The USC Trojans' biggest competition on Saturday was themselves. Although Washington is a much improved team, the score of 27-24 is a deceiving one. The Trojans committed 16 penalties, including multiple personal fouls. USC regularly made mistakes that a top rated team should not be prone to, and seemed to have no sense of urgency. It was an exciting game but not an example of a well played game.
The Washington Huskies will not be satisfied by looking at the box score. They will however be happy with the grit and resolve they showed on Saturday.
Jake Locker and the Husky offense put up less than 200 yards of total offense—but they were opportunistic and capitalized on the mistakes of USC. They didn’t however get any rhythm in the passing or running game.
On defense, they often looked outmatched against the high powered USC offense. Even though the defense was outmatched skill wise, they put forth a great effort which kept them in the game.
Overall, Tyrone Willingham will not be happy about the loss—but the Huskies have many positive things to build off of. Standing toe-to-toe with an elite program is good, but to take the next step you have to win those games at home.
Practice for USC next week will not be fun for the players. The amount of penalties the Trojans racked up was embarrassing for Coach Pete Carroll, and he will not let them soon forget it. The Trojans looked flustered at times in the hostel environment, which is unacceptable for a team with the big game history of USC. Senior quarter back John David Booty had flashes of brilliance, but more often than not missed the opportunity to hit the big and put Washington away. The running game was also very good, and possibly should have been utilized more.
The USC defense was solid on Saturday, containing the dangerous Jake Locker. The problem was that they committed too many careless personal fouls, which extended many drives. USC must bring it every week if they are to compete for the national title.
USC will not be able to bring a similarly weak effort against California or Oregon and come away with a win. The Trojans have to develop the killer instinct to put away weaker competition when they have the chance. Washington in the midst of one of the most brutal stretches in all of college football, and needs to steal a win against one of the upcoming ranked opponents if they hope to get into a bowl game.