California Nightmare

LOS ANGELES — Southern California's offensive recipe consisted of a dash of receiver Steve Smith, a sprinkle of wideout Dwayne Jarrett and a healthy dose of running back Reggie Bush.

As if that wasn't enough, the Trojans tossed in a pinch of bruising back LenDale White and a bit of fullback David Kirtman. Then, of course, there was handful after handful after handful of 2004 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Matt Leinart.

Arkansas got a close look at the ingredients that built a national champion during its 70-17 loss in front of 90,411 in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. And it didn't take long for the bewildered Razorbacks to realize they're not in the same class.

USC, behind Leinart, Bush and an all-star offensive cast, extended the nation's longest win streak to 24 games by drilling Arkansas in its home opener.

Leinart completed 18 of 24 passes for 381 yards and 4 touchdowns before leaving the game at the end of the third quarter. Bush rushed for 125, caught 3 passes for 70 yards and scored 2 touchdowns in the same span.

USC scored 10 touchdowns Saturday night living up to its billing as the most-feared offense in the country. The Trojans, who won their 22nd straight game in the Coliseum, piled up — get this — a school-record 736 yards.

That also eclipsed Arkansas' school record for most yards allowed (613), which came in a 62-28 loss at Houston in 1990. It also was the most points Arkansas has surrendered since a 103-0 loss at Oklahoma in 1918.

The Trojans will stand atop The Associated Press Top 25 poll when it is released today for the 20th straight week, which equals Miami for the longest stint in history.

Arkansas (1-1, 0-1 in Southeastern Conference), meanwhile, dropped its second straight and fell to 3-11 against top-ranked opponents. But this one goes down as the Razorbacks' most-lopsided loss against No. 1 as well as their biggest under coach Houston Nutt, wiping out the 63-20 embarrassment at Tennessee in 2000.

Arkansas entered the game knowing it needed to run the ball, control the clock and keep USC's dangerous offense off the field as much as possible. Behind quarterback Robert Johnson, who made his third start and first on the road, the Hogs did their part early on. Arkansas pieced together 157 yards on 33 plays in the first quarter, holding the ball for 13:28 of the game's first 15 minutes.

The only problem? Arkansas' defense couldn't stop anything.

The Trojans piled up 246 yards and 4 touchdowns on their first 8 offensive plays, a feat that took, amazingly, 1:32.

Bush's first touch, on USC's third play from scrimmage, turned into a highlight when he took a handoff, twisted up would-be tacklers and scampered untouched for a 76-yard touchdown to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead. It was the longest of Bush's career and the third straight week the Hogs have surrendered a run of 70 yards or more.

Arkansas true freshman tailback Felix Jones answered the big play by fielding the ensuing kickoff and returning it 67 yards to USC's 29. Johnson completed an 18-yard pass to receiver Cedric Washington and, two plays later, found 6-foot-6 receiver Marcus Monk in one-on-one coverage for an 11-yard touchdown that tied the game at 7.

But it was short lived.

Leinart threw a 44-yard completion to Smith on the Trojans' next play and then a 29-yard touchdown pass to Bush that gave USC a 14-7 lead. A little later, he found a wide open Jarrett for a 24-yard touchdown pass that gave the Trojans a 21-7 lead. Leinart took care of things on his own after that, scoring his fourth career rushing touchdown on a 17-yard rumble.

USC averaged 30.8 yards a play in the first quarter.

It was so ugly, that the 5,000-plus Arkansas fans in attendance turned in their loudest cheers when the defense held Bush to 3- and 4-yard carries on USC's first two plays of the second quarter. But even that didn't last.

White capped that 16-play, 85-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown to give the Trojans a 35-10 lead. And Leinart found Jarrett for the second time on USC's next possession, throwing an 8-yard touchdown pass that made it 42-10 at halftime.

The only thing that stopped a USC drive was the halftime whistle.

The Razorbacks couldn't keep up with the blistering pace and lost Johnson for the rest of the game after he sustained a bruised back in the second quarter. Backup Alex Mortensen replaced him and threw his first career touchdown pass to Monk in the fourth quarter.

But the game was dominated by Leinart and the Trojans.

He completed a 58-yard pass to Smith on the third play of the second half and White added his second touchdown to make it 49-10. Leinart threw his fourth — and final — touchdown on the next possession to Kirtman, who hauled in a short pass, lumbered to the goal line, jumped over a diving Arkansas defender and landed in the end zone to make it 56-10 after three quarters.

The USC reserves accounted for two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

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