No. 7 Trojans Pluck No. 21 Ducks, 35-10
Nov. 11, 2006
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Just about everything seems to be breaking right for Southern California these days.
Two weeks after a loss at Oregon State appeared to eliminate USC from the national championship picture, the Trojans are solidly entrenched again thanks to a pair of convincing victories and a series of upsets around the country.
Chauncey Washington rushed for a career-high 119 yards and three touchdowns, USC held No. 21 Oregon's explosive offense in check, and the Trojans celebrated homecoming by beating the mistake-prone Ducks 35-10 Saturday night.
'All in all, a really strong win for us,' USC coach Pete Carroll said. 'It puts us in a really good position.
'We controlled the game throughout. There were a couple of questions in the third quarter, they might come back, but the defense wouldn't allow it. The guys did a good job in the red zone. '
The Trojans (8-1, 6-1 Pac-10) extended their winning streak at the Los Angeles Coliseum to 31 games, and Carroll's teams are 18-0 in November since he became USC's coach in 2001.
Carroll said following USC's 33-31 loss to the Beavers that it might be a mistake to count the Trojans out of the BCS race. Carroll has proven to be correct, but even he couldn't have forecast all the upsets.
USC was ranked ninth after its 38-game regular-season winning streak was snapped Oct. 28, but five higher-ranked teams have been knocked off since that time. And a sixth, Florida, barely avoided being beaten.
The Trojans, ranked seventh entering this weekend, figure to move up to third or fourth when the new rankings are released. Ohio State and Michigan, ranked 1-2, meet next Saturday, with the winner assured of the No. 1 ranking in the final BCS standings.
If the Trojans win their final three games - against No. 8 California, No. 9 Notre Dame and crosstown rival UCLA - they would seem to have a very good chance of finishing second.
'It was no secret that this game and the following three are a big test, not only for the defense, but for the whole team,' said USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who had three of the Trojans' four sacks. 'Coach kind of called some people out and we had decided that this was November and this is where everything is won or lost and the guys put things in perspective.'
The Cal-USC winner next Saturday night at the Coliseum clinches the Pac-10 title.
USC's John David Booty completed 16 of 25 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Steve Smith caught seven passes for 88 yards, and Dwayne Jarrett made six receptions for 54 yards and one TD.
Turnovers deep in Ducks territory led to USC's second and third touchdowns, and Oregon (7-3, 4-3) didn't resemble the team that averaged 36.3 points per game in their previous nine games.
'A lot of people don't understand how good USC's defense is,' Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. 'Their defensive line played great.'
Dennis Dixon completed 15 of 23 passes for 130 yards with one interception, and Brady Leaf hit on 13-of-22 for 104 yards and one touchdown. Jonathan Stewart was held to 42 yards on 14 carries.
Washington, who carried 15 times, scored on runs of 3 and 43 yards late in the third quarter to give USC a 28-3 lead. Dallas Sartz recovered an errant pitchout from Dixon to Stewart at the Ducks 12-yard line to set up the first touchdown.
Leaf threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Stewart early in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-goal. The play was reviewed twice - first being reversed because Stewart stepped out of bounds before making the catch, then being upheld because the pass was deflected by a USC player.
The Trojans responded by moving 80 yards on five plays, scoring on a 12-yard pass from Booty to Jarrett to complete the scoring.
USC went ahead for good by scoring twice early in the second quarter for a 14-0 lead.
Freshman C.J. Gable's 2-yard run capped an 80-yard drive, and Taylor Mays, another freshman, intercepted a pass by Dixon and returned it 38 yards to the Oregon 7-yard line on the first play following the kickoff. Washington scored two plays later on a 5-yard run.
USC blew an opportunity later in the period, reaching the Oregon 39 before Washington was held to no gain on fourth-and-1. The Ducks reached the Trojans 6 before Paul Martinez was wide left on a 23-yard field goal with 8 seconds left before halftime.
Oregon moved deep into USC territory again on its first possession of the third quarter, but had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Martinez to move within 11 points.
Oregon drove 72 yards on 17 plays following the opening kickoff, but came up empty when Dixon was held to no gain on a fourth-and-1 play at the USC 13-yard line.
The Trojans responded with a 72-yard drive of their own to the Oregon 15 before Blair Phillips intercepted Booty's pass over the middle.
The game, played before a sellout crowd of 92,000, was Oregon's first at the Coliseum since the 2000 season, when they won a 28-17 decision during Paul Hackett's last season as USC's coach. The Trojans, who went 19-18 in Hackett's three years, are 62-11 since Carroll took over.