UW Huskies Nip USC Trojans In The Coliseum, 32-31

Game week news and notes for UW vs. USC. Kickoff is this Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

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UW Huskies Nip USC Trojans In The Coliseum, 32-31

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Eric Folk drilled a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the game to lift Washington to a 32-31 win over 18th-ranked USC at the Coliseum.

Jake Locker connected on 24-of-40 throws for 310 yards and one touchdown and carried 12 times for 111 yards for the Huskies (2-2, 1-0), who beat the Trojans in Los Angeles for the first time since November 2, 1996.

Chris Polk ran for 92 yards on 13 carries and a score and Jermaine Kearse made six catches for 92 yards as the visitors won on the road for the first time since a 2007 victory at Stanford.

Allen Bradford ran for a career-high 223 yards on 21 totes and two touchdowns, and Marc Tyler added 60 yards and two TDs on 14 tries for the Trojans (4-0, 1-1), who had a 16-game night-time home win streak snapped.

Joe Houston's 27-yard field goal had put USC back in front, 31-29, with just under 10 minutes to go.

UW then moved to the USC 38, but the drive ended on a fourth down incompletion. The Trojans followed with a series that advanced to the Huskies' 23 before Houston missed a 40-yard field goal try.

The Huskies took over with 2 1/2 minutes to go. Locker connected with D'Andre Goodwin for 18 yards on 4th-and-10 from the Washington 23, and Polk then ran for 26 more to the USC 33. Polk carried twice and Locker once to get the ball to the USC 15 with three seconds left to set up the winning kick.

After the Trojans called two timeouts to try to ice Folk, he booted the game- winning field goal over USC for a second straight season. Last year, he made a 22-yarder at Husky Stadium with three seconds left to upend the then third- ranked Trojans.

USC scored on its first possession, as Bradford ran 37 yards up the middle to the end zone to finish off a seven-play, 76-yard drive just over 3 1/2 minutes into the game.

The Huskies moved 72 yards on nine plays on their first possession before the drive stalled at the Trojans' six-yard line. Folk came on to boot a 23-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game.

Washington forced the hosts to punt and took over with 3 1/2 minutes left in the opening quarter. The Huskies authored a 12-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off by Polk's one-yard scoring run one minute into the second period. Locker kept the drive going by running for 16 yards on 4th-and-1 to the USC 16-yard line two plays before the touchdown.

USC went three-and-out on its next touch, and the Huskies took over at the Trojans' 44 and extended their lead on the very next play.

Locker rolled left on a play fake and threw down the middle into the end zone to Devin Aguilar for a touchdown that staked the visitors to a 17-7 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the half.

Robert Woods brought the ensuing kickoff back to the UW 38, and the Trojans took advantage of the good field position to get back in the game. Tyler banged his way in from four yards out to finish off a five-play drive.

On the next Washington possession, Locker ran for 50 yards inside the Trojans' 10, but fumbled the ball into the end zone for a touchback that thwarted another potential scoring drive.

USC then fashioned an 80-yard march in 11 plays that was finished off by Tyler's six-yard scoring run that put the hosts back in the lead at 21-17 with 2 1/2 minutes to play in the half.

Folk booted a 41-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the half to make it a one-point game at the break and nailed a 35-yarder five minutes into the third quarter to put the Huskies back in the lead at 23-21.

Bradford put the Trojans on top again with a 16-yard scoring dash with just under five minutes left in the third. He carried on four of the five plays in the drive for 50 yards.

The Huskies regained the lead three plays into the fourth quarter on a one- yard scoring pass from Keith Price to Chris Izbicki. However, the visitors' try for a two-point conversion failed and their advantage remained at 29-28. Price came on in relief of Locker for one play after the senior signal caller was injured on a one-yard gain to the one-yard line.

Game Notes

Locker has now completed 505 passes in his career, good for second on the Huskies all-time list behind only Cody Pickett...He has now thrown for 6,310 yards in his career, 82 shy of passing Brock Huard for second on the school's all-time list...Aguilar made five catches for 83 yards while Polk grabbed four passes for 50 and Goodwin grabbed four more for 48 yards...USC leads the all-time series, 49-28-4...20 of the last 33 meetings have been decided by 12 points or fewer...The Trojans have scored at least 20 points in 103 of their last 112 games...USC quarterback Matt Barkley connected on 14-of-20 throws for 186 yards...Ronald Johnson caught six of his passes for 109 yards...Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin and UW head coach Steve Sarkisian coached together under Pete Carroll with the Trojans for five years and met as head coaches for the first time.


