O/NSO - Washington review

Mr. October and Reggie are terms usually reserved for the World Series, but on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Seattle, USC freshman tailback Reggie Bush provided a Fall Classic, as he and Norm Chow's supercharged offense painted the Emerald City cardinal and gold.

The Obvious – Mr. October and Reggie are terms usually reserved for the World Series, but on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Seattle, USC freshman tailback Reggie Bush provided a Fall Classic, as he and Norm Chow's supercharged offense painted the Emerald City cardinal and gold with a resounding 43-23 Trojan Pac-10 victory over the fading Washington Huskies.

The Not So Obvious – After Saturday's blowout, there can be little question now that the USC Trojan offense under the direction of Master Chow doesn't take a backseat to anybody on the college football planet, including those boys from Norman, Oklahoma and Miami, Florida.

The Obvious – So, the Trojans (7-1, 3-1 Pac-10) finished out a grueling fourth road game in five weeks resulting in back-to-back victories in two of the nation's toughest venues, Notre Dame Stadium and Husky Stadium.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans awoke Sunday to both major polls, ESPN-USA Today Coaches and Associated Press, agreeing that USC is the nation's No. 3 behind Oklahoma and Miami.

The Obvious –USC will play No. 6 Washington State in the Coliseum next Saturday with the Rose Bowl on the line.

The Not So Obvious - While the Trojans will be facing Pac-10 Judgement Day against Washington State, No. 2 Miami will be at rival Virginia Tech and No.1 Oklahoma will be hosting nemesis Oklahoma State. Did we mention Michigan against Big 10 undefeated Michigan State in East Lancing? Pass the Visine.

The Obvious – During the ABC telecast on Saturday, the Trojans were being listed as the No. 7 team in the country, obviously in reference to the BCS standings, which figure to change after this past weekend's activities.

The Not So Obvious – ABC's legendary announcer Keith Jackson didn't waste much time in the early stages of the fourth quarter when he addressed the computer issue of the Trojans No. 7 BCS ranking. Jackson said, " All those people who do those button punching, and they (SC) are ranked No. 7? I don't think so."

The Obvious – The Trojans have achieved victories not only at Notre Dame and Husky Stadiums, but lets not forget the Auburn adventure. Like the good old days, the Trojans are making every hostile stadium their own personal abode.

The Not So Obvious – Just as they did to the home fans at Notre Dame and Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium, the Trojans silenced the mostly dog-barking 72,015 UW fans and had them heading for the exits long before the final outcome.

The Obvious – USC freshman tailback Reggie Bush had a record 270 all-purpose yards and two scores against the Huskies (4-4, 2-2) and displayed the talents of running and receiving rarely seen on any college campus.

The Not So Obvious – The biggest change of Reggie Bush, besides his improved understanding of how to hone his talents to the college game, has been the creativity of offensive coordinator Norm Chow, placing this freshman prodigy at any given spot on the field, thus exposing mismatches across the defensive landscape.

The Obvious - In motion, at tailback, split out wide, again returning kickoffs, Chow has turned Bush into the college version of Marshall Faulk, forcing defensive coordinators to play the game "Where's Reggie?"

The Not So Obvious – Bush, called by teammates "The President", was recently featured in a double-page photo as he arrived in the end zone at Notre Dame Stadium after his long distance scoring run against the Irish.

The Obvious – There should be no doubt that Norm Chow, given free reign to run his Star Wars offense and left to his druthers, is college football's version of Yoda and once his system and analysis of his talent is in place, he becomes the Bobby Fisher of the football.

The Not So Obvious – Thanks to Chow, Pete Carroll's Trojans are looking more and more like those old Oakland Raider clubs under John Madden that threw to runners out of the backfield, and Matt Leinart has become Chow's Kenny Stabler, the Raiders' legendary lefty quarterback.

The Obvious – Trojan sophomore quarterback Matt Leinart completed 19 of 29 for 351 yards and no interceptions against the Huskies.

