Matt Leinart passed for 308 yards and LenDale White scored on a two-yard run with 6 minutes 15 seconds left, capping top-ranked Southern California's comeback from an 11-point deficit for a 31-28 victory over Stanford last night in Palo Alto, Calif.
Steve Smith caught eight passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, and Reggie Bush contributed 95 yards rushing and a key punt return to the Trojans' 13th straight victory. After yielding 291 yards in the first half, USC (4-0, 1-0 Pacific-10) gave up just 36 after halftime.
Stanford (2-1, 0-1) took a 28-17 lead into halftime, scoring on a fake field goal and on J.R. Lemon's 82-yard touchdown run as time ran out.
"That was my fault," USC Coach Pete Carroll said of Lemon's jaunt up the middle, when he roared through the secondary. "I called the wrong [defense]. But I told the guys at halftime that this would only make us tougher. This will benefit us every day for the rest of the season."
Leinart was 24 of 30 and got his offense going late in the third quarter on Smith's 51-yard reception to the Stanford 12. Leinart scored on a one-yard keeper, cutting it to 28-24.
Ryan Killeen missed a 23-yard field goal on the Trojans' next drive, but Bush's spinning 33-yard punt return set up a short drive culminating with White plowing straight ahead for the winning score.
Stanford couldn't reach midfield on its final drive, with defensive end Frostee Rucker flattening Trent Edwards on a fourth-down incompletion with four minutes left. Southern Cal then ran out the clock.
"At halftime, this was the first time this team really had a chance to bond," USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody said. "We're not always going to blow teams out. You need these kinds of nights to get a real team together."
Edwards was 23 of 35 for 183 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinal.
"Of course we can take a lot of positives out of this, but I told the team there's no point in coming close," Stanford Coach Buddy Teevens said. "It's a loss. We had the opportunity, and we let it go."
* MICHIGAN 30, IOWA 17: Braylon Edwards caught six passes for 150 yards and a touchdown and the No. 18 Wolverines turned four turnovers into 27 points to win at home.
Michigan (3-1, 1-0) won its 23rd consecutive Big Ten opener. It has won 12 straight at home since Iowa handed the Wolverines their worst loss at Michigan Stadium since 1967, a 34-9 setback two years ago.
Ed Hinkel's one-handed, diving touchdown catch on the opening drive gave the Hawkeyes (2-2, 0-1) their only lead. Hinkel's 10-yard touchdown grab midway through the fourth quarter made it 30-17.
Chad Henne was 16 of 26 for 236 yards with a touchdown for Michigan. Iowa's Drew Tate was 24 of 32 for 270 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Michael Hart ran for 99 yards and a touchdown for the Wolverines.
* WEST VIRGINIA 45, JAMES MADISON 10: Rasheed Marshall threw two touchdown passes to Chris Henry to lead the No. 6 Mountaineers (4-0) past the Division I-AA Dukes in Morgantown, W. Va.
West Virginia's defense scored one touchdown and set up another. Marshall completed 17 of 22 passes for 184 yards. Henry finished with seven catches for 74 yards.
Defensive tackle Brandon Beach returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Dukes (2-1)
* UTAH 49, AIR FORCE 35: In Salt Lake City, Marty Johnson tied a school record with four rushing touchdowns, enabling the No. 14 Utes to start out 4-0 for the first time since 1994, when they went 10-2 and finished the season ranked 10th.
Alex Smith added a rushing touchdown and passed for 260 yards and two more scores. Utah won its Mountain West conference opener despite falling behind 14-0 to the Falcons (2-2, 1-1).
* WISCONSIN 16, PENN STATE 3: Matt Bernstein rushed for 123 yards to spark No. 20 Wisconsin (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at home.
The loss was costly for the Nittany Lions (2-2, 0-1), who in the first quarter lost both quarterback Zack Mills (Urbana High) to an injured shoulder and his replacement, Michael Robinson, who suffered a concussion and was taken off the field by ambulance.
After the game, Penn State Coach Joe Paterno learned his son-in-law, Chris Hort, had been involved in a serious bicycle accident in State College, Pa., and immediately flew home ahead of his team.
* TEXAS 35, RICE 13: Cedric Benson rushed for 189 yards and a touchdown and Vince Young passed for three scores to power the No. 5 Longhorns at home.
Texas (3-0) piled up 339 yards on the ground. The Longhorns have won 37 of the last 38 meetings with the Owls (2-1).
* FLORIDA 20, KENTUCKY 3: In Gainesville, Fla., Ciatrick Fason rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns to lead the 16th-ranked Gators.
Florida (2-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) held the Wildcats (1-2, 0-1) to 207 yards in winning for the 18th straight time in the series. Chris Leak completed 25 of 43 passes for 261 yards for Florida.
* AUBURN 33, THE CITADEL 3: Jason Campbell passed for 194 yards in the first half and the ninth-ranked Tigers coasted at home.
Auburn (4-0) had no problem overcoming a few sloppy plays against the Division I-AA Bulldogs (0-2). The Tigers outgained The Citadel 593-169 in total yards.
* PURDUE 38, ILLINOIS 30: In Champaign, Ill., Kyle Orton passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns, and Taylor Stubblefield caught 11 passes for 115 yards and three scores for the No. 15 Boilermakers.
Orton completed 35 of 50 passes and was not intercepted for the third straight game as Purdue (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) rolled up 515 yards. Jon Beutjer threw three touchdown passes for the Illini (2-2, 0-1).
* LOUISIANA ST. 51, MISSISSIPPI ST. 0: Alley Broussard ran for three touchdowns in the first 17 minutes and the No. 13 Tigers held the Bulldogs (1-3, 0-2 SEC) to seven first downs and 130 yards in Baton Rouge, La.
Louisiana State (3-1, 1-1) rolled up 594 yards and led 34-0 at half. The LSU defense had four interceptions, recovered a fumble, and scored a touchdown.
* TENNESSEE 42, LOUISIANA TECH 17: Erik Ainge threw three touchdown passes and Cedric Houston ran for 160 yards and two more scores for the 11th-ranked Volunteers (3-0) in Knoxville, Tenn.
Ainge finished 10 of 15 for 198 yards, and Gerald Riggs had a career-high 116 yards on 16 carries.
The Bulldogs (2-2) lost quarterback Donald Allen at the end of his first series with a right arm injury. Matt Kubik replaced him and was intercepted twice.
* MINNESOTA 43, NORTHWESTERN 17: Laurence Maroney had a 50-yard touchdown run and finished with 145 yards rushing, and Justin Valentine ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for a third for No. 19 Minnesota (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at home.
Maroney had 100 yards rushing for the fifth straight game. Jeff Backes returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown for the Wildcats (1-3, 0-1) .
* LOUISVILLE 34, NORTH CAROLINA 0: In Chapel Hill, N.C., Eric Shelton ran for 86 yards and three touchdowns for the No. 24 Cardinals (3-0). The Tar Heels (2-2) were held to 222 total yards.