No. 11 USC Tops No. 7 Arizona State, 44-24
Nov. 22, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - John David Booty threw for 375 yards and matched a career high with four touchdown passes as the 11th-ranked Trojans blitzed No. 7 Arizona State 44-24 on Thursday night, reviving their bid for an unprecedented sixth straight Pac-10 title.
That seemed unlikely after then-No. 2 USC, a 41-point favorite, lost 24-23 to Stanford on Oct. 6 in one of college football's biggest stunners. But now, the talented Trojans are rolling again.
USC (9-2, 6-2 Pac-10) will win the Pac-10 outright if it beats UCLA on Dec. 1 and Oregon loses to UCLA or Oregon State.
The Trojans needed no help in dismantling the Sun Devils (9-2, 6-2).
USC's defense overwhelmed Arizona State, sacking quarterback Rudy Carpenter six times. Defensive end Lawrence Jackson had four sacks, most in a game by a Trojans player since 1989.
USC broke open a 17-all game with 10 points in the final 5 minutes of the first half, then pulled away from the Sun Devils with 17 more points in the third quarter.
Booty hit Joe McKnight for a 7-yard touchdown midway through the quarter, then connected with Fred Davis for a 34-yard score on fourth-and-2 to give USC a 44-17 lead entering the fourth.
ASU has staged some stirring rallies this season but the Sun Devils had no chance against USC's defense, which allows 16 points per game - sixth in the nation. ASU rushed 27 times for zero yards through three quarters.
It was USC's eighth straight win over Arizona State.
Arizona State trailed 17-7 midway through the first quarter. It was the sixth time the Sun Devils have faced a double-digit deficit in the opening quarter, and the only time they didn't rally to win was in a Nov. 3 loss at Oregon.
The Trojans opened the game with a seven-play, 51-yard touchdown drive, scoring on a 4-yard pass from Booty to Vidal Hazelton. Booty was 6-for-6 for 45 yards on the opening drive and he completed his first seven passes of the game.
ASU answered with a 98-yard kickoff return by Rudy Burgess to tie it 7-all. It was only the second kickoff return for a touchdown by a Sun Devils player at home in the last 21 years.
The Trojans scored the next 10 points, but then the Sun Devils woke up.
ASU cut it to 17-14 on a 4-yard pass from Carpenter to Michael Jones. The key play in the drive came when USC's Sedrick Ellis was assessed a personal foul after celebrating a sack at midfield. Instead of facing third-and-20 at the 50, ASU had third-and-5 at the 35, and it converted a fourth-and-inches to keep the drive alive.
Thomas Weber's 25-yard field goal tied it at 17 early in the second quarter, but David Buehler hit a 20-yarder to put USC ahead 20-17 with 5 minutes to go in the half.
The Trojans took a 27-17 halftime lead on a 1-yard sneak by Booty with 9 seconds left in the half.
Buehler kicked a 37-yard field goal to make it 30-17 early in the third quarter. On the next series, Jackson sacked Carpenter and forced him to fumble, and Everson Griffen of nearby Avondale, Ariz., recovered.