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Washington State claws way to victory over USC

Jahleel Pinner, Lane Kiffin AP

The first step for USC is to admit it has a problem.

That problem is Lane Kiffin.

How else to explain a very talented Trojan team’s horrid performance in a 10-7 loss to Washington State on Saturday night?

A USC offense filled with elite recruits put up just 192 total yards, including 54 through the air. Mind you, this is an offense that features Marqise Lee, one of the top players in the country. But Lee managed just 27 yards on seven catches.

But it hasn’t been just this game. This is part of a longer term trend for USC under Kiffin. The Trojans have scored just five offensive touchdowns in their last four games. USC hasn’t scored a point in a third quarter since the Arizona State game of last season. It is averaging 9 points per game in its last three home games. The Trojans have lost six of their last eight games.

And USC hasn’t lost to WSU in the Coliseum since 2000, the last year a Trojan head coach was fired.  Will USC athletic director Pat Haden have the guts to pull the trigger this time around? Stay tuned.

For all the talk of USC, though, this was also the first big win for Mike Leach at WSU. The Cougars showed signs of life last week against Auburn and proved it wasn’t a fluke — their mental toughness was the difference against the Trojans.

Still, the path to a WSU win seemed problematic midway through the second quarter. The Trojans were up, 7-0, and driving. The Cougars offense was getting throttled and it looked like WSU was headed for another road loss.

But that all changed when Damante Horton stepped in front of a Cody Kessler pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. Suddenly, the score was 7-7 headed into the half and the game was up for grabs.

Most of the rest of the game was sloppy and it looked like it might be headed to overtime but, once again, WSU made a play. Dom Williams took a Connor Halliday pass 50 yards  down the sideline to set up Andrew Furney‘s 41-yard field goal with 3:15 left to play. The pressure shifted over to the Trojans.

But USC under Kiffin clearly doesn’t handle pressure well. Horton sat on another pass, this one from Max Wittek, and the Cougars ran out the clock. Suddenly, a bowl game seems like a possibility.

Whither USC, though? Given the embarrassing collapse to the Cougars, I’d be surprised if Kiffin lasts the season.

Certainly the fans have made up their minds.

“Fire Kiffin!” they shouted from the Coliseum stands as the seconds ticked down.

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19 Responses to “Washington State claws way to victory over USC”
  1. woebegong says: Sep 8, 2013 2:25 AM

    USC’s loss was definitely Tennessee’s gain.

  2. txnative61 says: Sep 8, 2013 3:01 AM

    Toughness at Wazoo is long overdue. Leach gets in hot water for being too tough on his players, but at least WSU backs him up. Apple Cup win over Washington and now USC—-keep it up Cougs, Pac 12 need some mystery every week.

  3. realfootballfan says: Sep 8, 2013 3:03 AM

    Ready to fire Lance Kiffin yet, last holdouts? There is no way in the world USC should ever lose to Washington State, period. Lane Kiffin is a disaster.

  4. shadowcell says: Sep 8, 2013 3:22 AM

    As someone with even the slightest shred of a capacity for fair and objective thought, there is no way Kiffin lasts the season. USC has far too much talent and far too high a standard to tolerate this, especially not with their crosstown rival suddenly looking good. He’s wasting players like Marqise Lee.

    As a fan of their crosstown rival, though, I hope Kiffin and USC enjoy many more long and mediocre years together.

  5. auburntigers34 says: Sep 8, 2013 3:42 AM

    i really enjoyed watching this game. if WSU can find a QB, they might surprise some people this year.

  6. rasta028 says: Sep 8, 2013 5:05 AM

    Gimme a break, I’m an SC fan but a lot of you are delirious, you do realize that USC is playing shorthanded by 20 scholarship players right? Next season it will be 30, that means no depth at all and a lot of walk ons, they may have top 10 talent but not much, even as good as the defense is playing just watch as the season goes on and players get banged up and it only gets worse cause it will because of lack of depth, Kiffin is an awful coach but a lot of you expect too much, the NCAA sanctions are rearing there ugly head and you should expect this for another 4 to 5 yrs before things change, now that’s reality for you people.

  7. tg1896 says: Sep 8, 2013 6:23 AM

    Expect too much? Really? Run the ball – throw the ball – catch the ball. Yeah, I can see how scholarship reductions have turned those into unrealistic expectations.

