O/NSO - Washington review

The USC Trojans remained No. 1 in the country following the Sunday release of the national polls, but author Robert Louis Stevenson must had the top-ranked Trojans' 38-0 victory over the Washington Huskies in mind on when he wrote his gothic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The Obvious – The USC Trojans remained No. 1 in the country following the Sunday release of the national polls, but author Robert Louis Stevenson must had the top-ranked Trojans' 38-0 victory over the Washington Huskies in mind on when he wrote his gothic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On Saturday afternoon before 72,855 at the Coliseum, a stumbling, bumbling, and sometimes slumbering first-half Trojan offense came disguised as the mild Dr. Jekyll while Pete Carroll's defense was very much the violent Mr. Hyde.

The Not So Obvious – Things became so intense in the second half of action that Sid Brooks, Trojans' director of equipment operations, was knocked to the ground on the sidelines during one sequence. Brooks, who spent 27 years as equipment manager with the San Diego Chargers before coming to the Trojans, bounced up, began shadow boxing and looked ready to don a cardinal and gold uniform himself.

The Obvious – The turning point of the game immediately on the first play of the second half when Pete Carroll's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, linebacker Matt Grootegoed, administered a vicious hit on Husky running back Kenny James to cause a fumble that turned the Coliseum upside down.

The Not So Obvious - Afterwards, Pete Carroll said the Trojan had been working all week against that same delayed handoff and Matt had destroyed the play each time. When it happened on Saturday, Carroll said he did not see the second half hit, but he said he knew by the play and the crowd reaction that "Groots" had hit the jackpot.

The Obvious – Attendance for the game was 72,855, below the anticipated 75,000-80,000 prediction.

The Not So Obvious – Even most of the 72,855 at the Coliseum seemed in as much of an inconsistent stupor in the first half as the Trojans' offense. From the outset, the intense crowd participation of the Cal and Arizona State games was understandably lacking in the first half , much like Matt Leinart's atypical passes. Even the third down "Gong" participation was a going-through-the-motions experience for the faithful.

The Obvious – The pressure of playing No. 1 got to the Huskies early in their first series on offense as UW had a false start on their first play and when the Gong went into effect on third down, Trojan defensive end Frosty Rucker sacked UW quarterback Isaiah Stanback for nine-yard loss.

The Not So Obvious – According to 1540 radio personality Mark Willard, the idea for the Gong was Pete Carroll's. Williard said that Carroll, looking for a way to get the crowd into it for the Cal game, presented the idea to Dr. Daryl Gross, senior associate athletic director. As they say, the rest is history and a new tradition was born in the Coliseum.

The Obvious – The 34.5-point Vegas betting line had an effect on the parking sharks along Figueroa Blvd.

The Not So Obvious – Even the parking sharks were not "up" for the contest as the previous two weeks the same spaces that went for $40 on Saturday were $60 for Cal and Arizona State.

The Obvious – Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart awoke from a miserable first half by rebounding in the second half by throwing for 120 yards and a touchdown and finishing with 217 yards and two touchdowns.

The Not So Obvious – This was the second week in a row that Leinart has started slow and his passes were again being thrown high early on, a sign of poor mechanics and protection. In defense of the Heisman candidate, the equally shaky performance of his offensive line, which showed confusion during Husky blitzes, again left Leinart vulnerable and open to physical punishment by an aroused Husky defense. Naturally, Leinart took the blame, but quite frankly, if the Trojan offensive line doesn't do a more consistent job of protecting their left-handed meal ticket, well, let's not go there.

The Obvious – The Trojans passed for 256 yards.

The Not So Obvious – The Huskies were only allowing 179.2 passing yards per game, second in the Pac-10.

The Obvious – The Trojans defensive front lead by Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson was given the highest accolades from the Husky offensive performers, some of whom called Ed Orgeron's front four the best they had ever seen and "the real deal."

The Not So Obvious – Washington senior defensive lineman Manase Hopoi was also the real deal with six big hits for losses. A former Trojan recruit who now plays on one of the worst Husky teams in many Sonny Sixkiller moons, Hopoi's performance will turn Trojan offensive line coach Tim Davis again into one angry individual during the UW film session review. Right before Ryan Killeen's only field goal of the game, Hopoi pancaked Trojans' sophomore center Ryan Killeen to get to Leinart on a third down pass play.

