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October 7, 2006
No. 3 USC avoids Washington upset 26-20
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LOS ANGELES -No. 3 Southern California held on again and resurgent Washington came up just short of its biggest victory in years.
John David Booty threw for 243 yards and a touchdown, Mario Danelo kicked four field goals and the Trojans outlasted underdog Washington 26-20 on Saturday.
The Trojans' last loss at the Coliseum was to Stanford in 2001, when current Washington coach Tyrone Willingham was the Cardinal coach. And Willingham, in his second season trying to rebuild a once-great program that won only three games the past two seasons, nearly pulled it off again.
USC scored the first time it had the ball and never trailed, but the game wasn't decided until the final play.
The Huskies (4-2, 2-1) had moved from their own 20 to threaten in the closing moments. Isaiah Stanback completed a 19-yard pass to Sonny Shackelford to get Washington a first down at the USC 15 with 2 seconds left and the clock stopped to move the chains.
Officials huddled before spotting the ball and finally starting the clock. Then before Washington could get a play off, officials signaled the game was over.
Danelo's final field goal, a 21-yarder with 1:34 remaining, gave the Trojans (5-0, 3-0 Pac-10) some room after Stanback's 6-yard touchdown pass to Johnie Kirton had closed the gap to 23-20 with 10:06 left.
A week earlier, USC had escaped with a 28-22 victory at Washington State when the Trojans intercepted a pass on their 3-yard line on the final play.
Despite the narrow victories, USC could move up in the polls - No. 2 Auburn was upset 27-10 by Arkansas earlier Saturday. USC routed the Razorbacks 50-14 in Arkansas in the season opener.
Patrick Turner had 12 catches for 116 yards for USC against the Huskies, including a 17-yard touchdown pass from Booty in the second quarter. The Trojans' other touchdown came on a fake field goal, with reserve quarterback Michael McDonald throwing for a 20-yard score.
Danelo's other field goals were from 34 yards in the second quarter, and 25 and 32 yards in the third. He provided all the Trojans' scoring in the second half.
The Trojans extended their home winning streak to 29 in a row and their conference-record victory string to 26. Overall, USC has won 50 of its last 52.
Stanback completed 17-of-38 for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Shackelford had nine receptions for 125 yards.
The Trojans went up 7-0 with a 96-yard drive the first time they had the ball, culminating with McDonald's scoring pass to Steve Smith. Braunstein's field goal got the Huskies on the board, but USC answered with Booty's TD throw to Turner.
The fake field goal caught Washington completely off guard. When the Trojans' opening drive stalled with a fourth-and-9 at the Washington 20, the USC field goal unit trotted onto the field. McDonald, a redshirt junior who is the Trojans' holder, took the snap, whirled and threw to Smith.
All alone on the right sideline, the Trojans' wide receiver sprinted untouched into the end zone. McDonald had passed only once in his college career - for a touchdown during mop-up time in a lopsided win last season.