ago and this past Tuesday with Isaiah out, I was able to get a lot of reps.

"I definitely feel like, if the situation calls for it, I'll be ready."

Now the Dawgs must get ready for a downtrodden Arizona State team that have lost their last three games, including a loss this past Saturday to Stanford 45-35.

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