It hasn't been pretty, but USC has managed to take a commanding 28-13 lead over Washington State through the first half at Martin Stadium.
The Trojans allowed a touchdown to the lowly Cougars on their first drive of the game, then responded quickly to lead 21-7 at the quarter break. An interception from USC quarterback Matt Barkley -- his second of the game, in fact -- then gave WSU the ball in USC territory, and Jared Karstetter proceeded to catch his second touchdown of the game.
USC's next drive ended when Allen Bradford fumbled, but the Cougars couldn't capitalize on an opportunity to tie up the game, as quarterback Jeff Tuel threw a deep ball directly into the hands of USC cornerback Nickell Robey. The Trojans then closed out the half's scoring with a two-yard run from Marc Tyler.
Robey had a pick-six in the first quarter for his career interception, and safety T.J. McDonald added another interception late in the half to give USC three. Barkley has again completed a solid portion of his passes (9-of-14 for 158 yards and a touchdown) but his picks have been killer.
The real star of the day has been fullback Stanley Havili, who has accumulated 161 total yards on seven touches.
The redshirt senior took the ball on the first play of USC's first drive and carried it 59 yards into the endzone; he's also been very elusive as a pass-catcher. On one play in the first quarter he caught a short pass from Barkley and turned it into a 56-yard big-gainer on the left sideline.
USC's defense has had some obvious holes. The Trojans have visibly missed defensive end Armond Armstead (shoulder), who has not yet played despite saying he expected to do so last week, and have not pressured Tuel as much as they did Minnesota's Adam Weber a week ago.
The special-teams unit has been great for USC, with Wes Horton blocking a punt in the first quarter and the Trojans also blocking a Nico Grasu point-after attempt after WSU's second score.