No. 5 USC Trounces Washington
By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE - Matt Leinart threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns as No. 5Southern California beat Washington 43-23 on Saturday for its first victory atHusky Stadium in 10 years.
It was another efficient day for Leinart, the steady sophomore who has keptthe Trojans (7-1, 3-1 Pac-10) on a roll since taking over for Carson Palmer,last season's Heisman Trophy winner.
Leinart completed 19 of 29 passes without an interception. And he did itthis time by keeping his poise in front of a noisy sellout crowd of 72,015.
Many fans left early in the fourth quarter after Leinart's fourth TD pass, a37-yarder to Reggie Bush, put USC ahead 43-17. Earlier in the period, Leinartthrew a 52-yard TD pass to fullback Brandon Hancock.
The Huskies (4-4, 2-2), coming off an inspiring 38-17 win last week atOregon State, seemed overmatched. They hurt themselves with awful tackling,unable to contain USC's athletic tailbacks and receivers.
Bush caught five passes for 132 yards and two TDs and rushed 12 times for 81yards. Hershel Dennis carried 14 times for 98 yards.
Still, this was no easy test for Leinart and the Trojans, who were on theroad for the fourth time in the last five weeks. USC had lost seven of its last10 visits to Washington.
The matchup between standout receivers Mike Williams of USC and ReggieWilliams of Washington favored the Husky. Mike Williams had six catches for 43yards while Reggie Williams had nine receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Yet while Washington's Williams had more yards, he was held without areception in the second half and fumbled in the second quarter.
Washington quarterback Cody Pickett threw an interception that Ronald Nunnreturned 57 yards for a TD in the first period. Pickett completed 22 of 44throws for 274 yards with one touchdown.
The Huskies played without another solid receiver, Charles Frederick, forthree quarters. After setting a school record with 371 all-purpose yards lastweek, Frederick sprained his left shoulder in the first quarter.
The Huskies also played without tailback Rich Alexis, who bruised his thighlast week at Oregon State. Without their regular starter, they managed only 86net yards rushing, led by freshman Kenny James' 13 carries for 58 yards.
The Trojans led 20-7 early in the second period after a 21-yard TD run byLenDale White, but they missed a chance to extend it when Ryan Killeen's extrapoint attempt was blocked. Killeen also missed two field goals in the half,including a 20-yarder that went wide left.
The Huskies answered White's touchdown with an 80-yard scoring drive to keepthings within reach, pulling to 20-14 when Pickett found Reggie Williams for a10-yard TD play only 32 seconds before halftime.
The Trojans regrouped at the break, though, and Leinart found Bush on a60-yard pass play to put USC up 26-14. Bush caught the ball in stride atmidfield and went untouched to the end zone.
USC coach Pete Carroll expressed concern last week after his team converted4-of-11 third downs in a 45-14 win at Notre Dame. The Trojans went 6-of-11 thisweek, though Washington rarely forced third-and-long situations. USC puntedonly once.