For the second straight week, USC did not benefit from a questionable call on the field that was reviewed in the replay booth.
The Trojans, trailing 24-14 late in the second quarter, drove the ball to the Washington State eight-yard line running a two-minute drill. On second and goal with six seconds left, freshman quarterback JT Daniels took the snap and quickly tossed a pass to the back left corner of the end zone to Michael Pittman Jr.
Pittman corralled it and attempted to drag his left toe as his momentum carried him out of play.
Officials on the field called Pittman out of bounds. The replay, however, appeared to show a sliver of grass between Pittman’s foot and the boundary. Despite that, the replay official did not see irrefutable evidence to overturn the call on the field.
When it was announced, the Coliseum fans booed furiously, letting out their frustration after another sloppy half of football from USC.
One good thing did come from the review, though. Two seconds were placed back on the game clock, allowing Michael Brown — making his first start after Chase McGrath tore his ACL in the Texas game — to attempt a 26-yard field goal. Brown made his first college field-goal attempt to bring USC within 24-17 at the half.
Last week against Texas, USC appeared to have sacked Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger for a safety. Similarly, it was not called a safety on the field, and the review did not overturn the call. USC would have taken a 16-13 lead had the call gone its way.
Punting still subpar
USC punter Reid Budrovich had another subpar half Friday night, punting three times for an average of 36 yards.
Budrovich had been splitting time with Chris Tilbey, as both players struggled to put the Trojans in good field position throughout the last two weeks.
Special teams coach John Baxter and USC coach Clay Helton said they expected the punting woes to be corrected this week.
No sacks in half
Playing without Porter Gustin, who sat the first half because of his targeting ejection against Texas, USC hardly pressured Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew II and did not register a sack.
Freshman Palaie Gaoteote made his first start in place of Gustin as USC’s fourth linebacker.
Fellow freshman Kana’i Mauga was also among the young players thrust into duty in Gustin’s absence.