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A charitable night at Husky Stadium
Penalties and turnovers keep it close for Huskies
Malamute, 30 September 2007

Mistake prone USC almost stumbled against Washington (2-3, 0-2 Pac-10) at Husky Stadium on Saturday night but managed to eke out a 27-24 victory in front of 68,654 fans. The Huskies reciprocated with their own mistakes as well, in what otherwise could have been a major upset over the number one team in the nation.

Although USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-10) floundered and sputtered with penalties and turnovers, its magnificent defense made all the difference in the game, holding Washington to just 190 total yards.

A lopsided time of possession, 34:51 to 25:09, kept UW's defense on the field for too much of the game like last week's TOP, in UW's loss to UCLA. USC rushed for 223 yards and passed for 236 yards, using a balanced attack that kept the Huskies on their heels.

Other than Mesphin Forrester's 54-yard interception return, Washington's longest scoring drive of the night netted just 22 yards.

USC turned the ball over three times, had one punt blocked and was flagged 16 times for 161 yards in penalties. The raucous Husky crowd kept the noise level high enough to create some motion penalties on behalf of USC, and those along with the other penalties and mistakes were much to coach Pete Carroll's chagrin. "We almost beat ourselves tonight, we tried really hard...We were so horrible that it was hard to watch," he was quoted as saying.

It wasn't all USC's horribleness, according to Washington Husky coach Tyrone Willingham, "If I'm their coach I'm alarmed with that many penalties. But at the same time I think our guys were playing and forcing some things. We probably could have got - they had 16 penalties? - we probably could have got 32 on just holding alone because I think our guys were being aggressive and working and forcing them to do things." (gohuskies.com).

Fourth in the conference in opponent penalties, the Huskies should be near the top of that category when next week’s statistics are released.

Going into the game USC ranked 89th in the country in turnover margin. During the game, USC turned the ball over 3 times and Washington did twice, the net effect of which gives ‘SC a minus-3 debit in four games (minus-2 before), which works out to be minus-.75 on the year.

A USC turnover figured into the first score of the game. In the second quarter, Erik Lobos recovered a fumble on the USC 14 and, two plays later, UW QB Jake Locker was in the end zone on a 10-yard run, to give UW a 7-0 lead.

USC knotted the score, 7-7, on a 6-play, 68-yard drive, QB John David Booty connecting with Patrick Turner on a 23-yard touchdown pass.

The Trojans took a 14-7 lead later in the quarter after an 8-yard TD run by Stafon Johnson that culminated a 7-play, 88-yard drive. On the game, Johnson gained 123 yards on 14 carries.

Another Trojan turnover gave Washington’s its next score, when Mesphin Forrester intercepted Booty and took it 54 yards to the house -- a pick six -- to knot the score at 14.

With sixteen seconds left on the clock, David Buehler gave USC a 17-14 lead going into the locker room on a 22-yard field goal.

USC widened its lead, 24-14, in the third quarter on a 9-play, 60 yard drive, Chauncey Washington rushing 23 yards for the score. On the night, Washington carried the ball 21 times for 111 yards, a few of his runs being of the bulling variety that either carried Washington tacklers with him or bowled them completely over.

USC accumulated 224 yards on the ground to Washington’s paltry 100 yards, with Locker’s feet accounting for half of them. RB Louis Rankin netted just 39 yards on 12 carries.

Starting on the USC 43-yard line, Washington drove to 22 yards to the USC 21, from where Ryan Perkins connected with a 37-yard field goal. That made the score 24-17, USC, with 12:38 to go in the game.

With 7:04 to play, USC, clinging to its 24-17, had to punt the ball away. Instead of signaling for a fair catch, Anthony Russo gathered in the punt and, as he attempted to run it back, USC’s Thomas Terrell stripped the ball away. Terrell recovered the ball on the Huskies’ 43-yard line.

The Huskies managed to hold the Trojans to a 31-yard field goal but trailed 27-17 with 4:04 on the clock. 

Washington RB Louis Rankin made a nice return on the ensuing kickoff carrying the ball 37 yards to the Husky 48.

Washington worked the ball to the USC 40 yard line, where on a fourth and 16, Locker completed a pass to Anthony Russo for what appeared to be a first down. However, the officials ruled that Locker had thrown the ball past the line of scrimmage; the ball went back to USC with 2:05 left on the clock and a 10-point lead.

USC RB Chauncey Washington netted 5 yards on 3 carries. UW called two timeouts on the short drive, forcing USC to punt from its own 40. The Huskies’ Roy Lewis blocked Greg Woidneck’s punt and ran the ball 18 back yards to the USC 9-yard line with 1:03 remaining.

Locker completed a 7-yard pass to WR Marcel Reece on the USC 2-yard line and two plays later Locker was in the end zone.

Trailing 27-24, Washington tried an onside kick that was recovered by Terrell Thomas; USC ran out the clock in the last 33 seconds.

