7-2, 5-1 Conf

Trojans maintain slim conference title hopes

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- It looked like Carson Palmer had another
brilliant day.

He sure didn't think so.

Palmer threw four touchdown passes to break a school career
record and lead Southern California (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) to a 49-17 victory
over struggling Stanford on Saturday. The senior quarterback wasn't
satisfied, though, because he wanted to score even more.

"I'm mad, I'm frustrated, and I'm angry. The whole offense
is,'' Palmer said. "We should have scored every time we had the

The Trojans scored on seven of their 12 possessions when he was
in the game.

Still, the win keeps USC's slim conference championship hopes
alive and has the Trojans in great position heading into the
stretch run. One more victory by first-place Washington State or
one loss by USC (7-2 overall, 5-1 Pac-10) would eliminate the
Trojans from winning the conference.

Palmer threw two scoring passes to Keary Colbert, one to Mike
Williams and another to Alex Holmes to give Palmer 61 career TD
passes, breaking the mark of 58 set by Rob Johnson. Palmer has
thrown 13 TD passes in his last three games.

He may not be impressed with himself, but everybody else is.

"This is really something to watch,'' USC coach Pete Carroll
said of his quarterback. "He's really bringing it together and
capitalizing on his past experiences. He's in control of the game,
and it's not difficult for him right now.''

Palmer picked apart the Pac-10's second-worst defense,
completing 22 of 32 passes for 317 yards, with eight of his
completions to Williams for 94 yards. Williams broke the Pac-10
freshman record for receptions in a season with 58, eclipsing the
mark of 55 set by Washington's Reggie Williams last year.

USC had lost three straight to Stanford (2-7, 1-5) by a combined
11 points, but the Trojans were determined to keep their surge
going following the team's bye week. In October, USC beat
California and Washington at home, then won at Oregon. The Trojans'
only loss was by three points in overtime at Washington State.

"I really like this kind of effort for us,'' Carroll said. "It
means our guys understand our philosophy.''

The Cardinal have been outscored 118-49 in losing their last
three games.

Redshirt freshman Kyle Matter started at quarterback for
Stanford for the third straight week in place of regular Chris
Lewis, who has a bruised shoulder.

Matter completed all 14 of his passes in the first half, but his
team managed just 10 points despite controlling the ball for nearly
21 minutes.

Matter completed his first pass of the third quarter before
throwing an interception midway through the period. His short pass
was deflected and caught by defensive end Kenechi Udeze. Two plays
later, Palmer connected with Holmes for a 22-yard score that gave
the Trojans a 35-10 lead.

Matter finished 23-for-35 for 165 yards and two touchdowns, with
one interception.

The Cardinal put pressure on Palmer on USC's first offensive
series and forced the Trojans to punt, but then the problems
started for Stanford.

Tom Malone's punt hit the foot of Stanford's T.J. Rushing, and
USC's Justin Wyatt recovered at the 17. Palmer hit Colbert on the
next play for the game's first score. Colbert later had a 13-yard
scoring catch.

After Stanford tied it on Matter's 6-yard touchdown pass to Ryan
Wells in the first quarter, USC took advantage of two Cardinal
penalties to regain the lead. Leigh Torrance's pass interference on
third down prolonged the Trojans' drive, and Stanford was flagged
for having too many players on the field.

Palmer got USC in scoring position with a 27-yard pass to Holmes
before hitting Williams for an 8-yard score.

Justin Fargas added a 7-yard TD run midway through the second
quarter to make it 21-10.

Stanford again hurt itself, exactly what first-year coach Buddy
Teevens was hoping to avoid.

After an impressive kickoff return by Wells to the 46-yard line
to start the game, the Cardinal were penalized for holding. So
Stanford began its drive at its own 12 instead and was forced to

"We're making progress on both sides of the ball,'' Teevens
said. "I feel for the players because they don't have the wins to
go with the work they've put in. No question they're tired of this.
The frustration level is high, but I don't see them backing off at
all. I don't see any give up.''


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