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Dawgs’ linebackers raise havoc

  • Washington safety Justin Glenn (20) cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Cort Dennison pursue a USC fumble in the first half. Glenn recovered the...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Washington safety Justin Glenn (20) cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Cort Dennison pursue a USC fumble in the first half. Glenn recovered the fumble on Washington’s 26-yard line.

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By Scott M. Johnson
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Washington safety Justin Glenn (20) cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Cort Dennison pursue a USC fumble in the first half. Glenn recovered the...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Washington safety Justin Glenn (20) cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Cort Dennison pursue a USC fumble in the first half. Glenn recovered the fumble on Washington’s 26-yard line.

SEATTLE _ For much of the summer, University of Washington linebackers Donald Butler, Mason Foster and E.J. Savannah talked about being the best corps in the Pac-10.
On Saturday afternoon, they finally put the money where their mouths are.
Butler and Foster were the two most important players on the UW defense as the Huskies knocked off the third-ranked team in the nation. Saturday’s 16-13 win over USC included three turnovers in UW territory, all of which were forced by Husky linebackers.
“We know that if we can get the ball back for (quarterback) Jake (Locker) and coach (Steve Sarkisian), good things will happen,” said Foster, a junior who forced a fumble and added three pass breakups. “Our team is all about getting the ball; that’s what we play for.”
After falling into a 10-0 hole after two USC drives, the Washington defense got its hands on balls at the most opportune times.
Foster stripped tailback Stafon Johnson for a drive-ending fumble early in the second quarter, then broke up a third-down pass to end another USC possession a few minutes later.
“Mason is amazing,” Butler said. “Mason is one of those guys I can look to and go, ‘Mason, look, we need to step up and make a play.’ And he’ll step up and make a play.”
Butler made even more plays on Saturday, particularly in the second half.
After helping end the first half with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage — the play kept the clock running as USC unsuccessfully tried to run its field-goal unit onto the field as time expired — Butler thwarted two consecutive Trojans possessions at the start of the third quarter by way of turnover.
He stripped the ball from USC fullback Stanley Havili on the Trojans’ opening drive of the second half, then intercepted an Aaron Corp pass inside the UW 20 on the next possession.
USC’s next drive stalled when Butler hit Johnson short of the first-down marker on third-and-1, and Foster killed another Trojans drive midway through the fourth quarter by way of a pass breakup.
UW’s linebackers certainly made their presence felt Saturday afternoon.
“We feel like we’re the best in the nation, the best in the Pac-10, and that’s how we carry ourselves,” Butler said.
And after helping lead a monumental upset, the senior from Sacramento can carry a memory for the ages.
“I’ll never forget this day,” he said. “I’ll tell my kids about this; I’ll tell my grandkids about this.”
Story tags » Huskies Football

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