The Not So Obvious – Leinart's outstanding accomplishments through the air were almost an afterthought considering the dominance of the Trojans' collection of precocious tailbacks. If there is a weakness to Leinart's game, it is when he's flushed out of the pocket and is forced to throw on the move. The kid also tends to throw behind his receivers, but usually makes up for it down the road, a road that generally leads to the end zone.

The Obvious – The Trojans' tailback extravaganza of talent rushed for 214 yards and brought back the rushing memories of John McKay and Student Body Right.

The Not So Obvious – Even the most cynical of Trojan fans must now come to the conclusion that this offensive line is the best in the Pac-10, and the return to offensive line glory may be at hand, especially with the recent addition of prime recruiting talent.

The Obvious – JUCO transfer John Drake is making a major impact along the offensive line and started his fourth straight game, noteworthy because this week it was because of production, not teammate injury.

The Not So Obvious – At 350 lbs., Drake has the quick feet of a puppy. On LenDale White's bruising 21-yard touchdown blast in the second quarter, Drake chopped down his defender to open the hole for the former Colorado prep All-American.

The Obvious – It was a tough day for Trojan All-Everything receiver Mike Williams, who still led the team in receptions with six catches, but was held to 43 yards due to an early ankle injury when he was hit by Huskies' strong safety Evan Benjamin, a sophomore from Redmond, Washington.

The Not So Obvious –Williams, who scorched the Huskies last year in the Coliseum for 159 yards, needed the Trojan training staff in the first quarter to get his old football shoes from the USC locker room because his new shoes weren't comfortable.

The Obvious – If Keary Colbert, who had three catches for 91 yards and one brilliant touchdown reception isn't first-team All-Pac-10, they should just stop with these kinds of post-season honors immediately.

The Not So Obvious – Last season's All-Pac-10 team included three wide receivers. Of the three, only Washington's Reggie Williams returned this year. It certainly isn't out of the question that Colbert and Mike Williams could and should join Reggie Williams on the first team offensive selections. Colbert "averaged" 30.3 per catch on Saturday.

The Obvious – Despite the final outcome in the Trojans mauling of the Huskies, the game was a physical war and many of the performers on the both sides have the purple hearts to prove it.

The Not So Obvious – Washington was the first to feel the violence when star receiver Charles Frederick took one to the chest followed later by tight end Joe Toledo, a former Trojan recruit. The Trojans, of course, lost DB Ronald Nunn with a broken bone in his right eye socket. Even the Trojans' tough DL Shaun Cody had to leave the game at times from the pure physical nature of the contest.

The Obvious – Earlier in the week, Pete Carroll moved WR Justin Wyatt back to corner to add some much needed depth to the secondary.

The Not So Obvious – Ironically, Wyatt ended up playing near half the game after the eye injury to Ronald Nunn, who saved the Trojans early with his 57-yard touchdown interception from Cody Pickett. Wyatt, showing much rust, still managed to be in on two tackles. With the lack of depth in the secondary, can William Buchanon be close to being moved back to the secondary after being moved back to wide receiver?

The Obvious – There appeared to be a dispute between Trojan kicker Ryan Killeen and wide receiver Mike Williams after Killeen missed one of his field goal attempts.

The Not So Obvious – It was another day of doom for the Trojans' kicker Killeen, who missed two field goal attempts and one extra point. While it was perhaps too much for Trojans' receiver Williams to handle, it's doubtful any Trojan fans would chastise Williams for his outburst to the inconsistent Trojan kicker.

The Obvious – Kicker Ryan Killeen has had more ups and downs than a Mexican jellybean.

The Not So Obvious - Trojan fans forget that Killeen has hit some big ones (he did hit one field goal Saturday from 20 yards) and has made some last-tackle saves on kickoffs. Tough way to make a living, especially when you play for the No. 3 team in the country.

The Obvious – After LenDale White's 21-yard score in the second quarter, kicker Ryan Killeen's kick was blocked by sophomore James Sims, Jr., from Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Not So Obvious – One of the greats from Trojan defenses of the past was a defensive end know as James Sims (1972-73) from Locke High via Harbor Junior College, who was a two-time All-Pac-8 selection. This is noteworthy because Sims was a starter on the 1972 national championship team that many feel was the greatest college football team in history. There was no evidence that Sims of UW and Sims of 1972 are related, but we are always correctable, good readers.

