September 23, 2007

USC Offense Scary Good

LOS ANGELES -- When the offense isn't running on all cylinders at USC, the grumbling begins. They run the ball too much. They're flat. Where's the flash of the Reggie Bush/Matt Leinart days?

Well -- those days are gone. There is no Reggie Bush on this team. But what became clear in tonight's 47-14 win over Washington State is that this offense has something special that might be just as good. All you have to do is look at the box score to see it.

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September 22, 2007

Okay - I'm calling It

LOS ANGELES - USC backup Mark Sanchez just thew an interception, but I'm pretty confident the turnover won't turn this game around. The Trojans hold a 47-14 lead with 4:37 left, so I'm heading down to the field to get some quotes. I'll check back in with a recap.

Cue Up the Heisman Campaign

LOS ANGELES - If John David Booty ends up as a Heisman finalist, it's going be because of games like tonight. He just threw his fourth touchdown pass and has the Trojans ahead 47-14 early in the fourth quarter. And he's been deadly efficient. He's completed 28-of-35 passes so far for 279 yards. I know Washington State isn't prime-time competition, but that's still a Pac-10 defense his knifing through (no snickers from the SEC peanut gallery).

Lone Bright Spot for Cougars

LOS ANGELES -- Washington State scored again on the arm of Alex Brink, who has shown flashes of resilience in an otherwise forgettable performance for the Cougars. He hit Michael Bumpus on a 20-yard strike for his second touchdown pass of the night to cut the deficit to 34-14.

It didn't take long for USC to respond as the John David Booty-Chauncey Washington-Fred Davis show continued to shine with the Trojans expanding the lead to 40-14 (missed extra point) toward the end of the third quarter. Right now, USC's offense looks like the balanced juggernaut that warrants a No. 1 ranking. The defense looks pretty good as well.

There's Chauncey Washington

LOS ANGELES -- Chauncey Washington has made an appearance. After being used sparingly in the first half, the bruising USC tailback became a starring player to start the third quarter. He ran three times for 38 yards on USC's opening drive, highlighted by a punishing seven-yard touchdown run where he bounced off of three WSU defenders to give the Trojans a 34-7 lead.

Who Else is Sick of the Dave Matthews Promo?

LOS ANGELES -- I don't know if they're doing this in every college stadium, but USC plays the Dave Matthews Band free concert promotion seemingly during every break in play. You know the one I'm talking about. If you're reading this blog you watch enough football on TV to have heard Dave Matthews growl about eight million times.

I get it. Sorority girls love Dave Matthews. The band is from Charlottesville. They have college spirit. Enough already. Grrrr.

New Look Trojans in First Half

LOS ANGELES -- Against Nebraksa, USC proved to the country it could run the ball. Through the first half today, the Trojans are intent on pressing the passing game. So far, John David Booty is 19-of-24 with 191 yards and two touchdowns while USC has run the ball just 14 times for 55 yards.

The Trojans have used the reputation of their running game to the fullest, continually setting up the Washington State defenders with play action as Booty has found receivers all over the field. The success in the passing game has led to a 27-7 halftime lead. We'll see if they slow things down carrying a 20-point lead into the second half.

Trojans Tack on Three More

LOS ANGELES -- USC lost two yards on its latest drive and still managed to score.

Under intense pressure from the entire USC defensive line, Alex Brink dumped an interception into the hands of Kyle Moore, who returned the ball 14 yards to set up the Trojans at the WSU nine-yard line. Three unproductive plays later, David Buehler took the field to kick a field goal and increase USC's lead to 27-7.

Too Early to Nail the Coffin Shut?

LOS ANGELES -- It's still early, but Washington State may have just made the mistake that seals its fate today. Punter Darryl Blunt botched the snap as the Cougars readied to punt, setting up USC with first and 10 at the Washington State 20.

Three plays later, John David Booty, who continues to shred WSU defense, connected with tight end Fred Davis in the end zone for the second time today to give the Trojans a 24-7 lead about halfway through the second quarter. Already, David has a career high six receptions and his first two-touchdown game at USC.

Rainbows, Ponchos and a USC Lead

LOS ANGELES -- The strangest thing happened on the last USC drive. Before the Trojans took the field on offense, the rain started up again. But as the drive progressed, the clouds broke on the USC side of the field with sun shining on east end zone. Meanwhile, rain was still falling on the other half of the field and the fans in the west end zone.

On a good note, the strange weather created a short-lived rainbow shining on downtown L.A. On a sadder note, the USC Song Girls put on rain ponchos to keep dry. Luckily the rain has since stopped and the ponchos are gone.

