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News and notes on SC's Game against Arkansas

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I know that TXMed touched on this in his diary, but I wanted to get this up and get in my .02 cents. This is what the local papers are saying about USC's win against Arkansas.

From Scott Wolf of the Daily News:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The names changed but the results were virtually the same for USC, which went into a hostile Southeastern Conference stadium and showed no signs of slowing down despite its inexperience.

Quarterback John David Booty, average through much of training camp, came of age in the third quarter as the sixth-ranked Trojans rolled past punchless Arkansas 50-14 before a Razorback Stadium record crowd of 76,564.

No matter what else happened Saturday night, Booty and freshman C.J. Gable (Sylmar High) demonstrated that USC's transition period could be shorter than expected, with a new quarterback and running back.

And Booty should probably thank USC coach Pete Carroll, who ordered his assistants to open up the offense in the second half.

"I was encouraging the (offensive coaches), saying `Let's go,"' Carroll said. "We were playing safe early on."

Well as I said in the game summary the offense looked sluggish in the first half. They came out and really mixed it up in the 2nd half. Booty looked comfortable and it showed.


Booty looking comfortable in the pocket.
Photo (Allen J. Schaben- LAT)

Also from the Daily News:

Overall, the first half was reminiscent of Leinart's first college game three years ago at Auburn: Serviceable but not spectacular. That changed in the second half. Booty did not enjoy much success downfield but completed most of his passes to Davis, who caught three passes for 25 yards in the first half.

Jarrett and Smith were nearly non-existent until the last series, when Smith caught his only two passes of the half and Jarrett caught one of his two.

The Razorbacks could have provided a stiffer test, not getting their second first down until 6:30 remained. They also made things easier than expected at times, as Arkansas tailback Felix Jones self- destructed with two fumbles in the first half, which led to 10USC points. His second fumble was forced by defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis and recovered by cornerback Kevin Thomas, who returned it to the Razorbacks' 3-yard line.

Arkansas has some issues with QB's and team chemistry. Not a fun place to be right now I would suspect.

From Gary Klein at the LA Times:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- No electrifying runs were required.

No long, arcing passes were thrown.

On Saturday night, sixth-ranked USC began a new era the same way it started the one before it.

With defense and a remarkably efficient performance by a quarterback making his first start.

USC forced Arkansas to commit five turnovers, easing the pressure on John David Booty in a 50-14 victory before a record crowd of 76,564 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"We know there were those questions in the air about where we would be, what we're all about," Coach Pete Carroll said. "We came back and played football the way the Trojans play football."

There are still some questions but I think things will work themselves out. Washington needs to get healthy and fill the role that SC brought him in for.


We need to see a lot more of this!
Photo (Allen J. Schaben- LAT)

The Trojans pulled away as Booty threw third-quarter touchdown passes to flanker Patrick Turner and tight end Fred Davis before adding a one-yard touchdown pass to fullback Ryan Powdrell early in the fourth quarter.

"I really felt like in the second half I came back out there and the game started to slow down a little bit and I wasn't pressing myself," Booty said. "I just let all those great athletes that I have around me make plays."

Teammates were impressed with Booty's demeanor in the huddle and his performance throughout the game.

"We always showed confidence in him," said split end Dwayne Jarrett, who caught five passes for 35 yards. "He's never rattled."

Once they got comfortable things just started to click. There is still some work to do and with the knee injury to Pinkard Coach Carroll will need to move some chess pieces around the board to fill some holes. To some the game was unremarkable in regards to previous wins by SC but I think all will agree that it was efficient and that there was some bedding in that needed to take place.

This is a good start to the season and the league is on notice that SC is has officially put the Rose Bowl loss in the past. There is a long way to go before we can start talking about another BCS NC game appearance.

This was a great win but lets put it into perspective. It is now time to focus on Nebraska.