Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
SEATTLE -- Things were supposed to be different this year for USC. The Trojans wouldn't stumble in a "let-down" game against a less talented Pac-10 foe because they had finally learned their lesson.
Or maybe this is different. Coach Pete Carroll seemed to think so after his No. 3 squad lost 16-13 at Washington, which just last weekend ended a 15-game losing streak.
When the Trojans lost at Oregon State a year ago, few questioned whether they were any good.
Carroll did just that after Washington, which lost to USC 56-0 last year, calmly executed a 10-play, 63-yard drive over the game's final four minutes before kicking the winning field goal.
"We're not real good right now," he said. "We weren't real good last week, either, to tell you the truth."
Last week, USC sputtered much of the evening but won at Ohio State with a clutch final drive. But that was led by Matt Barkley, who sat out Saturday with a bruised shoulder. All-American free safety Taylor Mays also was out (knee sprain).
In Barkley's stead, Aaron Corp, who was the No. 1 quarterback coming out of spring, didn't take advantage of his opportunity to make a claim for the starting job. He completed only 13 of 22 passes for 110 yards with an interception deep in Washington territory when he threw into double coverage.
Last year, the Huskies ranked 115th in the nation in pass efficiency defense.
If healthy, it's certain that Barkley will retake his job with Washington State coming to the Coliseum.
"We didn't throw the ball very well today," Carroll said.
Said Corp, "I wish I had some stuff back. I didn't play well by my standards."
The Trojans did little well, other than run the ball in the first quarter -- with 4:36 left in the first, they already had 111 rushing yards. They jumped ahead 10-0 and then didn't do much of anything after that.
Washington, which rotated in a number of younger, quicker players on its defensive line, made adjustments and those mostly stymied the Trojans.
Three drives deep into Huskies territory ended in turnovers. USC also was flagged eight times for 75 yards, including a pair of personal fouls.
"If you look back at the games that we have lost over time, it's always turnovers, and usually there's penalties to accompany it," Carroll said.
And what about this: USC was 0-for-10 on third down and 0-for-1 on fourth down.
Last year, UW opponents converted 49.34 percent of their third-down plays, a percentage that ranked 114th in the nation.
The Huskies, though outgained 360 yards to 293, were 7-of-15 on third down, including two conversions on the winning drive.
There was a lot wrong for USC, and this defeat likely put a severe -- and perhaps irreparable -- crimp in their national title aspirations. And it might further signal that the Trojans are, indeed, rebuilding and are vulnerable to yield their seven-year perch atop the Pac-10.
Carroll said his team had "a long way to go." And he pointed a finger after a sloppy performance.
"That's me," he said. "I'm not doing a good enough job of making points of how we win."