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Cougars' Brink a Pressure Player

LOS ANGELES -- Washington State responded to USC's opening score with a touchdown of its own highlighted by several clutch plays from quarterback Alex Brink to tie the game at 7-7. The Cougars looked defeated at several points in the drive, but Brink came up with clutch plays to convert on third down four times, culminating with a touchdown pass to tight end Jed Collins on third and goal.

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What Running Game?

LOS ANGELES -- Steve Sarkisian knew that Washington State's defense would focus on stopping the run tonight. The USC offensive coordinator took immediate advantage, as John David Booty led a methodical, efficient 83-yard drive that saw just two runs to take a 7-0 lead over Washington State five minutes into the game.

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Pete Carroll Must Control the Weather

LOS ANGELES -- Mother Nature evidently is aware that a football game's about to kick off, as the rain has cleared in Southern California just in time for tonight's USC-Washington State matchup.

For the first time in months, the skies opened up last night, prompting us spoiled Southern Californians to complain about the weather and promptly drive poorly. Alas, the rain wouldn't dare mess with a USC game; I haven't seen a drop in the last hour. There are some menacing clouds over the L.A. skyline, though, so the respite may not last.

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September 01, 2007

CAL WINS

BERKELEY, Calif. - It's offical, Cal has beated Tennessee 45-31 to open the 2007 season. I'm going to get reaction to the win, for the Bears, and the loss, to the Vols. Stay tuned for more from Memorial Stadium.

After slow start, Badgers finish strong against WSU

MADISON, Wis. -- Entering this season, some were concerned about Wisconsin's ability to pass the football. Not anymore.

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Third Qtr: Cougars climbing back

A poor punt from Badger Ken DeBauche proved costly as Washington State got the ball at the Wisconsin 42-yard line and used a nine-play drive to get back to within seven points. Running back Dwight Tardy had a nice run through the gut on a third-and-eight, and quarterback Alex Brink later converted a QB sneak on third and inches. Brink hit Brandon Gibson on a seven-yard strike to make it 28-21.

Cougars back in it

MADISON, Wis. -- A poor punt from Badger Ken DeBauche proved costly as Washington State got the ball at the Wisconsin 42-yard line and used a nine-play drive to get back to within seven points. Running back Dwight Tardy had a nice run through the gut on a third-and-eight, and quarterback Alex Brink later converted a QB sneak on third and inches. Brink hit Brandon Gibson on a seven-yard strike to make it 28-21.

No better student-fan attraction

MADISON, Wis. -- When the third quarter came to a close the Badgers were nipping at the goal line again, trying to slam the door on a Washington State team that seemed more prepared than most every college football expert had given them credit for. Then the Wisconsin students had their party -- an end zone rendition of 'Jump Around' that was so powerful it shook the press box located several levels above. The regular home game event is always a spark to the offense and, sure enough, soon after followed a touchdown that gave the Badgers a commanding 35-21 lead.

Swan a one-man attack for Badgers

MADISON, Wis. -- With two catches, one a fade for 43 yards, the other a 30-yard catch amidst three defensive backs -- Badger receiver Luke Swan served as the catalyst on a seven-play, 82-yard second quarter touchdown drive that gave Wisconsin its first lead of the game over underdog Washington State. The senior receiver now has four catches for 92 yards with 36 minutes of football remaining on the clock. Reserve tight end Garrett Graham scored on a short pass to cap the drive.

1st quarter update: No room to run for Badgers

MADISON, Wis. -- The end of the first quarter saw a 14-14 tie, but the most noticeable stat in the Badgers game against Washington State was P.J. Hill's average per carry -- a measly 3.1. Hill was expected to dominate on this day but so far all the sophomore has been able to do was walk through a sizeable hole for a one-yard score. With seven carries, Hill's longest run so far has been six yards.

The star so far: Washington State quarterback Alex Brink, who completed seven-of-10 passes for 94 yards and picked up a key 18-yard run.

Cougars get quick start

MADISON, Wis. -- Some poor pass coverage by Wisconsin All-American candidate Jack Ikegwuonu and a fortuitous bounce have helped Washington State get out to a quick 7-0 lead on the Badgers.

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Badgers begin Big Ten title chase

MADISON, Wis. -- State Street is buzzing with red-wearing Badger backers, all with the same thought on their minds: can today be the first step in a 2007 BCS march? Of course, Washington State stands in the way, and Wisconsin has not faced many quality non-conference opponents in recent years.

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