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Jarrett dominant as USC waxes Notre Dame

Nov 26, 2006 - 4:41 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Dwayne Jarrett and Southern California appear to be just four quarters away from a trip to the Bowl Championship Series national title game.

Jarrett caught three touchdown passes from John David Booty as the third-ranked Trojans picked apart Notre Dame's secondary en route to a 44-24 victory over the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish.

Jarrett had seven catches for 132 yards for USC (10-1), which extended its home winning streak to 33 games.

"We showed them how much heart we have," said Jarrett, who has a Pac-10 Conference-record 39 career TD catches. "At the beginning of the year, we were the only ones that believed in ourselves. You know every game, there was a couple of tight games. Media guys or whoever the case may be were saying we were going to lose or SC is struggling.

"You know, we knew what we could do with the talent we have on this team and we were the only ones that believed in ourselves, and it finally all starting to come together and we're looking great out there."

The Trojans will leapfrog Michigan for second place when the new BCS standings are released Sunday, meaning they would book a spot to challenge No. 1 Ohio State in the national title game with a victory at rival UCLA next week.

"To have a finish to a season like we have is just awesome," said USC coach Pete Carroll, who is 20-0 in November games over six seasons. "It has been a playoff run for us. That's just how we think and prepare."

USC appeared on the verge of blowing out Notre Dame after scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions, with Booty throwing a pair of TDs to Jarrett in the first quarter and scoring on a one-yard keeper for a 21-3 advantage with 11:37 left in the half.

But the Trojans sputtered on their next three possessions, having a punt blocked deep in their own territory before Booty threw a pair of interceptions.

However, the Irish only were able to convert the blocked punt into points, with Brady Quinn throwing a seven-yard pass to tight end Marcus Freeman to pull within 21-10 with 7:20 to play in the half. Quinn threw incomplete fourth-down passes to end drives following the interceptions.

Chauncey Washington extended the advantage to 28-10 on a three-yard run five minutes into the third quarter.

Quinn responded with a two-yard TD toss to Rhema McKnight on 4th-and-goal with 1:57 to go in the period, but the Trojans pulled away in the fourth, with Jarrett icing the game with a 43-yard TD catch-and-run that opened a 37-17 cushion with 8:21 to go.

"I was wide open, they were a little confused on their defense and John put it where it needed to be," Jarrett said. "I just went out there and grabbed the ball. I felt the safety coming over towards me a little bit, so I kind of braced myself for the hit and I just spun off of him and I just ran to the goal line."

Booty completed 17-of-28 passes for 265 yards for USC, which has won the last five meetings after dropping the previous three.

A Heisman Trophy candidate, Quinn went 22-of-45 for 274 yards and three TDs for the Irish (10-2), who needed to blow out the Trojans to have any shot at a BCS title game berth. He also ran 11 times for 74 yards.

"It was a combination of all three facets," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said. "We didn't win special teams, offense or defense. Stats are for losers. The bottom line is we moved the ball but didn't put it in the end zone. We were fighting uphill, battling most of the night and were not very productive."

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