Husky lowlights:

-- Locker continued his erratic passing by missing three open receivers in or near the end zone. He was supposed to have worked on his passing accuracy over the summer months by improving his footwork. Locker's pass efficiency on the game was a horrible 66.29. Without a running game to give him more time to throw on rhythm, it's too early in the young man's career to say that his inaccuracy is a generic problem. Also, it rained during the game and the ball was slippery. Booty didn't have that great a night either. Locker told the media that he was releasing the ball too high, which I tend to discount because the media put him on the spot. He may have been playing hurt after taking a blow to the shoulder after taking a late hit out of bounds in the early going.

-- Locker took a helmet to the kidneys on one play and on another was hurled backwards by the inside back of his shoulder pads. He landed on his back, with his helmet bouncing off the field turf. It was the worst beating I've seen a UW quarterback take since the beating Taylor Barton took at UCLA in 2001;

-- No offense; no running game, no passing game.

-- Can 't someone other than Louis Rankin run kickoffs back. Rankin is doing too much and needs to be spelled off.

Husky highlights:

-- The Huskies held USC to its smallest margin of victory since October 2005 at Notre Dame.

-- A heroic defensive effort, despite being on the field for too much of the game.

-- Those throw-back jerseys, which were worn to honor the 1960 team. In attendance, that team was awarded the 1960 national championship by the Helms Athletic Association after it beat number one Minnesota in the 1961 Rose Bowl.

-- Booty's pass efficiency was 105.74. He said the ball wasn't wet but that it was slippery.

-- On some of his runs, Locker finished his runs by sliding on the field turf, which is the first time this season he has done that.

-- The boisterous Husky crowd, for the most part of which was in the game to the very end.

-- Locker's gameness. He took a horrific beating in my estimation, especially by the blow to the kidneys and the backwards tackle. A late hit out of bounds inflicted on him drew a 15-yard, personal foul penalty early in the game.

-- Coach Willingham's smile, which means he knows something that we don't. The coach is a winner and will eventually recruit a championship team around Locker.

-- Two field goals by Ryan Perkins, the gamest of the gamest.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
USC 0 17 7 3 27
UW 0 14 0 10 24

Time Team How Player (s) Score
2nd qtr        
12:27 UW TD Jake Locker 10-yard run; Ryan Perkins kick. UW, 7-0
10:16 USC TD John David Booty 23-yard pass to Patrick Turner; David Buehler kick. Tie, 7-7
4:15 USC TD Stafon Johnson 8-yard run; Buehler kick. USC, 14-7
2:03 UW TD Mespin Forrester 54-yard interception return; Perkins kick. Tie, 14-14
0:16 USC FG Buehler 22-yard field goal. USC, 17-14
3rd qtr
4:53 USC TD Chauncey Washington 2-yard run; Buehler kick. USC 24-14
4th qtr
12:44 UW FG Perkins 37-yarder USC 24-17
3:01 USC FG Buehler 33-yarder USC 27-17
:34 UW TD Locker 1-yard run; Perkins kick. USC, 27-24

Statistic USC UW
Total First Downs 20 15
  Rushing 8 5
  Passing 11 5
  Penalty 1 5
Total Net Yards 460 190
Net Yards Passing 236 90
Net Yards Rushing 224 100
Completions-att-int 20-37-2 13-28-1
Punts, yards, average 5-153;30.6 7-262;37.4
Sacks By (number, yards) 1-6 1-10
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 4-77-0 5-112-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 1-2-0 2-27-0
Kickoff Yards 6-384 5-246
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 1-5-0 2-59-1
Penalties Yards 16-161 9-64
Fumbles: number/lost 1-1 3-1
Time of Possession  34:51 25:09

Passing cmp att yds tds int
John David Booty 20 37 236 1 2
Jake Locker 13 28 90 0 1
USC Rushing No. Yds tds long  
Stafon Johnson 14 122 1 45  
Chauncey Washington 21 106 1 53  
Ronald Johnson 1 9 0 9  
Team 1 -2 0 0  
John David Booty 2 -11 0 0  
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Louis Rankin 23 39 0 23  
Jake Locker 18 50 2 13  
Anthony Russo 1 8 0 8  
Paul Homer 2 3 0 5  
USC Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Patrick Turner 6 87 1 23
Fred Davis 4 72 0 32  
Desmond Reed 4 46 0 19  
David Ausberry 3 20 0 9  
Vidal Hazelton 1 6 0 6  
Stafon Johnson 1 5 0 5  
Stanley Havili 1 0 0 0  
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Marcel Reece 4 15 0 7  
Anthony Russo 3 36 0 18  
Cody Ellis 1 10 0 10  
Robert Lewis 1 13 0 13  
Corey Williams 1 8 0 8  
D. Goodwin 1 3 0 3  
Louis Rankin 2 5 0 3  
Punting punts yds long Avg
Greg Woidneck 4 153 43 38.2
Jared Ballman 7 262 51 37.4  
Attendance: 68,654          

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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