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USC Football Gets Revenge On Washington's Young Pups, 40-17

Scott Enyeart |
November 12, 2011 | 7:04 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Dion Bailey celebrates USC's safety in the Trojans' 40-17 victory. (James Santelli/Neon Tommy)
Dion Bailey celebrates USC's safety in the Trojans' 40-17 victory. (James Santelli/Neon Tommy)
USC and Washington are widely considered two of the more promising young teams in the Pac-12. On Saturday afternoon, before 64,756 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Trojans mostly showed their promise while the Huskies generally displayed their youth, as USC beat UW 40-17.

Despite the lopsided score, it wasn't a masterpiece for the Trojans. USC (8-2, 5-2) committed a season-high 11 penalties for 78 yards, but not to be outdone, Washington (6-4, 4-3) amassed 12 penalties for 91 yards of their own. Ultimately, though, USC was carried by its best defensive performance of the season, explosive special teams and a strong rushing attack as they broke a two-game losing streak to coach Steve Sarkisian's Dawgs.

"We're playing close to where I think we can as a team," Trojans' coach Lane Kiffin said. "Aside from the penalties today, we're getting really close to where we want to be."

A number of USC players indicated this week that this season was somewhat of a "revenge tour," as they took on a number of foes who had gotten the better of them the past two seasons.

DE Nick Perry takes down Keith Price. (James Santelli/Neon Tommy)
DE Nick Perry takes down Keith Price. (James Santelli/Neon Tommy)
Apparently, this tour stop was scheduled to take place in the Huskies' backfield as USC's defense rung up a season-high 7 sacks, led by DE Nick Perry, who totaled 2.5 by himself. Although the defense didn’t force a turnover DE Devon Kennard did record a sack for a safety, and the Trojans held Washington to a season-low 244 total yards.

The game started slow with both teams exchanging punts, before USC QB Matt Barkley found the endzone on a one-yard sneak. The Huskies answered, however, as they fed leading receiver TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins en route to a FG, cutting the USC to 7-3. On the following possession it appeared UW had forced the Men of Troy into a punting situation. But the Trojans ran a fake, and punter Kyle Negrete sprinted 35 yards for a first down. USC resumed the drive and capped it off with Marc Tyler touchdown run.

The fake punt wasn't the only huge play by the Trojans’ special teams, as WR Marqise Lee ran a kickoff back 79 yards for a touchdown on the opening kick of the second half to put USC up 30-3. It was the Trojans first kickoff return for a score since last season's win at Minnesota.

"I grabbed it and tried to go straight up the middle, but there was nothing there. I heard Robert [Woods] yelling for me to get outside," Lee said. "All the blocks set up for me. Robert [Woods] and [Chris] Galippo made a couple great plays ahead of me."

Video of the players' press conference can be found at the bottom of this story.

WR Marqise Lee (James Santelli/Neon Tommy)
WR Marqise Lee (James Santelli/Neon Tommy)
Lee was also USC's leading receiver, bringing in 9 passes for 74 yards and a receiving TD. It was a huge night for Lee to shine as the Trojans' leading wideout Robert Woods was held to just two catches for five yards.

With the passing game relatively quiet, USC's young offensive line and running backs made the noise for a change. USC ran for 252 yards on the ground, led by Curtis McNeal who had 18 carries for a career-high 148 yards, including a spectacular 79-yard TD.

The Washington offense, on the other hand, was held to a season-low 244 total yards, including just 36 yards on the ground from the conference's second-leading rusher, Chris Polk.

"I think there were some issues up front," coach Sarkisian said. "I knew it would be a tough matchup for us. They have some tremendous offensive lineman... and they did a nice job with some coverages."

Lane Kiffin's young Trojans squad continues its "revenge tour" next weekend in Eugene, Oregon as they look to snap another two-game losing streak, this time to the Ducks.

"We're trying to figure this game out, and then go on to the next one," Kiffin said of the showdown with Oregon. "We're just happy to be 8-2. We just keep trying to move those clouds away. We're trying to get some sun out here."


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