Sunday, September 20, 2009

UW Upsets #3 USC. Sark asks Carrol "How's My Ass Taste?"

Many Dawg fans believed that USC was vulnerable after last week's tough win over Ohio State. I, however, was not one of them. I'll admit that. I was afraid that USC would run us over and leave just a purple and goal smudge on their helmet.

Such fear was not unfounded. USC looked solid playing a tough OSU team on the road and coming out with a victory. UW, on the other hand had a lot tougher game with Idaho than the score would indicate. If not for a few costly mistakes by Idaho there might've been a game. The defense looked less than stellar and against a monster like USC not a mistake could be afforded.

The first drive by the Trojans did little to allay my fears. It took all of 6 plays, 80 yards and a little over two and a half minutes for USC to score the first touch down of the game. The Dawg's defense looked over matched against an elite O-Line as they were gashed for big yardage. It was the moment I feared. Playing an elite team that already had a tough game to get everything in line for I worried we wouldn't be able to sneak up on them like perhaps we did against LSU.

A quick three and out by the UW offense did little to instill confidence in me. I was close to slipping into the abyss of dejection after a Trojans field goal gave USC a 10-0 lead but was thankfully saved the next UW drive when Jake ran the ball in for the score. That drive kept the Dawgs more than close enough to feel confident about their chances. A game that seemed almost out of reach at 10-0 felt damn winnable tied at 10 going into the half.

Even then I worried, though. I should have felt ecstatic about the former 0-12 Dawgs hanging with a National Championship contender. Instead I knew that USC was a second half team. I'd see too often USC not play sharp in the first half against a lesser opponent only to steam roll them in the second half. I feared a disembowelment when the Trojans came down the the tunnel and took the field for the second half.

Luckily, what I saw was a defensive battle throughout the second half punctuated with USC turnovers. Key turnovers at that. It seemed everytime USC would get into scoring position they would magically turn the ball over to the defense. That's not to take anything away from the UW defense, they played out of their minds. Holding USC to 13 points is impressive no matter what but the turnovers were uncharacteristic of a Pete Carrol coached team.

What impressed me the most about that game, more than the defense coming through, more than special teams doing a great job on Joe McKnight, was the continuing development and stellar play of Jake Locker. USC might very well have had the best player at nearly any position. There was one position where UW had a clear advantage and that was at quarterback. Despite consistent pressure and taking hits like the sham-wow hooker, Jake looked poised throughout the game. He did his best to stay in the pocket and make USC pay for keeping a spy on him.

The 3rd and 15 will be a play forever remembered in Husky lore. It was a perfect example of Jake's using his legs to keep the play alive down the field where in years past he woulda just ran with it. When Jake started to get flushed out of the pocket he kept his eyes downfield and spotted Jermaine Kearse open down the sideline and hit him to convert the crucial first down.

Jake went 21/35 completing 60% of his passes against a tough Trojans defense. He made reads, put touch on his throws and all around looked like the savior he has hyped to be when he arrived down on Montlake. Jake very well could be the best QB in the conference and I think he has the tools in his playmakers to have a great season. Best of all he allowed Steve Sarkisian to ask his old boss "Pete, how's my ass taste?"

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