PREVIEW: Washington Huskies At USC Trojans College Football

By Pat Taggart, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: The 18th-ranked USC Trojans will have revenge on their minds when they take on the Washington Huskies in a Pac-10 affair from Los Angeles this weekend.

USC owns a 49-27-4 advantage in the all-time series with Washington, but the Huskies shocked the Trojans in last season's meeting.

Washington has had two weeks to regroup from a 56-21 beating at the hands of the Nebraska Cornhuskers last time out. That game took place in front of the home crowd and dropped the Huskies to 1-2 overall. Steve Sarkisian is in his second season as the leader of the program, and he certainly anticipated a better start to this campaign.

"All our goals are still there in what lies ahead, but we've got to get better now," Sarkisian told his disappointed players after the Nebraska game.

The Lane Kiffin era is off to a promising start at USC, as the team has won its first four games. Three of the victories have come by double figures, including last weekend's 50-16 decision over Washington State on the road in the league opener.

"I thought this was the closest we played to a complete game," Kiffin said after the tilt.

Fans of the Huskies were thrilled when quarterback Jake Locker decided to return for his senior season, as many figured a Pac-10 title run and a Heisman Trophy were in line for the talented signal caller. Unfortunately for Locker, things have not gone according to plan thus far, as he has completed just 51.1 percent of his passes for 626 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions. Locker has also rushed for two scores, but he is averaging only 3.7 yards per carry.

Jermaine Kearse leads Washington with 16 catches for 338 yards and five scores, while Chris Polk has run for 264 yards and two touchdowns to pace the ground attack. The Huskies are generating 26.3 ppg and 369.0 total ypg, numbers that fall short of expectations, but they can certainly be proud of the fact that they have only committed three turnovers thus far.

There is a wealth of room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball for Washington, which is yielding 33.0 ppg and 425.7 total ypg. The Huskies are permitting over 200 yards both on the ground and through the air, as opponents are ripping off 5.4 yards per rush and 12.7 yards per pass completion. Washington has managed only a single interception and three total takeaways, and the defense has been just mediocre on third down.

In the ugly loss to Nebraska, Locker had the worst game of his career, as he completed a record-low 20 percent of his passes (4-of-20) for 71 yards and was intercepted twice. He did run for 59 yards and a score but the negatives clearly outweighed the positives. The Huskies only generated 246 yards and were 4-of-14 on third-down conversion attempts.

The Husky defense was pushed around by Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers ran for 383 yards at a clip of 7.1 yards per carry and scored six rushing touchdowns. The Cornhuskers only attempted 11 passes against Washington, but seven were completed for 150 yards. The defense permitted 7-of-12 third-down conversion attempts to be successful and spent nearly 35 minutes on the field.

"I know we are a better football team than what we put on the field today, in all three phases," said Sarkisian. "I know we can tackle better than that. I know we can throw better than that. I know we can protect the quarterback better than that."

USC is averaging 37.0 ppg this season as well as 468.5 total ypg, thanks to tremendous balance between the run and the pass. The Trojans are led by quarterback Matt Barkley, who has completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 941 yards and 12 touchdowns against four interceptions. His favorite receiver has clearly been Ronald Johnson, who has made 20 grabs for 249 yards and five scores. Johnson is a dangerous punt returner, having scored on special teams as well. As for the ground attack, Marc Tyler is tops with 288 yards and three touchdowns.

Against Washington State, USC rolled up 613 total yards and easily overcame three turnovers. Barkley threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions, and Stanley Havili scored as both a runner and a receiver.

Opponents are posting 21.8 ppg and 389.5 total ypg against USC, which has clearly been better against the run than the pass. The Trojans are limiting foes to 107.2 ypg on the ground at a clip of 3.4 yards per carry, and just three rushing touchdowns have been scored against USC in 16 quarters. Foes have passed for 282.2 ypg at a clip of 13.3 yards per completion, however, with eight touchdowns.

The Trojans held Washington State to 67 net rushing yards and 323 total yards last Saturday. They intercepted three passes, posted three sacks and permitted just two touchdowns.

