USC 40, Washington 17
It seems as though many USC games this year have been
surrounded by off-field theatrics and political ploys. Several weeks after
Dennis Erickson called out USC quarterback Matt Barkley for what he called an attempt
at riling up his hotheaded linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Barkley dismissed a high
complement from Steve Sarkisian that placed him above Andrew Luck, saying that
it was an attempt at distracting him this week against the Huskies. Barkley
played a level-headed, if not quite outstanding, game against the former USC
offensive coordinator, leading them to an obvious, impressive victory over UW.
Sarkisian attributed his team’s loss to a simple lack of
execution, assuring the press that the Huskies had the right amount of passion
and motivation, but that they made several mistakes in the visiting stadium
that led to a blowout loss.
For the Trojans, everything seemed to fall into place. This
was the Trojan team that should have shown up against Arizona State, and the
one that faced Stanford needed this team’s conclusive, scoring plays and
special teams. The Trojans recorded a season-high seven sacks and Matt Barkley
threw one touchdown to give him 28 on the season, third highest in the country.
The game was filled with exciting plays that all went the
Trojans way. True freshman Marqise Lee returned the second-half kickoff 88
yards for a touchdown and Curtis McNeal had a 79-yard touchdown run on his way
to a career-high 148 yards. Barkley played a rather conservative game, meaning
that his star receiver, Robert Woods, had a rare quiet game as well.
Matt Barkley scored the first points of the night on a
sneak, that was followed by Marc Tyler’s touchdown run after an 80 yard drive
that was kept alive by Kyle Negrete’s 35-yard run after a fake punt, making it
14-3. One minute of game-time later and it was 16-3, following a tackle made by
Devon Kennard in the Trojans’ own end-zone. Marqise Lee then caught a 9-yard
pass from Matt Barkley to make it 23-3 at the half. Lee’s kickoff return and
McNeal’s electric runs followed in the third quarter, along with a 1-yard run
by Washington’s Chris Polk that followed a 53-yard pass to Kevin Smith. The
game was finished on Kasen Williams’ 20-yard touchdown pass from Nick Montana
with 13 seconds left, his first career touchdown pass and a negligible relief
for the Huskies facing a possible 30-point loss.
This was a game that was decided by embarrassing missed
tackles by Washington along with their 12 penalties. Without the long touchdown
runs from Lee and McNeal, that were made possible by some hideous backfield
tackling, the game conversation could have been much less one-sided.
DFN Sports Staff Writer