USC routs Notre Dame; West Virginia upset by South Florida

Nov 26, 2006 - 6:49 AM BRISTOL, Connecticut (Ticker) -- On September 16, Michigan's Mario Manningham repeatedly burned Notre Dame's secondary. On Saturday, it was Dwayne Jarrett's turn.

Jarrett had seven catches for 132 yards and three touchdowns as third-ranked Southern California moved to the brink of a spot in the Bowl Championship Series national title game with a 44-24 rout of No. 6 Notre Dame.

Ten weeks ago, Manningham had three TD grabs against Notre Dame's overmatched secondary as the Wolverines routed the Fighting Irish in South Bend, 47-21. The Irish had not lost since, but they also had not faced a receiver remotely the caliber of Jarrett, the Pac-10 Conference's all-time leader in career TD catches (39).

John David Booty overcame a pair of interceptions to complete 17-of-28 passes for 265 yards and run for a score for the Trojans (10-1), who will leapfrog Michigan for second place in the BCS standings on Sunday. With a win next week at rival UCLA, they would set up a meeting with top-ranked Ohio State for the national title.

"Booty was just ripping it and Jarrett was just on fire," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "He was doing all the great things that great players do."

Heisman Trophy candidate Brady Quinn went 22-of-45 for 274 yards and three TDs for Notre Dame (10-2), which still may be selected for a BCS bowl.

"We have no excuses," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said. "We lost to a better team. They did a great job of preparation and a good job of coaching, and a good job on offense, defense and special teams. They made more plays than we did."

Fourth-ranked Florida (11-1) kept alive its slim hopes of reaching the BCS title game with a 21-14 win at Florida State. Chris Leak threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns, including a go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter, for the Gators, who have won three consecutive meetings with the Seminoles for the first time since reeling off six straight from 1981-86.

Seventh-ranked West Virginia (9-2) greatly damaged its BCS bowl hopes with a 24-19 home loss to South Florida in Big East Conference action. Steve Slaton and Pat White, who had rushed for a combined 435 yards last week against Pittsburgh, were limited to just 60.

The Mountaineers slipped a game behind No. 8 Louisville (10-1) and No. 15 Rutgers (10-1) in the Big East standings after the latter two teams won Saturday. The Cardinals beat host Pitt, 48-24, while the Scarlet Knights routed visiting Syracuse, 38-7. West Virginia hosts Rutgers, which controls its own destiny, next week while Louisville takes on lowly Connecticut.

With the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division title up for grabs, No. 20 Wake Forest (10-2) downed host Maryland (8-4), 38-24. The Demon Deacons will face No. 16 Georgia Tech in next week's ACC championship game.

No. 18 Boston College (9-3) had a shot at the division crown before losing at Miami on Thursday, 17-14.

The Hurricanes became bowl eligible with the win but fired coach Larry Coker on Friday morning. He went 59-15 in six seasons, guiding the team to the national championship in 2001.

No. 12 Boise State (12-0) almost certainly secured a BCS bowl berth with a 38-7 rout at Nevada. Ian Johnson returned from injury to rush for 147 yards and three touchdowns for the Broncos, who won the outright Mountain West Conference title.

No. 13 Oklahoma (10-2) clinched the Big 12 Conference South Division title with a 27-21 triumph at Oklahoma State. The Sooners had the opportunity after No. 11 Texas (9-3) was shocked at home by Texas A&M on Friday, 12-7.

Next weekend, the Sooners will play Big 12 North winner Nebraska for the conference title in Kansas City. The 23rd-ranked Cornhuskers (9-3) scored 23 unanswered points to defeat visiting Colorado, 37-14, on Friday.

Also Friday, ninth-ranked LSU (10-2) edged No. 5 Arkansas (10-2), 31-26, in a wild Southeastern Conference contest in Little Rock.

LSU's JaMarcus Russell went 14-of-22 for 210 yards and two TDs, helping his team make a case for a BCS at-large selection.

Darren McFadden and Felix Jones combined to rush for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns for the Razorbacks, who already had claimed the SEC West Division title and will meet SEC East champ Florida in the conference championship game next weekend.

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