Sun Devils Fall To No. 1 USC
Oct. 16, 2004
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A week after getting past California despite being badly beatenstatistically, No. 1 Southern Cal took command early against Arizona State androuted the 15th-ranked Sun Devils 45-7 Saturday.
ASU (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10) was the third straight unbeaten opponent to challengeUSC (6-0, 3-0). Stanford and Cal extended the Trojans, losing by a combinednine points. But the Sun Devils presented no such challenge, trailing 42-7 athalftime.
Matt Leinart easily won his quarterback duel with ASU's Andrew Walter.
In the first half, Leinart completed 11 of 16 passes for 193 yards and fourtouchdowns and ran for another TD. He finished 13-of-24 for 224 yards with nointerceptions and was sacked once, before sitting out the fourth quarter.
Highly regarded freshman Dwayne Jarrett, filling in for the injured SteveSmith, made four receptions for 121 yards and three TDs in the first half andfive catches for 139 yards overall. LenDale White gained 68 yards on 16 carriesto lead USC's ground game.
Walter, who came in having thrown 15 touchdown passes and one interception,completed 19 of 34 passes for 181 yards and no TDs with two interceptions, oneleading to a touchdown.
Walter was sacked six times - two fewer than ASU allowed in its first fivegames. USC added a seventh sack after Walter left the game early in the finalperiod.
USC gained just 205 yards while allowing 424 in its 23-17 victory last weekover Cal. The Trojans picked up 307 yards in the first half against ASU, whosefirst five opponents averaged 304 yards and 12.8 points.
The victory was the 15th straight for the Trojans and their 18th in a row atthe Los Angeles Coliseum, where a sellout crowd of 90,211 cheered them on.
USC has won 26 of its last 27 games - few more decisively than this one,which came over a team that was off to its best start since 1996.
The Sun Devils committed two false start penalties following the openingkickoff, pushing them back to their 4-yard line. Following a punt, USC had tomove only 45 yards for a 7-0 lead, scoring on Leinart's 10-yard pass to ReggieBush.
The Trojans got good field position again on their third possession, takingover at the 50-yard line after a punt. They needed seven plays to score, withLeinart's 9-yard pass to White putting them ahead 14-0.
Walter threw into triple coverage early in the second quarter, and theresult was disastrous - Matt Grootegoed's interception and 41-yard return putUSC in position for Leinart's 19-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett on the nextplay.
But the Trojans blew the game open by scoring three TDs in the last 5:08 ofthe second quarter. Leinart's 1-yard sneak capped an 86-yard drive; Bush threwa 52-yard pass to Jarrett, and Leinart threw a 34-yarder to Jarrett one playafter Bush's 41-yard punt return.
And that was that.
The only score of the second half was a 34-yard field goal by USC's RyanKilleen with 9:07 remaining.
USC's Shaun Cody blocked the fifth field goal of his career in the openingperiod, deflecting a 46-yard attempt by Jesse Ainsworth with the Trojansleading 7-0.
The crowd was the largest to see a USC home game that didn't involve UCLA orNotre Dame since 1952.
The Trojans played before consecutive sellout crowds for the just the secondtime ever - the first was in 1947, when the UCLA and Notre Dame games were soldout. A crowd of 90,008 attended the Cal-USC game last weekend.