Originally created 09/30/03

USC in unfamiliar territory following loss



BERKELEY, Calif. -- Southern California picked the wrong town and the wrong time for an early celebration.

Several California players got all the motivation they needed after hearing reports of a raucous informal parade by Southern California's boosters and band on the streets of Berkeley on Friday night before the Trojans' game against the Golden Bears.

"They were marching down our streets, partying in our town," Cal running back Adimchinobe Echemandu said. "That's just the way USC is. They're so arrogant. They think they're better than everybody else on the West Coast before they even play a game."

The actual extent of the pregame partying was heavily debated, with most USC people insisting nothing significant happened. That didn't make the sting any easier when Cal outplayed the Trojans in regulation, then held on in overtime for a 34-31 win Saturday that sent USC tumbling from No. 3 to No. 10 in the rankings.

Last season, Southern California's rally from an 18-point deficit against Cal was the start of an 11-game winning streak. USC nearly made another comeback against the Bears and coach Jeff Tedford's inventive offense, but the Trojans (3-1, 0-1 Pac-10) never got the lead in a heartbreaking loss.

"They came out and punched us in the mouth," USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody said. "We didn't have an answer for anything. We were expecting them to run certain things out of certain formations. They just switched it up on us. ... We were fooled."

The Trojans weren't the only ranked team sent to overtime. No. 8 Tennessee beat South Carolina 23-20, No. 9 Arkansas edged Alabama 34-31 in double overtime and No. 19 TCU beat Arizona 13-10. Wildcats coach John Mackovic was fired a day later after losing four of five games to open the season.

In other games involving ranked teams, it was No. 4 Ohio State 20, Northwestern 0; No. 5 Virginia Tech 47, Connecticut 13; No. 6 Florida State 56, Duke 7; No. 7 LSU 41, Mississippi State 6; No. 21 Washington State 55, No. 10 Oregon 16; No. 11 Michigan 31, Indiana 17; Michigan State 20, No. 13 Iowa 10; No. 14 Texas 63, Tulane 18; No. 17 Pittsburgh 37, Texas A&M 26; No. 18 Washington 28, Stanford 17; No. 20 Northern Illinois 24, Iowa State 16; No. 22 Purdue 23, Notre Dame 10; Kansas 35, No. 23 Missouri 14; No. 24 Minnesota 20, Penn State 14; and No. 25 Florida 24, Kentucky 21.

In Southern Cal's first three games of the season, the Trojans reclaimed a large measure of the mystique that had surrounded the program for decades. Starting with a dominant win over Auburn, the Trojans appeared to be the latest emerging West Coast power under coach Pete Carroll.

Now, USC is looking up at Cal (3-3, 1-0) and Washington State, among others, in the Pac-10 standings. The Trojans still might be a Western power, but the Bears exposed weaknesses that nobody knew existed.

USC never moved the ball consistently against Cal's defense, which endured many poor stretches during the Bears' 2-3 nonconference start. A quarter of USC's 99 rushing yards came on pass plays that began behind the line of scrimmage.

After a mostly dismal game, there's bound to be speculation around quarterback Matt Leinart, who threw three interceptions. The sophomore never got the offense moving through the air despite talented receivers Keary Colbert and Mike Williams lining up against Cal's suspect pass defense, which had been shredded regularly this season.

There's a section of the USC fan base that's devoted to John David Booty, the former Louisiana high school prodigy considered the team's quarterback of the future. But Carroll never considered replacing Leinart, not even after the quarterback bruised his knee in the second half.

"I was just making mistakes I shouldn't have made," Leinart said. "I didn't play well in the first half, and that's why we were down."

USC's vaunted run defense hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 16 games until Adimchinobe ran for 147 yards against them. Cal confused the Trojans with the unorthodox formations and clever blocking schemes.

In highlights of other games:

- Matt Kegel threw for three touchdowns and steadily guided Washington State as the Cougars took advantage of Oregon's seven-first half turnovers.

- James Banks caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Casey Clausen in overtime for Tennessee. The Vols (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) struggled throughout their first game since winning at Florida last week.

- Backup Chris Balseiro kicked a 19-yard field goal in the second overtime and Arkansas came back from a 21-point deficit to beat Alabama. The Razorbacks (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference), who trailed 31-10 midway through the third quarter, tied it on Matt Jones' 3-yard touchdown pass to Richard Smith with 27 seconds to play. Cedric Cobbs led the Razorbacks with 198 yards on 36 carries

- Kyle Orton passed for two touchdowns and Ben Jones kicked three field goals as Purdue handed Notre Dame its third straight loss. Freshman Brady Quinn threw four interceptions in his first start as Irish started 1-3 start for the fourth time in seven years.