No. 1 USC Stays Perfect With 35-10 Win Over Cal
Nov. 12, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - The site of Southern California's last failure became just another stop on the Trojans' victory tour.
Matt Leinart passed for 246 yards and ran for two touchdowns, and LenDale White ran for three more scores in No. 1 USC's 32nd straight win, a 35-10 rout of slumping California on Saturday.
Reggie Bush ran for 82 yards for the Trojans (10-0, 7-0 Pac-10), who endured none of the troubles and scares caused by the Golden Bears in the previous two seasons. With every businesslike drive and aggressive defensive stop, USC coolly buried its most competitive conference rival in recent years.
The USC defense intercepted Joe Ayoob four times and kept Cal out of the end zone until 1:34 remained, while Leinart was nearly flawless in his latest impressive argument for another Heisman Trophy - though he failed to throw a touchdown pass for just the fourth time in 36 career starts.
Leinart, White and receiver Dwayne Jarrett all surpassed 1,000-yard statistical milestones for the season during an easy second half. USC had its second lowest-scoring game of the season - but few wins have been more satisfying.
The Trojans haven't lost since their 34-31 triple-overtime defeat at Memorial Stadium in 2003, when Leinart and Bush couldn't overcome an early deficit and a slew of mistakes. USC avenged that defeat last season at the Coliseum, though Cal's Aaron Rodgers fell one last-minute pass shy of an upset in USC's 23-17 victory.
USC is even better now - and mistake-prone Cal (6-4, 3-4) is plummeting, with four losses in its last five games. The Bears took their largest loss in coach Jeff Tedford's four seasons, also losing on Senior Day for the first time in his tenure.
USC, which clinched at least a share of another Pac-10 title, has the sixth-longest winning streak in Division I history, matching Miami's 32-game run from 2000-03 and an identical streak by a 19th-century Pennsylvania team.
The Trojans have all but sewed up another Bowl Championship Series bid, though two tough games remain. They'll host 8-1 Fresno State next weekend, followed by Dec. 3's regular-season finale against UCLA.
Marshawn Lynch ran for 87 yards for the Bears, who have lost to each of the Pac-10's three ranked teams in recent weeks. A once-promising season has been ruined partly by the ineffectiveness of Ayoob, who threw three of his interceptions in the first half before finishing 9-of-19 for 98 yards.
Large portions of the 72,981 fans in sold-out Memorial Stadium wore red and cheered the Trojans. The electricity of the Trojans' previous visit was present early on a beautiful afternoon in Strawberry Canyon, but gradually disappeared.
The Trojans also made none of the mistakes that cost them in Berkeley two years ago. USC got ahead early after playing from behind in 2003, and Leinart was practically perfect after a throwing three picks in the last loss.
White ran for 90 yards and surpassed 1,000 yards rushing this season, giving USC two 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in school history and just the second time in Pac-10 annals. Leinart surpassed 3,000 yards passing - and Jarrett, who caught five passes for 69 yards, went over 1,000 yards receiving.
On the game's opening drive, USC safety Darnell Bing intercepted Ayoob's first pass when receiver DeSean Jackson ran the wrong route. The Trojans quickly drove for White's 1-yard TD run, with Leinart going 7-of-7 for 50 yards along the way.
Leinart capped two second-quarter drives with scoring runs of 6 and 3 yards as the Trojans methodically pulled away.
White added a short scoring run in the third quarter and another in the fourth to put USC up 35-3.
Nate Longshore, the freshman who beat out Ayoob for the starting job in training camp, was back on the Cal sideline in uniform for the first time since breaking his ankle in the season opener against Sacramento State. The crowd roared when backup Steve Levy relieved Ayoob in the fourth quarter, and Cal added a late touchdown on fullback Chris Manderino's 1-yard run.
Rey Maualuga, USC's freshman linebacker arrested last week after punching a man at a party, played extensively in place of injured Thomas Williams and had an interception.
TOMORROW | 11:30am PTLive