Trojans dominate Tigers 23-0

The Trojans used a dominating defense along with an efficient offense and special teams to put together a dominant victory at Auburn by a score of 23-0. Click below for the AP recap of the game:

AP Sports Writer
AUBURN, Ala. - Southern California used a smothering defense to turn a much-hyped matchup into an ugly mismatch.

Matt Leinart passed for 192 yards in his first start and the eighth-ranked Trojans set up 17 points with three turnovers in a 23-0 season-opening win over sixth-ranked Auburn.

The Trojans, who won the final eight games of last season, hardly seemed to miss Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer.

The Tigers hadn't been a preseason Top 10 team since 1995, but were shut out at Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time since a 19-0 loss to Virginia in the 1998 opener. They never got past USC's 33-yard line and were outgained 315-164.

The Trojans muzzled the Tigers' heralded tailbacks Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, and harassed quarterback Jason Campbell into a fumble and an interception.

USC dominated physically on both lines of scrimmage.

The Trojans only allowed four of 13 opponents to rush for 100 yards last season and limited the Tigers to 43 yards on 36 carries.

Leinart, a sophomore who didn't throw a pass as Palmer's backup last season, was 17-of-30 and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams, making few mistakes in his starting debut. Williams had eight catches for 104 yards.

Hershel Dennis ran for 85 yards on 21 carries. His 14-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter set a few thousand Auburn fans scurrying for the exits after watching the Tigers turn in a listless performance. Daniel Urquhart set up that score by knocking the ball loose from Campbell on the previous play.

Auburn was a popular pick to win the Southeastern Conference, but it was USC that looked more likely to live up to its preseason billing as the Pac-10 favorite.

USC took a 13-0 lead when Ryan Killeen made a 42-yard field goal to cap the opening drive of the second half. Leinart hit wide-open tight end Dominique Byrd for a 42-yard gain and Dennis converted a fourth-and-1 on the drive.

Auburn's troubles started early.

Freshman Darnell Bing picked off Campbell on the third play of the game, giving USC the ball 20 yards from the end zone.

Three plays later, Leinart found Williams in the end zone.

Killeen, who kicked three field goals, added a 28-yarder with 3:21 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers had just eight yards on their first three possessions, and weren't able to get their passing game going.

Campbell was 12-of-26 for 121 yards and often was forced to tuck the ball and run when he wasn't being sacked. He lost 25 yards on 16 carries.

USC 10 0 6 7 - 23
Auburn 0 0 0 0 - 0

First Quarter
USC-Williams 5 pass from Leinart (Killeen kick), 12:38.
USC-FG Killeen 28, 3:21.

Third Quarter
USC-FG Killeen 42, 11:50.
USC-FG 34 Killeen, 7:22.

Fourth Quarter
USC-Dennis 14 run (Killeen kick), 13:51.

First downs 16 11
Rushes-yards 36-123 36-43
Passing 192 121
Comp-Att-Int 17-30-1 12-26-1
Return Yards 11 90
Punts-Avg. 7-45.1 10-36.3
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 4-43 4-30
Time of Possession 32:15 27:45


RUSHING-USC, Dennis 21-85, Washington 3-24, Bush 5-9, White 5-6, Leinart 2-(minus 1). Auburn, Williams 12-40, Brown 8-28, Campbell 16-(minus 25).

PASSING-USC, Leinart 17-30-1-192. Auburn, Campbell 12-26-1-121.

RECEIVING-USC, Williams 8-104, Byrd 3-63, Colbert 2-13, Smith 1-7, Guenther 1-6, Wyatt 1-5, Bush 1-(minus 6). Auburn, Obomanu 4-53, Taylor 4-43, McIntyre 3-25, Brown 1-0. Top Stories