tampabay.com

Trojans swat biggest obstacle

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published November 26, 2006


LOS ANGELES - No need for any last-second drama to beat Notre Dame this season.

Southern California's John David Booty passed for 265 yards and three TDs to Dwayne Jarrett as USC whipped the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish 44-24 Saturday night and likely leapfrogged Michigan in the race for the national championship.

No. 3 USC contained Brady Quinn, the Irish's Heisman Trophy contender, and put together a performance that should boost its Bowl Championship Series standing. The Trojans were a close third behind the Wolverines last week.

Should the Trojans beat UCLA at the Rose Bowl next weekend, they'll probably face top-ranked Ohio State in the BCS title game Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz. USC has beaten its crosstown rivals seven straight times. And now the Trojans have won five straight against Notre Dame.

The Trojans played in the BCS title game the past two years, winning one, and earned a piece of the national championship three years ago after being bypassed for the title game.

Booty, who completed 17 of 28 passes and was intercepted twice, watched from the sideline when the Trojans beat the Irish 34-31 at Notre Dame last year on Matt Leinart's 1-yard sneak with three seconds left.

Jarrett, whose 61-yard reception on fourth and 9 kept that final drive in South Bend alive, caught scores of 9, 5 and 43 yards from Booty, who succeeded Leinart as quarterback. The 43-yarder came with 8:21 left and gave the Trojans a 37-17 lead.

Jarrett finished with seven receptions for 132 yards, and USC freshman C.J. Gable rushed for 107 yards on 20 carries.

Quinn threw a 2-yard score to Jeff Samardzija with 3:39 left, but Brian Cushing returned the ensuing onside kickoff 42 yards to put an exclamation point on the victory.

Quinn, playing his final regular-season game, completed 22 of 45 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 74 yards, most of it on a 60-yard scramble in the second quarter.

Rhema McKnight caught six passes for 109 yards and one touchdown, and Samardzija had six receptions for 79 yards and one TD.

The three Notre Dame stars, all seniors, leave school having never beaten USC.

The win before 91,800 at the Los Angeles Coliseum was the Trojans' 55th in their past 58 games. They're 20-0 in November games under coach Pete Carroll and have won 33 straight home games.

Notre Dame had an eight-game winning streak stopped but still figures to play in a big-money bowl game.

ARIZ. ST. 28, ARIZONA 24: Rudy Carpenter threw three touchdowns and Ryan Torain rushed for 139 yards, and the visiting Sun Devilis clinched a minor bowl berth.

The Sun Devils took a 21-0 first-quarter lead and held on for their fourth win in five games against Arizona. Arizona State could be headed to the Las Vegas or Emerald Bowl, both of which sent representatives to the game.

The Sun Devils retain the 107-year-old Territorial Cup.