Clay Helton’s USC Football Pulls Massive Upset In Seattle


USC football rode a complete team performance, with standouts in all three phases of the game, to upset the Washington Huskies.

The 2016 USC football team has officially arrived. What an impressive win Saturday night in Seattle against the undefeated Huskies.

USC wasn’t suppose to win this game, according to most in the sports media.  Even faithful Lee Corso of ESPN’s College Gameday, who is 16-0 when picking the Trojans, mistakenly mounted the Husky headgear. His record when picking against USC is now marred at 5-1.

However that didn’t matter on Saturday evening because the Trojans had a point to make to all the doubters and naysayers.

So how did the improbable happen? For the touchdown-underdogs to knock off a playoff team, someone must have had a monster game capped off with a last second field goal to just squeak by. Right? Not really. For USC, it was much more that the entire team played the entire game. In short, a huge team effort for sixty minutes with some very good coaching throughout sealed the victory well before the final seconds.

USC allowed only 17 net rushing yards to Washington.  They held the explosive Husky offense scoreless in the fourth quarter.  The defense gave up a one touchdown on an unfortunate stumble but otherwise just dominated the No. 4 offense in the country all game long.

Three sacks, two interceptions, a blocked field goal and a clinching safety composed the stat line for this impressive defensive performance. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast dialed up a gem of a defensive game plan.

You could pick numerous MVPs and you wouldn’t be wrong.

The defensive line lead by Rasheem Green’s gigantic blocked field goal or Porter Gustin’s relentless pressure of Browning resulting in three sacks and a couple deflections.  Stevie Tu’ikolovatu controlled the line of scrimmage from the opening snap. Adoree Jackson’s two picks and his eight-yard run around the left side to convert a big first down were critical.  All were stellar performances.

You could also say Sam Darnold’s poise and accurate passing was the difference or Darreus Rogers’ ability to snatch the ball with defenders draped all over him was the key.  Maybe freshman tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe making a living over the middle with one huge catch after another paved the way to victory.

SC might not have gained two hundred plus yards rushing but the offensive line gave Darnold lots of time to complete some big passes. One sack for a four-yard loss was all UW could muster.  And quite frankly, if not for two stumbles, one by Jackson and another by Rogers, resulting in John Ross’ 70-yard score and a third-quarter interception, this game would have been even more one-sided.

Most of the time, when you have two touchdowns pulled off the board, you give up two interceptions and can not run effectively, you just don’t win the football game.

In past games, that second half lead would have disappeared, especially after the long Browning to Ross touchdown. The defense would have been in some sort of bend but don’t break scheme which never really works. This time however Pendergast continued to bring the heat right to the end and that pass rush was paid off with a safety to cap the win.

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USC’s victory over Washington was a team win led by big-time performances in all three phases of the game. Aggressive coaching for the entire game set the right tone for the Trojans.  Even going for the fourth-and-one inside the 20 with less than two minutes left in the game was bold — and correct call.  Clay Helton called a brilliant game and, most importantly, his team responded and played their collective hearts out.

So now all of the doubters and critics for at least this week have to bow and tip their cap to this historic victory for Helton and his USC football team.

Now with two regular season games remaining, winning out is the task.