Washington Football: Huskies Drop the Ball Against USC

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

The Huskies literally fumbled away a chance to upset the Trojans and grab a huge win for the program because of turnovers and kicking miscues.

The Huskies might have a hard time getting through airport security on their way to Arizona next week with all of the lead they have in their foot after Saturday's 24-14 loss to USC at home in CenturyLink Field.

The Trojans looked almost like a father who was playing with his young son, trying to make sure that he kept him in a game that he could easily win to keep his spirits up as they played almost astonishingly conservative on offense and struggled with the Washington offense when they tried to hurry things up. However, like an undisciplined child, the Huskies offense repeatedly refused to take the openings that the Trojans gave them and blew a huge opportunity due to 4 turnovers and a couple special teams miscues.

Husky fans can't really complain about the 3-3 record the team has halfway through the season with the schedule they have played thus far, but there is no way to rationalize not at least making Saturday's game go down to the wire. The Huskies were incredibly close to being 4-2 with two wins over Top 10 teams in three weeks, but fell once again do to self-inflicted mistakes and now face a much tougher road to bowl eligibility than it appeared they would going into the season with the improvements of Arizona, Oregon State and Cal.

The Good

Cornerbacks - Desmond Trufant and freshman Marcus Peters faced a very tough task in covering Robert Woods and Marqise Lee and not only held the dynamic duo in check as they combined for 7 catches for 120 yards, but also appeared to get in their headz with physical play. Peters was also able to make an excellent and heady play to trick Matt Barkley into throwing an interception that jumped started the entire team. The outstanding play of both cornerbacks is a great sign for the Huskies as they face the dangerous duos of Austin Hill and Dan Buckner and Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks in the next two weeks.

Keep the Faith - The Huskies easily could have packed it in and let the Trojans roll at they went into the locker room at halftime trailing 24-7 and looking painfully stagnant on offense. The coaching staff deserves credit for keeping the Huskies engaged as they did just the opposite and came out fighting, shutting out the Trojan offense while also getting it going on offense.

Where Have You Been? - It had been a while since Austin Seferian-Jenkins had really been a factor in a game, but he finally was able to break out a bit as he made a huge 34-yard catch and a 29-yard touchdown when the Huskies really needed it. Though he still looked banged up, the Huskies desperately need him to be productive since they have a very limited receiving core this season.

The Bad

Keith Price - It hurts to say it, but Price might have outright cost the Huskies the game this time. Both of his fumbles were back breaking, and his opening interception was simply a throw a quarterback should never make. In the last two games when they have needed him to perform the most, he has had 7 turnovers and looked antsy in the pocket even when the pressure isn't there. He has chance to turn things around as the schedule starts to lighten up just a little bit from this point forward, but that also means that the time for excuses is now over.

Kicking yourself in the a** - The 10 points that the Huskies kicking game gave up with a blocked punt for a touchdown and a missed field goal ended up being the difference. The Huskies have looked like they might get every punt blocked so far this season, and whether it the punter taking too long, or a blocking thing, they need to get it figured out immediately. Also, close games will be tough for the Huskies if they don't have a reliable kicker. Yes, it was a 45-yard kick that Travis Coons missed, but it wasn't even close.

Easy street? - Much has been made of the Huskies being able to get through the gauntlet of LSU, Stanford, Oregon and USC at least 3-3, and the Huskies have accomplished that, but the schedule doesn't lighten up as much as originally thought going into the season. A road game at Arizona next week looks incredibly tough as the Wildcats offense is fast and furious and the Huskies have looked atrocious on the road so far this season. The following week might be even tougher, with Oregon State likely being a Top 10 team as they head up to Seattle.

The Unknown

Lane Kiffin's game plan? - Kiffin's game plan seemed incredibly conservative. He seemed comfortable with an early lead and rarely tested the Husky secondary. Was the Husky defense playing really well, or was Kiffin simply trying to establish a balanced offense and keep his full playbook safely stowed away for later use?

Damaged goods? - No Pac-12 quarterback has faced as much criticism, or as tough a schedule as Price has in the first half of the season and it is really showing. He looks bothered, he's second guessing his throws and he's trying to force plays that result in turnovers. Can he get his confidence back and play the way he did against the softer defenses of the conference like he did last year?

Injury report? - It's an even bigger unknown with the new injury reporting policy, but if, or when the Huskies might get Erik Kohler or Ben Riva back is one of the biggest questions as the season marches on. Getting either one of the experienced linemen back could make a world of difference by getting one of the young offensive linemen who simply aren't ready to play off the field.

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