first_imgBut when you commit 11 penalties and your star quarterback self-destructs among the chief lowlights, it’s a small miracle the top-ranked Trojans survived a 27-24 victory over Washington before 68,654. “We were so horrid,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “We were hard to watch. We couldn’t do more wrong. We just wanted to get out of our own way. “It’s a classic game to give away. I feel grateful with all the things that happened. A lot of teams lost. We tried really hard. It was a horrible night. We understand. We survived.” Carroll tried to look ahead and erase the performance after the game, but it’s difficult to imagine USC (4-0, 2-0) winning many games if it plays like it did against the Huskies (2-3, 0-2), who did a nice job of their own ruining their chances. But the Trojans left town with with a feeling of an unsatisfied victory. “So far, it was the worst game we’ve played,” USC wide receiver Ronald Johnson said. It’s acceptable to struggle, but not when the primary offenders are players like John David Booty. He completed 20 of 37 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown, but also threw two interceptions, had another pass that should have been intercepted and constantly overthrew his receivers. “He did seem a little high on some passes,” Carroll said in an understatement. Booty said he didn’t really know why he struggled all night. “I don’t know (if it’s my worst game), the results could have been the worst,” Booty said. “I felt good and clear. I don’t think it was the worst game I’ve ever played.” That’s open to debate. But Booty said he had problems releasing the ball. “When it was about to come out, it slipped off my fingers,” he said. Booty was not the only culprit, however. The offensive line seemed in constant penalty mode. Part of it was due to freshman center Kris O’Dowd leaving the game with a dislocated right knee that will sideline him for a significant amount of time. And right guard Chilo Rachal sprained a knee on the same play. That left reserves Matt Spanos, who fumbled a snap when his elbow brace hit his knee brace, and Alatini Malu, who had two false starts and a holding penalty. “I was just too hyped for it,” Malu said. “I wanted to get it going and I was on a hair trigger.” The defense just about got its fill of the offense by halftime, when USC led, 17-14. Linebacker Rey Maualuga got together with seniors Thomas Williams and Keith Rivers and vowed to settle things. “We locked hands and said if the offense can’t do it, we’ll make the plays, ” Maualuga said. “We’ll stop them ourselves.” The defense gamely held on as the Huskies scored two touchdowns off turnovers, including an embarrassing blocked punt by former Narbonne High standout Roy Lewis in the final minute, when the Trojans were celebrating on the sideline. “It was sloppy,” USC safety Taylor Mays said. “These are the games during the season that the top teams slip up and it’s their only loss of the season.” Carroll compared it to last year’s Oregon State game, a loss, but if the Trojans play like this against Oregon or California, it figures to be an actual loss. “We were fortunate to get a win,” Carroll said. Especially after an unexpected sluggish start. Booty threw two interceptions, including a pass behind fullback Stanley Havili that went off his shoulder and into the hands of safety Mesphin Forrester, who returned it 54 yards for a touchdown. Washington’s other touchdown was set up when Booty and Spanos botched a snap. Booty also nearly threw an interception on another pass. The only thing missing was a tipped pass, but he threw two of those in the second half. Booty completed 10 of 17 passes for 109 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the first half. Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who also seemed unaware of the concept of the forward pass, scored on a 10-yard run to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead. Mays, a Seattle native, came late to the play and exchanged words with Washington tight end Johnnie Kirton after the play. “We’re from Washington, we had to do it, he came over and said something and I wanted to say something,” Mays said. USC answered immediately, throwing with more urgency after suddenly trailing. Booty threw three passes to wide receiver Patrick Turner for 58 yards. The last completion was a 23-yard touchdown pass with 10:16 left in the half. The Trojans went ahead on Stafon Johnson’s 8-yard run and also got a 2-yard scoring run by Chauncey Washington (South Torrance High) in the third quarter. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Trojans feel fortunate to beat the Huskies after a game of self-destruction. By Scott Wolf STAFF WRITER SEATTLE, Wash. – USC believed it might play a close game with Washington, but the Trojans never imagined they would offer a disgraceful performance in Husky Stadium. last_img

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