The Obvious – The Huskies' pro wide receiver Reggie Williams had nine receptions for 115 yards in the first half, but had zero receptions in the second half.

The Not So Obvious – Borrowing a page from UCLA's DB Matt Ware, the Trojans placed senior transfer Will Poole on Williams in the second half, and the Huskie star all but vanished. It should be noted, however, that the Trojans triple teamed Williams in the second half to help Poole, who is just another "free agent" find by Pete Carroll.

The Obvious – While corner Will Poole led the Trojans in tackles with nine, a big contributor for the Trojans was sophomore defensive end Frosty Rucker, who replaced the healing Omar Nazel, who did see some spot duty against the Huskies.

The Not So Obvious – Rucker (6-4, 240), the sophomore transfer from Colorado State, was in on eight tackles in his most extensive action to date. Rucker is coveted by Pete Carroll as a speed rushing end, which should come as no surprise since he was an All-CIF running back at Tustin High under Myron Miller, the rushing guru.

The Obvious – The Trojans did everything they could to keep the Huskie close throughout the first half, and left Trojan fans muttering to the restroom that the Trojans should have been dominating on the scoreboard at halftime.

The Not So Obvious – Given the pattern of Pete Carroll teams, Trojan fans should review their history lessons to know that his teams have, for the most part, been second half performers. Oh, but those scoring misses by kicker Killeen and the behind the receiver passes by Leinart can still cause one's migraines to kick in.

The Obvious – The Trojans unleashed the talents of their very young team as ABC showcased what is emerging as another Trojan national run, something that isn't getting lost among Pac-10 coaches.

The Not So Obvious – Afterwards, Washington coach Keith Gilbertson said, "They (USC) have recruited top classes out here in the West year after year after year, and they really have lots of athletes."

The Obvious – This was the Trojans first win in Seattle since 1993.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans also scored 43 points on Saturday, which were the most points scored by an opponent of the Huskies since Colorado hit for 45 points in 1985.

The Obvious – Once again, Norm Chow unveiled the Trojan arsenal by using sophomore fullback Brandon Hancock out of the backfield with devastating results, as the Hulk fullback used his halfback speed to race down the sidelines with a 52-yard scoring strike from Leinart.

The Not So Obvious – "When you have a fullback coming out of the backfield running past the secondary, that shows the talent you have, " said coach Gilbertson. Of course, Hancock showed his youth as he was caught holding that cost Reggie Bush a third touchdown in his record-setting afternoon.

The Obvious – Last year the Huskies lost to the Trojans 41-21 in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious – This was the second year in a row that the Trojans rang up over 40 points against the Huskies, something the Fighting Irish also have experience in the Trojans' return to glory.

The Obvious – The Trojans had another devastating offense performance with 565 total yards.

The Not So Obvious – Freshman tailback Reggie Bush accounted for almost half the total with 270 all-purpose yards. Tough Husky defensive tackle Terry Johnson commented, "I didn't know he (Bush) was that good. He's a very talented player and has a good chance to play in The League (NFL). He's a tough matchup for anybody."

The Obvious – The Huskies showed the Trojans a fine tailback of their future in redshirt Kenny James, who rushed for 58 yards on 13 carries.

The Not So Obvious – James looked like the Trojans' LenDale White in his 15-yard touchdown run that saw him break Trojan tackles in an impressive burst into the end zone to cap an 80-yard drive to open the game's scoring. James broke past Trojan MLB Lofa Tatupu, through LB Dallas Startz, and took advantage of a double-team block on nose tackle Mike Patterson.

The Obvious – After the game, many Huskies were quite gracious in their comments about the Trojans. Most said that SC was a great team that plays with exceptional intensity.

The Not So Obvious –Trojan defensive end Kenechi Udeze, who had a crucial sack of Pickett in the second half, revealed, "It's expected of us. This is how we play. If you saw us practice, then you wouldn't be surprised."

