Washington State knocked off No. 25 USC 10-7 in what may have been the ugliest game of the young 2013 college football season.
Depending on how you look at it, the game was either a battle of really good defense or really, really bad offense. The two teams traded punts and turnovers for most of the game. WSU picked up the win, despite not scoring offensive points until late in the fourth quarter.
Instead, the Cougars defense was the key to victory. USC and Lane Kiffin took a cautious approach, rarely testing WSU's defense. The Trojans instead opted to run the ball and stick to short passes. Kiffin called a run on several third-and-long situations, essentially daring WSU's offense to beat them.
The Cougars struggled to do just that, with a pick-six from Damante Horton, the only WSU points until late in the game. The teams were tied 7-7 at the half and the score remained tied deep into the fourth quarter. Dominique Williams broke free for the Cougars late in the game, putting them in field goal range. USC had a chance to tie the game after going down 10-7, but Horton picked off his second pass of the game. A defensive pass interference sealed the victory for WSU.
The Trojans have serious quarterback issues going forward. Cody Kessler started the game, but was benched at halftime for Max Wittek. Neither played well, combining to complete 11-of-21 passes for 54 yards. The game ended with the USC crowd chanting "fire Kiffin" as WSU ran out the clock.
For WSU, the win is the biggest road win in the Mike Leach era. The Cougars had lost eight straight games to the Trojans and Saturday was the Cougars' first victory against USC since 2003.
Box Score Hero: No offensive player stood out as the teams struggled to move the ball. Horton was the player of the game for WSU with two interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.
Rankings Ramifications: After how ugly this game was, neither team is likely to grace the Top 25 next week.
But Did They Cover? USC opened as a 21-point favorite. The two teams combined to score 17 points.
Next Week's Schedule: USC hosts Boston College next Saturday. WSU will play its home opener, hosting Southern Utah.