Five Times USC Ruined the Washington Huskies’ Season
USC Football and Washington have had their fair share of championships. But here’s a look at five times the Trojans spoiled the Huskies’ year.
Since the Pac-12 started as the Pacific Coast in 1915, USC and Washington have combined for 53 conference championships and a whopping 47 appearances in the Rose Bowl.
Needless to say, they’ve historically been the class of the west coast, and stand as the only the Pac-12 members to win a national championship in the last 25 years.
With such history between the programs, upsets and broken seasons have taken an iconic series to the next level.
The 6-3 Trojans will be looking to add to that on Saturday, when they travel to Seattle to face the undefeated and fourth-ranked Huskies.
Here’s five previous times USC has had the last laugh to ruin UW’s year:
1944: Unranked USC Beats UW in Rose Bowl
It would be hard to have a repeat of the 1944 Rose Bowl because it was the only time in the history of the game that two teams from the west participated.
Thanks to World War II travel restrictions, the Trojans and Huskies faced off on January 1 in Pasadena. Though Washington was ranked, USC had tumbled from the polls just a few weeks earlier.
That didn’t stop the men of Troy from laying a beatdown, 29-0, taking control of the game early and shutting out the Huskies.
The loss was Washington’s fourth in four trips to the Rose Bowl, and it wouldn’t but until 1960 that the Huskies would claim their first postseason win in Pasadena.
For the Trojans, the opposite was true. Beating UW gave USC their seventh Rose Bowl victory in seven tries. They’d ultimately run that record to 8-0 the following year with a win over Tennessee, before losing to Alabama in the 1946 Rose Bowl.
1959: USC Prevents Undefeated Season
USC’s first game as a member of the AAWU came against Washington in mid-October of 1959 and it was one of some significance as the Trojans were undefeated and ranked No. 7 while the Huskies rated No. 18.
The tight contest saw the Trojans trailing by just one point midway through the fourth quarter. A long drive put USC on the cusp of the winning score, then Willie Wood ran in a short touchdown to finish the job, 22-15.
Though Washington had five regular season games remaining after losing to USC, the Huskies would run the table and finish 10-1 overall, following their first ever Rose Bowl win over No. 6 Wisconsin.
The Huskies finished ranked 7th and 8th in the Coaches and AP Poll, but could have shared a national championship had they held on to beat the Trojans. Only Syracuse was unbeaten in 1959.
An 11-0 record would’ve been Washington’s first undefeated season since 1916, their first year in the PCC.
1962: Shutting Out Unbeaten UW
USC and Washington met at the Coliseum in early November both boasting unbeaten records. The Trojans were ranked No. 3, the Huskies were ranked No. 9 and a conference title was presumably on the line.
The Trojans came out on top, leaning on a top-class defensive performance and a pair of touchdowns from Pete Beathard, one through the air and one on the ground, to beat UW 14-0.
With the win, the Trojans had the inside track for the Rose Bowl and wouldn’t relinquish that advantage. They’d go on to win the next four games, creating a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.
USC led 42-14 in the fourth quarter before the Badgers scored the game’s final 23 points in a near total collapse. The Trojans ultimately held on for the win and the national title.
As for Washington, the loss at the Coliseum was their lone blemish on the year, as they would finish 7-1-2. But due to conference rules, only USC would go bowling and the Huskies finished the year unranked.
1984: Trojans Top No. 1 Huskies
After winning just four games in Ted Tollner’s first season, the Trojans needed positive direction in 1984. An early season win over 17th-ranked Arizona State got USC on the right foot, and by November 10th, they were 7-1 and ranked No. 12 going into a showdown with undefeated and No. 1 Washington.
The outcome? A dominant defensive outing for the Trojans that kept a Husky team with playmakers like Jacque Robinson and Danny Greene at bay, scoring just seven points.
USC’s Steven Jordan hit on three field goals of 46-yards or more, and Fred Crutcher led the way offensively with 116 yards on 35 carries. The Trojans stunned Washington with a 16-7 win, the seventh victory over a No. 1 team in school history.
Both USC and Washington finished with just one loss in the Pac-10, but the Trojans claimed the Rose Bowl with the head-to-head win, essentially costing the Huskies a national championship.
Washington beat No. 2 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and were subsequently ranked No. 2 in the final AP Poll. But it was undefeated BYU who claimed the title.
Because BYU was a mid-major and only played one ranked team, UW was selected No. 1 by several ‘major selecting’ media including Football News, but have never claimed the crown.
1995: USC Wins The Comeback Tie
After being housed by Notre Dame in South Bend the week before, 6-1 USC headed to Seattle down on their luck to face a 17th-ranked Washington team led by quarterback Damon Huard.
Right on cue, the game looked to be a rerun of the blowout loss to the Irish. The Huskies jumped out to a 13-0 lead at halftime, to go with a 288 to 66 advantage in yardage.
Head coach John Robinson reportedly ripped the team to shreds at the break, in hopes of a rally. It would.
UW took a 21-0 lead into the fourth quarterback before the light turned on with Brad Otton at quarterback. He led the Trojans on three scoring drives, capped off with a touchdown run by Rodney Sermons, and passes to Terry Barnum and Johnny McWilliams.
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The last of which came with just 33 seconds remaining to finish a 13-play drive, as USC eked out a 21-21 tie in one of the biggest comebacks in school history.
Not only was the 21-21 stunner a gut punch for Washington, it wound up forcing a Pac-10 tie with USC at 6-1-1.
The comeback essentially gave the Trojans the Rose Bowl, as the conference awarded the bid based on USC’s 2-1 non-conference record, which oddly enough included a win over Kim and Clay Helton’s Houston Cougars.
The Trojans then upset No. 3 Northwestern in Pasadena, as Keyshawn Johnson had the game of his life, catching 12 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. Washington lost the Sun Bowl to Iowa.