Bottom line: On a day of upsets all across the country, that was a game that was there to be won.
Southern California outgained Washington 460 total yards to 190. However, the Huskies stayed close because the Trojans committed 16 penalties for 161 yards, threw two interceptions, lost one fumbles, and suffered a blocked punt. The penalty yardage was the third-most ever by a UW opponent.
Not too surprisingly, USC coach Pete Carroll thought his team just made too many mistakes, while the UW coaches thought the Huskies forced the Trojans into those mistakes. Note Willingham's quote below regarding those penalties.
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However, overall, the bottom line from Willingham and his players is that they're not taking much consolation in coming close, and they're not satisfied because they once again failed to get their breakthough win.
Beyond that, the lingering problem could be the loss of safety Jason Wells, which Willingham said would be long-term.
Some other notes:
Player of the game USC tailback Stafon Johnson came off the bench to be the game's leading rusher with 122 yards on 14 carries – an 8.7 yard average – and he scored one touchdown.
Defensive player of the game Safety Mesphin Forrester led Washington and tied for a game-high with 10 tackles. He also intercepted a pass that had deflected off of USC fullback Stanley Havili and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.
Personnel report UW safety Jason Wells suffered a knee injury. He watched the rest of the game on crutches and coach Tyrone Willingham said it appears to be a "long-term" injury and "a major loss for us." Center Juan Garcia went out briefly with an ankle injury and was replaced by freshman Matt Sedillo, making his college debut. However, Garcia returned on the next series and finished the game. Safety Nate Williams and defensive tackle Wilson Afoa also missed time for the Huskies before returning. USC offensive lineman Kristofer O'Dowd and Chilo Rachal both went down with knee sprains on the same play and did not return. USC cornerback Shareece Wright went out with a hamstring injury.
Quote "If I'm (USC's) coach I'm alarmed by that many penalties, but at the same time, I think our guys were playing and forcing some things. We probably could have gotten 32 (penalties) on just holding alone. … As I told one of the officials, 'Those are commemorative jerseys, there won't be anything left of those jerseys they way they were pulled and grabbed and held.'" – UW coach Tyrone Willingham on USC's 16 penalties.
Extra points The Huskies wore throwback jerseys in recognition of the 1960 Helms Foundation national champions, who were honored at halftime. … In the first quarter, Wells recorded his first career interception. … Cody Ellis of Puyallup made his first reception of the season. … Anthony Russo of Lakewood caught four passes, extending his consecutive-game reception streak to 29. ... UW had a season-high five first downs by penalty. … Roy Lewis recorded the Huskies' first blocked punt of the season. … The Huskies trailed at halftime for the first time after six straight games either ahead or even. … Ryan Perkins' 37-yard field goal was the longest of his career. … UW game captains were Anthony Russo, Juan Garcia, Jordan Reffett and Donald Butler.
Next The Huskies are off next weekend. They will return to action Oct. 13 at Arizona State. Kickoff time and possible telecast information are yet to be announced.
A few other quotes that didn't get into my story:
(On UW hanging close to USC two seasons in a row) Especially this year, this will be a year that maybe some surprises happen. I think our conference is pretty strong. I don't think that there's a weekend that you can take off in the Pac-10 and that's top to bottom. If you don't bring your whole game, you're going to be in trouble, because everybody can find ways to get it done and I wouldn't be surprised if things shake out differently than people expect.
(On whether USC's mistakes were forced or unforced) "They made some mistakes, there's no question about that. And I think my words at the beginning of this week was we do not have to play a perfect game to win – I was very clear on that – but when we made our mistakes, we couldn't let our chin drops. And we had a couple of those lapse periods.
We lost by three points tonight. We had a lot of opportunities. We just have to find a way to get over that hump.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR KENT BAER
We forced them into mistakes. We gave them some defenses I think confused them a little bit. I think we forced them into mistakes. I know they put the ball on the ground a couple of times, but both sides made mistakes. I thought we could take advantage of a couple of things, and we did.