The Obvious - The Huskies' highly-touted quarterback Cody Pickett was 22 of 42 for 274 yards and one touchdown.

The Not So Obvious – Pickett competed like the rodeo rider that he is, but the cowboy was handicapped by the absence of a consistent running game and the loss of receiver Charles Frederick. In truth, this Washington team has understandably slipped quite badly since the firing of former coach Rick Neuheisel before the season.

The Obvious – Starting Trojan tailback Hershel Dennis ran 14 times for 98 yards.

The Not So Obvious- Since the development of LenDale White, nobody has increased his determination at tailback better than Dennis. For now, the former Poly star fits in quite nicely in the starting role and has shown a remarkable balance of running and receiving skills. Dennis also took some tremendous hits by the Husky defense, but showed the toughness of Trojan tailbacks of yesteryear.

The Obvious – Saturday's game was homecoming at the University of Washington, normally a chance for the home team to squash a helpless opponent much to the satisfaction of the alumni.

The Not So Obvious – Somebody in the Washington marketing department should have been given a proper overview of the Pac-10 before scheduling USC for homecoming. Mama Mia, you schedule somebody like Nevada. Oops, that one doesn't work either. Of course, the Trojans are taking a page out of the Husky marketing handbook having scheduled homecoming next week against No. 6 Washington State. Roll the dice, baby!

The Obvious – Once again, Trojan freshman quarterback John David Booty came in to run out the clock and didn't have a single pass attempt.

The Not So Obvious – Poor John David, not only was he not allowed to throw a pass on Saturday, but on Friday night he had to watch his beloved Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian High become the 145th victim of Concord De La Salle. Understandably, John David had no comment, but admitted he watched some of the game on ESPN 2.

The Obvious – Trojan sophomore linebacker Dallas Startz got the surprise start over Matt Grootogoed, who did not make the trip due to injury.

The Not So Obvious – Startz played with a great deal of excitement, but late early in the fourth quarter, he was flagged for a personal foul in administering a late hit out of bounds.

The Obvious – The game had its share of penalties on both teams, and there were some unhappy coaches on both sides. The Trojans were flagged six times for 50 yards and Washington was caught eight times for 63 yards.

The Not So Obvious – Washington received the rare penalty of an offensive face mask infraction. How do you do? Yeah, yeah, just wanted to see if you were still reading. No more "Arbo-isms" here.

The Obvious – Was surprised that fine scribes Wolf, Klein, and Harmonson didn't ask Huskies' coach Gilbertson to compare the Trojans with the Bruins, a team Washington lost to 46-16 on Oct. 4th in the Rose Bowl.

The Not So Obvious – Gilbertson did compare the Trojans with the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team that UW lost to 28-9 back in Columbus to open the season on August 30th. After Saturday's Trojan crunching, Gilbertson said, " I didn't think I would see a better team than Ohio State, but I just did."

The Obvious – Earlier this week, Matt Cassel made the wise move to vacate his quarterback dreams for tight end, a spot that he could find him immediate playing time.

The Not So Obvious – Showing good faith to Cassel, the Trojan coaches gave Cassel a cameo appearance late in the game at tight end. It is the feeling here that Cassel will make more than just a cameo role down the road. We see the kid being incorporated by Chow as a receiving threat, perhaps as early as next week against Washington State. Anyone for a tight end reverse pass?

The Obvious – The Trojans will now turn to the month of November, a month that Pete Carroll is 7-0 as the USC head coach.

The Not So Obvious – With three of their final four games at home and riding high as the nation's No. 3 team, it has almost been forgotten that the USC Trojans are currently just the No. 3 team in their own Pac-10 standings behind Washington State and UCLA.

The Obvious – While they'll deny it publicly, don't think that Pete Carroll and staff have forgotten last year's pain in Pullman.

The Not So Obvious –Don't think for a moment that the Trojans wont be happy to administer a physical memory test at the expense of the No. 6 Washington State Cougars, who come calling next Saturday afternoon in the Coliseum– a call that will be heard from Los Angeles to Pasadena to perhaps as far as New Orleans.


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