LOS ANGELES (AP)—LenDale White got together with some old friends Saturday night. He had a much better time than they did.
White gained 123 yards on 14 carries and scored a career-high three touchdowns as No. 1 Southern California overpowered Colorado State 49-0, handing the Rams their most lopsided loss in eight years.
The win was USC’s 22nd in 23 games and 11th straight—the second-longest active winning streak among Division I-A schools behind Boise State’s 13.
It was also the Trojans’ 16th consecutive triumph at the Coliseum dating back nearly three years—their longest winning streak at home since they won 19 straight from 1931-33.
Unlike their opener, when they had to rally for a 24-13 victory over Virginia Tech, the Trojans (2-0) played like an elite team.
“This is what we hoped to do when we came home,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “This game was a great statement for us. We did a lot of things we wanted to do—rushed the ball real well. We thought Colorado State would be a tough opponent based on their first game.”
The Rams lost to rival Colorado 27-24 last weekend.
White, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound sophomore from Littleton Colo., knows several players on the Rams and was recruited by Colorado State. But USC won out, and he stepped right in to contribute as a freshman, gaining a team-leading 754 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns last year.
USC netted only 101 yards rushing against Virginia Tech—78 by White. The Trojans ran for 322 against Colorado State—the most by a USC team since it gained 331 against Ohio State in 1990.
“They proved that they are a good one—one of the best in the nation,” White said of USC’s rebuilt offensive line. “It takes a few weeks to get the rhythm, but once they got it going, they were making some huge holes for me.”
USC’s Matt Leinart completed 20 of 31 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns without being intercepted. Leinart, who also rushed for 46 yards on seven carries, came out of the game for good late in the third quarter. He has passed for two or more TDs in 14 straight games.
Reggie Bush, who made three touchdown receptions against Virginia Tech, rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries and scored once. Steve Smith made eight receptions for 79 yards and also scored once.
CSU’s Justin Holland, who passed for 403 yards against Colorado, completed 19 of 35 passes for 233 yards, but was intercepted four times. USC scored following five of the Rams’ six turnovers.
“I’m not taking anything away from USC. They’re a national championship caliber team. But we’re much better than that,” Holland said. “It wasn’t that we couldn’t move the ball or that our defense couldn’t play with them. We just turned the ball over.”
David Anderson caught nine passes for 137 yards, and Uldis Jaunarajs led the Rams in rushing with a career-high 74 yards on 13 carries.
The Rams (0-2) were shut out for the first time in 85 games. They hadn’t been blanked since losing to Air Force 24-0 in 1997. They suffered their most one-sided loss since a 65-9 setback to Nebraska in 1996.
“That was embarrassing. That sums it up—just embarrassing,” CSU defensive end Patrick Goodpaster said.
After losing a fumble deep in CSU territory on their first possession, the Trojans scored the next three times they had the ball on runs of 11, 1 and 3 yards by White.
USC moved 92 yards on 12 plays for its first touchdown.
The Rams then drove 65 yards to the Trojans’ 15 before Matt Grootegoed picked off Holland’s pass over the middle and returned it 57 yards to the CSU 32. Leinart threw a 31-yard pass to Chris McFoy before White scored on the next play.
White’s third TD capped a 74-yard, seven-play drive.
The Rams got a break late in the second quarter when Greig Carlson fumbled a fair catch and Liddon Levine recovered at the USC 8. But Joel Dreessen fumbled on the next play and Jason Leach recovered. The Trojans then moved 96 yards on nine plays, scoring on a 7-yard run by Bush.
Grootegoed intercepted Holland again early in the third quarter, setting up a 64-yard, nine-play drive capped by Leinart’s 5-yard pass to Smith. The big play was a 17-yard run by White on fourth-and-one to the CSU 17.
The Rams then moved to the USC 34 before Holland’s long pass was intercepted by Eric Wright at the USC 2. White gained 42 yards on the next play.
The Trojans eventually had to punt, but Dallas Sartz intercepted another Holland pass, putting USC in position for Leinart’s 4-yard TD pass to freshman Dwayne Jarrett, who turned 18 Saturday.
Freshman Jeff Schweiger sacked Holland, forced a fumble, and Manuel Wright picked it up and ran 20 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
“We’re bruised and hurt,” CSU coach Sonny Lubick said. “Give credit to the USC players. But we did make our share of mistakes.”
The game was played before a crowd of 85,521. The fans stood and cheered as USC’s national championship banner from last year was unveiled before the opening kickoff.