Washington Nips USC, Hands Lane Kiffin First Trojan Loss
It was nearly a mirror-image of last year's victory, with Huskies quarterback Jake Locker working the ball down the field to set up a chip-shot field goal. Even the kicker was the same, with Eric Folk connecting on the 32-yard attempt as time expired.
The Huskies' victory overshadowed a career performance from fifth-year USC tailback Allen Bradford. He was nearly impossible to bring down, outracing Huskies defenders when he wasn't flattening them with a stiff-arm or knocking their helmets off in the pile. Bradford would run for a career-high 223 yards as part of a 298-yard night for USC on the ground.
However, Washington ran for 226 yards of its own, paced by Jake Locker's 111. That was part of a 421-yard outburst for Locker following a particularly poor performance against Nebraska where he completed just four of 20 pass attempts. This time, he was much sharper, completing 24 of 40 for 310 yards. The total could have been much higher if not for a string of drops that haunted his receivers in the second half.
Washington moved the ball well all night, making much more use of Locker on the run than in previous weeks. The creativity contributed to a 537 to 484 total yardage edge. Everything else was quite similar, with both teams committing just one turnover, both holding the ball for around 30 minutes and both accumulating five penalties.
The difference was Locker's tenacity, Folk's four-for-four night kicking, and a flubbed chance to end the game by the Trojans. Leading 31-29 with just over two minutes left, USC faced a third and four deep in Washington territory. USC opted to throw the ball, and Matt Barkley overshot an open receiver. The ensuing field goal attempt failed, with Joe Houston's 40-yarder fittingly doinking off the upright to give the Huskies a chance to steal victory.
They didn't disappoint, at one point converting a fourth and 10 play into an 18-yard pass. Six plays later Folk connected on the game-winner to ice the Trojans.
As Yogi Berra once said, it's déjà vu all over again.