Oct. 16, 2002
Washington hasn't played on the road in nearly two months. A matchup at Southern California might not be the place to clear the rust.
The 22nd-ranked Huskies will play their first road game since Aug. 31 as they visit the 19th-ranked Trojans (4-2, 2-1Pac-10) at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday.
Since a season-opening 31-29 loss at then-No. 10 Michigan, Washington (4-2, 1-1) hasn't left home. The Huskies just completed a 4-1 homestand with a 32-28 win over Arizona on Saturday.
However, they know winning the conference title will be determined on the road, where they play five of their next six.
"For us to stay in the immediate Pac-10 race, we need to find a way to win on the road," said Washington coach Rick Neuheisel, whose team has dropped four in a row on the road dating to last season. "It would give us confidence for the rest of the season. This is a pivotal game for us."
The Huskies have won only 10 of 26 meetings at Los Angeles, including just three of the last 16.
Washington showed some improvement in Saturday's win over Arizona after generating 82 yards rushing on 38 attempts. The Huskies had just 44 yards on 28 carries the previous week in a loss to California. But know they'll have to do better against USC, which boasts a defense that leads the Pac-10, allowing just 274.5 total yards a game.
"This is our first road game in quite a while," said Reggie Williams, who caught three touchdown passes in last Saturday's victory. "It's exciting. I don't think we'll lose our rhythm. We're playing well right now."
The Trojans have won six in a row at home, including a 30-28 decision over California last Saturday.
Sultan McCullough rushing 39 times for 176 yards. The 39 carries were the most by a Trojan since tailback Steve Webster had 40 in a game in 1987. The school record of 51 carries was set by Ricky Bell in 1976.
"Somebody's got to carry the load. It was me and I'm grateful," said McCullough, who earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors on Monday.
McCullough leads the Trojans with 529 yards on 117 carries with five touchdowns.
USC leads the all-time series 42-26-4, though the Huskies won last season's meeting 27-24 at home.