Washington vs. USC Game Notes

Oct. 6, 2001

With their 27-24 win today, the Huskies extended their current win streak to 12 games and also own a current 11-game winning streak at home. Washington's win over USC is its sixth in the last 10 games with the Trojans ... the UW moved to 42-26-4 all-time versus USC. The UW owns the longest current win streak in conference games (nine).

After trailing twice today, Washington has had to come from behind in 16 of its 21 wins under coach Rick Neuheisel, which includes 11 times in which it has trailed in the fourth quarter. Twelve of UW's 20 wins under Neuheisel have been by seven points or less.

THE LAST TIME Washington won a game on the last play of the game was October 18, 1980, at Stanford. UW's Chuck Nelson kicked a 25-yard field goal with no time remaining to give Washington a 27-24 win.

USC has now lost its four games this season by a combined 14 points.

The Huskies are now 18-0 under Neuheisel when winning the time of possession battle (32:57 - 27:03) ... with Willie Hurst's 102 yards rushing, the Huskies are 151-34-3 when a UW player rushes for 100 yards or more in a game ... Hurst is the first Husky player to rush for a 100 or more yards this season.

With Todd Elstrom's touchdown in the first quarter, the Huskies have not been shutout in the last 232 consecutive games and the last 154 Pac-10 games.

UW red-shirt freshman Zach Tuiasosopo and senior Sam Blanche made their first career starts today, both at outside linebacker.

Husky Todd Elstrom's seven-yard touchdown reception with 1:35 left in the first quarter is his first touchdown of the season and the sixth of his career ...USC senior fullback Charlie Landrigan's second quarter touchdown was the first of his career ... UW's Reggie Williams' 13-yard reception for a touchdown in the third quarter was the first of his career.

USC had more rushing yards in the first quarter today (71), than it had in the previous two games combined (68). The Trojans had 40 total yards rushing versus Oregon and 28 against Stanford.

USC safety Troy Polamalu's interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter was his school's first (INT for a TD) since he did so in the team's season-opener versus Penn State in 2000 ... against Penn State, Polamalu ran the interception back 43 yards.

Polamalu's TD was the first time the UW has allowed a point off a turnover this season ... the interception return for a touchdown was the first given up by Washington since Colorado's Phil Jackson (28 yards) did so on Sept. 16, 2000.

The Huskies have trailed at halftime in three of the team's four games in 2001, while USC's 14-7 advantage is its first lead at halftime since the team's season-opener with San Jose State.

The Huskies' third-quarter scoring drive, which spanned 5:41 was the team's longest in terms of time of possession this season. The UW's previous long was a 5:36 drive for a field goal against Idaho, the Huskies last scoring drive of the game.

USC quarterback Carson Palmer's first incompletion of the day did not come until 1:35 left in the third quarter. Palmer completed his first seven passes on the day for 94 yards. Palmer then threw six straight incomplete passes before making his first and only completion of the second half - the 58-yard TD toss to Kareem Kelly with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter.

USC junior tailback Sultan McCullough recorded a career high for number of carries with 32, rushing for 132 yards ... it is McCullough's second 100-yard plus rushing game of the season (167 yards vs. San Jose State) and the ninth of his career (7 in 2000). McCullough's 32 carries are the most by a USC player since Chad Morton's 36 carries versus UCLA in 1999.

USC's loss is its first (4-1) when TB Sultan McCullough has started the game and carried more than 25 times.

With his 153 yards of total offense, USC quarterback Carson Palmer moved from fourth to third on the Trojans' career total offense list. Palmer, who now has 6,320 total yards, passed Charles White (6,240).

With two turnovers today, the Huskies matched their previous 2001 season total (fumbled punt and interception versus Idaho). The UW entered today's game leading all of Division I-A football in fewest turnovers.

