An Explosive Beginning

The final score read 70-17 as the Trojans cruised to their 24th consecutive victory in the home opener at the LA Coliseum over the Arkansas Razorbacks but by all accounts this game was over at the end of the first quarter thanks to an explosive display by the USC offense.

The Trojans got things started quickly on the first play of the game with a swing pass out of the backfield to David Kirtman and then it was Reggie Bush taking it to the house two plays later with a 76 yard touchdown run where he cut back behind blocks from Kirtman, Sam Baker and Deuce Lutui before racing untouched for the score.

Arkansas had a nice start of their own as a 70 yard kickoff return was followed quickly by a fade pass for a touchdown to from Robert Johnson to Marcus Monk and the score was tied 7-7. Unfortunately for Arkansas they had to kick the ball back to the Trojans and Desmond Reed returned it 51 yards and then Matt Leinart hit Bush on a wheel route for a 29 yard touchdown. Two touches for Reggie, two touchdowns. Leinart had all day to throw on the play thanks to nice pocket protection from the o-line.

The Trojan defense held on the next series as Thomas Williams put good pressure and a hit on Johnson to force an incomplete pass on 2nd down and then Terrell Thomas had good pass defense on 3rd down to force a punt. Williams was in the game at strong side backer because Dallas Sartz had left earlier with a shoulder injury. Terrell Thomas would also leave the game later with a knee injury.

To open their third offensive series the Trojans completed a 42 yard Leinart to Steve Smith pass and then Leinart hooked up with Dwayne Jarrett on the next play for a 24 yard touchdown to make the score 21-7. At this point the new offensive play calling duo of Kiffin and Sarkisian is looking pretty good so far.

Oscar Lua put a nice hit on a Razorback ballcarrier and then Frostee Rucker forced a grounding penalty with good pressure. Arkansas actually did more damage passing the ball early, especially when you consider they came into the game leading the nation in rushing, as Pete Carroll and the Trojan defense did a great job of taking away their strength. Johnson, who received a long look from the Trojan coaches during the recruiting process, eventually turned the ball over under pressure from Thomas Williams and he threw an interception to Josh Pinkard along the sideline. Pinkard did an admirable job filling in at strong safety for defensive co-captain Darnell Bing.

On their fourth possession Leinart got things going by rolling left and hitting Jarrett for a 38 yard gain and the Trojans added 15 more after Arkansas was charge with a roughing the passer penalty. On the next play Leinart dropped back, saw an opening in the defense, and ran 17 yards for the score.

"The hole was wide open and I took it," said Leinart. "I had told John David Booty earlier in the day that I was going to get a 20 yard run but obviously I'm not going to turn into a running quarterback."

When all was said and done in the first quarter the score was 28-7 in favor of the Trojans as they put up 254 total yards in just eight plays. The Razorbacks dominated time of possession since the Trojans only needed 1:32 of the first quarter to do that damage and put the game out of reach. They certainly didn't ease up the rest of the way as USC scored on nine of their first ten possessions and ended up with 736 yards of total offense.

Next up for the Trojans is the Pac-10 opener against the Oregon Ducks next week in Eugene. USC will be going for their 25th win in a row, a mark that would tie their own conference record. Top Stories