LOS ANGELES — Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian didn't bring any players with him to his postgame press conference, choosing to be the face of the Trojans' fourth loss as a double-digit favorite in less than two seasons as head coach.
"This one, at the end of the day, is on me," he said.
Myles Gaskin ran for 134 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown, and Washington shut down No. 17 USC's high-powered offense throughout a 17-12 victory Thursday night.
"We didn't coach well enough, we didn't execute well enough, we didn't manage the game well enough and ultimately execute in the critical moments well enough to deserve to win the football game," Sarkisian said.
The frustrated crowd of 63,623 that battled notorious freeway traffic only to see USC's offense held under wraps, its defense buckle in the fourth quarter, and a host of questionable coaching decisions would not disagree.
Receiver Marvin Hall threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Perkins early in the second half as the Huskies (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) beat the coaches who recruited many of them to Seattle. They all celebrated with their strong cheering section after running out the clock on Washington's first win at the Coliseum since 2010, when Sarkisian defeated Lane Kiffin in the first year of his tumultuous three-plus season tenure leading USC.
Cody Kessler had two interceptions while passing for just 156 yards on a miserable night for the Trojans (3-2, 1-2), the popular preseason pick to win the conference and a healthy double-digit favorite against Washington. Instead, USC couldn't score a touchdown until Ronald Jones II's short run with 12:02 to play.
Washington's defense then came up with two late stops, and the Trojans missed a field goal with 3:44 left. Jaydon Mickens caught a key third-down pass from Washington freshman Jake Browning with 2:10 to play, allowing the Huskies to run out the clock against the frustrated USC defense, which was solid after giving up 41 points to Stanford last month.
"I thought we were going to come out, offense was going to get back to who they were and change the game. I thought we were going to come out with the win, but stuff happens. It's one game," USC linebacker Cameron Smith said.
Tre Madden rushed for 120 yards for the Trojans, who lost their second straight game at the Coliseum following last month's visit from Stanford.
USC had not lost consecutive home games since 2001, when Pete Carroll was a first-year coach trying to get his bearings, with Sarkisian and Kiffin his young assistant coaches. Kiffin and Sarkisian were brought back in an attempt to recapture Carroll's glory, but have proven unable to match their mentor.
Kessler went 16 for 29 during just the second multi-interception game of the touted senior's college career, but the entire offense struggled against Washington's defense, which entered the Coliseum as the Pac-12's best. The Trojans went 1 for 13 on third downs, and they made three turnovers after committing just two in the first four games.
"Cody was a little off, but I think our team was a little off for whatever reason, and that's what we have to dissect and figure out," Sarkisian said.
The Huskies recovered a fumble by JuJu Smith-Schuster deep in USC territory early in the third quarter, and Hall hit a wide-open Perkins for the game's first touchdown on the next play.
Gaskin scored early in the fourth, but USC's offense finally awoke on the ensuing drive. Jones made three consecutive big runs capped by his 1-yard TD lunge, but Madden dropped a pass on the 2-point conversion attempt.
"We've just got to get used to it," Sarkisian said. "We're going to be in tight games and we have to understand how critical execution is in the critical moments of ballgames. And tonight we didn't get it done."
Washington beat a ranked team for the first time under second-year coach Chris Petersen, who appeared to pull a trick play out of his Boise State cache.
Sarkisian faced the Huskies for the first time since he left Washington to take over the Trojans last season, taking five Huskies assistant coaches with him.
But the Huskies took a major step toward the future at the expense of Sarkisian, who could be on a hot seat before reaching the midway point of his second season.
"Not at all," Sarkisian said when asked if he is coaching for his job now.
AP college football website: http://www.collegefootball.ap.org