Jan. 1, 2007
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - There were no Heismans or national titles up for grabs in this one for Southern California. It was hard to tell, though, given the way Dwayne Jarrett, John David Booty and that suffocating USC defense played.
Jarrett, the sensational USC receiver, caught 11 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns to help the eighth-ranked Trojans finish their season with a statement Monday in a 32-18 Rose Bowl romp over Michigan.
Booty threw for 391 yards and four scores to land himself on the early short list of next year's Heisman favorites. Jarrett could be there, too, if he decides to come back. Linebacker Brian Cushing had 2 1/2 sacks and defensive end Lawrence Jackson came up with two turnovers - a fumble recovery and an interception - on a day when USC allowed only 321 yards.
The Trojans (11-2) salvaged something positive at the Rose Bowl and set themselves up as next year's possible preseason No. 1 - all this just four weeks after a 13-9 loss to UCLA in the same stadium wrecked their chances for another shot at the national title.
Jarrett, a junior, showed he's ready for the pros if he so chooses. His 62-yard touchdown behind All-American cornerback Leon Hall put USC ahead 25-11 early in the fourth and showed just how good the 6-foot-5 pass catcher can be.
For icing, Jarrett outjumped a pair of Michigan defenders for a 29-yard gain midway through the fourth quarter. A few plays later, Booty threw his fourth touchdown pass - this one to senior Steve Smith, who finished with seven catches for 108 yards.
On the losing end were Chad Henne, Mike Hart and the rest of the Wolverines (11-2).
They came in wondering if maybe they hadn't gotten a raw deal by being left out of the national title game after a back-and-forth 42-39 loss to Ohio State in the wake of Bo Schembechler's death in November.
But these Wolverines didn't look as good as the ones who lost that heartbreaker in November. And they hardly looked like champions.
Henne didn't get the Wolverines past the USC 20 until they had fallen behind 19-3. When Michigan finally did reach the end zone to cut its deficit to 19-11, the Trojans came right back with the drive capped by Jarrett's long touchdown.
Lloyd Carr's team lost its fourth straight bowl game and ended the season on a two-game losing streak for the third consecutive year. These late-season swoons are becoming a serious problem for a team that has lots of juniors returning next season and, like USC, could be a title contender.