USC GAME 8: Washington Huskies Preview

Paul PeszkoSenior Writer IOctober 30, 2008

This Saturday the Trojans welcome the Washington Huskies to the Coliseum. 0-and-7, what more can I say? The Huskies are the only winless team in the Pac-10.

The Huskies started the season with a controversial one-point loss to BYU when Jake Locker threw the football in the air after scoring a touchdown that could have led to a game-tying extra point.

But the referee hit Locker with a celebration penalty, pushing back the extra point 15 yards, and the kick was blocked. That was an omen of how the Huskies’ season would go.

This is not the same team that played BYU tough. Locker is gone, suffering a broken thumb against Stanford. Like President Bush, head coach Tyrone Willingham, a lame duck, is virtually gone, forced to resign this week but allowed to continue coaching until the end of the season.

Redshirt freshman, Ronnie Fouch, a less than 50 percent passer (65-of-132) has replaced Locker. No one knows yet who will replace Willingham.

rank 118th in the nation in scoring offense (16 points per game), 108th in total offense (290 yards per game), 113th in rushing offense (92 yards per game) and 76th in passing offense (198 yards per game).

They’ve scored more than 14 points on just two occasions this season and last weekend, they managed just 124 total yards on 48 plays at home against Notre Dame.

The running game is virtually non-existent. The Huskie backs have managed only 92 yards per game and rank 113th overall, which is one of the reasons they are 108th in total offense.

Two true freshmen will tote the pigskin against the Trojans. Terrance Dailey rushed for a 102 yards against Oregon State to bring his total up to 144 yards. David Freeman is the team’s second leading rusher behind Jake Locker with 152 total yards.

Sophomore Brandon Johnson, their short yardage back, has managed two touchdowns but only 63 total yards on 32 carries.

Only the Huskies passing game has anything at all that resembles respectability. They rank 76th in Division 1-A with nearly two hundred yards per game (198).

D’Andre Goodwin, the leading receiver, has more receptions (39 for 498 yards) than their other three leading receivers. Devin Aguilar, a true freshman, has 16 receptions for 200 yards this season. Jermaine Kearse has 14 receptions for 204 yards and a team-leading two touchdowns.

The tight ends are mostly short-range threats but can occasionally stretch the field. Mike Gottlieb has six catches for 100 yards but missed the Huskies first two games. Kavario Middleton, Gottlieb’s replacement, has had four receptions for 35 yards.

Not too much can be said about the offensive line mainly because they haven’t done too much as the statistics point out. They have size and experience, but, nevertheless, they have allowed 19 sacks and less than three yards per rush.


The only thing worse than the Huskies offense is their defense. The numbers speak for themselves. 117…116…117…97.

The Huskies are 117th in total defense, giving up whopping 479 yard per game. 116th in scoring defense, allowing a shade under 40 points per game (39.6). 117th in rushing defense (235 yards per game) and 97th in passing defense (244 yards per game). No opponent has scored less than 28 points.

The Huskies have five sacks and 22 tackles for a loss overall. Defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim three of the team’s five sacks and 34 tackles total. The rest of the D-line has combined for just 44 tackles and zero sacks. They have allowed 5.7 yards per carry and 90 rushing first downs this season.

The linebackers are the workhorses of the Huskies defense. Mason Foster leads all of the Huskies with 60 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Donald Butler has logged 34 tackles, and Trento Tuiasosopo is right behind him with 33.

Mesphin Forrester, a converted safety, ranks third on the Huskies with 41 tackles. Last year at safety, Forrester returned an interception for a TD against the Trojans. His counterpart on the other side, Quinton Richardson, leads the team with five pass breakups and has one of the team’s three interceptions.

Free safety Nate Williams ranks second on the Huskies with 47 tackles. That’s because the guys in front of them are not very good at stopping anyone. Victor Aiyewa and Tripper Johnson have split time at strong safety. Most likely Aiyewa will start.

Place kicking hasn’t fared any better than the Huskies offense and defense. Ryan Perkins is their short-range place-kicker. He’s 1-for-3 with a 35-yarder. Jared Ballman is the long kicker and handles kickoffs and punts as well. He’s two-for-five, connecting from 44 and 45 yards out.

Ballman is averagingt 37.5 yards on 41 punts while opponents are averaging nearly 14 yards per return.

Kick returner, Jordan Polk leads the team in all-purpose yards 489 return yards and an 18.1-yard average. Devin Aguilar returns punts whenever Husky opponents are forced to punt, which is not very often. Aguilar has only had to return four punts so far in 2008.

What to look for? Well, first of all, if the Trojans have the ball, don’t blink. If you do, all you will see is David Buehler’s try for the extra point. And be sure to keep your eye on No. 69.

No, not on the field. On the scoreboard.

When the Huskies have the ball, look to see which Trojan is at the bottom of the pile. He’s the one that gets credit for the tackle.

If you’re not lucky enough to have tickets, the game will be televised on FSN at 3:30 PT.