Defense rises to secure victory in Seattle
The preface to USC-Washington spotlighted the athleticism of Trojan receivers versus a very talented Husky defensive backfield. It would become one of the game’s biggest storylines, with Washington not only accepting the challenge, but also proving the worth of its defensive ranking.
A much improved Husky secondary forced Matt Barkley into his lowest output of 2012. The quarterback finished just 10 of 20 for 167 yards and a touchdown. He also threw his sixth interception of the season, and first in career games against Washington. 7 of Barkley’s completions came in the first half, as the Trojans marched to a 24-10 halftime lead. Barkley would connect just three times in the final thirty minutes, with the Men of Troy failing to score a point.
Southern California was shutout in the second half for the first time since it’s 19-17 victory over Minnesota in the 2011 season opener. Marqise Lee and Robert Woods combined for just 7 catches. Lee’s two receptions equaled a career low, occurring for the fourth time as a Trojan.
With the USC offense inept, it was the defense that saved the day. Though Washington was able to hang around, they were denied any serious threat for an upset. The Trojans forced four huge turnovers, while also sacking Keith Price five times. Dion Bailey recorded his fourth interception of the season, and Josh Shaw reeled his first. Shaw, as predicted, saw time at cornerback in place of Torin Harris.
USC scored just two offensive touchdowns in Seattle, with the third coming on Anthony Brown’s recovery of a blocked Travis Coons punt. The Huskies also found the end zone just twice, as the Trojan defense dug in to preserve victory and lift the season record to 5-1.
Silas Redd was called upon to power an offense that lacked electricity in the passing game. The Penn Transfer rushed for 155 yards on 26 carries and scored the first touchdown of the game. Xavier Grimble hauled in Barkley’s only touchdown pass, marking the second straight game that a tight end was on the receiving end of a score.
USC has overcome hostile environments in consecutive weeks, and will now return to the more friendly confines of the Los Angeles Coliseum, where it will play four of the schedule’s six remaining games.