Trojans roll past Huskies 56-0
LOS ANGELES (AP)—As expected, the Washington-USC game was a one-sided affair from the start. And now, the hapless Huskies stand alone as the nation’s only winless major college team.
Mark Sanchez completed 15 of 19 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns to Patrick Turner before coming out early in the third quarter, and No. 7 Southern California scored TDs on its first six possessions in a 56-0 rout of Washington on Saturday.
C.J. Gable gained 108 yards on 10 carries and scored twice for USC, which led 42-0 at halftime. The Trojans had 18 first downs and 325 yards of total offense in the first half to two first downs and 35 yards for the Huskies.
USC emptied its bench in the final 30 minutes.
“It was a happy homecoming for us,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “We wanted it to be big for our seniors. We have a really fantastic defensive group, and they’re taking the preparation from the week and putting it into the game.”
The shutout was USC’s third in their last four games. Since losing 27-21 at Oregon State on Sept. 25, the Trojans have outscored their five opponents 207-27. They’ve allowed seven touchdowns in eight games and given up an average of 7.1 points per game.
“We set a goal at the beginning of the season to swarm to the ball on every play, keep our intensity up,” said linebacker Rey Maualuga, whose second-quarter interception set up USC’s fifth touchdown. “Our best defensive play is still ahead of us.”
The win before a crowd of 80,216 at the Los Angeles Coliseum was the 42nd in the last 43 home games for the Trojans (7-1, 5-1), and kept them alive in the national championship race. They’re 24-0 in November games since Carroll was hired as coach in 2001.
USC is one of three Pac-10 teams with one loss in conference action, along with Oregon State and California. The Trojans face the Golden Bears (6-2, 4-1) next Saturday at the Coliseum.
“They’re going to throw everything at us and they’re going to fight for every inch,” Maualuga said. “My work starts tonight.”
The Huskies (0-8, 0-5) are at the other end of the spectrum. They entered the weekend as one of two FBS teams without a victory, but North Texas rallied to beat Western Kentucky 51-40 for its first win of the year.
Washington coach Tyrone Willingham was fired last Monday, effective at season’s end. His Huskies are 12-33 in three-plus seasons. They’ve started a season with eight straight losses for just the second time in school history; the 1969 team lost its first nine games.
“Obviously we played a good team,” Willingham said. “We came into the game knowing we had to play perfect and could not make mistakes. With penalties and different things, we did not give ourselves a chance to win.”
Asked if the announcement of the coaching change had an impact on the game, Willingham replied: “I don’t think you can discount that. That weighs on people. But it’s not an excuse. We did not play well enough to win.”
The victory was the most lopsided in the history of the 78-game series, surpassing USC’s 48-0 triumph in 1929. The Trojans have won the last seven games between the teams, but their margin of victory was just six points in 2006 and three points last season.
The Huskies have played their last five games without star quarterback Jake Locker, who broke his right thumb Sept. 27 in a 35-28 loss to Stanford. Redshirt freshman Ronnie Fouch was ineffective against the Trojans, going 14-of-33 for 113 yards with three interceptions—two in USC territory in the fourth quarter.
USC took a 21-0 lead in the first 11 1/2 minutes on touchdown passes of 4 and 32 yards from Sanchez to Turner and a 9-yard run by Gable.
Sanchez’s 1-yard sneak on fourth down early in the second quarter made it 28-0 after the Huskies held Stanley Havili to no gain, but were penalized for lining up in the neutral zone.
Stafon Johnson scored on a 1-yard run just 91 seconds later, two plays after Maualuga’s interception at the Washington 16.
The Huskies finally got a first down on their sixth possession, but were then forced to punt, and that meant another USC touchdown, this one by Gable on a 6-yard run.
Washington finally crossed midfield for the first time late in the second quarter on a pass interference penalty against Kevin Thomas, but the Huskies turned the ball over on downs at the 38.
Washington moved to the Trojans’ 6-yard line early in the final period, but Chris Galippo intercepted a pass by Fouch on second-and-goal and returned it 50 yards to the Huskies’ 49, setting up a 6-yard run by Marc Tyler.
Tyler gained 85 yards on 16 carries in the first extended action of his career.
The Huskies threatened again, getting to the USC 25 before Drew McAllister’s interception turned them away.
“It was exciting to see so many of our young guys get in and to hold onto the shutout there at the end,” Carroll said. “It’s really a source of pride for everyone.”