Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Top 2013 performances: Damante Horton
By Kyle Bonagura
We're looking at some of the top individual performances in the Pac-12 in 2013.
Up next: Horton, WSU win with ... defense
Who and against whom: Washington State CB Damante Horton scored as many touchdowns as USC in the Cougars' 10-7 road upset of then-No. 25 USC.
The numbers: Horton had two key interceptions: the first he returned 70 yards for WSU's only touchdown and the second sealed the game with 2:18 remaining.
A closer look: The list of improbabilities that occurred at USC on Sept. 7 is astonishing. WSU hadn't won there since 2000, hadn't beaten the Trojans anywhere since 2002 and USC hadn't dropped a home opener since 1997. So, naturally, a Mike Leach-coached team snapped those streaks because of its defense. Horton returned his first interception 70 yards for a touchdown -- which led USC coach Lane Kiffin to bench starting quarterback Cody Kessler -- then picked off Max Wittek to seal it at the end. Only Marqise Lee, who Horton covered for most of the game, caught more balls from USC quarterbacks, but Horton still finished with more interception return yards (75) than USC finished with receiving yards (54). The Oakland, Calif., native added a pair of tackles for loss. The game dramatically changed the course of each team's season. If USC won, it's unlikely Kiffin gets fired after losing to Arizona State (you can't fire the coach of a 4-1 team, right?) and WSU's decade-long bowl-less streak would have been extended.