Washington stuns No. 3 USC on FG at :03

September 20, 2009

Erik Folk kicked a 22-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining and the Huskies' fired-up defense stymied fill-in quarterback Aaron Corp and No. 3 USC in a 16-13 victory Saturday.

Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley, who directed an epic game-winning drive to beat the Buckeyes 18-15 in Columbus, Ohio, last week, could only watch the latest stunning upset loss by the Trojans from the sideline. The 19-year-old freshman was out with a sore shoulder.

It was Washington quarterback Jake Locker's time to shine and the Huskies' turn pull out a win that will stand among the most memorable in the once-proud program's history.

USC (2-1, 0-1) was nearly a three-touchdown favorite against. Washington (2-1, 1-0) came in riding a Pac-10 record 15-game conference losing streak.


But again the Trojans were toppled by a team that seemed to be no match for all their blue chip recruits and future NFL draft picks. USC has now lost to an unranked team each of the last four seasons.

Last season, it was Oregon State on the road the week after beating Ohio State, a loss that ultimately kept the Trojans from playing for the national title.

The year before that it was Stanford and the year before that it was UCLA when USC had a chance to play for the national title.

This time it was an old friend upsetting Pete Carroll's squad. Washington coach Steve Sarkisian was Carroll's offensive coordinator before taking over in Seattle this season, trying to rebuild a team that went winless last year.

"Our kids played very hard. I don't know if we played very good, but we played hard," Sarkisian said. "It's unbelievable. It's what we were hoping for. We're trying hard."

Corp, a sophomore making his first career start, was 13 for 22 for 110 yards with one interception. USC (2-1, 0-1) was held to its lowest point total since a 13-9 loss to UCLA on Dec. 2, 2006.

The Trojans were also without All-American safety Taylor Mays, who missed his first career game because of the right knee ligament he sprained against the Buckeyes.

Joe McKnight, who finished with 100 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown, took off on a 34-yard run - and split end David Ausberry recovered his fumble at the end of the sprint - to get USC to the Huskies 22 while down 13-10 with 6 minutes left. But Donald Butler, who was all over the field for Washington, stopped Stafon Johnson on third-and-6. That forced the Trojans to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Jordan Congdon that tied it at 13 with 4 minutes remaining.

The USC offensive players angrily yanked their chin straps for not taking the lead after that series.

Locker, who came to Washington three seasons a much-hyped freshman much like Barkley, made the Trojans pay.

Washington faced a third-and-15 with 3:03 left, but Locker connected with Jermaine Kearse for 21 yards. Locker then rolled out for 4 yards to convert another third down to the USC 39 with a minute left.

Locker then avoided a rush, and fired 19 yards to Kearse, to the USC 16. Locker and Kearse shared a leaping chest bump, old Husky Stadium swayed, and a roughing-the-passer penalty put the Huskies at the 8 with 33 seconds left.

One running play later, Washington called time out with 7 seconds left to put Folk in position. The sophomore from Woodland Hills, Calif., nailed it down the middle - and the Huskies' bench erupted in a scene that instantly erased years of futility.

USC tried multiple laterals on the final play, the kickoff, but couldn't get out of its own end. Kick returner Johnson was face down in the middle of the turf as jubilant Washington players and fans swarmed out of the stands to celebrate their Huskies' first win over USC since 2001, Carroll's first season with the Trojans.

A purple party followed on the field, stretching from goal line to goal line. Carroll was forced to watch it all - glumly waiting for Sarkisian to make his way through the throng to congratulate his protege.

Washington beat a ranked team from a BCS conference for the first time since the end of the 2003 season, when it toppled Washington State in the Apple Cup.

USC gave away two chances to take the lead in the third quarter. Washington's Donald Butler forced Stanley Havili to fumble on a reception, and Nate Williams recovered for the Huskies at the Washington 16.

On USC's next drive, Corp stared down Ausberry over the middle before Butler bolted in for an interception at the Huskies 23.

After gaining 223 yards in the first half, USC had just 80 in its first three drives after halftime against a defense that allowed 412 yards last week while beating Idaho - and one of which its own coordinator, former Trojans defensive coordinator Nick Holt, said this week: "There are deficiencies there with personnel."

Not this week.