Carroll expects to see the sharp Huskies, not the slackers

Updated: October 24, 2003, 9:53 PM ET

SEATTLE -- Washington was awful against UCLA and Nevada, then rebounded with a solid victory last weekend at Oregon State.

So which Huskies will show up for Saturday's game against No. 5 USC? Trojans coach Pete Carroll expects to see the standouts.

"We take each matchup with tremendous respect for the opponent," he said. "This is another one of those. We've got to treat them like a championship football team because they played like it last week."

The Huskies (4-3, 2-1 Pac-10) won a big one last weekend, going on the road to beat Oregon State 38-17. It kept Washington near the top of the Pac-10 standings and forged confidence in the wake of UCLA's blowout and Nevada's upset win.

"I believe we're back on track," said Washington receiver and punt returner Charles Frederick, who broke a 53-year-old school record with 371 all-purpose yards against the Beavers.

It could take another performance like that to beat the Trojans (6-1, 2-1), who haven't won in Seattle since 1993 but bring a roster loaded with arguably the deepest talent in the Pac-10.

Matt Leinart has performed well at quarterback, stepping in to replace 2002 Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer. The Trojans have top performers in tackle Jacob Rogers and receiver Mike Williams.

"You just hope you can slow them down," Washington coach Keith Gilbertson said. "They are going to get the points and move the ball because that's how talented they are."

The Huskies will keep standout defensive lineman Terry Johnson at right end, where he played last week after moving from tackle. Gilbertson called the move one of the biggest factors in Washington's win.

"I just thought a bigger guy on people's tackles would have the ability to get some collapse on the outside," Gilbertson said. "The pockets, to me, have looked really wide."

The Trojans, who have won three in a row, are playing on the road for the fourth time in five weeks. Carroll sees this game as the end of a tough road swing, a pivot to USC's Pac-10 title hopes.

"We're feeling pretty good about it, but this is really where all the other stuff is behind us and now we're looking at the finish for the Pac-10," he said. "It's a new start for the second half of the season."

A key for Washington will be the offensive line, which has struggled to protect quarterback Cody Pickett and to open holes. Tailback Rich Alexis returned to practice this week after sustaining a thigh bruise at Oregon State.

Gilbertson feels the Huskies just need to enjoy themselves, too. They were flat emotionally during the loss to Nevada but played with more enthusiasm in last week's victory.

"The only time you can have fun doing this is when you're flying around the field, hitting people and trying to make plays, doing it as a team and celebrating as a team," he said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index