USC Defense Dominates Wolverines Again

Jan. 1, 2007

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -They did it again, and this time the Trojans dominated Michigan even more than they did three years ago in another Rose Bowl.

Southern California sacked Chad Henne a season-high six times, limited Mike Hart to a season-low 47 yards rushing and took command in the third quarter thanks to two Michigan turnovers in beating the Wolverines 32-18 Monday.

The Trojans raised their Rose Bowl record against Michigan to 6-2, having beaten the Wolverines three straight times in Pasadena - including a 28-14 triumph three years ago in which they sacked John Navarre nine times.

No. 8 USC (11-2) lists only three seniors on its two-deep defensive depth chart. That defense peaked late in the season, allowing only 56 points in the last five regular-season games. Pete Carroll has called it the fastest and deepest defense in his six years as USC's coach.

The Trojans beat up the Wolverines by disguising their coverages and by blitzing from all directions.

The teams were tied 3-3 early in the third quarter when Henne, under the kind of heavy rush he saw most of the day, threw a short pass over the middle. But it went directly to defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson, whose interception at the Wolverines' 38 set up the go-ahead touchdown.

Later in the period, with the Trojans leading 16-3, Brian Cushing sacked Henne, forced a fumble and Jackson recovered at the Michigan 32. That led to a field goal.

Hart, who carried 17 times, had a previous low of 91 yards. He was the only running back in the country to rush for at least 90 yards in every game during the regular season.

When the 5-foot-9, 196-pound junior gained 11 on his first carry, it appeared he was on his way again. But he was held in check the rest of the way.

Michigan finished with 12 yards on the ground after netting a minus-9 on 16 carries in the first half, when Henne was sacked five times for 33 yards. The Wolverines had allowed 18 sacks in 12 previous games.



Cushing, a sophomore, had 2 1/2 sacks and was the defensive player of the game.

USC has won 56 of its last 60 games, but entered with a two-game losing streak at the Rose Bowl, losing 41-38 to Texas in the national championship game last January and 13-9 to UCLA on Dec. 2, knocking the Trojans out of this year's title game.

The Trojans now are 22-9 in a record 31 appearances in the Rose Bowl game.

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