Other notes: UW junior fullback Matthias Wilson made his first career reception in the second quarter... with his 40-yard field goal in the third quarter, USC kicker David Davis has hit five of his last six field goals ... UW quarterback Taylor Barton, who replaced starter Cody Pickett, had career best numbers on the day, going 11-for-20 for 197 yards and 2 TDs ...with his five catches for 101 yards, UW freshman split end Reggie Williams now has two games with 100 yards or more receiving (also 5 for 134 yards vs. Michigan) ... through four games the UW still has yet to allow a rushing touchdown in 2001.

Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel

GENERAL REMARKS: 'We are elated with the victory. We salute the USC program. It was a tremendous ball game and I thought they played well. They played almost error free. I know that they are disappointed with the fumble that resulted in a touchdown. They played very well and we are just glad that we were able to come from behind and get a victory. I am very proud of the coaching staff. I thought defensively we did a great job at showing up our run defense after the first couple of series. Offensively I thought we handled the clock really, really well towards the end of the game. That is at tribute to all the coordinators and the assistants. I thought it was well done and well conceived. I am very excited about the win. I looking forward to what is obviously a very big game against UCLA.'

ON CODY PICKETT: 'I will have to get more from the trainer, but it is a shoulder injury. He was up all night with the flu. But I do not think that is what caused him to come out of the game. I told him about my bout with food poisoning and he did not seem very interested at all. Bottom line is, he is a tremendous competitor. I thought it was very courageous of him wanting to play in the second half. The quarter back coach and I thought it was probably O.K. to let him try given the state of things from the trainer's stand point. It was obvious he was not himself and so we went to Taylor Barton, who I could not be happier for.

ON TAYLOR BARTON: 'Given all that he has gone through in his college career and how hard he worked to be here. Given the adversity of the fumbled snaps in the first half, I thought it was a really big effort by a neat kid.'

ON JOHN ANDERSON: 'I told him, 'don't hurry it, relax and enjoy this.' This is what you are here for. I smiled and then went back to feeling as nervous as I could be.'

ON WILLIE HURST: 'Willie could have probably played last week. It was just precautionary given what has been the history of the hamstrings in the program for the last several weeks. Caution was THE better part of valor. He is a good football player. Especially in this kind of a game. He grew up just a few miles away from USC so this is huge to him.'

ON USC'S FOURTH QUARTER TOUCHDOWN: 'It looked like we had good coverage. It looked like they ended up running a double post route and it was a bunch of bodies flying in there and the ball just ended up in Kareem Kelly's hands. It is not the first big play he has made and it will not be the last. He is a very explosive player. It looked like we were in perfect shape. The disappointing thing is that it did not need to happen. We got flagged with that defensive pass interference call, otherwise that does not happen.'

ON THE DEFENSE: 'They had decided early on that they were going to test us. Obviously they felt like with Kai Ellis out of the game they could attack our front. For a few series they were being pretty successful in terms of yards per carry. We made some adjustments and did a really good job of defending the run after that. Sultan McCullough certainly got his yards, but they were hard earned. It was an inspired effort by our defense.'

ON TAYLOR BARTON AND KYLE BENN: 'I think it is just not playing together. You practice as a first unit, you practice as a second unit. He just did not get a whole lot of snaps with Kyle Benn. We will remedy that in the future so that we do not have that dilemma again.'

ON REGGIE WILLIAMS: 'Reggie is a big time kid. He not only has unique physical skills, he also loves the battle. The bigger the battle, the bigger his intensity gets. What he needs to learn is how to bring that intensity to every game regardless of who is on the other sideline. There are a lot of little things that he could still get better at, but I am very, very happy that he chose Washington.'

Washington Player Quotes

QUARTERBACK CODY PICKETT

On the play that he got injured: 'I was running the option to the left and one guy took out my legs and the other one hit me high and I hit the ground separating my shoulder.'

On the injury: 'I am just going to have to take it day by day. It is totally separated so it can't get any worse, it is about as bad as it can be so I am going to go rest up and get back as soon as I can.'

