7:00 PM ET, September 3, 2005
Aloha Stadium, HONOLULU, HI
HONOLULU (AP) -- Matt Leinart and Southern California played as though the Orange Bowl never ended.
The Heisman Trophy winner threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns, and top-ranked USC started its quest for a third straight national championship with a 63-17 victory over Hawaii on Saturday.
"I thought I did OK," Leinart said. "I'm just doing my job."
The Trojans' 23rd straight win went a lot like their 22nd -- a 55-19 demolition of Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl in January that featured five TD passes by Leinart and capped a 13-0 season.
Dwayne Jarrett caught three touchdown passes for USC, including a 28-yarder that helped Leinart break Carson Palmer's USC record of 72 touchdown passes. Leinart now has 74. His only hiccup in the game was a timing pass intended for the 6-foot-5 Jarrett that was intercepted by Hawaii's 6-foot cornerback Kenny Patton in the end zone.
Leinart, who sat out the fourth quarter, looked poised and sharp, going 18-for-24 with scoring passes of 22, 28 and 67 yards. The big lefty, who shocked the football world by passing up a chance to be the first pick in the NFL draft to return for his senior season, is now 26-1 as a starter.
"I don't ever regret my decision," Leinart said. "I don't think twice about it."
The Warriors (0-1) kept it respectable until the Trojans erupted for four touchdowns in the third quarter, including two scores in 10 seconds, to take a 49-10 lead.
USC went on to put up the most points it has scored since 1989, when the Trojans scored 66 on Utah State.
"They did a beautiful job," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "We did a really nice job with the offense and I'm real pleased with the opening."
Reggie Bush's 1-yard touchdown run gave USC a 42-10 lead before 50,000 sun-baked fans at Aloha Stadium, the first sellout since 2002. On the ensuing kickoff, returner Mikhail Kafentzis was stripped and Desmond Reed picked up the ball and ran 15 yards for another score that gave USC the 39-point cushion.
Bush, a Heisman finalist, rushed 12 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns, including a 41-yard score that put the Trojans up 21-3 at the break. He found a hole, juked the cornerback and ran down the left sideline and made an acrobatic dive into the end zone in front of the cheering USC band.
"I give him a 10 because he took off from far away," Leinart said.
Bush said it was mission accomplished in Hawaii.
"This was a small step in our task [for a three-peat]," he said.
Steve Smith had seven receptions for 185 yards and a touchdown for USC.
Hawaii, known for its quick-strike passing offense, used its rare running game including option plays, to keep Leinart and company off the field for much of the first quarter. The Trojan's offense, featuring eight returning starters, didn't take the field until more than 13 minutes had past, though thanks to a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown by Darnell Bing, USC still had a 7-3 lead.
When the USC offense finally made its first appearance of the season, it didn't waste time.
Leinart found a wide-open Jarrett for a 22-yard scoring play, capping an 8-play, 76-yard drive that took 2:38 and put the Trojans up by 11.
Freshman Dan Kelly kicked a 30-yard field goal to get Hawaii on the scoreboard. It would be the only points for Hawaii until Bryan Maneafaiga scored on a swing pass from Colt Brennan that went 27 yards to cut USC's lead 28-10 in the third quarter.
Hawaii used two untested quarterbacks in Brennan, a junior college transfer and the backup to Leinart at Mater Dei High in Orange County, Calif., and second-year freshman Tyler Graunke. Both made their Division I debut.
Brennan went 21-for-32 for 250 yards and a touchdown. Graunke had 127 yards passing and led the Warriors with 43 rushing yards on seven carries.
"It's disappointing, obviously, we lost," he said. "But at least we were playing with them physically, they're the national champions. We just made too much errors, and they capitalized."
Ross Dickerson caught five passes for 116 yards for Hawaii, and the Warriors controlled the ball for 33:12 minutes, compared to USC's 26:48. Not that it mattered much.
The enthusiastic, pompon waving USC fans, who made the voyage across the Pacific, made their presence felt creating a sea of cardinal and gold in the stands to watch Hawaii's eight-game winning streak at Aloha Stadium end.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and the rest of the Trojans arrived in Hawaii and received their ceremonial leis.
Gameball goes to... Matt Leinart. The returning Heisman winner threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns against the Warriors.
Stat of the game... 23: The two-time defending national champion Trojans have won 23 straight games.
The Fan Pick
99.2% of College Pick'em players picked USC to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-10||6-13|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||0-2|
|TD||10:32||DARNELL BING 65 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (MARIO DANELO KICK)||7||0|
|FG||1:24||DAN KELLY 30 YD FG|
Drive info: 16 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||13:46||DWAYNE JARRETT 22 YD PASS FROM MATT LEINART (MARIO DANELO KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 76 yards.
|TD||7:26||REGGIE BUSH 41 YD RUN (MARIO DANELO KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 83 yards.
|TD||9:32||DWAYNE JARRETT 28 YD PASS FROM MATT LEINART (MARIO DANELO KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||8:49||BRYAN MANEAFAIGA 27 YD PASS FROM COLT BRENNAN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 85 yards.
|TD||7:57||STEVE SMITH 67 YD PASS FROM MATT LEINART (MARIO DANELO KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||2:27||REGGIE BUSH 1 YD RUN (MARIO DANELO KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||2:17||DESMOND REED 15 YD DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RETURN (MARIO DANELO KICK)||49||10|
|TD||12:52||DWAYNE JARRETT 2 YD PASS FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY (MARIO DANELO KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 36 yards.
|TD||2:30||DAVID FARMER 7 YD PASS FROM TYLER GRAUNKE (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 92 yards.
|TD||0:09||DESMOND REED 29 YD RUN (MARIO DANELO KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 27 yards.