Washington State upends troubled USC
Washington State 10, USC 7
Never before had a Mike Leach coached football program won a game without his offense producing a touchdown. It happened for the first time on Saturday, as his underdog Washington State Cougars defeated No. 25 USC in Los Angeles.
The Trojans entered their home opener with the same game plan as the prior week. The play calling remained conservative and unbalanced, while the quarterback situation remained unsettled. For a second week, it was Cody Kessler and Max Wittek splitting the duty under center. And for a second week, both were ineffective.
The USC approach to Washington State was to pound between the tackles, which was the same strategy employed against Hawaii. This amounted to 42 carries by Trojan running backs, while quarterbacks attempted just 21 passes. Much of the load was placed on the legs of Tre Madden, who finished with 32 carries on the night.
Madden has been the lone bright spot for an offense that lacks an identity and is desperate for a spark. The converted linebacker recorded his second 100-yard rushing game, as senior Silas Redd remains sidelined with injury. His 151 rushing yards represent 78 percent of the Southern California offense. Quarterbacks combined for just 11 completions for 54 yards, while also completing 2 passes to Cougars defensive back Damante Horton.
Horton returned a Kessler pass attempt 70 yards in the first half to give State its only touchdown of the game. He would later close the door, and break the hearts of those in attendance, as he intercepted Wittek late in the fourth quarter to seal a 10-7 upset victory for the visitors.
It was a wasted defensive effort for a Clancy Pendergast unit that continues to play at a high level. The Trojan defense limited the 2012 conference passing leaders to just 215 yards through the air, and 7 total rushing yards. It surrendered just three points in the sixty minutes, with Andrew Furney’s game-winning 41 yard field goal coming with just 3:03 remaining in the game.
USC added 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery on Saturday, raising the season total for takeaways to 7 through two games. The Trojans also sacked Connor Halliday 3 times, to maintain their place as the national leader (11).
Marqise Lee led the Trojans with 7 receptions for 27 yards. The 27 yards mark the lowest output of his career.
Game Ball– Morgan Breslin. The defensive end recorded 2 sacks in his return, after missing the season opener with a high ankle sprain.
Washington State snapped an eight-game losing streak to USC, which was the longest active streak by a conference opponent.
The Cougar victory was the first in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since 2000
Since his arrival in the Pac 12 a year ago, Mike Leach has defeated just two conference opponents. The two victories came in his last three games, and both opponents were nationally ranked. The Cougars upset No. 25 Washington in the Apple Cup Rivalry game to close the 2012 season.
- USC has lost 6 of its last 8 games