LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Just when it appeared Arizona was making a
game of it, Southern California got it together.
A few minutes later, the outcome was decided.
LenDale White ran for 118 yards and three touchdowns, Matt
Leinart passed for 280 yards and three more scores, and No. 1 USC
beat outmanned Arizona 49-9 on Saturday night.
By winning their 19th straight game, the Trojans clinched the
Pac-10 championship for the second straight year along with a berth
in the Rose Bowl.
USC (10-0, 7-0 Pac-10) leads No. 5 California by one game with
one remaining, but is the conference champion by virtue of its
23-17 victory over the Golden Bears last month.
"This is just a wonderful accomplishment for our program," USC
coach Pete Carroll said. "At this point, we've done everything we
can do with the season. So dear to our hearts, so important to our
program, so important to our conference -- when SC's in the Rose
Bowl, it seems just right."
That won't happen in the best case scenario because the Trojans
have an opportunity for much more. If they beat Notre Dame and UCLA
in their last two games, they almost surely will play for the
national championship, to be contested in the Orange Bowl.
Arizona drew within 12 points late in the third quarter, scoring
its only touchdown after USC's third lost fumble of the game.
But the Trojans responded by scoring three TDs in the next seven
minutes to put the Wildcats away.
USC's latest triumph also extended its winning streak in Pac-10
games to 14, and its winning streak at the Los Angeles Coliseum to
20. That ties the school record for consecutive victories at home,
accomplished twice in the 1920s.
The Trojans have won 30 of their last 31 games and six this
season by 30 or more points.
White, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound sophomore from Denver, scored on
runs of 3, 2 and 6 yards, giving him 15 touchdowns in 10 games this
season and 29 in 23 games overall.
"Our line wanted to run the ball, they wanted to prove
something today," he said. "Coming in, they kept hearing that
they're only getting 3 yards a carry. And we wanted to prove we
could run the ball when we wanted to and how we wanted to."
Leinart completed a career-high 27 passes in 35 attempts
including 11 straight at one stage and wasn't intercepted. He has
thrown 23 scoring passes this season, 61 in his career and two or
more in 21 of his 23 collegiate starts.
Favored by 35 points, the Trojans stumbled a bit offensively in
the first half, falling behind early, blowing two scoring
opportunities and leading just 14-3 at the intermission.
The second half was a different story.
White scored his second touchdown to cap a 76-yard drive with
the second-half kickoff, making it 21-3.
Arizona (2-8, 1-6) scored its touchdown on a 9-yard pass from
Richard Kovalcheck to Steve Fleming with 4:55 left in the third
The score was set up by Wilrey Fontenot's recovery of a fumble
by Reggie Bush at the USC 40. Syndric Steptoe ran 31 yards on a
reverse before the scoring play, which drew boos from some in the
Homecoming crowd of 80,167.
That's when the Trojans exploded. White scored for the third
time to cap a 78-yard, five-play drive before Leinart threw scoring
passes of 13 and 12 yards to freshman Dwayne Jarrett, who had six
catches for a career-high 144 yards.
"Arizona did a nice job of giving us some problems early in the
game," Carroll said. "But by the third quarter, we got control of
it, and we left no doubt once we got to the fourth."
Hershel Dennis scored on a 1-yard run with 7:27 remaining to
complete the scoring.
Nick Folk's career-long 48-yard field goal on Arizona's second
possession gave the Wildcats an early lead.
It didn't last long.
Leinart threw a 5-yard pass to David Kirtman on the first play
of the second quarter to put USC ahead for good. The key play of
the Trojans' 57-yard drive was a 10-yard pass from Leinart to Alex
Holmes on fourth-and-3 from the Arizona 27.
White's first touchdown with 2:54 left in the second quarter
made it 14-3. He scored one play after freshman tailback Desmond
Reed took a handoff from Leinart and threw a 55-yard pass to
Kovalcheck completed 15 of 32 passes for 165 yards with two
interceptions. Mike Bell led the Wildcats in rushing with 74 yards
on 15 carries.
"They're the No. 1 team in the nation and they played like
it," first-year Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "They're the best
I've ever coached against. They made it look easy. We got outplayed
and outcoached. They were running downhill at us the whole second
half. We fought all we could just to keep it close."
Arizona drove into USC territory on its first two possessions
and recorded five first downs before the Trojans got their first
one. But the Wildcats did very little offensively after that.
"We were well-prepared. They were just too good," Fleming