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The Pac-12 will make immediate changes to how video replay reviews are handled after Commissioner Larry Scott admitted procedural mistakes were made when a targeting foul was not called during last month’s game between Washington State and Southern California. Scott said the conference mixed administrative oversight and leadership with real-time decision-making.
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.
It was a battle of quarterbacks at the Coliseum Friday night as JT Daniels and USC edged out Gardner Minshew and Washington State, 39-36. Daniels finished with 241 yards and three touchdowns on 17-for-26 passing, while Minshew racked up 344 yards on 37-for-52 attempts to go along with three touchdowns of his own. Down three with one minute and 50 seconds remaining, Cougars kicker Blake Mazza's 38-yard field goal was blocked by Trojans defensive lineman Jay Tufele to give USC its 18th straight home win. -- Pac-12.com
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.
The Cougars’ Pac-12 opener is meaningful because it’s the first of nine games that counts toward conference standings. But, similar to how the Apple Cup excites just about every Washingtonian on the Cougar roster, the USC game bears that much more importance for 33 players who hail from Los Angeles, San Diego or a close-by suburb of those two.
If football games ended after three quarters, Washington State’s record would be no different than it is now. The Cougars have played well enough through the first, second and third quarter this season to dispatch Wyoming, San Jose State and Eastern Washington. But the fourth is why all three have been so lopsided.
In the third quarter of USC’s 37-14 loss to Texas, Gustin was first flagged for a personal foul penalty after a punishing hit on Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger and later ejected from the game when officials determined the Trojans defender had led with his head.
Washington State (3-0) looks to stay unbeaten when it opens up Pac-12 Conference play against USC (1-2).