Spending 15 minutes inside Washington State’s interview tent following the game, you didn’t get the sense the Cougars (3-1, 0-1) were ready to view their first loss of the 2018 season through the glass-half-full lens.
At one point early in the third quarter, Washington State held a 13-point lead at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC’s 17-game home win streak was on the fritz and the Cougars were threatening to beat Clay Helton and the Trojans for the second time in two years.
Difference makers from USC’s 39-36 victory over Washington State
It took four games, the first three of which they won, but the Washington State Cougars finally made the television big time. All it took was a game at USC. On a Friday night. It was the Trojans, not surprisingly, who played the starring role on the ESPN broadcast, with WSU filling the role of the supporting cast.
The Coliseum may not have drawn record numbers, but it was still more than half-full for a Pac-12 duel against the Cougars.
Stephen Carr broke away for a long 50-yarder and Vavae Malepeai capped the drive with a strong 3-yard touchdown. Then, quickly as it arrived, the Trojans’ run game disappeared into the smoggy LA air.
JT Daniels and USC’s talented crew of wide receivers began to get hot and a 38-yard WSU field goal was blocked with less than two minutes to play, allowing the Trojans to preserve a 39-36 win at the Coliseum and preserve the country’s second-longest home winning streak.
USC’s current point-per-game average (20) certainly doesn’t hold up against a WSU team that’s averaging more than 43 and if the Trojans offensive line can’t find a way to protect J.T. Daniels, the USC rookie will likely be forced to make a few ill-advised throws. The Cougars scored 24 points off turnovers last week and it could be a key for them once again.
The objective for any road football team is to play so well through the course of a game that it can zap energy and passion out of the crowd and neutralize the advantage a “home field” is supposed to provide.
Keys to a potential Washington State victory Friday against USC at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Both receivers, and now Djibril, have expanded WSU’s footprint at Cathedral, but so would a big result for the Cougars (3-0) this Friday night against USC (1-2) at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is a pebble throw away from the high school in Chavez Ravine area of LA.
We correctly picked the winners for 10 of the 11 games last weekend, and could have been 11 for 11 had officials in the game between Arizona State and San Diego State determined Manny Wilkins’ 48-yard pass to Frank Darby was complete – a decision that would have given the Sun Devils the ball back on the 2-yard line trailing by seven points with 6 seconds left.