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November 25, 2006

No. 3 USC looks the part in 44-24 win

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LOS ANGELES -Southern California's youthful Trojans didn't need any last-second heroics to beat Notre Dame this year.

They had too much speed, too much defense, and too much Dwayne Jarrett.

John David Booty passed for 265 yards and three touchdowns to Jarrett, USC did an exceptional job containing Notre Dame's Brady Quinn, and the Trojans topped the Fighting Irish 44-24 Saturday night.

Not only did No. 3 USC put the sixth-ranked Irish away, the Trojans surely did enough to moved ahead of No. 2 Michigan in the national championship race.

Should the Trojans (10-1) beat UCLA (6-5) at the Rose Bowl next weekend, they'll probably face top-ranked Ohio State in the BCS title game Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz. USC has beaten its crosstown rivals seven straight times.

The Trojans played in the BCS title game the past two years - winning one and losing one - and earned a piece of the national championship three years ago after being bypassed for the title game.

Booty, who completed 17-of-28 passes and was intercepted twice, watched from the sideline when the Trojans beat the Irish 34-31 at Notre Dame last year on Matt Leinart's 1-yard sneak with three seconds remaining.

Jarrett, whose 61-yard reception on a fourth-and-9 play kept that final drive in South Bend alive, caught scoring passes of 9, 5 and 43 yards from Booty, who succeeded Leinart as USC's quarterback. The 43-yarder came with 8:21 remaining and gave the Trojans a 37-17 lead.

Jarrett finished with seven receptions for 132 yards and USC freshman C.J. Gable rushed for 107 yards on 20 carries.

Quinn threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Jeff Samardzija with 3:39 left, but Brian Cushing returned the ensuing onside kickoff 42 yards to complete the scoring.

Quinn, a Heisman Trophy candidate playing his final regular-season game, completed 22 of 45 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

The win 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 coach Pete Carroll, and have won 33 straight home games.

The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for No. 6 Notre Dame, but the Irish (10-2) still figure to play in a big-money bowl game.

For more coverage of USC, visit USCFootball.com; for more on Notre Dame, visit IrishIllustrated.com.

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