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USC escapes Washington to extend streaks

Oct 7, 2006 - 11:09 PM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The clock was Southern California's best friend in the end.

The third-ranked Trojans held on for a 26-20 Pac-10 Conference victory over Washington when the clock expired on the Huskies before they could take a shot at the end zone.

Mario Danelo kicked four field goals for Southern California (5-0, 3-0 Pac-10), which extended its conference-record home winning streak to 29 - barely.

"This was another hard-earned win, much like last week (at Washington State), and a real solid matchup," Trojans coach Pete Carroll said. "Washington made this a tough game for us."

After Danelo's 21-yard field goal gave the Trojans a six-point edge with 1:34 to play, Isaiah Stanback marched the Huskies down the field.

A 19-yard completion to Sonny Shackelford moved the Huskies to the USC 15 with two seconds left, but they had no timeouts remaining. After the officials blew the whistle to start the clock, Washington did not snap the ball before time expired.

Despite getting the victory, Carroll was not pleased with how the officials handled the final play.

"For some reason, the officials refused to start the 25-second clock and they treated it like a timeout," Carroll said. "They just sat there on the sideline and out on the field talking to their players. The 25-second clock would have changed that whole thing, it would have changed the urgency on them and I have no idea why they didn't do that."

"I didn't think they were gonna get the play off at all," Trojans linebacker Keith Rivers said. "They had no timeouts left and they had the ball for a good minute, so I didn't know what was going on."

John David Booty completed 23-of-40 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown and one interception for USC, which has won 26 consecutive Pac-10 contests and 20 straight conference home games, both league records. The Trojans also were victorious for the 50th time in their last 52 games overall.

"When it comes down to the last play like that, it's pretty tough to take," Booty said. "The defense really stepped up when they needed to today and I really thought they played good all day."

Stanback went 17-of-38 for 212 yards and two TDs for the Huskies (4-2, 2-1), who have improved immensely in their second season under Tyrone Willingham, who handed the Trojans their last home loss while coaching Stanford in 2001. Shackelford had nine catches for 125 yards.

USC opened the scoring on a 20-yard TD pass from holder Michael McDonald to Steve Smith on a fake field goal with 5:43 left in the first quarter. The Trojans pushed their lead to 14-3 on a 17-yard pass from Booty to Patrick Turner, who had 12 catches for 116 yards with All-American receiver Dwayne Jarrett sitting out a second straight contest with a shoulder injury.

Stanback threw a six-yard TD to Kenny James before Danelo gave the Trojans a 17-10 lead at the break with a 34-yard field goal.

Michael Braunstein and Danelo traded field goals before the USC kicker made it 23-13 on a 32-yarder with 4:11 left in the third quarter.

"Fortunately Mario did a great job," Carroll said. "(He) really was the star today, just kept hammering those field goals home."

Stanback's six-yard toss to tight end Johnie Kirton gave the Huskies their final points with 10:06 to play.

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