USC suffers another Pac-12 upset at home

first_imgBrian Ji | Daily TrojanThe No. 17 USC Trojans suffered yet another upset to an unranked opponent, falling 17-12 to the unranked Washington Huskies at the Coliseum on Thursday night.After losing to Stanford on Sept. 19, the Trojans have lost consecutive home games in the same season for the first time since 2001.The Trojans had the ball, down five with under four minutes to play. But a promising drive stalled at the Huskies’ 28-yard line, and Alex Wood’s 46-yard field goal attempt fell short of the upright. The Huskies were able to run out the clock after a couple of first downs and close out the victory.“At the end of the day, we didn’t coach well enough, and we didn’t play well enough to deserve to win the game,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “That’s the bottom line tonight. A lot of credit to Washington, but this one’s on me. We didn’t manage the game well enough or execute at the critical moments to deserve to win the football game.”Huskies’ running back Myles Gaskin was the leading rusher with 134 yards on 22 carries. Tre Madden had 120 yards on 17 carries for the Trojans, while quarterback Cody Kessler finished with 156 yards on 16-of-29 passing, two interceptions, and no touchdown passes.“From the outset tonight, we just seemed a little off, and we started to press,” Sarkisian said. “Guys started to do things a little out of character. Offensively, we had been productive the entire season. Tonight, that didn’t happen.”Brian Ji | Daily TrojanThe Trojans were coming off a bye week after beating Arizona State on the road on Sept. 26, but the extra rest didn’t seem to prove beneficial.“It was a different schedule, but that’s never an excuse,” Kessler said. “That’s completely on us. It’s something we’ve got to figure out and fix.”Washington swung the momentum at the start of the second half. Following a fumble by JuJu Smith-Schuster and a recovery by the Huskies on the Trojans’ opening drive, a little trickery gave the visitors the lead. On the first play, Browning threw a backwards pass to wide receiver Marvin Hall, who found a wide-open Joshua Perkins for the touchdown and a 10-6 lead for the Huskies.After three consecutive drives ended in punts for USC, the Huskies added on at the end of the third quarter on four straight runs by Gaskin to take a 17-6 lead into the fourth.The Trojans found some life at the beginning of the fourth on a six-play, 69-yard drive featuring strong runs by Ronald Jones II, and Jones’s one-yard touchdown made it a five-point game. However, the ensuing two-point conversion failed when a wide-open Madden dropped a pass.“We didn’t play well in all three phases,” Sarkisian said. “We did things uncharacteristic to us. That’s my job as the head coach to get our guys prepared to play. That didn’t happen tonight.”The Trojans were also whistled for eight penalties, costing them 62 yards.“We took field goals when we should have scored,” guard Toa Lobendahn said. “There were plenty of times when we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties.”It was a horrific start to the game for USC offense and Kessler in particular, who was intercepted on two of the Trojans’ first three drives, each time uncharacteristically throwing ill-advised passes.“They did a good job defending,” Kessler said. “They seemed to be everywhere. They made a lot of great plays.”“They did a great job of covering, getting pressure on me,” Kessler continued. “It affected us all game. We didn’t execute like we should have. The gameplan didn’t go our way.”But the Huskies were unable to take advantage of Kessler’s early mistakes, despite taking over deep in USC territory on both turnovers.Cameron Van Winkle missed a 31-yard field goal and, on the second opportunity, Browning returned the favor as Iman Marshall recorded his first interception of the season at his own 16-yard line.The Trojans instead went to the run game to find their offensive rhythm.Maya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanIn their final drive of the first quarter, Justin Davis and Tre Madden navigated the Trojans down the field, and they took a 3-0 lead after the first quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Alex Wood.Washington responded with a field goal drive of its own that lasted nearly seven minutes to start the second quarter, working its way down to the four-yard line of USC before stalling.The Trojans finished the half with a long drive of their own, starting at their own 14-yard line and taking it down to the Huskies’ five-yard line as Kessler began to string together some completions for the first time all game. As time expired, Wood’s field goal gave USC a 6-3 lead into halftime.Sarkisian understands his team is working hard, but the results on the field have been unfulfilling. The Trojans recovered from the Sept. 19 upset by Stanford at home with a rout at Arizona State, but returned to the Coliseum only to suffer another disappointing defeat.“I’m frustrated because I really believe in this team,” Sarkisian said. “We’re so close, so tight. These guys want to play well. The frustration comes in when we have an opportunity to seize a moment and gain momentum, and we don’t do it. That part’s frustrating to me.”While the Trojans will likely drop out of the Top 25, Sarkisian, who shot down a question regarding his job security, notes the season is not over.“Is our season done?” Sarkisian said. “No. We’ll get back on the horse and play good football. There’s a lot of football left to be played, but we have to hang together and stay together and learn together. There’s no magical potion to sprinkle. It’s going to take hard work, and I don’t doubt that our staff and players are going to do that.”The Trojans will look to recover next week on the road at No. 15 Notre Dame.last_img

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