If you are the type of person who likes watching offense, Saturday night's game at the L.A. Coliseum was not for you. In a game that lay somewhere between a defense battle and offensive ineptitude, the Washington State Cougars won their first game at USC since 2000, beating the Trojans 10-7. Andrew Furney kicked a 41-yard field goal with 3:03 remaining for the final margin of victory.
The Cougars (1-1, 1-0 Pac-12 North) only managed to generate 222 yards of offense and did not score an offensive touchdown, but the team did manage of maneuver into position late in the game for a game winning field goal attempt. But it was the Wazzu defense, led by cornerback Damante Horton, that undid the Trojans (1-1, 0-1 Pac-12 South).
Horton had two interceptions in the game, one of which he returned 70 yards for the only Washington State touchdown at the end of the first half. His other interception, which came with 2:18 to go in the game, sealed the deal.
Horton's touchdown was important, because the Washington State offense was stalled much of the evening. The Cougars finished the game with only seven yards rushing on 22 carries. Connor Halliday completed 26 of 38 passes for 215 yards and two interceptions.
Halliday's 215 passing yards, though, was higher than the total offense for the Trojans. USC on;y had 193 yards of offense for the game. The two headed quarterback for USC, Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, combined for 54 yards passing on 21 attempts. The two quarterbacks did not complete a pass longer than eight yards.
Outside of running back Tre Madden (32 carries, 151 yards), USC did nothing on offense at all. Marqise Lee, who entered the season as a Heisman Trophy contender, had 10 total touches for 24 yards on offense and four kick/punt returns for 27 total yards. He was a complete non-factor on a night that points were at a premium.
The lack of vertical passing is curious at best, especially given the talent at receiver for USC with Lee and Nelson Agholor. In fact, Agholor didn't have an official catch in the game, and is credited with one carry for minus five yards.
There is no seat that is hotter right now than Lane Kiffin's. There are at least 11 games left this season.
What's Next for Washington State: The Cougars, fresh off of the upset, will return home to face the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah University, an FCS squad out of the Big Sky Conference.
What's Next for USC: Boston College comes to town. According to Marqise Lee, there will be a players only meeting on Sunday. We will see if that leads to any change this week.