On Taylor Barton: 'He played great. He did exactly what the coaches told him to do he is going to keep the team moving. We have dealt with injuries all year and this isn't any different I think Taylor is a good player and I think he will do a great job.'

KICKER JOHN ANDERSON

On the support of his teammates: 'Everyone just told me to concentrate on the next one. I mean I love having my teammates around me. I couldn't tell you how many people came up to me and told me to forget about it. Everyone said 'come on Johnn knock it through.''

On the wind: 'I'm glad I'm not a punter. It affects them more than us. The wind out there was weird the whole first half it was going to the lake and later it was blowing harder to the closed end. It is just something that you have to cope with at Husky Stadium.'

On making the winning field goal: 'When I keep my head down I make most of my kicks. I put my head down closed my eyes and heard a scream and I thought to my self thank God it went in.'

QUARTERBACK TAYLOR BARTON

On fixing the snap: 'I haven't taken many snaps with Kyle especially in a game situation where a USC defensive lineman is right in front of me so we went in at half time and came out a little bit early and got the snaps down and things were fine from there.'

On last drive: 'Coach Neuheisel told me that we were going to work the clock and we are going for a last second field goal. I just walked into the huddle looked the lineman in the eyes and just said hey fellas this is on you. We have got to run the ball get some first downs and keep the chains moving.'

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN LARRY TRIPPLETT

On secon half adjustments: 'We threw in a couple of new blitzes and I think as a defense we got more accustomed to the feel and flow of what USC was trying to do. We started to see things a little bit faster and things started to go our way.'

LINEBACKER BEN MAHDAVI

On the defense's performance: 'Last week the defense started out slow and we made a promise to ourselves that it would not happen again this week. We came together as a unit and told ourselves that we were going to come out fast as a unit from here on out.'

On his performance: 'Things just went my way. Either the running back cut back to me or I beat a block. I had been spending a lot of time studying what they were doing and they did a lot of the things that I had prepared for.'

TAILBACK WILLIE HURST

On his performance: 'I was just out there trying to run hard. USC is from my hometown school and I had a point to make. There has been a lot of talk about the running game and the offense as a whole and I wanted to quiet our critics today.'

On the running game: 'We did great the line was blowing open holes for me. They did a great job, they are young but they are coming along just like I always knew they would. All they had to do was get used to each other and they are doing it at just the right time Pac-10 time.'

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll

GENERAL REMARKS: 'It's not a mystery you have to make plays at the end of the game. We didn't stop them. It's football. They did a very nice job in the fourth quarter. They came up with some plays, they had some nice throw back screens. The quarterback did a nice job coming off the bench. We needed to stop them and we didn't do it. We came into this game needing to make an adjustment and we didn't. We ran the football with commitment, and did a real nice job in general. Sultan ran hard all day long. Guys up front did a nice job, played good defense. It just felt so much better in this game today, we just got better today. It's really sad for the kids that you can't rejoice in that improvement, in that step that we took forward. It just didn't happen for us. We had a good feel for the game. We had the ball seven minutes right off the bat and that's good football. There was minimal amount of penalties, very few mistakes, hard hitting good football game against a very good team. Unfortunately we need to stop them on defense down the stretch. We mixed our stuff around, they did a nice job of changing personnel. They changed a lot during the game. We have improved so much. It is just so sad for our kids that we are not getting wins. That was a real good game for us in compared to what we've been doing. I liked the whole overall feel of it. We definitely took a step forward. '

ON TIME OUT: ' They saw it, they started to check, and they had the chance to do something. It might have given them the chance for a big play.'

ON PASS RUSH:' 'They did a nice job mixing it up. They moved the ball quite a bit. They changed a little bit, they didn't run as much option. They did a real nice job. The play I really felt was difficult was the scramble in the third quarter. We were in a position to really gain some momentum, on defense. He got out of the pocket and made a couple of critical first downs and thought we really had a chance to take control of that. They came back. They did a very nice job mixing their stuff, late in the game. I was very impressed with that. '

ON BARTON: 'I think we missed our opportunity to seize the game. Barton made the plays to do it though, and you have to give him credit.'

