What was within their grasp was their first conference win of the season, against a team coming off a win against #10 Utah last week.
“It is important. I honestly don’t think of it like that. Every game is critically important to us. We just think ‘who is our next game?’ Even those first games that we played feel equally important as anything we are doing in the league. I think there were some good players on that other side, and they have a good team, so it was good to get this win. I am glad that we had it at home. I thought the crowd was really good,” Washington head coach Chris Petersen said about getting their first conference win.
The story of the game was how would the young secondary of the Huskies defend USC’s newly adopted “Air Raid ” offense.
“They do a good job. Trent Mcduffie is a true warrior. He plays at a high level. I think it is awesome what Cam Williams is doing back there, we are starting to get a feel of what we want from him out there. We play our safety deep so that he can roam and pick off passes. Now we are starting to see him get his hands on some things. He will continue to flourish in that role,” Petersen said.
USC has some really talented receivers on their roster and all eyes were on the Huskies, keeping them in check, without giving up explosive plays.
The Huskies did a good job on defense by grounding the “Air Raid” attack, only giving up 163 passing yards by USC quarterback Matt Fink.
Actually, the Trojans running game netted more yards for them than their passing game. USC finished with 212 yards off the ground.
At the start of the game, the Huskies won the toss and elected to defer to the second half. They wanted to see the “Air Raid” right off the bat.
Both teams felt each other out until the Huskies struck first towards the end of the first quarter, putting the early pressure on the Trojans.
Redshirt freshman running back Richard Newton ran into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown and the Huskies were leading 7-0.
The Huskies have made a living lately, on their fast starts out of the gate. Their scoring output wasn’t done for the first quarter.
With 0:29 seconds left in the first quarter, junior running back Salvon Ahmed fumbled the ball in the end zone, but it was recovered by senior wide receiver Andre Baccellia for the touchdown.
The Huskies were leading 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, and were fully in control of the game entering the start of the second quarter.
In the second quarter, the Trojans started to settle in and fight their way back into the game. At the 4:14 mark, Fink kept the ball on a 3-yard run and dove into the end zone for USC’s first score of the game.
The Trojans cut the Husky lead to 14-7 and were feeling good about themselves, but the Huskies would answer back with an 11 play, 49-yard drive, that resulted in a 28-yard FG by sophomore Peyton Henry.
At halftime, the Huskies took back momentum with the field goal and led 17-7 against USC, with receiving the football to start the third quarter.
Up until the BYU game last week, the Huskies trend was starting out slow in third quarters and not being very productive.
The Huskies followed up last week’s third quarter performance with another great offensive quarter against the Trojans and set the tone for the second half.
At the 12:02 mark, “Mr. Reliable” Peyton Henry converted his 35-yard FG attempt and the Huskies were quickly leading 20-7 to start the quarter.
In what was easily the most “electric” play of the game for the Huskies, Ahmed dazzled the crowd with his “jumpcut” 89-yard touchdown run and pandemonium hit Husky Stadium!
USC defenders tried to catch up to Ahmed but as most people know, that is no easy feat to pull off, once he is accelerating in open space.
The Huskies were leading 26-7 when Petersen and offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan pulled off some trickery on the 2-point conversion.
Senior wide receiver Chico McClatcher was the beneficiary of some pitch deception, as he ran to the edge of the end zone for two points.
Washington led 28-7 and it felt as if the Huskies were ready to put this one away for good, but the Trojans had other plans.
One of the only big breakdowns of the Husky secondary all game, was when USC quarterback Matt Fink threw a 44-yard dart into two defenders for the touchdown.
USC was now trailing 28-14 heading into the fourth quarter, and the Huskies were now in a battle with their nemesis from Southern California.
In the fourth quarter, there were no scores by either team, but that didn’t tell the whole story as USC had several opportunities to really put pressure on the Huskies.
Every time, the Huskies would stymie the USC attack and come away with timely turnovers. Towards the end of the fourth quarter, true freshman defensive back Cameron Williams picked Fink at the 2-yard to seal the game, as the Huskies ran out the clock afterwards.
Williams was spectacular on the night with notching two timely interceptions that helped change the momentum and flow of the game.
“Cam made some really awesome plays out there! Obviously played the ball really really well,” defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake told DubLife after the game.
Junior defensive back Elijah Molden had an interception of his own and also made a huge impact throughout the game with making plays.
The story of the game was the return of #26! He was simply sensational with a career high 153 yards on 17 carries and 1 TD. His ability to consistently move the chains and get into the second level was the key to the Huskies victory tonight.
