Upon Further Review: USC-Washington

Allen Bradford

Offensive linemen don't always get the credit they deserve but it was hard to ignore the impressive job they did Saturday night. Look inside for the positives and negatives from USC's 32-31 loss.

The Good

Physical running game: Senior tailback Allen Bradford set the tone for USC's offense with his physical running style. The big tailback showed off his speed by darting up the middle untouched for a 37-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the game. Bradford, who missed Thursday's practice, lowered his shoulder and dished out his fair share of headaches. Bradford was one of the bright spots in the loss, rushing for a career-high 223 yards and two touchdowns. It was the third 100-yard game of Bradford's career and the most rushing yards by a Trojan since Reggie Bush gained 260 yards against UCLA in 2005.

Robert Woods' kick return: Just when the Huskies took a 10-point lead and had all of the momentum, freshman Robert Woods showed off his incredible athleticism by leaping over a defender and weaving his way through Washington's coverage team for a 55-yard kickoff return. Woods' big gain gave USC good field position, some momentum, and set up a scoring drive.

The big men in the trenches: Offensive linemen don't always get the credit they deserve but it was hard to ignore the incredible job they did Saturday night, opening up holes that you could drive a truck through. USC racked up 298 yards rushing while averaging 7.6 yards per attempt.

Ronald Johnson: Wide receiver Ronald Johnson continued to be Matt Barkley's go-to guy, pulling in 6 catches for 109 yards. With the six catches, Johnson moved into a tie for 19th place on USC's all-time reception list with 100 career receptions.

Shareece Wright's hustle play: The senior cornerback showed great hustle by tracking down Washington quarterback Jake Locker right before the goal- line and punched the ball free. The fumble went out of the back of the end zone and resulted in a touchback.

The Bad

Third-and-long defense: It sure seems that USC's third-and-long defense has struggled all season. On Saturday night, the Washington Huskies converted a 3-and-14 and 3-and-18 on the same drive, which resulted in a touchdown pass by Keith Price to give the Huskies a 29-28 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Another missed field goal: Being a kicker is one of the cruel jobs in sports. When you make a kick, it's what you were supposed to do, and when you miss one in a pressure situation it seems like the whole world is down on you. Unfortunately, Joe Houston missed a 40-yard field goal attempt with 2:34 left in the game. Washington's Erik Folk then turned around and made a 32-yard attempt to give the Huskies another dramatic win over USC.

The final drive: For the second year in a row USC fans had to helplessly sit back and watch Jake Locker and the Washington Huskies go on a game-winning drive in the final minutes. USC's defense had a chance to seal the game on a fourth-and-11 in the final drive, but Locker hit D'Andre Goodwin for an 18-yard gain to extend the drive.

Delay of game and timeout: USC's offense was penalized for a delay of game on the first play of one series and had to take a timeout at the start of the next series to keep from getting yet another delay of game. Needless to say, those types of mistakes are inexcusable.

1-play drives: Allowing the Huskies to score on a 44-yard strike from Jake Locker to Devin Aguilar was one of the low points of the night for the defense. Aguilar beat Torin Harris and Jawanza Starling for the score.

The Future

There is no getting around the fact that losing to Steve Sarkisian and the Washington Huskies for the second year in a row has to sting, but in the Pac-10 you have no time to feel sorry for yourself.

Next week the challenge is even bigger as USC heads up to Palo Alto to face a Stanford team that is playing at a very high level and will be in a bad mood after coming off a loss of their own.

Lane Kiffin will need to get the team motivated and focused to face one of the most physical teams in the country.


Robert Woods had a 55-yard kickoff return on Saturday. (Jaime Rodriguez Photo)


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