Jarrett had extra incentive against Irish

Updated: November 26, 2006, 8:28 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Dwayne Jarrett did a number on Notre Dame -- again.

And he's still carrying a grudge against the Fighting Irish.

"Actually, they recruited me," Jarrett said after catching three touchdown passes in Southern California's resounding 44-24 victory over the Irish on Saturday night.

"They dropped my scholarship because they didn't think I was going to make the grade," he said. "They came down to recruit me, they talked to my coaches and everything. They didn't think I was intelligent enough to go to their school. That was kind of an insult to me. I've always had a little grudge against them."

Jarrett, a junior from New Brunswick, N.J., caught touchdown passes of 9 and 5 yards from John David Booty on USC's first two possessions to put the Trojans ahead for good, and added a 43-yard TD reception with 8:21 remaining to put the game away.

Jarrett has made a conference-record 39 scoring receptions in his career.

"He was just being Dwayne Jarrett tonight," said Booty, who passed for 265 yards in USC's fifth straight victory over Notre Dame. "It seems like he always plays his best when we are playing on the biggest stage."

Like last year, when Jarrett caught a 61-yard pass from Matt Leinart on a fourth-and-9 play from the USC 26-yard line in the final minute at Notre Dame Stadium. That led to a 1-yard sneak by Leinart with 3 seconds remaining that gave the Trojans a 34-31 victory over the Irish.

Jarrett made seven receptions for 132 yards on Saturday night.

"He was doing all the great things that great players do," USC coach Pete Carroll said.

Jarrett has made quite an impression on second-year Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis as well.

"He's pretty good. He's from Jersey, what do you expect?" Weis, another New Jersey native, said with a smile.

USC moved from third to second in this week's Bowl Championship Series standings and Associated Press poll. Should the Trojans (10-1) beat crosstown rival UCLA (6-5) at the Rose Bowl next Saturday, they'd likely lock up a berth in the BCS title game Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz., against No. 1 Ohio State.

"We have a great opportunity. We have a great game coming up, a great matchup in a game we love to play in," Carroll said. "We can't wait to get started."

The win over Notre Dame before a crowd of 91,800 at the Los Angeles Coliseum was the Trojans' 55th in their last 58 games. They're 20-0 in November games under Carroll, and have won 33 straight home games.

The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for No. 12 Notre Dame, but the Irish (10-2) still figure to play in a big-money bowl game.

When USC lost 33-31 at Oregon State on Oct. 28, it appeared to knock the Trojans out of the national championship picture. But a series of upsets got them back in it, and they've made a strong case for themselves by outscoring their last four opponents 144-43.

"I just think we showed how much heart we have," Jarrett said. "At the beginning of the year, we were the only ones that believed in ourselves. Media guys or whoever the case may be, were saying we were going to lose or SC is struggling.

"A lot of our struggles and our loss were really just a matter of us hurting ourselves. We had a lot of young guys, including me, who were still growing into their roles. It never really felt like another team was shutting us down, it was just us hurting ourselves. We've really grown up the past few weeks and taken the next step."

The Trojans have won seven straight games over UCLA including a 66-19 triumph last year, when the Bruins went 10-2. Two years ago, in the last game between the teams at the Rose Bowl, USC won a 29-24 decision.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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