Watching Locker and Barkley do battle will certainly be fun. The Trojans, who are developing a bit of a swagger, are the clear pick.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: USC 38, Washington 24


Steve Sarkisian Faces Lane Kiffin When Washington Travels To USC

Back in the glory days of USC Football - before Reggie Bush forfeited his Heisman, Matt Leinart turned into a substantial NFL bust and Pete Carroll rode a golden parachute to the Seattle Seahawks - two fresh-faced assistant coaches, Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin, helped, Carroll put together the Trojan dynasty.

In 2006, the pair drew praise from ESPN's Pat Forde after they took over for departing offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

So the nation wondered how USC would do when Chow left for the NFL last winter. Especially when he was replaced by the youngest offensive coordinator in Division I-A, 30-year-old Lane Kiffin, and his 31-year-old sidekick, quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian.
Is this any way to replace a high priest? With a pair of altar boys?

As it turns out, yes. The Trojans haven't just survived without Chow. They have improved.

One year later, Gary Klein of the Los Angeles times noted that both Sarkisian and Kiffin were hot names on the coaching circuit.

USC's impressive Rose Bowl victory over Michigan has generated interest in Trojans assistant coaches Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin.

Sarkisian wound up at the University of Washington. Kiffin went to the NFL (briefly) before heading to Tennessee (briefly) and, flash forward to 2010, he has taken over the reigns as USC head coach.  

On Saturday, Washington will travel to Los Angeles to play USC, giving Sarkisian and Kiffin a chance to face off for the title of Pete Carroll's Favorite Son.

Greg Johns of the Seattle PI writes that Carroll plans to watch the match-up.

"I'm just excited for them," Carroll said Monday. "I'm thrilled for whatever these guys get done. I'm a little closer to the SC program than to the Washington program, but we'll be rooting for everybody."

"I think it'd be really interesting to watch the game and see how it goes and I'm going to make sure and see this one. I don't know if I'll get it on replay or whatever, but I'll see it.    

David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times writes that Sarkisian and Kiffin remain close.

Not that Saturday's matchup between USC and Washington is reason to cancel the weekly call. Kiffin and Sarkisian have been connected at the hip - or at least by telephone - since their days as fledgling assistants a decade ago.

"I'm sure we'll talk," Sarkisian said.

Kiffin explained: "Nothing changes."

Except, perhaps, the truthfulness of the conversation.

"We'll probably joke with each other about the plays we're going to run," Sarkisian said. "Just mentally mess with the other guy." 

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that Sarkisian and Kiffin like to bounce ideas off of each other.

"Different thoughts, different ideas, different frustrations that maybe you don't want everyone else to see, but you can bounce it off him and he understands," said Sarkisian, Washington's coach.

Condotta also notes that Sarkisian quipped that he and Kiffin weren't the biggest storyline heading into Saturday's Pac-10 game.

Said Sarkisian at his weekly news conference Monday: "Fortunately for everybody involved, Lane and I aren't going to be blocking or tackling or running or throwing or catching Saturday. So we're all OK there. These are both jobs we thought were special ones, especially in the Pac-10. It's a unique experience, this early in our careers, to be facing each other in such a pivotal ballgame in the Pac-10 race."

Scott M. Johnson of HeraldNet.com notes that Sarkisian consider's Saturday's game a homecoming.

"Anytime you go home you want to perform well," said Sarkisian, who estimates to have 35 to 40 friends and family planning to attend Saturday's game at the L.A. Coliseum. "You've got your high school coach watching, your junior college coach is watching, and your buddy is watching, and your family is watching. So you want to make sure you put your best foot forward. That's about the extent of it."

One person who won't be on hand for Sarkisian's Saturday homecoming is his mother, writes Todd Miles of the Tacoma News Tribune.

Almost all of Sarkisian's family members, as well as many of his friends, will be in attendance Saturday - everybody except his mother, Sally, who has yet to watch her son coach for the UW in person.

"She doesn't like the crowds," Seb said. "She'd rather watch it at home."

Ted Miller of ESPN.com sums it up well: Friendships and shared history aside, Saturday's game is huge for Sarkisian, whose Huskies looked pathetic in a home loss to Nebraska prior to their bye week.

It's simple, Huskies. Win at USC, reclaim the season.     

And, for a day, reclaim that Trojan glory.

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