BY SPNW Staff 09:02PM 11/12/2016

Game recap: Trojans 26, Huskies 13

USC frustrated Washington QB Jake Browning all game and held the Huskies to 17 yards rushing, spoiling their perfect season with a 26-13 victory Saturday night.

Washington RB Myles Gaskin found little room among the Trojans Saturday night. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Takeaway

Washington’s opportunity to earn a spot in the national college football playoffs, as well as QB Jake Browning’s Heisman Trophy candidacy, were sent reeling Saturday night when 20th-ranked USC, a seven-point underdog, upset the No. 4 Huskies 26-13, handing UW one of the most disappointing defeats in school history (box).

Washington (9-1 overall, 6-1 Pac-12) had a prime opportunity to advance a notch in the national rankings with No. 3 Clemson’s 43-42 loss to Pittsburgh and No. 2 Michigan’s 14-13 loss to Iowa. But the Huskies couldn’t generate much of anything offensively after averaging 48.3 points per game through their first nine contests.

The Trojans not only made life miserable for Browning, who had his most ineffective outing of the season, but their quarterback, freshman Sam Darnold, shredded the UW defense, especially with a series of killer throws to another freshman, TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe.

Already missing their leading sackmeister, DE Joe Mathis, the Huskies also lost stud LB Azeem Victor in the first half with an unspecified leg injury. But the Huskies were outplayed in any event on both sides of the ball, ending their dreams of a perfect season.

Essential moment

With USC holding a 10-6 lead heading into the final two minutes of the first half, Darnold connected with Imatorbhebhe on two big throws, for 21 and 22 yards, that set up a four-yard TD run by RB Ronald Jones for a 17-6 halftime lead.

Offense

The Trojans never allowed Browning to get going, forcing him continually into poor throws and picking him off twice. Browning completed 17 of 36 for 259 yards. His only TD, t70-yard bomb to Ross in the third quarter, occurred largely because DB Adoree’ Jackson, couldn’t recover from a Ross fake and fell down at the line of scrimmage, allowing Ross to get free.

Browning’s TD was his 35th, extending his UW single-season record. Ross’s TD catch was his 15th, three shy of the school mark of 18 by Mario Bailey in 1991. Ross had eight catches for 154 yards, which was pretty much the extent of Washington’s offense.

Washington failed to produce much of a running game. RB Myles Gaskin, who entered averaging 105.8 yards per game, had 51 (no other Husky had more than six yards), which was largely negated by Browning’s -36 on three sacks. The Huskies finished with a net of 17 rushing yards to USC’s 133, and were stomped in total yards, 400 to 276.

The Huskies entered the game averaging 231 rushing yards, tops in the Pac-12 Conference.

Aside from Ross’s catch-and-run and   23-yarder by Ross on Washington’s first offensive play, the Huskies had only one other play longer than 20 yards — a 28-yard pass from Browning to WR Chico McClatcher in the fourth quarter.

Defense

The Huskies defense melted in the middle of the field as Darnold hit on 22 of 33 for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns, 11 of his completions going to WR Darreus Rogers (6 for 84 yards, 1 TD) and Imatorbhebhe (5 for 78, 1 TD).

Freshman S Taylor Rapp picked off two of Darnold’s passes and added five tackles, including four solo. Junior LB Keishawn Bierria led the Huskies with nine tackles, six solo.

The Huskies lost Victor in the second quarter, an injury that required an air cast and a cart to take UW’s leading tackler off the field. His absence played a big role in Darnold exploiting the middle of the field.

Noteworthy

USC had a huge play from DT Jack Jones in the third quarter when he blocked Cameron Van Winkle’s 38-yard field goal attempt after Darnold was intercepted for a second time by Rapp. Van Winkle kicked two field goals, from 43 and 39 yards . . . The loss snapped Washington’s 12-game winning streak that dated to the middle of the 2015 season . . . The Trojans extended their all-time series lead to 52-29-4 . . . Washington had won three of its past five against USC, including 17-12 last year.

Next

Washington plays its final home game of the 2016 season Saturday when it hosts Arizona State at 4:30 p.m. The Huskies close out the regular season Nov. 25 with the Apple Cup at Washington State (12:30 p.m.).


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YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    Bottom line with USC is ALWAYS whether they have a quality HC. One reason James, who was a fine coach, had such a great run was USC had a string of horrible HC’s those years. Unfortunately, it appears as though Helton is a quality coach. After all, all the USC HC has to do is answer his phone during recruiting season, as ALL 4 and 5 star SoCal kids would die to be a Trojan. You add in the 3 and 4 generations of Trojan All-Americans’ kids and grandkids, and it’s a self-perpetuating, blue chip factory. I have always maintained if USC, Notre Dame, Alabama, Texas and Ohio State don’t finish at least in the top 10, the coach should be fired for incompetence.

    • Comrade Suge

      I would hardly call Helton a quality coach (quality coaches don’t lose 52-6 to Alabama). The problem is UW was dominating mediocre and bad teams (look at their schedule). USC at least had (as you said) some very good athletes who could match the Huskies.

      • 1coolguy

        Apparently you haven’t followed USC very closely this year., They started out (including the Alabama game) with a DIFFERENT QB, Max Browne, and were 1-3. Helton made the move to Darnold and they have won 6 straight. So I’d say that move and 6 straight wins qualifies Helton as very possibly a fine coach and one that may bring back USC football.

        • Comrade Suge

          I realize they started off with a different QB. Who’s fault is that? That’s Helton’s fault. USC was not even competitive against Alabama (for a team with as many 3-5 star recruits, getting beat that bad is inexcusable) and beating a bunch of overrated Pac-12 teams doesn’t change that.

  • Talkjoc

    Was only able to watch the first quarter and then listened to parts on radio. I don’t recall hearing Budda Baker’s name. Did he play? If so, where in the hell was he on all of those throws over the middle to the Tight End.

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