USC makes case to ascend to No. 2

Published October 8, 2006

LOS ANGELES - Those underdogs from the Northwest gave USC all it could handle the past two weeks.

John David Booty threw for 243 yards and a touchdown and No. 3 Southern California held off resurgent Washington's late threat in a 26-20 victory Saturday.

The Huskies drove to the USC 15 but couldn't get off a play before the final two seconds ticked off. Last week, the Trojans needed an interception near the end zone on the last play to win 28-22 at Washington State.

"That was a hard-earned win, just like last week," USC coach Pete Carroll said.

"They (the Huskies) did a good job and are going to win a lot of games in this conference. I'm impressed with the job Tyrone has done. They've had a quick turnaround," Carroll said of second-year Washington coach Tyrone Willingham.

The Trojans' last loss at the Coliseum was to Stanford in 2001, when Willingham was the Cardinal coach. USC has won 29 at home since then.

The Trojans extended their conference-record victory string to 26. Overall, USC has won 50 of its last 52.

Mario Danelo kicked four field goals for USC, including a 21-yarder with 1:34 left for a six-point pad.

Reserve quarterback Michael McDonald's 20-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith on a fake field goal on the Trojans' first possession put them ahead to stay. But never by a comfortable margin.

After throwing a pair of 6-yard touchdowns, the last pulling the Huskies within 23-20 with 10:06 remaining, Isaiah Stanback marched them down the field again.

Stanback's 19-yard completion moved the ball to the USC 15, but the Huskies had no timeouts remaining. The clock stopped while the chains were moved, then the officials spotted the ball, but huddled for several moments before starting the clock with two seconds remaining. The Huskies couldn't get a play off.

Stanback, asked if he thought the officials handled it correctly, said, "I'm not going to speak to it. I don't want to say anything wrong."

USC could move up in the polls - No. 2 Auburn was upset 27-10 by Arkansas earlier Saturday. USC routed the Razorbacks 50-14 in Arkansas in the season opener.

No. 12 Notre Dame 31, Stanford 10

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Not quite a blowout, though far from a scare, Notre Dame had a comfortable day against winless Stanford.

Brady Quinn threw for three touchdowns, Darius Walker ran for a season-high 153 yards and a touchdown and the Notre Dame defense played its best game of the season.

"I'm content with this game," Irish coach Charlie Weis said. "... It's not about scoring 50 points; it's about how you feel about how you're playing."

Quinn was 27-for-37 passing for 232 yards, the Irish rushed for 204 yards, converted seven of 13 third downs and didn't have a turnover.

Quinn completed TD passes to Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight and John Carlson. It was the fourth time this season Quinn has thrown at least three TD passes and the 12th time in his career.

It was the second straight 100-yard game for Walker, who also had six catches for 45 yards. The Irish finished with a season-high 204 yards rushing against the Cardinal defense.