ON OFFENSE: ' We got knocked around a little bit. We were still looking for our opportunities in our play to set some things up. We didn't quite make the plays. We didn't quite get the runs on first downs. We kept running the ball on first down, we liked the rhythm it was giving us. Sometimes with predictability you can take advantage of that. We had our play passes going on later in the game to get up field. We had our shots at it, it was worth establishing the fact that we were hanging the football out to get those big play opportunities.

ON FIELD POSITION: 'The whole field position shifted all of a sudden where they were getting the ball midfield. That's where I felt the game changed. The field position changed. We got off the field a couple times without them making any first downs and it helped us. The field was really short for them. That was the difference.

ON THE KICKING GAME: 'I am real pleased with a lot of things we are doing with the kicking game. We did a lot of good things today. Our kickoff coverage was very good, we protected the punter very well, that is a very big time return team. Our guys neutralized that factor.

ON CARSON PALMER: 'Carson had a nice day. He was seven for seven in the first half.'

ON REGGIE WILLIAMS: 'He's a real good football player. He's fine a football player. He's going to be an impact player this year. '

ON McCULLOUGH: 'He was tough. He just came coming back, there was this fire about him. He never tired, never backed off. He just kept pounding away. '

ON THE FAILED FOURTH AND SHORT: 'At the time I thought it was the right thing to do, I would have done it again. We needed to make it two inches. I thought it was the right thing to do with our momentum. I want our football team to know that we are going to do it again and make the play. We needed two inches. '

USC Player Quotes

QUARTERBACK CARSON PALMER

General comments: 'We came out a different team today. I thought we played good across the board, offensively, defensively, and on special teams. We just need to learn how to turn a corner and win.'

On what it takes to win a game: 'We just have to play differently. We have improved since the San Jose State game. We need to keep working, believe in the team and in ourselves. The better we can get at this, the more we can win.'

'W e followed our game play great. We wanted to come out and run the ball. We just need something in the last quarter to spark us.'

On USC offensive line: 'What helped the most was that the coaches challenged the offensive line at the beginning of the week. Our line was pushing them all over the field. They stepped up huge and played unbelievably. This is something we can build on. It will give us momentum and confidence for our next game. We proved wrong today that anyone can plow through the offensive line. Washington is physical and it is tough to run against them.'

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN NORM KATNIK

On how Coach Carroll challenged the offensive line: 'He does that before every game. It is not a negative talk, but a confidence booster. We ran more smack football today. Our line did its job.'

On how to get over hump in fourth quarter:'Coach told us we played good. Washington is a good team. We would have played that way against any other team. We just have to play more than three quarters of good football.'

SAFETY TROY POLAMALU

General comments: 'No real encouragement to draw from this game. We beat ourselves. It is tough getting over the edge. We mustered up everything we had.'

On why thought USC beat themselves: 'We had a lot of mistakes. We never think a team is better than we are. We just gave Washington too many rushing yards and too many passing yards.

TAILBACK SULTAN McCULLOUGH

On the difference in the second half: 'They were running more blitzes and basically run first, pass second. We tried to open it up for the receivers to make big plays. Momentum changes all the time, so you knew that was going work either way.'

On his performance: 'I felt good, the team played together. We gave up some big plays but that is football. Right now we are more together than we have been in the past couple of games. This was a close game, and with two good teams, it could have gone either way. I think we have a better chance of winning next week and if we keep our head up we can win these next games.'

On coach Carroll's words after the game: 'He didn't say anything bad. Basically we just played a good game, we played together and didn't point any fingers. We played a good game, it went down to the wire and they won. We are just trying to work hard and now get ready for next week.'

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