Washington Hits USC With Silencer : College football: Trojans’ 31-0 loss ends their 20-game unbeaten streak against Pacific 10 opponents.
With less than a minute left in the first half of Saturday’s game in Husky Stadium, USC quarterback Todd Marinovich pleaded with the officials to quiet a sellout crowd of 72,617.
It was a futile act of frustration.
At the time, the favored Trojans trailed by 24 points in what was to become a 31-0 loss to Washington. It ended USC’s 20-game unbeaten streak against Pacific 10 Conference opponents.
“We never did anything to shut the crowd up, so they were yelling the whole game,” Marinovich said later.
USC’s only solace was that it could have been worse.
Washington kicker Mike Dodd missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter and an interception by USC’s Howard McCowan ended a third-quarter drive that had reached the Trojans’ nine-yard line before a holding penalty cost the Huskies 10 yards.
As it was, the loss was the Trojans’ worst since October, 1985, when they were beaten at Notre Dame, 37-3, en route to a 6-6 season, and their worst shutout loss since November, 1966, when they lost to Notre Dame, 51-0.
The defeat was the Trojans’ worst in a conference game since 1960, when they lost to Washington, 34-0, in the Coliseum.
USC had not lost a Pac-10 game since Oct. 10, 1987, when it was beaten by Oregon at Eugene, 34-27, and was 21-1-1 against conference opponents in its first three seasons under Coach Larry Smith.
But against a team that struggled to beat San Jose State and Purdue in its first two games, the Trojans were ineffective offensively, inept defensively and didn’t even threaten to score until the fourth quarter, by which time Washington had completed its onslaught.
Marinovich called it a “pathetic” showing by USC.
Certainly, it was Marinovich’s worst day in 15 games as the Trojans’ starting quarterback. He completed seven of 16 passes for 80 yards and threw his first two interceptions of the season. Never had he thrown for fewer yards, completed fewer passes or made fewer attempts.
Finally, at the start of the fourth quarter, Smith replaced him with Shane Foley for the last 15 minutes.
Marinovich responded by removing his helmet and kicking it.
Afterward, he hid behind sunglasses as he met with reporters.
It was that kind of day.
While Marinovich was in the game, the Trojans crossed midfield only once, reaching the Huskies’ 45-yard line early in the second quarter.
On the next play, Marinovich was sacked for a nine-yard loss.
“We really didn’t do anything right,” Smith said.
Washington had a substantial statistical advantage, piling up 410 total yards to the Trojans’ 163, as sophomore quarterback Mark Brunell passed for 197 yards and a touchdown, completing 12 of 23 attempts with one interception in the most productive of his three starts, and tailback Greg Lewis ran for 126 yards and a touchdown.
USC ran for 28 yards, its worst rushing day since October, 1982, when it gained 20 in a 17-10 loss at Arizona State.
When it was suggested to Smith that USC’s offensive line opened no holes for tailback Ricky Ervins, who carried nine times for five yards, Smith said: “There weren’t any holes for anybody.”
Or any Trojans, at least.
“They just beat our butt bad,” Marinovich said.
To make it worse, USC was penalized 13 times for 111 yards.
“I’ve never been beaten like this in my life,” said Trojan linebacker Scott Ross, whose first three seasons at USC ended in the Rose Bowl. “This is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me.”
On the hottest Sept. 22 in Seattle history--the high was 92 degrees--Washington dominated from the start, driving 66 yards to a touchdown in its second possession to open a 7-0 lead on a one-yard run by Lewis.
USC managed only two first downs in the first half, and didn’t get its first until 11:36 remained in the second quarter.
By that time, Washington had extended its lead to 10-0 on a 21-yard field goal by Dodd, who missed from 26 yards on the previous play but was given a second chance when USC was called for encroachment.
Marinovich didn’t complete a pass until the last play of the first quarter, connecting with split end Joel Scott for a five-yard gain that increased USC’s offensive output for the quarter to seven yards.
Washington gained 120 yards in the first quarter.
Then, on the first play in the second quarter, Marinovich threw an interception, his first in 100 attempts since the first quarter of the Rose Bowl game against Michigan last January.
Eric Briscoe returned it to USC’s 26-yard line, but Washington was unable to gain a first down and Dodd missed a 38-yard field goal attempt.
It mattered little, however, because on their next possession, the Huskies drove 80 yards in 14 plays, scoring on a one-yard run by fullback Darius Turner to increase their lead to 17-0 with 2:54 left in the half.
Marinovich then threw another interception, this one by safety Tommie Smith with 2:40 remaining in the half.
This time, the Huskies capitalized on the error, scoring on a 12-yard pass for a touchdown from Brunell to Bailey to make it 24-0.
It never got better for the Trojans, who had lost their conference opener only twice in the previous 19 seasons.
Washington added another touchdown with 1:06 left in the third quarter, when Turner scored on a one-yard run to cap an 80-yard drive.
“If somebody had told me it was going to be 31-0, I’d have thought that they’d have the points,” Washington Coach Don James said of the Trojans, “and we’d have zero.”
Are the Huskies that good?
“They were today,” Smith said.
And USC was that bad.
Backup quarterback Shane Foley completed four of nine passes for 55 yards and carried five times for 35 yards, twice moving USC inside Washington’s 10-yard line in the fourth quarter. The first time, Foley threw an interception and the second time he threw incomplete on fourth down.
No player had rushed for more than 100 yards against USC since Jan. 2, 1989, when Leroy Hoard of Michigan ran for 142 yards in a 22-14 Wolverine victory in the Rose Bowl game.