In what is to become an all-time classic, USC drove the length of the field with under a minute to go, pulling victory from the jaws of defeat in South Bend.
At face value the numbers on quarterback Matt Leinart were not overwhelming. The Trojan signal caller completed just 17-of-33 passing for 301-yards with no touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. What was impressive was the way Leinart led USC from behind on two occasions, including the last minute 75-yard drive. During the final set of plays Leinart hit receiver Dwayne Jarrett for a 61-yard reception on fourth-and-nine from the Trojans 26-yard line. While his command of the offense and poise under pressure was impressive all day, it stood out during crunch time.
Trojan back Reggie Bush again made his claim for this year's Heisman Trophy posting 160-yards with three scores on the ground, averaging 10.7-yards on 15 carries. Bush went on to add 35 receiving yards with another 70 returning punts and kicks. His all-purpose total on the day was 265-yards.
Three more quarterbacks added to already strong senior campaigns with good outings last weekend.
Oregon passer Kellen Clemens completed 75% of his throws, amassing 425-passing yards as the Ducks trounced Pac Ten foe Washington. In seven games Clemens has totaled 2219 yards through the air, completing 64.6% of his passes. Most impressive is a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 18-to-3. Mostly a timing passer in the short field, Clemens has significantly improved his draft stock. He will get middle round consideration from a team which employs the west coast offense.
Coming into the season Penn State passer Michael Robinson was considered this years' version of Rasheed Marshall; a college quarterback who projected to receiver in the NFL. That thinking is starting to change. Robinson completed 56% of his passes for 239 yards during Penn State's last second loss at the hands of Michigan. On the year Robinson has been very efficient and is making some believe he can play behind center at the next level.
Since Mike Leach took over as coach at Texas Tech his Red Raiders have put up eye-popping offensive numbers through the air. As a result, quarterbacks from the program are closely monitored by NFL-scouts. This year's gunslinger from Lubbock, Cody Hodges, is a legitimate pro-prospect. Named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, Hodges posted an amazing 643-yards passing against conference opponent Kansas State. On the season Hodges has completed close to 72% of his throws while averaging 410-passing yards per game. This Saturday the Red Raiders travel to Austin, taking on undefeated Texas. A tough Longhorns defensive line and talented secondary will be a big proving ground for Hodges, who has gone from draft afterthought to late round pick based on his performance this year.
After missing a pair of contests with a knee injury offensive tackle D'Brickshaw Ferguson was solid in his return, helping lead Virginia to victory over formerly unbeaten Florida State. For the Seminoles, defensive end Kamerion Wimbley showed well for himself, turning in a pair of sacks against the Cavs tough offensive line.
Linebacker Tim McGarigle of Northwestern is having a standout senior campaign. Leading the team with 79-tackles, McGarigle boosted his total with a 25-tackle performance against Wisconsin earlier this month, one shy of the NCAA single game record. A natural inside linebacker, McGarigle will be coveted in the middle rounds by teams which run a 3-4 defense.
Another linebacker catching the eye of NFL scouts is Penn State junior Paul Posluszny. Leading the Lions with 82 total tackles, he recorded 11 against Michigan last Saturday. It was the fifth game this season Posluszny led the defense in tackles.