No. 1 USC Gets Early Scare...Then Buries No. 24 Oregon 45-13
Sept. 24, 2005
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Matt Leinart threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and top-ranked USC trailed early but took over in the second half Saturday to beat No. 24 Oregon 45-13, the Trojans' 25th straight victory.
The Ducks (3-1, 0-1 Pac-10) jumped out to an early 13-0 lead and clung to a 13-10 halftime advantage, but the Trojans (3-0, 1-0) scored 35 unanswered points in the second half.
Leinart, who was completing 75 percent of his passes (36-48) going into the game, didn't even make half of his attempts (12 of 25) in the first half against the Ducks. But the Heisman Trophy winner finished 23-of-39 with an interception.
Reggie Bush caught a scoring pass and ran for another for the two-time defending national champions, who have been No. 1 for a record 22-straight AP polls. He finished with 20 carries for 122 yards, and three catches for 43 yards.
Dewayne Jarrett added eight catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. LenDale White ran for 111 yards and two scores as the USC offense continued to look unstoppable after a few early gaffes.
Kellen Clemens made 15 of 30 passes for 168 yards and one TD for Oregon. In 155 attempts this season, he has yet to throw an interception.
Paul Martinez kicked at 37-yard field goal to put the Ducks ahead 3-0 early in the game, thrilling the record Autzen Stadium crowd of 59,129.
On USC's subsequent possession, Leinart's pass intended for Jarrett was intercepted by Aaron Gipson in the end zone and returned 38 yards. Oregon capitalized on the turnover with Clemens' 36-yard touchdown pass Demetrius Williams.
Martinez added a 48-yarder to make it 13-0 before the Trojans got going with Leinart's 19-yard scoring pass to Bush. Mario Danelo kicked a 36-yard field goal to narrow it to 13-10 at halftime.
Southern California took over early in the second half with Leinart's 11-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett. Oregon's offense and defense both stalled, and the Trojans scored again White's 1-yard plow into the end zone.
Despite two stubborn Oregon defenders, Jarrett pulled down a 6-yard pass from Leinart in the end zone to make it 31-13. Jarrett now has 20 touchdowns in 16 games.
Oregon appeared to score on Cameron Colvin's 6-yard run early in the fourth quarter. But the play was called back when officials penalized the Ducks for Terrell Jackson's below-the knees block, even though it appeared to occur after Colvin crossed the goal line.
The crowd that hadn't begun to stream out of the stadium booed when Bush scored on an 11-yard run to give the Trojans a 38-13 lead with 8:12 to go. White ran in a 2-yarder for the final margin.
USC has now scored 178 points in three games.
Many expected the Ducks would be able to put up more points because of two key injuries on the Southern California defense. Linebacker and co-captain Dallas Sartz dislocated his shoulder against Arkansas, and cornerback Terrell Thomas is probably sidelined for the remainder of the season with torn knee ligaments.
Instead the Trojans tossed a shutout in the second half.
The two teams last met in 2002, when the No. 15 Trojans visited the No. 14 Ducks at Autzen.
USC won it 44-33 led then by Carson Palmer, who threw for a career-best 448 yards, and a school record-tying five touchdowns. Freshman receiver Mike Williams caught 13 passes for 226 yards and two scores.
Since that game the Trojans are 32-1. The Ducks are 17-16.