Even with USC’s College Football Playoff hopes just about dead, Saturday’s matchup between the No. 20 Trojans and the visiting No. 5 Washington Huskies promised to be a fireworks show.

But this was a sustained grand finale, with 13 total touchdowns and big play after big play in the Huskies’ 52-42 win at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

An expected battle between two electric offenses and two questionable defenses delivered as advertised.

The Washington offense totaled more than 550 yards against the Trojans’ more-than-suspect defense, including more than 300 rushing yards, as Dillon Johnson had an absolute dream day.

“We knew all the work we needed to do all week and we did it,” Penix said after the game. “The offensive linemen did work all week long.”

Ultimately, though, one key turnover proved the difference (see below).

Here are 3 takeaways from the Huskies’ thrilling win over USC.

Huskies ground game takes flight

With the best passing offense in the country, it has been rare for the Washington offense to turn to its running game.

But they haven’t yet played a defense as yielding up front as the Trojans, the worst rush D in the conference.

Is it any surprise that USC turned Washington running back Johnson into Barry Sanders? Johnson, whose previous career high was 100 yards in the Huskies 3-point win over Oregon in mid-October, gained 256 yards on 26 carries with 4 scores. As a team, Washington scorched the USC defense for 320 rushing yards and 8.0 yards per carry.

USC’s depth on display against Huskies

Right around this time last year, USC’s leading rusher and emotional leader, Troy Dye, was lost for the year with a brutal lower leg injury. The Oregon transfer had become a star for the Trojans, and his loss threatened to derail their big hopes.

But all was not lost for the Trojans, especially because their other key running back transfer, former Stanford back Austin Jones, was ready to roll. Jones ended 444 rushing yards over the final 5 games of the season, averaging better than 4.7 yards per carry.

With leading rusher Marshawn Lloyd out Saturday against the Huskies, Jones again stepped up, rushing for 127 yards on 11 carries. But he wasn’t alone. Fellow Trojan backs Darwin Barlow (44 yards, touchdown) and Raleek Brown (1 touchdown) also made a big impact.

Huskies capitalize on major mistake

It was a classic slugfest, back and forth, back and forth, body shot after body shot. Everyone knew it would take one mistake to decide it.

Few expected Caleb Williams to make that mistake.

On a day in which he almost single-handedly kept the Trojans in it — finishing with 312 passing yards and 3 scores — Williams’ late first-half fumble provided the difference.

On 1st-and-10 at the USC 25-yard line with just over a minute left in the half, Williams faced pressure, wheeled around, and was confronted by Zion Tupuola-Fetui, who stripped him of the ball to set up a Washington touchdown that sent them to a 35-28 halftime lead.

It was Williams’ 30th career fumble, the most in FBS since 2021.