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USC’s Stanley Havili takes on bigger role in win over Washington State

After seldom getting the ball in USC’s first three games, senior fullback Stanley Havili took on a big role in the No. 20 Trojans’ 50-16 victory Saturday over Washington State.

On USC’s first offensive play, Havili erased a 7-0 deficit by taking a handoff and breaking multiple tackles en route to a 59-yard touchdown. He also scored the Trojans’ final touchdown on a 22-yard pass from backup quarterback Mitch Mustain.

Havili, who had a combined six touches against Hawaii, Virginia and Minnesota, rushed four times for 80 yards and caught five passes for 107 yards against the Cougars.

“It feels really good to touch the ball,” he said.

Tailback Allen Bradford rushed for 84 yards, Marc Tyler 34. Both had seven carries.

Freshman Dillon Baxter had 14 carries for 75 yards.

Robey rebounds

Freshman cornerback Nickell Robey gave up a 29-yard touchdown pass on the first series when Washington State receiver Jared Karstetter got behind him in the end zone and hauled in a ball thrown by Cougars receiver Jeffrey Solomon.

But two plays after Havili tied the score, Robey stepped in front of Washington receiver Marquess Wilson, intercepted a pass thrown by Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.

It was the first of Robey’s two interceptions in the game and of his collegiate career.

“When [Tuel] checked out of the play, I knew what was coming,” Robey said. “I pretty much anticipated it and jumped the route.”

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Coach Lane Kiffin said he was not surprised by the resiliency of Robey, who has contributed immediately despite the death of his mother in February and his move across the country to Los Angeles.

Safety Jawanza Starling, like Robey a Florida native, expected that Robey would bounce back from the early touchdown.

“He comes from a good state where they know how to play football,” Starling said.

Safety T.J. McDonald also intercepted a pass.

Barkley not satisfied

Quarterback Matt Barkley completed 16 of 25 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns, but he also had two passes intercepted for the second game in a row.

“I’m happy with how we did as an offense, but those picks definitely tarnish what happened throughout the game,” said Barkley, who has passed for 12 touchdowns with four interceptions.

Kiffin said he did not consider replacing the sophomore after the second interception.

“I don’t believe you can pull your quarterback like that because then he’s not learning from it, and he’s sitting there and then all of a sudden where are you going from there?” Kiffin said. “You need to let them fight through those things and hopefully as he fights through his mistakes you can still win games, which we were able to do.”

Injury report

Defensive end Wes Horton blocked a punt and also had a sack before leaving the game late in the third quarter after fellow end Nick Perry accidentally leg-whipped him.

Horton said he would have X-rays Saturday night when the Trojans returned to Los Angeles.

Defensive lineman Armond Armstead was held out of the game because of a shoulder sprain suffered last week at Minnesota. He is expected to play against Washington.

Cougar country

Washington State Coach Paul Wulff said he had his team operate out of a spread offense similar to Hawaii’s.

It was effective at times, but the Trojans adjusted and gave up only three second-half points.

“We missed some open touchdowns with some misthrown balls, from an accuracy standpoint,” Wulff said. “We had opportunities but didn’t convert enough.”

Tuel was 24 for 37 for 222 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions.

Quick hits

The announced attendance was 24,310…. Freshman Robert Woods and third-year sophomore Brice Butler caught their first touchdown passes of the season…. Mustain was four of five for 38 yards, including the 22-yard touchdown pass to Havili. Mustain also rushed for a two-point conversion.

gary.klein@latimes.com


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