The Obvious – Trojan running backs LenDale White and Reggie Bush combined for 148 yards rushing and 59 yards in receptions, living up to their nickname of Thunder and Lightning.

The Not So Obvious – So it was appropriate that both were featured on the cover of Saturday's game program and Bush was also the featured photo on the game ticket.

The Obvious – Running back LenDale White had 17 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns.

The Not So Obvious – So how many yards would White gain if he carried 30 times? It ain't gonna happen and probably shouldn't. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Trojans seemed, however, to put more emphasis this week on getting Reggie Bush more carries (13) this game and even had Bush open the game at tailback with White in an off-set fullback formation.

The Obvious – Reggie Bush, who had another outstanding game with 55 yards rushing, 41 yards in receptions, and "just" one score, continues to have a huge effect on the game as his whereabouts on the field is like playing football's version of Where's Waldo.

The Not So Obvious – While it's hard to be too critical of Bush as America's most explosive player, the kid is still learning. As a tailback rushing for 55 yards on 13 carries, he still does a bit too much shake and bake at the point of attack and sometimes plays defense on himself. However, Reggie is turning into the Trojans' version of Rocket Ismail, the former Notre Dame multi-purpose All-America threat, who was part of GameDay's recent Coliseum appearance.

The Obvious – When LenDale White is at tailback and Reggie Bush is at wide receiver, there is tremendous pressure placed on the defense.

The Not So Obvious – The Huskies found one way to stop Reggie Bush when he is spilt wide. Reggie ran a "stop route", and UW DB Derrick Johnson found the best way to avoid getting beat deep was to just tackle Reggie as the ball was thrown. It worked, but Johnson was flagged on the play.

The Obvious – The Trojans really opened up the game in the third quarter on LenDale White's 3-yard score.

The Not So Obvious – The beauty of the play was a precision block by sophomore center Ryan Kalil and powerful thrusts and seal-off blocks by senior guard John Drake and junior tackle Taitusi Lutui.

The Obvious – There is no more emotional coach on the Trojans' staff than defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.

The Not So Obvious – Following White's 3-yard score, Orgeron threw his emotions and body into the middle of his defensive unit on the crowded Trojan sidelines and gave a demonstration of enthusiasm that made him a second coming of the late Marv Goux. Come to think of it, the O/NSO can't recall even Goux being so demonstrative on a Trojan sideline.

The Obvious – Former Trojan running back Petros Papadakis did a fine job as analyst on the Fox Sports Net telecast, which was beamed across the nation.

The Not So Obvious – Early in the game, Petros called the Trojans' offense the best in the nation. Later, he called the Trojans' defense the best in the nation. It all added up to Petros calling the Trojans the best team in the nation. Of course that would stand to reason if you have the best offense and defense in America. Papadakis also called LenDale White the best big back in the country and felt White could be even more effective with more carries.

The Obvious – Freshman linebacker Keith Rivers recorded his first interception as a Trojan and almost returned the PIC for a touchdown.

The Not So Obvious – While the interception was exciting for Rivers, his real exhibition of talent was a Matt Grootegoed-style hit on Husky tailback Kenny James in the third quarter that looked like one of those Pentagon missile highlight films from a submarine launch.

The Obvious – The Trojans practiced earlier in the week in some Seattle-style cold and rain.

The Not So Obvious – Weather at kickoff in Los Angeles was a comfortable 72 degrees, but as the game wore on, fans did don some jackets and coats as the sun went down.

The Obvious – Trojan fans gasped when outstanding Trojan offensive guard John Drake was carted up the Coliseum tunnel in the third quarter after suffering an ankle issue.

The Not So Obvious – It first appeared that Drew Radovich was going to come in for Drake, but Big John was replaced by freshman Jeff Byers. The Trojans next play went right through Byers, and with some help from center Ryan Kalil, tailback LenDale White had a good hole and a gain of nine yards.

The Obvious – It is always thrilling to see a player like senior wide receiver Jason Mitchell score his first Trojan touchdown, a 29-yard strike from Matt Leinart in the third quarter.

