SEATTLE (AP) -- One week after willing itself through an epic,
last-play win at Notre Dame, top-ranked Southern California got
back to normal Saturday.
That meant Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart
returning to passing off three-step drops and finding seven
different receivers -- en route to 20 completions in 26 attempts,
201 yards and four touchdowns.
That meant super sophomore receiver Dwayne Jarrett catching
three of those Leinart scoring passes for the second time this
season -- one week after those two connected for 61 yards on the
revitalizing, fourth-down pass that led to victory over the Irish.
That also meant Reggie Bush's spinning, electric, 84-yard punt
return for another touchdown and ultimately the Trojans' 29th
straight win, 51-24 over Washington.
And normal ultimately meant the Trojans hopping up and down,
pounding walls and joyously bellowing the words to their "Fight
On" fight song in their locker room beneath Husky Stadium
"Yeah, it was finally good to feel good about ourselves
again," Leinart said of a team no one will ever be caught feeling
sorry for, despite three comeback wins in the previous four weeks.
USC (7-0, 4-0 Pac-10) won its school-record 14th straight road
game and record-tying 19th consecutive conference game.
Sophomore linebacker Thomas Williams said of the narrow Notre
Dame escape: "It was kinda like a blessing, to see we could
actually lose. That we are not unbeatable, that we're not
Tell that to Washington.
The Huskies (1-6, 0-4) actually led the nation's behemoths,
10-7, late into the first quarter, despite coming in as 30-point
underdogs. Marlon Wood returned the opening kickoff 92 yards to the
USC 8 to set up a field goal. Then came a 12-play, 80-yard drive
that ended with sophomore Chris Chambers, with USC's Justin Wyatt
nearly chest-to-chest with him, leaping to grab a 9-yard, Isaiah
Stanback pass in the end zone with 1:28 left in the opening
"It had nothing to do with wake-up calls," Trojans coach Pete
Carroll said, noting his team had run only 12 plays at that point.
"I didn't feel any concern at all. I saw once the game got (going)
we could do whatever we need to on offense."
Indeed, the Trojans scored four successive touchdowns, on nine
offensive plays. Washington aided USC with two turnovers -- two more
than the undermanned Huskies could afford.
"We were able to move the ball, but you can't have those
turnovers we had," Washington right tackle Joe Toledo said.
"Those killed us. (That) spot them 21 points."
The first touchdown came courtesy of USC's mammoth, NFL-like
offensive line -- average size: 6-foot-4½, 312 pounds. It gave
Leinart enough time to wait for Jarrett to make a double move into
the middle of the field past two Huskies for a 24-yard score.
Then Bush took over. The nation's leader in all-purpose yards
bowled through Washington safety Dashon Goldson for a 6-yard
touchdown run and a 20-10 Trojans lead 1:14 into the second
Just over two minutes later, Bush spun out of a pack of six
Huskies and stepped over another. He outran the rest for an 84-yard
punt return score, his first such TD this season, and a 27-10 USC
"I need to see that again," Carroll said, gushing. "He was
buried under a mass of bodies. He's a tremendous football player."
A relieved one, too.
"I think I'm overdue for a punt return," said a smiling Bush,
who ran back two punts for scores during his All-America season of
2004. "We wanted to really focus on putting fear back in people's
hearts of kicking deep to us."
Leinart and Jarrett completed the decimation with a perfectly
placed, seven-yard pass that plopped into Jarrett's hands for a
34-10 lead with 9:08 still left in the first half.
Leinart completed 14 of 17 throws in the opening half for 145
yards. One of those incompletions was a throw away. The other was a
disputed incompletion originally ruled a touchdown that Jarrett
seemingly plucked for a touchdown just before it hit the turf.
Three of USC's first-half scoring drives lasted 31 seconds or
Where Leinart and Jarrett's first two scores were almost
effortless pitches-and-catches, the third was astounding.
Nine minutes into the third quarter, Jarrett, who had seven
catches for 95 yards, leaped over Washington cornerback Roy Lewis
in the back corner of the end zone. Then, he snared Leinart's
lofted pass with his right hand, cradled the ball inside his elbow
and simultaneously tapped his right toe tips just inside the back
"I do it all the time in practice," said an unimpressed
Jarett, who now has 25 touchdown receptions in 20 collegiate games.
"This just shows how great we can be, when we're really
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Co. arrived safely to Husky Stadium.
Gameball goes to... Leinart, who threw for 201 yards and four TDs for the Trojans.
Stat of the game... 14: The Trojans have won a school-record 14 straight on the road.