Lack of execution in all three phases caused another loss for the Washington Huskies.
The Washington Huskies (6-4, 4-3) were out-coached, out-hustled and out-played in their 40-17 blowout loss to USC (8-2, 5-2). The Huskies came in to this game with hopes of a third straight win against the Trojans, after two game winning field goals by Erik Folk in both 2009 and 2010.
But USC coach Lane Kiffin had other plans in mind, calling a fake punt on his own 45-yard line, with walk-on punter Kyle Negrete taking the ball high and tight 35 yards, setting up a Marc Tyler touchdown. That put the Huskies down 14-3 early in the second quarter, and things went from bad to worse for the Huskies.
The following drive resulted in a safety for the Trojans, as a high snap forced Washington quarterback Keith Price back in to his own end zone. Price tried to make a heroic effort to escape but was twisted down by USC defensive end Devon Kennard.
Price re-injured both his knees on that play and only came into the game for one last drive. Then the reigns were handed over to redshirt freshman Nick Montana.
The Huskies were down 23-3 at halftime and the worst was yet to come.
The ensuing kickoff seemed like any ordinary one, as USC wide receiver Marqise Lee ran into a slew of Husky defenders; however, Lee squirmed around the Huskies and took the ball 88 yards on his way to the end zone, and the Huskies' hole got even bigger, 30-3.
The Huskies responded quickly on a three-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a touchdown by Chris Polk, his 10th rushing touchdown on the year.
But it didn't matter, as the Huskies were held to 10 total points for most of the game before Montana threw up a lob pass, and freshman wide receiver Kasen Williams hauled it in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
Now what have we learned after this loss?
If the Huskies expect to keep Price under center the rest of the year, the offensive line needs to be vastly improved—and quickly. The Huskies allowed a season-high of seven sacks, six of them went against Price and he paid the price with his injury.
After such a tremendous start offensively for the Huskies, the past four games have been lackluster efforts on offense (aside from Polk against Arizona). Most noticeably with quarterback Price.
At the beginning of the year, Price seemed so calm and cool in the pocket; and now he is all over the place and is hesitant at times. He needs to calm down and let the game come to him in the coming weeks if the Huskies hope to come away with victories against Oregon State and Washington State.
Senior wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has been non-existent the past two weeks, and if the Huskies want to end the season 8-4, he needs to become a crucial part of our offense.
The defense was back to their usual selves this game, as they missed tackles, which allowed big plays and were dominated up front.
Do the Huskies beat Oregon State?
Next week's game at Oregon State shows good signs for the Huskies as the Beavers have struggled to find a rhythm offensively and defensively. The Beavers were shut out of the end zone against California in a 23-6 lopsided loss.
This game needs to be a confidence booster for the Huskies, as they will be taking on interstate rival Washington State the following week. The talent gap between the two teams favors the Huskies, so they should come away with a victory.
Offensive X-Factor: offensive line. The Huskies need to keep Price out of harm's way and need to keep him standing up the entire game to build confidence heading in to the game against the Cougars. After allowing seven sacks to a stout USC pass rush, the Beavers offer another challenge for the Huskies offensive line, led by freshman defensive end Scott Crichton.
Defensive X-Factor: defensive line. They have been under performing this year and only have 16 total sacks through 10 games. The Beavers have allowed 18 sacks this year, so the Huskies need to bring the heat and get to the quarterback early and often to gain confidence for the future.