GAME: Washington (6-3) at USC (7-2). WHEN: Saturday, L.A. Coliseum, 12:45 p.m. MEETING: 82nd (USC leads 49-28-4). RANKINGS: UW unranked; USC 18 AP. LINE: Trojans by 13. TV/RADIO: FX (Comcast Ch: 53); KJR-950 AM
Although bowl eligible at 6-3, the Huskies have dropped two of their past three games, both by substantial margins (65-21 loss to Stanford, 34-17 loss to Oregon). Washington will be looking to score its third consecutive win over the Trojans, something the Huskies haven’t been able to accomplish since 1990-92.
To make a third win happen, the Huskies need a far better showing out of quarterback Keith Price than they’ve had in the past three games, especially against the Ducks. Price came out overly amped, consistently missed receivers and looked nothing like the quarterback of the season’s first month, generating just 143 passing yards and two interceptions.
Price has tossed six interceptions in Washington’s past three games after throwing three in the first three.
“I’m going to bounce back,” Price said following the defeat. “I’m not worried about that. I’ve just got to back to the fundamentals and just getting completions, easy completions. I’m going to get back to that this week.”
Southern Cal has played as well as any team on the Pac-12 over the past month. The Trojans have captured four of their past five games, the only loss coming in triple overtime against Stanford.
Of the Trojans, UW head coach Steve Sarkisian said, “They are a talented, talented team. Probably still the most talented team in our conference. They are deeply talented.”
RIVALRY: The Washington-Southern California football rivalry dates to Oct. 23, 1923, when the Huskies defeated the Trojans 22-0 in what was the first UW game broadcast on the radio.
LAST MEETING: On Oct. 2, 2010, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Washington’s Erik Folk hit a 32-yard field goal with 2:34 to play, lifting Washington to a 32-31 victory. It marked the second consecutive year that Folk beat USC with a late field goal. Folk kicked four field goals against the Trojans last year, while quarterback Jake Locker produced one of the best statistical games of his UW career, throwing for 310 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 110 yards.
LAST WEEK: Washington was felled by Oregon and USC defeated Colorado, a new Pac-12 member, 42-17, in Boulder, CO.
TRENDS: The Huskies have beaten the Trojans two years in a row. They have not defeated USC three consecutive years since 1990-92, a period in which the Huskies claimed a share of the co-national championship (1991). Washington’s longest winning streak over the Trojans is five games, from 1934-38 under head coach Jimmy Phelan. Washington enters this game having lost two of its past three. USC has won two of its past three.
COACHES: Steve Sarkisian is in his third season as head coach of the Huskies. A former USC assistant under Pete Carroll, Sarkisian has compiled a 17-11 record in his nearly three full years leading the UW program.
Lane Kiffin: He’s in his second year as head coach of the Trojans (14-7 overall). Prior to replacing Pete Carroll, Kiffin served as head coach of the Tennessee Titans (2009) and Oakland Raiders (2006-08).
STATS: After nine games, the Huskies have outscored their opponents by just one point, 302-301 . . . Washington is averaging 33.5 points per game, USC 33.4 . . . Chris Polk has rushed for 1,096 yards (and 9 TDs) and needs 450 yards to break Napoleon Kaufman’s school career record of 4,106, set between 1991-94. Polk and Kaufman are the only backs in UW history with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons . . . With 25 touchdown passes, quarterback Keith Price needs three to match and four to break Cody Pickett’s single-season school record in 2002. Price threw the first TD pass of his college career in last year’s USC game, a one-yard completion to former tight end Chris Izbicki . . . USC has been dominant in the first quarter this season, outscoring opponents 70-24 . . . USC quarterback Matt Barkley has thrown for 2,608 yards and 28 touchdowns with just six interceptions . . . Barkley has been selected as one of 13 finalists for the 2011 Wuerffel Trophy, presented by the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach, FL., to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding athletic and academic achievement.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: Huskies under Sarkisian have shown a propensity to rebound after bad games, but this time it’s a tall request. The Trojans are irked with the Huskies after consecutive losses, and played Stanford, which slaughtered the Huskies, to a virtual draw.
Sarkisian said USC quarterback Matt Barkley is better than Stanford’s Andrew Luck, and the Trojans remain the most talented team in the conference. He should know — he recruited a number of them.
UW QB Keith Price is on a downward slide, which wasn’t helped by getting sacked six times by the Ducks. The Dawgs hoopsters have a better chance for a rebound than the Dawgs footballers. USC 41, Washington 21.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: Most of Washington’s games this season have amounted to track meets featuring lots of points. I don’t see that changing Saturday.
The Trojans score a ton and UW gives up a ton, but USC’s defense is suspect. Washington can score a lot of points here if Keith Price doesn’t come emotionally unhinged, as he did against Oregon.
Can the Huskies score enough to offset USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who will be a first-round NFL draft choice? Don’t think so. USC 48, Washington 28.
COMING UP: The Huskies have two regular-season games remaining. UW takes on Oregon State on Nov. 19 at Corvallis and Washington State on Nov. 28 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (home of the Seahawks/Sounders). CenturyLink is hosting the Apple Cup because of the $250 million renovation to Husky Stadium, which will re-open for the 2013 season. After playing Oregon State and Washington State, the Huskies will play in a bowl game — which one has yet to be determined — for the second consecutive year.
University of Washington 2011 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/3/11||vs. Eastern Washington||—||—||W||30-27||1-0|
|11/12/11||at Southern Cal||—||18||—||—||—|
|11/19/11||at Oregon State||—||—||—||—||—|
|11/26/11||vs. Washington St.||—||—||—||—||—|