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No. 21 USC falls to No. 17 Washington 28-14 on the road

USC unable to overcome their road woes as they fall to No. 17 Washington 28-14

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 USC at Washington Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The road woes continue once again as the Trojans are unable to leave Seattle with a victory.

USC drive started out promising, however they were forced to punt. From there the Trojans offense was unable to get much of anything going. Washington jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after a touchdown run by Huskies running back Richard Newton and a fumble recovery in the end zone by Andre Beccellia. USC was able to cut the score down in the second quarter to 7 after Matt Fink scored on a 3 yard touchdown run. By halftime USC trailed 17-7 and not much success on offense.

Trailing 20-7 and in the red zone it appeared USC was going to get back into the game. However, Matt Fink threw a drive ending interception to Elijah Molden. Fink telegraphed his pass trying to look for Michael Pittman Jr. Two plays later Salvon Ahmed broke off an 89 yard touchdown which put Washington up three scores in the fourth. USC would strike back with a Fink to Pittman Jr. 44 yard strike, but the hole would be too much for the Trojans to climb out of as Washington made two key defensive to preserve the 28-14 win.

Matt Fink struggled against Washington’s defense throwing for 163 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions.
Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Washington defensively followed the BYU game plan by dropping 8 into coverage and rushing three. The Trojans had more success running the ball, but the issue was that the Trojans failed to close drives and put themselves into trouble with penalties that staled their drive. USC committed 8 penalties for 80 yards. Two game following a Washington fumble in the fourth quarter. One was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when the injured Talanoa Hufanga barley came onto the field when celebrating with teammates. Another was a pass interference penalty on Amon-Ra St. Brown. USC loss a total of 30 yards following the turnover. The passing game was very ineffective against the Huskies. Despite throwing a 44 yard touchdown pass, Fink struggled throwing 3 interceptions and averaged 5.4 yards through the air. Washington defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake disguised his coverage which took away the passing threat of the Trojans.

The USC defense did a solid job against the Washington offense. Despite giving up 14 points due to having to defend a short yard, the Trojans defense kept the game from getting really out of hand. The presence of missing Hufanga showed as tight ends Hunter Bryant and Cade Otton managed to find themselves open on big plays. Eason was held without a touchdown pass for the first time since the Huskies loss to Cal. The back breaking play came when Ahmed broke off a 89 yard touchdown run that put Washington up 28-7.

Despite the loss, USC still sits in a good spot in the Pac-12 south as they fall to 2-1 in conference, 3-2 overall. However, the loss still shows that the Trojans have issues winning on the road under Clay Helton. Questions will once again fly about Helton’s status. The Trojans looked underprepared and were outcoached once again in a game that they were still in a position to win. The Trojans will head into the bye week to fix their problems and prepare for another big time road game against rival Notre Dame.