Trojans Break Husky Stadium Hex With 43-23 Victory

Oct. 25, 2003

By Mason Kelley

Special to

Seattle - The Huskies always seem to rise to the occasion in a big game at Husky Stadium. Over the last few years close games in the friendly confines of the stadium usually swing in Washington's favor.

The Huskies are even better when the bright lights of the ABC cameras are on them. Since a loss to Arizona State in 1999, the Huskies were perfect at 6-0. Four of those games were against ranked opponents; Miami, Michigan, Washington State and Stanford.

Add to that Washington's recent success against USC, 4-1-1 at home the past six home games and the fourth-ranked Trojans didn't look that intimidating.

On Saturday the cameras were rolling and the Huskies came out strong. Jumping out to a 7-0 lead early in the game. Unfortunately, for Washington, the Trojans scored 20 unanswered points and it looked like things might get ugly. Washington kept the game within striking distance, but in the end they came up short losing 43-23.

'It was a situation where we kept fighting, but they just had better personnel,' Terry Johnson said. 'Hats off to Norm Chow he really put those guys in good situations to be successful.'

The Huskies hung around, in large part behind the huge day of Reggie Williams, who had 9 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Just before the half Washington drove 80 yards on 13 plays that was capped off with a 10-yard strike from Cody Pickett to Williams to make cut the lead to 20-14. The momentum seemed to be swinging in the Huskies favor.

At the half the Huskies honored former coach Jim Owens, dedicating a statue that will be placed on the Northwest Plaza of Husky Stadium.

USC scored early in the third on a 60-yard pass from Matt Leinart to Reggie Bush. Washington was still only down by nine points with the score 26-17.

In the second half the crowd waited patiently for the big play that the Huskies always get in big home games.

Against Miami in 2000 it was two forced fumbles that set up touchdowns.

Against Michigan in 2001 it was an Omare Lowe blocked kick that was returned 77 yards by Roc Alexander and Lowe's 21-yard interception return on the next Michigan drive.

Against Washington State in 2001 it was a couple of goal line stands.

The play that would signal the day would be won by the Huskies never came.

USC missed two field goals in the first half, but big games from USC running backs Bush, LenDale White and Hershel Dennis.

Dennis finished the game 14 carries for 103 yards while Bush finished with 12 carries for 83 yards. Bush also caught 5 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

'He has really good feet and he has tremendous speed to the outside and I think that is a key factor when you are a running back,' Johnson said of Bush.

At the end of the third quarter Washington was still down by 12, but they were still in the game. The 1963 Husky team was honored before the quarter started and fans were still waiting for the Huskies to get back in the game.

Early in the fourth USC scored twice to put the game away.

The Huskies couldn't find that ABC magic on Saturday, but they stayed in the game. The Huskies can still finish out the in the top half of the Pac-10 and that will start with a huge game next Saturday night, when the Huskies take on the Oregon Ducks.

'We have got a lot to play for still,' Johnson said. 'We are going to play hard and we are go out there and play well.

If the Huskies are going to finish the season strong Johnson knows the defense has to step up.

'Tackling,' Johnson said quickly about what the team needs to work on before Oregon comes to town.

Washington took a loss on Saturday, but the season is not over and the Huskies are still fighting.

'This game is over,' Williams said of the loss. 'Now it is on to next week.'

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