Illinois
9USC
17 - 49 Final
  for this game

Booty, McKnight propel Southern California past Illinois

Jan 2, 2008 - 4:33 AM PASADENA, California (Ticker) -- Southern California's John David Booty capped his collegiate career in style, though it was not where he wanted it to end.

Booty threw three touchdown passes and Chauncey Washington scored twice as the sixth-ranked Trojans won their second straight Rose Bowl, 49-17, against overmatched No. 13 Illinois on Tuesday.

A senior, Booty was 25-of-37 for 255 yards with one interception, while freshman running back Joe McKnight ran for a season-high 125 yards on 10 carries with a TD.

"It was incredible," said Booty of his collegiate career. "The last five years have been the best of my life. That's the only way I know how to put it.

"Until you go through it, I always dreamed about being in this situation as a young kid. Playing for an unbelievable coach, what a great school, awesome program."

Overall, it was a dominant end to a relatively disappointing season for USC, which certainly did not expect to be playing in "The Granddaddy of Them All" when the season started.

"We weren't disappointed we weren't playing for the national championship," defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis said. "It wasn't a concern to us. We treated it like it was the national championship. We acted like it was the national championship game."

Meanwhile, McKnight echoed the sentiment of many regarding the current postseason system.

"I wish there was a playoff," McKnight said. "I think we could go into the playoffs with all the momentum and go to the national championship."

The Trojans held the Fighting Illini to just 4-of-14 on third-down conversions while turning four Illinois turnovers into 28 points.

USC tied the Rose Bowl record for points and set a new mark with 633 total yards.

"This is a great place to end your season and to win here is great," said USC coach Pete Carroll, who captured his third Rose Bowl win in seven seasons. "I am so proud to be a part of this run."

Still, the win had to be bittersweet for Booty and USC (11-2), who had their sights set on the Bowl Championship Series title game. On the other hand, Illinois (9-4) was just hoping to avoid another 10-loss season.

But the Trojans overpowered the Illini to end the season on a high note and wrap up their fourth Rose Bowl win since 1996 and 23rd win in 32 appearances.

The consensus preseason No. 1, USC was one of many teams tripped up in what has been a topsy-turvy season.

A preseason Heisman candidate, Booty broke his finger in a stunning 24-23 loss to Stanford - a 41-point underdog - on October 6. USC also became one of seven No. 2 teams to lose when they fell at Oregon three weeks later without Booty under center.

"We would have had that opportunity and save the injury," said Carroll of Booty's early-season Heisman hopes and the national title dreams of USC. "You know, there's nothing we can do about it. Other than that, he had an incredible career. He did everything he could do here. He's a championship quarterback again and the MVP in the Rose and two-time captain."

That loss essentially ruined USC's national title hopes, but it responded by winning its final four games to earn the school's second straight Rose Bowl appearance.

"We made it positive," Washington said. "By losing to Stanford I think we came together as a team and we could have gone the opposite way, but we didn't. We stayed focused and clicked together and came out here and made it to the Rose Bowl. Every year our goal is to be Pac-10 champions and we did that. That was a success for us."

Rashard Mendenhall carried 17 times for 155 yards for the Illini, who were one of those teams that threw a wrench into the BCS picture.

Illinois' signature win was an upset of then-No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus on November 21, and it helped propel it to its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1984.

However, Southern California made the Illinois' first bowl appearance since 2002 a forgettable one, outgaining it, 194-79, en route to a 21-3 halftime lead.

Mendenhall cut the lead to 21-10 when he broke off a 79-yard TD run with 12:45 left in the third.

The Illini appeared to be gaining momentum when the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year ripped off a 55-yard catch-and-run to the USC 22. But linebacker Brian Cushing recovered receiver Jacob Willis' fumble in the end zone to quash any scoring threat.

On the ensuing USC possesion, McKnight picked up a lateral on the bounce and raced 64 yard to the Illinois 12-yard line.

"He threw it behind the line and it bounced around I knew it was going to have a lucky bounce and bounce up into my hands," McKnight said. "I just took it upfield."

McKnight's key run set up Booty's second touchdown pass of the game to tight end Fred Davis to make it 28-10 with 20 seconds left in the third, which effectively sealed the win.

"I felt the momentum change when I got the lateral pass," McKnight said. "It felt good to have the momentum back on our side. That was the end of the game for us."

