Washington Huskies Stroll Into LA and Upset USC, 32-31, for the 2nd Straight Year

Ah, how sweet it is! as Jackie Gleason used to say.

When you are 66 years old, you can reference Jackie Gleason without being afraid of losing the younger readers. Since they spend so much time on the Internet, they can Google Jackie Gleason and learn something.

But sweet it was as the University of Washington Huskies blew into Los Angeles, headed for the LA Memorial Coliseum, and upset the 18th-ranked USC Trojans for the second straight season.

Jake Locker engineered a long drive to set up Erik Folk’s 32-yard field goal as time expired, and Washington upset the 18th-ranked Trojans, 32-31. Erik Folk, who may soon become a folk hero, nailed a 22-yard field goal at Husky Stadium last season with 3 seconds left to beat USC, 16-13, when the Trojans were ranked 3rd in the nation.

Locker, who went 4-for-20 against Nebraska with 2 interceptions, put the burn on USC and outplayed Trojan QB Matt Barkley. Locker was 24-for-40 (60%) for 310 yards and a 44-yard touchdown pass to Devin Aguilar. Locker also rushed for 110 yards on 12 carries (9.17 ypc).

And Erik Folk was busy kicking 3 additional field goals for 23, 41 and 35 yards before he calmly nailed the 32-yard, game-winning kick. Folk waited through 3 timeouts as USC tried to rattle him before the kick.

Husky running back Chris Polk added 92 yards on 13 carries (7.08 ypc) to help Washington roll up 536 yards in total offense.

Jake Locker also had two other memorable moments in the game of his career. He darn near scored on a long run in the 2nd quarter, but had the ball punched from behind and knocked through the end zone as he was about to score.

In the 4th quarter, as Locker attempted to score at the USC goal line, he fell backwards toward the goal and took a knee to the back of his head and had the wind knocked out of him at the same time. He could barely stand up as he was led from the field.

His able replacement, back-up Keith Price came in and immediately threw a 1-yard TD strike to tight end Chris Izbicki to put the Huskies up temporarily, 29-28. USC would get a field goal to retain the lead at 31-29 before Erik Folk took away their glory with his last-second, game-winning field goal as the Trojan fans sat stunned at the outcome.

So just how big was Washington’s victory on Southern Cal’s turf? I’m glad you finally asked. It was this big:

1) Washington had not beaten the Trojans in Los Angeles since 1996, 14 years ago in the Don James’ Era.

2) The Huskies had not won on the road in their past 13 attempts, things were getting more than old and a lot cranky. Winning on the road in the Pac-10 is like taking the hottest chick in school to the senior prom.

3) Not since 2003 has Washington won facing a ranked team in back-to-back games. The Husky loss two weeks ago was to 6th-ranked Nebraska.

Husky coach Steve Sarkisian called Locker’s performance against USC “legendary”. Locker reminded everyone why his is a favorite to be an NFL top-draft pick, and a Heisman Trophy candidate.

The season is 4 games old with 8 more to play. A lot can happen, good or bad. After Washington’s huge upset win over USC, it all looked good. Do not make the mistake of counting the Washington Huskies out because they are 2-2. They are also 1-0 and undefeated in the Pac-10 race.

Copyright © 2010 Ed Bagley