    Pathetic

  8. dprouse says: Sep 8, 2013 7:02 AM

    The reality is that Leach just beat Kiffin using a bunch of guys who USC wouldn’t have considered as walk-ons. Even with scholarship reductions, USC recruits nationally and fishes from one of the most heavily stocked backyard ponds in the country. Wazzu, not so much. Al Davis is smiling in his crypt today…

  9. southernpatriots says: Sep 8, 2013 7:18 AM

    dprouse put it well. USC recruits, even without scholarships, with its name and legend, all throughout the U.S. Fundamental football is running and catching and these players did this well in high school but now under Kiffin, what are they doing?

    Eventually Leach will say some things that has us all pondering and smiling, but now he is serious and seriously taking what he has and molding it into winners. It is not pretty, but he wins. He may be able to keep this up and if so, he will catch the attention of many.

  10. mancave001 says: Sep 8, 2013 8:18 AM

    Oh and on Kiffin: He’s a bad coach and a worse person. Talk to Tenn about how they feel after he bailed.

  11. fordmandalay says: Sep 8, 2013 8:38 AM

    In light of the NCAA’s incredibly gutless ‘punishment’ of Johnny Football, why does USC even agree to continue accepting the overreaching ruling they received? USC should just ignore the rest of the penalty and go about business as usual – what could the NCAA do at this point? They have no credibility or power left.

  12. helladonks says: Sep 8, 2013 8:48 AM

    lol, the “real” USC

  13. be4bama says: Sep 8, 2013 9:26 AM

    Bobby Petrino is one happy man today. Will it be Texas or Southern Cal? I say Texas

  14. southernpatriots says: Sep 8, 2013 9:34 AM

    be4bama:

    Great observation. I think you have it exactly correct. Petrino is celebrating, hopefully no longer the way he did at Arkansas, but Southern Cal and Texas will have to weigh, do they want a successful team and a flawed coach who may bring a scandal to their team and school?

  15. thegamecocker says: Sep 8, 2013 9:34 AM

    Lane Kiffin will be pumping gas into Alshon Jeffrey’s car and driving him to and from practice. He just is not an honorable person, win or lose. I think USCw can do much better with a different leader at the helm. But, the depletion of scholarships makes a big difference. The NCAA Committee who was lead by the late bastard Paul Dee, really stuck it to Southern Cal before he died. That was and continues to be an injustice. NOT SO WITH MIAMI!!!

  16. fahmundamahbalsaq says: Sep 8, 2013 9:35 AM

    Even though Petrino is a puke of a human (ask the Atlanta Falcons & his wife) he will have multiple national championships if he becomes the SC head coach. The man is a barnacle but can flat out coach.

  17. rasta028 says: Sep 8, 2013 9:52 AM

    Expect too much? Really? Run the ball – throw the ball – catch the ball. Yeah, I can see how scholarship reductions have turned those into unrealistic expectations.

    Pathetic
    _____________________________________________________________

    That’s because and apparently a lot of other people on this board are too stupid to know the difference.

  18. rasta028 says: Sep 8, 2013 9:52 AM

    Expect too much? Really? Run the ball – throw the ball – catch the ball. Yeah, I can see how scholarship reductions have turned those into unrealistic expectations.

    Pathetic
    _____________________________________________________________

    That’s because you and apparently a lot of other people on this board are too stupid to know the difference.

  19. rasta028 says: Sep 8, 2013 10:00 AM

    dprouse put it well. USC recruits, even without scholarships, with its name and legend, all throughout the U.S. Fundamental football is running and catching and these players did this well in high school but now under Kiffin, what are they doing?

    Eventually Leach will say some things that has us all pondering and smiling, but now he is serious and seriously taking what he has and molding it into winners. It is not pretty, but he wins. He may be able to keep this up and if so, he will catch the attention of many.
    _____________________________________________________________
    Hey I like Leach but you know USC didn’t let them score a TD on offense yesterday, pretty impressive but scholarship reduction DOES matter, ask Bama I mean are you really saying it doesn’t? That’s just troll hating there, Yes Kiffin sucks, I can’t stand the guy but Petrino wouldn’t do much better right now.

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