January 2, 2008

Trojans mix old with new in victory

PASADENA - It was several parts flashback, with a strong nod toward the future.

John David Booty looked like John David Booty - the guy who put forth one of the best Rose Bowl performances last year. The defense was reminiscent of days of yore in the Pete Carroll era - Trojans ball hawks who stripped, tipped and picked their way to four turnovers. And the kid, freshman Joe McKnight, reminded more than one person of the guy he could replace - Reggie Bush - while adding an element of toughness to his elusive style in a career day.

USC won its 23rd Rose Bowl, 49-17 against Illinois on Tuesday, becoming the first school with six straight 11-win seasons.

"We maxed this one out," Carroll said. "This was as clean as the Oklahoma Orange Bowl preparation. And we played pretty close to it.

"Everyone contributed; tons of guys made plays. I'm not surprised, as much as just thrilled that we could be a part of it and see it happen."

Booty was the offensive player of the game for the second-straight year, throwing for 255 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-37 passing. His lone interception came on a play when the intended receiver fell down.

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