LOS ANGELES — Jake Locker engineered a long drive to set up Erik Folk’s 32-yard field goal as time expired, and Washington upset No. 18 Southern California 32-31 on Saturday night.
Locker passed for 310 yards and rushed for 111 more as the Huskies (2-2, 1-0 Pac-10) racked up 537 yards of offense in their second straight win over the Trojans (4-1, 1-1).
After USC’s Joe Houston clanged a 40-yard field goal attempt off the upright with 2:34 left, the Huskies impressively moved downfield in the final minutes of the first meeting between USC coach Lane Kiffin and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, who ran the Trojans’ offense together as assistant coaches.
Locker converted a fourth-and-11 from the Washington 24 with 2 minutes left, and Chris Polk rumbled 26 yards to the USC 33 on the next play. Folk’s kick set off a celebration of the Huskies’ first win at the Coliseum since 1996 with their impressive cheering section of purple-clad fans in the southeast end.
Such celebrations are becoming a familiar scene at the formerly imposing Coliseum, where the Trojans had won 47 of 48 games before losing three of their last five.
Allen Bradford rushed for a career-high 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans, who managed 484 yards of their own, but couldn’t reach the end zone in the fourth quarter. Matt Barkley passed for 186 yards, Marc Tyler rushed for two touchdowns and Ronald Johnson caught six passes for 109 yards.
Locker, who went 24 for 40, was forced out of the game for one play early in the fourth quarter, but backup Keith Price threw a 1-yard TD pass to Chris Izbicki to put the Huskies ahead 29-28 with 13:52 to play. USC drove for Houston’s 27-yard field goal with 10 minutes left, and Washington’s next drive ended on downs near midfield — but Houston barely missed his second field-goal attempt, putting Locker in position for a career-defining drive.
Washington’s 16-13 win over USC at Husky Stadium was the signature moment of Sarkisian’s first season in Seattle — and this one was every bit as impressive.
Polk rushed for 92 yards and Devin Aguilar caught a TD pass for the Huskies, who bounced back from a 56-21 thrashing by No. 6 Nebraska two weeks ago with a spectacular offensive performance that required just one punt. Locker, who went 4 for 20 against the Huskers, reminded everybody why he was arguably the nation’s top NFL prospect before his unimpressive September.
Kiffin and Sarkisian learned their profession together at USC during several years on former coach Pete Carroll’s staff, eventually rising to co-offensive coordinators of the Trojans’ powerful attack. Kiffin left for the Oakland Raiders in 2007, and Sarkisian took over Washington two seasons later.
The coaches remained close friends, but both had some surprises for each other. USC extensively used a wildcat formation in the first half, directly snapping the ball to Tyler, while Sarkisian had a fluid game plan that must have frustrated USC fans who often complained about his play-calling during his final years at the school.
Bradford made a 37-yard TD run on USC’s opening drive, but Washington’s offense went to work on a 319-yard first half with 17 consecutive points, including Aguilar’s 44-yard TD catch behind three USC defenders. The Trojans rallied with back-to-back rushing TDs by Tyler, taking a 21-20 halftime lead.
Locker nearly scored another touchdown on a long run in the second quarter, but USC’s Shareece Wright came from behind to punch the ball out of Locker’s hands and through the end zone for a touchback.