Saturday, October 14, 2006

Trojans Again Pushed to the Limit

#3 USC vs. Arizona State

The revamped Trojans needed to clamp down in the 4th quarter for a third-straight game to secure a win. This time they held off the Sun Devils by a score of 28-20 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

At first it appeared that USC was the high-powered USC of yesteryear, racking up yards on offense and creating turnovers on defense and special teams. Midway through the 2nd quarter the Trojans were up 21-0. One of the scores was a beautiful 14-yard pass from John David Booty to Dwayne Jarrett, which was reminiscent of the Leinart-to-Jarrett connections that frequented the Coliseum the past three years. The touchdown was Dwayne's 33rd for his career and made him the Pac-10's all-time leader in that category, breaking a tie with Stanford's Ken Margerum.

Arizona State buckled up on defense and the offense converted a critical 3rd and 22 deep into Trojan territory. A Ryan Torain rushing TD closed the gap to 14 by halftime.

Booty had a mediocre game with 12 completions in 25 attempts for 148 yards. Although he threw a couple TD's, John also had two huge turnovers. One of them was a fumble on USC's first snap in the second half. With great field position, Rudy Carpenter and the Arizona State offense capitalized to make it 14-21. Later in the quarter Booty and Jarrett had a miscommunication, which led to Keno Walter-White picking off a pass and returning it 38 yards for a score, tying the game at 21 apiece.

Defense was the theme for the fourth quarter: the Sun Devils were limited to 27 total yards; the Trojans, excluding Chauncey Washington, garnered only five yards. Luckily for SC, Chauncey did have a major role in the last quarter. C-Dub, in his first career start, rushed for 64 yards in the game-winning drive, scoring the decisive touchdown and extending USC's domination of the Pac-10 -- at least for another two weeks.

Other Notes on the Game

* USC has won thirty straight in the Coliseum and 27 straight in Pac-10 play. The first streak won't be tested again until November 11th, when USC starts a critical three-game homestand against #18 Oregon, #10 California and #9 Notre Dame. The second streak will be on the line October 28th when the Trojans play at Oregon State. This upcoming week is a bye for USC.

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