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Trojans have right formula for Win
(D + CP) - (O + CP') = W
By: Richard Linde, Posted 19 October 2002

After playing five straight games at home, the Washington Huskies' offensive juggernaut took to the road and ran straight into Pete Carroll's Big Mac Truck. Something had to give as the conference's number 1 offense collided with its number 1 defense. 

In this case, the Trojans' lightning-fast defense prevailed, and its offense rode the arm of Carson Palmer for 4 touchdowns and 348 yards passing, posting a 41-21 win for good measure. Washington quarterback Cody Pickett was picked off twice, but threw three touchdown passes, in a game played before 55,000 fans at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum; it was televised regionally by ABC.

The Dawgs had a chance to take a quick lead in the game.

After winning the opening coin toss, Washington deferred to the second half and kicked off to USC. On the first play from scrimmage, corner back Sam Cunningham intercepted a Palmer pass and ran it back to the USC 35-yard line. After the Washington drive stalled on the USC 23-yard line, John Anderson attempted a 40-yard field goal, which was blocked because of a bad snap from center.  

To start the second half, the Huskies went three and out. Starting from its own 37-yard line, USC drove 63 yards for a touchdown, scoring on a 14-yard pass from Palmer to Mike Williams. 

And, seemingly, the rout was on.

In the fourth quarter, Pickett narrowed a 27-point deficit to 34-21 by passing for two touchdowns, completing a four-yarder to Kevin Ware and a 27-yard pass to Reggie Williams.

But then USC tailback Justin Fargus added an insurance touchdown with just 3:33 left in the game, running 13 yards for the score.

Because of the dangerous Sultan McCullough, Washington chose to cheat up on the run in the early going, which gave Palmer enough time to let his receivers run to daylight. Palmer threw one touchdown pass that went for 41 yards and another for 61 yards, both occurring in the first half. Both times, Washington's pass defenders were badly out of position, as the two passes came off play action. Without the threat of a running game, Pickett, on the other hand, had to be content with a short passing game. 

Coach Rick Neuheisel said that the Huskies were tired of home cooking, after playing five straight games at home, and needed a change of venue. They might as well have had a case of food poisoning, considering the distasteful menu the USC defense dished up.

After all was said and done, the Purple and Gold has turned into gangrene, while the Cardinal and Gold has become sanguine. The sanguineous winner stays in the hunt for a Rose Bowl trip and a top-twenty ranking, while the loser adopts the role of a spoiler. 

Going into the game, the Huskies ranked 107th in the nation in rushing offense and 96th in pass efficiency defense. Those numbers will worsen after the Division 1A statistics are released sometime next week.

Over the past two years, the Huskies have been blown out in four of its last five road games, losing to UCLA, OSU, Miami and, now, USC. In each rout, the Huskies failed to run the ball effectively, the effect of which put way too much pressure on quarterback Cody Pickett--limiting him to short passing attempts and forcing him to run for his life on occasion. The Washington defense didn't help his cause. 

The Dawgs had -5 yards rushing.

Twenty-seven of Washington's thirty-eight completions were for less than 10 yards.

Rick Neuheisel post game comments: "It's very demoralizing...being unable to stop big plays. Minus five yards rushing isn't who we are or who we can be."

Neuheisel on the first play of the game. "Sam came up with a big play and I hoped that would be a big day for (sic) he... After the missed field goal, it just didn't go well at all after that. We need to figure out a new course of action in strange environments."


Down in the dumps and as dispirited as any Husky fan, I needed to add some impartiality to this column. You know, present an objective analysis. :)

So is having a strong defense a better formula for winning than having a strong offense? Yes, and here's why, mathematically stated. 

(D + CP) - (O + CP') = W 

D=defense, O=Offense, where CP and CP' represents the quarterbacks' initials. 

Well, it explains my headline, anyway. 


Team 1 2 3 4 Tot
Washington 7 0 0 14 21
USC 7 10 17 7 41

Time Team How Player(s) Score
1st Q
2:47 USC TD Palmer 43-yard pass to Mike Williams; Killean kick USC 7-0
0.04 UW TD Picket 5-yard pass to Paul Arnold; Anderson kick UW 7-7
2nd Q
10:53 USC TD Palmer 61-yard pass to Keary Colbert; Killean kick USC 14-7
6:53 USC FG Killean 30-yard kick USC 17-7
3rd Q
9:34 USC TD Palmer 14-yard pass to Mike Williams; Killean kick. USC 24-7
6:56 USC TD Palmer 6-yard pass to Mike Williams; Killean kick. USC 31-7
4:56 USC FG Killean 33-yard kick USC 34-7
4th Q
13:30 UW TD Pickett 4-yard pass to Kevin Ware; Anderson kick USC 34-14
10:22 UW TD Pickett 27-yard pass to Reggie Williams; Anderson kick. USC 34-21
3:33 USC TD Justin Fargus 13-yard run; Killean kick. USC 41-21

Statistic USC UW
Total First Downs  16 18
  Passing  13 15
  Rushing 1 3
  Penalty  2 0
Total Net Yards  422 356
Net Yards Rushing  74 -5
Net Yards Passing  348 361
Completions-attempted  21-34 38-65
Punts Average  45.2 41.3
Return Yardage    
  Punts Yards 3-14  2-15
  Kickoff Yards  0-0 4-94
  Interceptions Yards 2-82  1-11
Penalties Yards  5-30 6-51
Fumbles, Lost 2-1  2-0
Time of Possession  29:55 30:05

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Carson Palmer 21 34 348 4 1
Cody Pickett 34 61 350 3 2
Taylor Barton 4 4 11 0 0
Rushing att yds tds    
Sultan McCullough 22 37 0  
Justin Fargus 6 22 1  
Carson Palmer 2 6 0
Hershel Dennis 3 7 0
Keary Colbert 1 2
Chris Singleton 6 1 0
Cody Pickett 4 -23 0
Braxton Cleman 8 12 0
Charles Frederick 1 5 0
Receiving rec yds tds
Mike Williams 9 159 3
Kareem Kelly 1 16 0
M. MacKenzie 2 12 0
Alexis Holmes 1 11 0
Keary Colbert 7 146 0
Grant Mattos 1 4 0
Reggie Williams 7 134 1
Chris Singleton 1 5 0
Pat Reddick 1 9 0
Kevin Ware 5 68 1
Braxton Cleman 15 69 0
Charles Frederick 2 33 0
Paul Arnold 4 20 1
Zach Tuiasosopo 1 7 0
Joe Toledo  2 16 0
Punting punts yds long Avg
Tom Mallone 5 226 54 45.2
Derek McLaughlin 7 289 53 40.5

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