No. 2 USC Rolls Past UCLA
By KEN PETERS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - The Southern California Trojans showed they're easily theclass of the city - and improved their chances for a national championship.
Matt Leinart threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns, and Mike Williams had11 catches for 181 yards and two scores Saturday for the second-ranked Trojansin a 47-22 victory over UCLA.
USC (10-1, 6-1 Pac-10), which had slipped to third behind Ohio State in theBCS rankings, got a boost when Michigan beat the Buckeyes 35-21 in a game thatfinished just before the Trojans took the field at the Coliseum.
Oklahoma, the nation's only unbeaten team, is No. 1 in both the nationalpolls and the BCS rankings. The top two teams in the BCS standings play in theSugar Bowl on Jan. 4 for the national championship.
USC has a bye next weekend before finishing the regular season againstOregon State on Dec. 6 at the Coliseum.
The Trojans were up 33-2 at halftime, when Williams already had passed for273 yards and Williams had all his receptions. Williams didn't play in thesecond half, and Leinart went to the sideline late in the third quarter.
The Trojans overwhelmed the Bruins (6-6, 4-3) early, scoring touchdowns ontheir first three possessions and adding a field goal for a 24-0 lead on theirfourth en route to their fifth win in a row over UCLA.
Williams caught a 21-yard scoring pass from Leinart less than three minutesinto the game for a school-record 27th career touchdown reception in a careerthat has spanned only 23 games for the 6-foot-5, 230-pound sophomore.
LenDale White bulled over from a yard out seven minutes later, then Leinarthit Williams with a 4-yard scoring throw on the first play of the secondquarter. At that stage, Leinart had passed for 175 yards and Williams had ninecatches for 143 yards.
The Trojans' defense was just as impressive, accounting for two touchdownsand holding struggling UCLA to 36 yards in the first half as the Bruinsfinished the regular season with four consecutive losses.
UCLA's Drew Olson was 21-of-39 for 266 yards and threw for two second-halftouchdowns. He threw one interceptions, lost two fumbles and was sacked sixtimes.
The game had some unusual moments, including USC's Reggie Bush returning akickoff 96 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the third quarter, andMaurice Drew answering with a 99-yard return for UCLA on the ensuing kickoff.
There also were two long runs on botched PAT tries: the Bruins' Matt Clarkreturned a blocked USC kick all the way to give UCLA two points, and theTrojans' Shaun Cody intercepted a 2-point try and made it down to the UCLA 5before he was tackled.
The defensive touchdowns both came when Olson was sacked and fumbled.
Trojans linebacker Kenechi Udeze scored when he recovered an Olson fumble inthe end zone after a wild scramble for the loose ball. Mike Patterson, a 6-0,285-pound defensive tackle, added another score when he picked up another ofOlson's fumbles and rumbled 51 yards into the end zone.
Leinart, a redshirt sophomore who hadn't thrown a collegiate pass beforethis season, has passed for 2,951 yards with 30 touchdowns and seveninterceptions. Through 11 games last year, USC's Carson Palmer had thrown for3,214 yards, with 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions on his way to winningthe Heisman Trophy.
Leinart, a rangy left-hander, has thrown 194 consecutive passes without aninterception, four shy of the conference record.
The five victories in a row over UCLA, which began after the Bruins had woneight straight in the rivalry, is the Trojans' longest win streak in the73-game series.
The Trojans are averaging 41.3 points this year, and their lopsided win madethem the first team in Pac-10 history to score 40 or more points in sixconsecutive games.