The Not So Obvious – Based on Leinart's body language, it appeared that Leinart was working down his progressions when he spotted an open Mitchell, who had his hand up waving to Matt to give him a chance. Key to the play was tight end Dominique Bryd split off to his right, which forced the Husky secondary to make an adjustment.

The Obvious – Speaking of tight end Dominique Byrd, the Trojans continued to open the offense for him as No. 86 had five receptions for 57 yards and again showcased NFL ability.

The Not So Obvious – Tight end of the future Dale Thompson got in the game, but had his name called for all the wrong reasons being singled out for a hold that negated a fine Hershel Dennis run. The kid gets a freshman pass here for being aggressive and trying to get the job done. Just one pass a season, kid.

The Obvious – Trojan coach Pete Carroll says that running back Desmond Reed is as tough as they come on this year's Trojan squad.

The Not So Obvious – Reed's final 28-yard ramble down the right sideline displayed his skills of power, speed, and balance launching himself into the end zone, and following his score he made a big hit on the ensuing kickoff. As final testament to his toughness, Reed's (190 pounds) vicious block on Manase Hopoi (290) during an earlier Reggie Bush punt return brought fans to their feet, including the blue-hairs that are usually discussing next week's trip to the salon.

The Obvious – Much is being made about the Trojan shutout of Washington, which was the first whitewash against the Huskies since 1981.

The Not So Obvious – While the Trojans' defense played and hit like national champions, UW could have avoided their record fate had redshirt freshman kicker Michael Braunstein converted on two makeable field goal attempts.

The Obvious – The Trojans legendary fullback Sam Cunningham was recognized during Saturday's game.

The Not So Obvious – The Husky senior corner Sam Cunningham from Westchester High had two tackles.

The Obvious – The second half provided Trojan fans a chance to stand up and cheer as the Cardinal and Gold offense went into high gear and the defensive took it up another notch with some relentless hitting.

The Not So Obvious – However, no crowd reaction was any louder than when the scoreboard displayed the UCLA loss to Arizona State. Needless to say, the place went bonkers. In fact, it received far more attention than when Notre Dame's 24-23 loss to Boston College was shown.

The Obvious – The end of the game produced an opportunity for a number of Trojan reserves to show their skills like redshirt freshman fullback Jody Adewale, the pride of Roosevelt High and alma mater of Trojan athletic director Mike Garrett.

The Not So Obvious – Adawale had a nice reception and great block later to help spring Desmond Reed on his exciting 28-yard scoring jaunt.

The Obvious – There were a number of adults and children wearing No. 11 jerseys around the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious – Of course No. 11 belongs to Matt Leinart, the Trojans' Heisman hopeful quarterback. However, there was young lady standing behind the goal post at the closed end of the Coliseum that brought intense debate to whether she was actually Brittany Spears.

The Obvious – With the Trojans being No. 1 in the country, a number of celebrities and Southland notables are making appearances at the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious – Spotted in the stands was San Diego KGTV field reporter Bob Lawrence, the Patrick Healy of San Diego. Lawrence is a lifelong Trojan fan. The1968 graduate of Montebello High was seen giving the victory sign during the playing of Conquest.

The Obvious – The Huskies could have used their legendary defensive tackle Steve Emtman to attack the Trojans' offense on Saturday.

The Not So Obvious – Emtman was on the field on Saturday. He was in charge of calisthenics during Husky warmups. Called the "greatest defensive player ever at Washington," Emtman is in his second season as strength and conditioning coach.

The Obvious – Generally the team that wins the Pac-10 has the fewest number of penalties.

The Not So Obvious – According to form, the Trojans have the fewest number of penalties and Saturday's results were no different. Troy had five penalties for 30 yards while Washington had nine penalties for 60 yards.

The Obvious – The Trojans completed a highly successful three-game home stand that puts the Cardinal and Gold in prime position for a dominant stretch run.

The Not So Obvious – Now the Trojans embark on a potentially dangerous two-game road stand that exposes them to the elements of the Great Northwest. One thing is for sure, Coach Pete Carroll will make sure they leave Dr. Jekyll at home them and save a seat on their Delta charter for Mr. Hyde come this Friday afternoon.

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