LOS ANGELES (AP) – Too much speed, too much defense and too much Dwayne Jarrett.
With all that, Southern Cal didn’t need last-second heroics to beat Notre Dame this year.
John David Booty passed for 265 yards and three touchdowns to Jarrett as Southern Cal overpowered the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish 44-24 Saturday night and likely leapfrogged Michigan in the race for the national championship.
Then-No. 3 Southern Cal contained Brady Quinn, the Irish’s Heisman Trophy contender, and put together a performance that boosted its Bowl Championship Series standing. The Trojans were a close third behind the Wolverines last week, but now the roles have been reversed, with Southern Cal sitting at second and Michigan at third.
“I think we’re a pretty good team right now,” Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll said. “We’ll play anybody, any where.”
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. Southern Cal has beaten its crosstown rivals seven straight times. And now the Trojans have won five straight against Notre Dame (10-2).
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.
“It was really a fun night of football,” Carroll said. “For the most part, we felt in command in the game. The offense was ripping, it was just an extraordinary night for Dwayne Jarrett. He made the plays great players make.”
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.