Booty added his final scoring pass less than a minute into the fourth quarter on a 15-yard play to David Ausberry, setting a Rose Bowl record for seven career TD passes.

Juice Williams was 21-of-35 for 245 yards and pair of interceptions for Illinois, which has been outscored, 94-26, in its last two Rose Bowl appearances.

"It's all about momentum swings and it is going to be like it (was), up and down," Mendenhall said. "We had to capitalize when we had a chance, and when you are in the red zone you have to score."

Freshman Eddie McGee replaced Williams late and threw a 56-yard touchdown to fellow freshman Arrelious Benn for the final margin.

"This is something we need to learn from," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "We will learn from this and next time we will be better prepared to play like we know we are capable of playing."








  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ILLINOIS (13) 0 3 7 7 17
    USC (6) 14 7 14 14 49 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: USC - TD, CHAUNCEY WASHINGTON 8 YD PASS
    FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY (DAVID
    BUEHLER KICK), 4:03. USC 7-0
    USC - TD, DESMOND REED 34 YD PASS FROM
    JOHN DAVID BOOTY (D

    Jan 1 8:51 PM
  • 82
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    ekabrazi Added 5 roots

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 8:49 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD ILLINOIS
    ARRELIOUS BENN 56 YD PASS FROM EDDIE MCGEE
    (JASON REDA KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 17
    USC (6) 49 4:28 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 8:42 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD USC
    HERSHEL DENNIS 3 YD RUN
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 10
    USC (6) 49 5:50 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 8:37 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD USC
    DAVID AUSBERRY 15 YD PASS FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 10
    USC (6) 42 14:10 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 8:05 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ILLINOIS (13) 0 3 7 10
    USC (6) 14 7 14 35 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: USC - TD, CHAUNCEY WASHINGTON 8 YD PASS
    FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY (DAVID
    BUEHLER KICK), 4:03. USC 7-0
    USC - TD, DESMOND REED 34 YD PASS FROM
    JOHN DAVID

    Jan 1 7:58 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD USC
    JOE MCKNIGHT 6 YD RUN
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 10
    USC (6) 35 3:42 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 7:48 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD USC
    FRED DAVIS 2 YD PASS FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 10
    USC (6) 28 5:18 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 7:40 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD ILLINOIS
    RASHARD MENDENHALL 79 YD RUN
    (JASON REDA KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 10
    USC (6) 21 12:33 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 7:16 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ILLINOIS (13) 0 3 3
    USC (6) 14 7 21 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: USC - TD, CHAUNCEY WASHINGTON 8 YD PASS
    FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY (DAVID
    BUEHLER KICK), 4:03. USC 7-0
    USC - TD, DESMOND REED 34 YD PASS FROM
    JOHN DAVID BOO

    Jan 1 6:43 PM
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    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 6:41 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    FG ILLINOIS
    JASON REDA 28 YD
    ILLINOIS (13) 3
    USC (6) 21 0:41 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 6:39 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD USC
    CHAUNCEY WASHINGTON 3 YD RUN
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 0
    USC (6) 21 2:21 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 6:29 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ILLINOIS (13) 0 0
    USC (6) 14 14 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: USC - TD, CHAUNCEY WASHINGTON 8 YD PASS
    FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY (DAVID
    BUEHLER KICK), 4:03. USC 7-0
    USC - TD, DESMOND REED 34 YD PASS FROM
    JOHN DAVID

    Jan 1 5:57 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD USC
    DESMOND REED 34 YD PASS FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 0
    USC (6) 14 8:30 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 5:36 PM


  • ROSE BOWL
    AT PASADENA CA
    NCAAF ROSE BOWL
    TD USC
    CHAUNCEY WASHINGTON 8 YD PASS FROM JOHN DAVID BOOTY
    (DAVID BUEHLER KICK)
    ILLINOIS (13) 0
    USC (6) 7 10:57 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 5:23 PM
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    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 5:11 PM
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    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 4:47 PM
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    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 2:38 PM
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    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 2:06 PM
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    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Jan 1 10:10 AM
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    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Dec 18 10:16 PM
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    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Dec 16 1:51 PM
  • MaxOmuS Man, I would love to see the Zookster pull this one off, I'm so sick of all the constant USC hype...

    Illinois(13) vs. USC(6)Dec 16 1:51 PM