Passing game can’t get off the ground
Aaron Corp’s debut performance as USC’s starting quarterback started well but ended poorly Saturday in the Trojans’ 16-13 loss to Washington at Husky Stadium.
Corp, starting in place of injured freshman Matt Barkley, completed five of his first six passes but finished 13 of 22 for 110 yards with an interception. “We turned the ball over too much -- I contributed to that,” he said.
The 110 passing yards was the fewest in Pete Carroll’s eight-plus seasons as USC’s coach.
Corp did not appear inhibited by the leg brace he wore to protect the cracked left fibula he suffered during training camp. But he ran only twice for nine yards.
Several of Corp’s passes were almost picked off, and one, to tight end Anthony McCoy, was underthrown.
Asked how Corp performed, Carroll said, “We threw the ball for 110 yards and couldn’t get the ball down the field much. We’ve rarely been in that situation, so it’s obvious we bogged down and it got hard on us.”
Barkley warmed up before the game and was instructed to do so again in the fourth quarter, but Carroll said he could not get loose.
USC was penalized eight times for 75 yards. Three infractions in the first half forced the Trojans to start possessions inside the 17-yard line.
Kevin Thomas and Ross Cumming were called for illegal blocks and Garrett Green for holding.
“Those were killer starts for us,” Carroll said. “That needs to get out of our football or you’re always going to have to overcome things.”
Mays sits out
Senior safety Taylor Mays tested his sprained right knee before the game but did not play. He said he felt about 90% when running straight ahead but could not turn to his left.
Carroll could not say enough about Washington quarterback Jake Locker leading up to the game.
He remained effusive after the junior ran for a touchdown, completed 21 of 35 passes for 237 yards and led the game-winning drive.
“That’s a great player -- he didn’t surprise me a bit,” Carroll said. “I thought we kept him under wraps for a long time, but when he had to have it, he made it.”
Not plain Folks
While the Trojans’ special teams continue to struggle, Washington won with a kicker from USC’s backyard.
Erik Folk, whose 22-yard field goal in the final seconds beat the Trojans, is a sophomore from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High. His brother Nick kicks for the Dallas Cowboys, and his brother Greg was a star soccer player at UCLA.
“It was basically a PAT; it wasn’t too bad,” he said of the winning kick, his third field goal of the game.
Folk is six for seven on field goals this season, including three from longer than 35 yards.
Nick Holt, the former USC assistant who is Washington’s defensive coordinator, nearly cost the Huskies with his trademark enthusiasm.
Early in the third quarter, he ran off the sidelines to cheer his defense during a screen pass to Joe McKnight. Holt was called for sideline interference, which gave the Trojans the ball on the Washington 38-yard line.
Lucky for Holt, the drive ended in a Stanley Havili lost fumble.
“That was on coach Holt -- he was a little fired up today,” Coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I have to get a little rubber cord or something on him so I can just pull him back myself.”