3 takeaways from Week 5 loss at Washington State

Luke Falk upstages Sam Darnold in 30-27 upset win

Luke Falk upstages Sam Darnold in 30-27 upset win

If ever there was a time the Trojans (4-0, 2-0) appear vulnerable, this would seem to be it.

The touchdown gave Washington State its second brief lead of the first half. The last time a top five team was handed a loss by Washington State was 1992 when the Drew Bledsoe-led Cougars rolled rival Washington in a driving snowstorm.

"I think it's just a stepping stone".

Falk passed Barkley in the final seconds of the first quarter with a 61-yard pass to redshirt freshman Renard Bell. While this game doesn't do anything for Darnold's Heisman candidacy - he was 15-29 passing and threw his eighth interception of the season - it's far from a backbreaker for USC's Pac-12 hopes. But it was a combination of two runs that got Darnold into the end zone. Falk took two kneel downs and the party erupted on the turf of Martin Stadium. His next throw would go to Jamal Morrow, who went 23 yards for a go-ahead touchdown.

USC was already without starting left tackle Toa Lobendahn before starting right tackle Chuma Edoga limped off late in the first quarter after a wayward flea flicker that ended up being an intentional grounding penalty and a 14-yard loss. Deontay Burnett has caught 33 passes for 462 yards and five touchdowns while Ronald Jones II has run for 322 yards and five scores.

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Regardless, Darnold had a chance to cement himself as one of the most clutch performers in the country - considering his game-extending drive against Texas two weeks prior - when USC took over with a 30-27 deficit with 1:40 remaining on the clock. How well defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa and his teammates can disrupt USC's offense may be the biggest key to a Washington State victory.

Washington State: The Cougars don't get much of a break, traveling to OR next Saturday.

But Morrow delivered again on the ensuing Washington State possession, his carries of 11 and 35 yards moving the Cougars into USC territory.

The touchdown throw was Falk's 105th, giving him a tie for second all-time in the Pac-12 with former OR quarterback Marcus Mariota.

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