The No. 17 Washington football team earned its first ranked win of the season, grinding out a 28-14 win over No. 21 USC for its first Pac-12 win of the season.
The turning point
Once again, it was a takeaway. USC opened its second drive of the third quarter with a 60-yard run and got the ball to the UW 10-yard line, but Elijah Molden came up big, reading a slant route for his first career interception.
After a quick completion for 7 yards, Salvon Ahmed took the handoff on second down and got free, going for 89 yards and a touchdown. It was the fifth-longest run in UW program history and put the Huskies up 28-7 after a two-point conversion, and the 14-point swing avoided another rough third quarter for the Dawgs.
UW player of the game — Cameron Williams
The true freshman got the UW takeaway effort started in the first quarter, taking advantage of an awful Matt Fink throw for his second interception of the season.
Late in the fourth quarter, with USC driving after a questionable pass interference call on Elijah Molden, he did it again, hauling in another pick to give the Dawgs the ball back with 2:20 remaining in the game.
One key number — 8
USC ran eight plays in the red zone in the second half. The Trojans got a grand total of 0 points out of them.
Washington’s defense pulled off the bend-but-don’t-break strategy to perfection to close out the game. Molden’s pick ended one USC drive deep in UW territory, and a goal-line stand with five minutes left in the game ended another.
USC ended up outgaining Washington 270-223 in the second half, complete with 169 rushing yards, but when it mattered, the Dawgs shut things down en route to the gritty win.
What’s next for UW?
The Huskies will head back out on the road, and it’s not going to get any easier, as Washington will go to Stanford for a late-night matchup with the Cardinal. The Dawgs haven’t won in Palo Alto this decade; in 2017, a 30-22 loss knocked them out of the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 North.
Reach Managing Editor Josh Kirshenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @J_Kirshenbaum
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