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USC Enjoys Rush

Trojans beat BYU, 42-10, despite a slow start. Bush, White each run for 100-plus yards.

September 19, 2004|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

PROVO, Utah — Throughout the week leading up to USC's game against Brigham Young, Norm Chow downplayed the significance of his return to a place where he coached for 27 years.

About four hours before Saturday's game, Chow echoed a familiar refrain.

"It's just another game," USC's offensive coordinator said.

It was anything but that for most of the night, but the top-ranked Trojans overcame a slow start and held off the Cougars for a 42-10 victory before 63,467 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

USC sophomore running backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White each rushed for more than 100 yards as USC improved its record to 3-0 and extended its winning streak to 12 games with its second consecutive victory over a Mountain West Conference opponent.

Bush gained 124 yards in 14 carries and scored on a 21-yard pass play and a 66-yard run. It was his first 100-yard rushing game as a Trojan.

"It feels great," said Bush, who has scored six touchdowns this season. "Like I've said, I'm a tailback first, then a receiver."

White, who gained more than 100 yards in last week's 49-0 rout of Colorado State, finished with 110 yards and a touchdown in 17 carries against BYU. His 43-yard touchdown run with 10:22 left sealed the victory.

Quarterback Matt Leinart completed 22 of 35 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He had one pass intercepted.

Still, for the second year in a row, it was anything but easy for USC against the Cougars, who had defeated Notre Dame in the season opener but lost to Stanford last week.

BYU (1-2) was hoping to repeat the feat it pulled off in 1990 when Chow helped it defeat defending national champion and top-ranked Miami, 28-21.

BYU was ahead early in the second quarter but could not stop a 21-point Trojan outburst in the final 8:30 of the first half.

BYU quarterback John Beck connected with receiver Todd Watkins for a 69-yard touchdown pass play early in the third quarter to help the Cougars trim a 21-3 halftime deficit to 21-10.

But Leinart's one-yard sneak with 14:16 left and White's touchdown run with 10:22 left ended BYU's hopes.

"We just had to be patient.... We knew we were going to bust out," USC Coach Pete Carroll said.

USC finished with 527 yards and limited BYU to 221. After the game, players chanted Chow's name in the locker room and he was presented with the game ball.

"It was tough with the emotion coming back to Provo," Chow said. "I raised kids here. But once you get on the field you don't have time for that."

There was no score at the end of the first quarter, marking the first time since Nov. 30, 2002, against Notre Dame, that USC was shut out in the first 15 minutes.

On USC's fifth offensive play, Leinart threw into coverage along the left sideline and safety Jon Burbridge intercepted the pass and returned it 23 yards to USC's 49. It was Leinart's first interception in 103 attempts dating to last season.

On the Trojans' next series, what would have been a 42-yard halfback-option pass from Bush to Steve Smith was nullified by a holding penalty. Instead of having a first-and-goal at BYU's two, the Trojans were forced back to the 46. A personal foul penalty against the Trojans on the next play effectively ended the drive.

Linebacker Matt Grootegoed, who intercepted two passes last week against Colorado State, gave the Trojans an opportunity when he intercepted a pass thrown by Beck on the ensuing possession, giving USC a first down at its 44.

But the Trojans came up empty again when Ryan Killeen missed wide right on a 43-yard field-goal attempt less than a minute into the second quarter.

Matt Payne, who kicked three field goals against the Trojans last season, put BYU ahead, 3-0, with a 46-yard field goal with 10:30 remaining in the first half.

After Payne put the kickoff out of bounds, USC took over at its 40 and drove to the BYU 21. On third-and-seven, Leinart dropped back and threw a short screen pass to Bush on the right side. Just as he did against Virginia Tech, Bush ran to the left along the line of scrimmage then burst upfield for a touchdown for a 7-3 lead.

Two plays into the ensuing possession, USC safety Darnell Bing intercepted a pass intended for Watkins and returned it eight yards to the BYU 30. The Cougars, however, sacked Leinart twice and forced USC to punt.

Payne's 59-yard punt gave USC possession at its 25 with 2:21 left in the second quarter.

Leinart threw a seven-yard pass to tight end Alex Holmes on first down, then handed off to Bush, who accelerated and cut to the right sideline en route to a 66-yard scoring play for a 14-3 lead with 2:03 remaining.

Trojan middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu recovered a fumbled snap on the first play of the ensuing possession.

It took USC three plays to make the Cougars pay.

On third-and-five at the BYU 15, Leinart threw the ball high into the end zone where 6-5 freshman Dwayne Jarrett easily outleaped 5-11 cornerback Brandon Heaney for a touchdown catch that gave the Trojans a 21-3 lead.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

KEYS TO THE GAME

Gary Klein's keys to the game, and how the Trojans measured up:

1. Establish the run: LenDale White and Reggie Bush each rushed for more than 100 yards, the first time since 1996 that the Trojans had two backs eclipse the mark in one game.

2. Take care of the ball: Quarterback Matt Leinart had a pass intercepted, but BYU failed to capitalize. Meanwhile, the Trojans intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble.

3. Finish what you start: It took a while, but once USC had a lead against BYU, the Trojans did not let down and had the game in hand by the fourth quarter.

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