10:00 PM ET, September 18, 2004
LaVell Edwards Stadium, PROVO, UT
PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Even top-ranked Southern California can take a little while to warm up.
The defending national champion Trojans were shut out in the opening quarter for the first time in nearly two years, then overwhelmed Brigham Young 42-10 on Saturday night for their 13th straight victory.
"We're not perfect. We're a young team. We're going to make mistakes. We still put up 21 points in the first half with a bad start," said Reggie Bush, who scored twice for the Trojans in his first 100-yard rushing game. "It shows how powerful and dangerous we are."
Did it ever.
Matt Leinart passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns and even ran for one -- the first of his career. LenDale White had 110 rushing yards and a touchdown for Southern Cal (3-0). Bush had 14 carries for 124 yards, topping the 89 he ran for last season against Notre Dame.
"He's so versatile. He can run and he can catch. Him and LenDel are two very special players," Leinart, who completed 22 of 35 passes. "I was happy we were able to run the ball because they have a stingy run defense."
It was a near-perfect night for Southern Cal offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who spent 27 years as a BYU assistant before leaving after 1999. The Trojans handed Chow the game ball after the huge win in his first return to Provo.
"This was a really awesome opportunity for us to play and dedicate a game to Norm," Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll said. "It was a special concern of ours."
The Trojans outgained the Cougars 527-221, getting 291 yards on 50 rushes and holding BYU to 27 yards on the ground. Southern Cal also had the ball almost 14 minutes longer than BYU and forced four turnovers.
"It was great to see our guys bust out in the second quarter and take advantage of some good opportunities," Carroll said. "I love the way our offense played. We really thought we were going to come in here and run the football tonight."
Southern Cal's mistakes and a handful of big plays by the BYU defense kept the game competitive for a while. The Cougars, however, could only stop the Trojans so many times and didn't get nearly enough help from their offense.
"You can see why they're the No. 1 team in the nation. They have so much team speed and made some big plays," said BYU coach Gary Crowton, who praised his defense for keeping it as close as it was through three quarters. "They played well at times. They wore out at the end but the effort was there."
John Beck completed 18 of 34 passes for 194 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown to Todd Watkins to pull BYU to 21-10 in the third quarter, but also had three interceptions.
Penalties, Leinart's first interception of the season and a missed field goal helped combine to hold the Trojans scoreless in the opening period for the first time since Nov. 30, 2002, against Notre Dame.
Southern Cal's ineptitude gave most of the 63,467 something to cheer about through the first quarter. BYU even held a brief lead after Matt Payne's 46-yard field goal early in the second quarter, then Southern Cal came alive.
The Trojans opened their next drive at the 40 when BYU was called for offside on the kickoff, then Payne kicked one out of bounds. Bush caught a dump pass over the middle from Leinart and rounded the corner for a 21-yard touchdown.
After a BYU punt, Bush scored again on a 66-yard run that started as just a dive up the middle. Bush bounced it to the right and streaked down the Southern Cal sideline -- right past coach Pete Carroll as he threw his arms in the air when he saw nobody was going to catch Bush.
Southern Cal made it 21-3 just 58 seconds later after recovering a fumbled snap at the BYU 20. Leinart threw a 15-yard pass to Dwayne Jarrett, who leaped near the back of the end zone for the TD with 1:05 remaining in the half.
The Trojans had other chances, including first-and-10 from the BYU 30 after Darnell Bing's interception -- one of three for Southern Cal in the game -- but didn't capitalize. The Cougars sacked Leinart, dropped White for a loss of two and got another sack to knock Southern Cal out of field goal range.
An earlier drive by the Trojans ended when BYU's Jon Burbidge intercepted Leinart's pass at the Southern Cal 28.
Leinart had three interceptions against the Cougars last season in a 35-18, then threw only three more the rest of the year. He hadn't thrown any in wins over Virginia Tech and Colorado State to open the season.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||12-19||4-15|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-0|
|FG||10:30||MATT PAYNE 46 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 48 yards.
|TD||8:30||REGGIE BUSH 21 YD PASS FROM MATT LEINART (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||2:03||REGGIE BUSH 66 YD RUN (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||1:05||DWAYNE JARRETT 15 YD PASS FROM MATT LEINART (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 20 yards.
|TD||11:16||TODD WATKINS 69 YD PASS FROM JOHN BECK (MATT PAYNE KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||14:16||MATT LEINART 1 YD RUN (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||10:22||LENDALE WHITE 43 YD RUN (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||2:30||LEE WEBB 9 YD RUN (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 43 yards.