“It was good..having Salvon back there is always great. He played well and made some explosive plays..with getting him the ball in space he is a big threat in the backfield,” junior quarterback Jacob Eason told DubLife after the game.
Ahmed’s 89-yard TD run in the third quarter was the fifth-longest run from scrimmage in UW history and it came at a much needed time for the Dawgs.
“The one run made it a career day. That was a game changer. To be able to get an 80-plus yard play in the run game – that doesn’t happen too often. When you have explosives in the run game (that) go for touchdowns, that is what you want to do,” Petersen said.
Penalties were an issue for the Huskies all night long. Uncharacteristic unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and others, stalled drives and took the Husky offense out of rhythm.
Overall it was a great win for the Huskies. It wasn’t always pretty, but this was a true test for the Huskies and they gritted out the hard-fought win.
The Huskies are improving every week and don’t underestimate the fact that they are now 4-1. They will be a dangerous “out” every week going forward for opposing teams.
Next up for the Huskies is the Stanford Cardinal, next Saturday night, October 5th at Stanford Stadium with a kickoff time of 7:30 p.m PST.
“I’m excited..it’s going to be a good road game. We will try to look at them a lot tomorrow and get ready for them,” junior tight end Hunter Bryant told DubLife about their matchup with Stanford next week.
Below is some actual “Game Notes” for the Huskies…..
Husky Stadium – 50 degrees, mostly cloudy, wind 6 mph, north.
- The captains for today’s game were: Trey Adams, Myles Bryant, Aaron Fuller and Nick Harris.
- Today’s game was just the fifth time both teams have been ranked in a game at Husky Stadium since the remodel in 2013. UW is 4-1 in those matchups.
- The Huskies have won five-straight games against ranked foes at Husky Stadium. Since the stadium was remodeled in 2013, the Huskies are 6-5 against ranked teams at home.
- Today’s win was the Huskies first at home against USC since Sept. 19, 2009 when they beat the No. 3 Trojans, 16-13, on a last-second field goal by Erik Folk. USC won the 2016 and 2012 games at Husky Stadium.
- Through five games, the Huskies have now outscored opponents 77-3 in the first quarter.
- For the season the Huskies have nine takeaways and have scored six touchdowns and a field goal. The turnovers that did not result in a score were at the end of games with the Huskies eventually taking a knee. On the flip side, the Huskies have turned the ball over five times which has resulted in just one score by the opponent (touchdown BYU).???????
- Salvon Ahmed’s 89-yard TD run in the third quarter was the fifth-longest run from scrimmage in UW history. It’s the longest since Napoleon Kaufman went 91 yards against San Jose State on Oct. 8, 1994. Complete list on page 100 of the UW record book.
- Ahmed established a new career high with 153 rushing yards. It’s the second time he has surpassed 100 yards rushing this season and for his career (also vs. Cal). It’s also the most by a Husky rusher this season.
- The first quarter rushing touchdown by Richard Newton was his sixth on the ground (seventh overall) in five games. For perspective, Bishop Sankey rushed for seven TD’s in the first five games of 2013, while Hugh. McElhenny (1950) and Myles Gaskin (2017) rushed for six TD’s over the first five games of their best seasons.
- The Huskies’ fumble RECOVERY for a touchdown by Andre Baccellia was UW’s first such play since Sept. 20, 2003 and Terry “Tank” Johnson against Idaho.
- Cameron Williams notched his second and third career interceptions and Elijah Molden made his first career pick. Williams is the first Husky true freshman with two picks in the same game since Taylor Rapp had two in the 2016 Pac-12 Championship game vs. Colorado.
- Hunter Bryant is up to seventh on the Huskies’ top-10 list for career receiving yards by a tight end with 903. He has 56 receptions and needs one more to crack the top-10 list for tight ends.
- With six receptions, Aaron Fuller now has 127 in his career. He needs 11 more to break into UW’s top-10 list.
- Trent McDuffie led the Huskies’ defense with nine tackles. It’s the fourth time in five games a DB has led the team in stops.
- Peyton Henry improved to 9-for-9 in field goal attempts on the season with his 28- and 35-yard conversions.
- The longest pass play by USC in the first half was nine yards, Matt Fink to Michael Pittman.
- Julius Irvin made his 2019 debut, entering the game on special teams in the third quarter.
- The following true freshmen played in their fifth games this season: Tim Horn, Trent McDuffie, Puka Nacua and Cameron Williams. Asa Turner and Laiatu Latu each played in their fourth games.
Below is a Highlights Video of the game…..
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