Mon, Nov 29, 2004 - Page 19 News List

USC Trojans take fight out of the Irish

NCAA FOOTBALL USC's 34th win in 37 games since the start of the 2002 season kept its current national title hopes alive

AP , LOS ANGELES

Louisville's Eric Shelton, left, knocks the helmet off of Cincinnati defender Juan Hall during a 54-yard gain in the second half of the NCAA Division I-A game in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday. Cincinnati's Daven Holly follows the play. The Cardinals' top-ranked offense, unfazed by gusty winds and steady, rain won the game 70-7.

PHOTO: AP

Matt Leinart passed for a career-high 400 yards and a school record-tying five touchdowns Saturday night, leading top-ranked Southern California to a 41-10 victory over Notre Dame.

The win was USC's 20th straight and 21st in a row at the Los Angeles Coliseum -- a new school record. The Trojans haven't lost at home since being beaten by Stanford 21-16 on Sept. 29, 2001. That team was coached by current Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham.

The victory gave the Trojans (11-0, 7-0 Pac-10) their best start since 1972, when they won the national championship with a 12-0 record.

Should the Trojans beat UCLA next weekend in their regular-season finale, they will almost surely secure a spot in the Orange Bowl for the Bowl Championship Series title.

Notre Dame (6-5) leads the series 42-29-5 and had a 15-3-1 record against the Trojans from 1983-2001. But USC has dominated the Irish the last three games, winning each by 31 points.

No. 11 Virginia Tech 24,

No. 16 Virginia 10

In Blacksburg, Virginia, Bryan Randall threw two second-half touchdown passes and No. 11 Virginia Tech moved one victory away from the Atlantic Coast Conference title Saturday with a 24-10 victory over No. 16 Virginia.

The Hokies (9-2, 6-1) can win the league title and the Bowl Championship Series berth that goes with it by winning next week at No. 9 Miami, the team that moved from the Big East to the ACC with Virginia Tech this season.

Syracuse 43,

No. 17 Boston College 17

In Boston, Diamond Ferri ran for 141 yards two touchdowns and scored again on an interception as Syracuse deprived the Eagles of a Bowl Championship Series berth and a farewell outright Big East title.

BC needed a victory for its first championship in a league that has been depleted by the defections of Miami and Virginia Tech to the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Eagles will join them next year.

Damien Rhodes ran for a 69-yard touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage and 107 yards in all for Syracuse (6-5, 4-2 Big East) before leaving with a leg injury. The injury pressed Ferri, the Orange's starting safety, into action at tailback.

No. 7 Louisville 70, Cincinnati 7

In Louisville, Kentucky, Montrell Jones caught two touchdown passes and returned a punt for a score, and Louisville clinched its third Conference USA championship since 2000. Brandon Johnson returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and Tiger Jones recovered another blocked punt in the end zone for Louisville (9-1, 7-0), which reached 70 points for the first time since 1955.

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