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November 4, 2006
USC gets well against winless Stanford
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STANFORD, Calif. -A trip to Stanford turned out to be the perfect tonic for Southern California to bounce back from its first regular season loss in more than three years.
John David Booty threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter and Terrell Thomas scored on a 71-yard blocked field goal return to help No. 9 USC roll to its most lopsided win of the season, 42-0 over winless Stanford on Saturday.
The victory got the Trojans (7-1, 5-1 Pac-10) back on track following last week's 33-31 loss at Oregon State that snapped USC's 32-game regular season winning streak dating to September 2003.
Booty went 12-for-21 for 203 yards, Dwayne Jarrett caught five passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, and the Trojans finally had a laugher after sweating it out until the end the last four games.
Those games were all decided by seven points or fewer, including the loss to the Beavers. The Trojans hadn't won by more than 18 points since blowing out Arkansas 50-14 in the season opener.
That's a far cry from recent years, when USC overwhelmed the opposition on the way to national championships in 2003 and '04 and a loss in the title game last season to Texas.
With Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart in the NFL, this year's offense isn't nearly as prolific as it had been the previous three years.
That was no problem against the Cardinal (0-9, 0-6), who predictably were no match for the Trojans, losing their 11th straight game to match a school record. Only a few of those defeats have even been close as Stanford has led in only one game all season -a 35-34 loss to San Jose State on Sept. 9.
This was the Cardinal's worst shutout loss since falling 49-0 to UCLA on Oct. 3, 1987.
USC put the game away in a span of less than a minute early in the second quarter. After Booty connected with Steve Smith on a 10-yard pass on fourth-and-4 from the 31, he found Jarrett in the corner of the end zone for a 21-yard TD on the next play to make it 14-0.
Wopamo Osaisai, who was beat on the touchdown pass, fumbled the ensuing kickoff when Keith Rivers ripped the ball out of his hands, giving the Trojans the ball on the 7. Booty hit Smith on the next play to make it 21-0 with 13:14 to play in the half.
USC ended the half with a 98-yard drive capped by Booty's 2-yard TD pass to Fred Davis with 55 seconds left.
USC ran the ball four times on third-and-long in the first 20 minutes, converting none of the chances. But the Trojans three times followed up by going for it on fourth down and succeeded on the first two attempts. On the first fourth-down try, Chauncey Washington ran it in on fourth-and-1 from the 16 midway through the first quarter to make it 7-0.
The Cardinal once again struggled offensively and remained winless in four games at the renovated Stanford Stadium. They are on their longest losing streak since dropping the final game in 1959 and all 10 the following season - the school's last winless campaign.
Stanford has only four offensive touchdowns the past seven games and has only topped 10 points once all season.
The Cardinal's best chance to score against USC came on a good drive late in the third quarter. But Sedrick Ellis pushed through the middle to block Aaron Zagory's 33-yard field goal attempt. Thomas scooped it up and raced down the sideline for the score.
USC backup quarterback Mark Sanchez ran 4 yards for his first career score in the fourth quarter.