AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) — Salvon Ahmed rushed for a career-high 153 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and No. 17 Washington beat No. 21 Southern California 28-14 on Saturday.
Ahmed missed last week’s win at BYU with a leg injury. But he was back in a big way against the Trojans, breaking off the longest run play for Washington (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) in 25 years and moments after USC quarterback Matt Fink made his biggest mistake of the day.
With USC (3-2, 2-1) trailing 20-7 and driving, Fink failed to see Elijah Molden dropping into a zone and had a pass intercepted at the Washington 1 as he tried to hit Michael Pittman Jr. Two plays later, Ahmed waited for the hole to open then burst into the open field and ran away from the defense.
It was Washington’s longest run play since a 91-yard TD run by Napoleon Kaufman in 1994 against San Jose State.
Fink, the No. 3 QB when the season started, carved up Utah a week ago throwing for 351 yards after being called into duty when Kedon Slovis went down with a concussion. Fink found passing quite a bit tougher against Washington and its standout secondary.
Fink was intercepted three times, the first two leading to Washington touchdowns. More importantly, the Trojans found nothing open downfield. Pittman caught a 44-yard touchdown on a blown coverage late in the third quarter. It was the Trojans’ first pass play of more than 8 yards. USC’s last hope ended when Myles Bryant broke up a fourth-and-goal pass in the end zone with 4:47 left.
Fink finished 19 of 31 for 163 yards and had a 3-yard TD run. Stephen Carr rushed for 94 yards, but for this day USC’s version of the ‘Air Raid’ offense was grounded.
Washington QB Jacob Eason was 16 of 26 for 180 yards.
Washington took an early 14-0 lead, continuing its first-quarter dominance this season. The Huskies took advantage of a short punt and capped a 35-yard scoring drive with Newton’s 1-yard TD plunge. Fink followed with a bad overthrow that was intercepted by Cameron Williams and Washington built a two-touchdown advantage when Andre Baccellia recovered Ahmed’s fumble in the end zone. Ahmed fumbled at the 1, but Baccellia won the scramble and gave the Huskies a 14-point lead.
Washington has outscored opponents 77-3 in the first quarter this season.
But the Huskies were unable to add on, and eventually it was the Trojans using a short-field to get back in the game. Fink scored on a 3-yard run late in the second quarter to cut the deficit in half. Peyton Henry added a 28-yard field goal on the last play of the first half.
USC: The Trojans were unable to get Pittman free a week after he caught 10 passes for 232 yards against Utah. Pittman didn’t get his first target, and catch, until midway through the second quarter. He finished with four catches for 64 yards, but 44 coming on one play.
Washington: Ahmed’s previous career high came earlier this year when he rushed for 119 yards against California. The Huskies rushed for 193 yards as a team.
USC: The Trojans have an open week before playing at Notre Dame on Oct. 12.
Washington: The Huskies begin a two-game road trip playing at Stanford next Saturday.