LOS ANGELES (AP) – Reggie Bush has dominated many games with his dazzling moves and sprinter’s speed.

Never like this.

Bush was so electrifying in No. 1 Southern California’s wild 50-42 victory over Fresno State on Saturday night, the Bulldogs were left muttering to themselves afterward.

“He found little creases in little holes, and split them for big plays,” linebacker Dwayne Andrews said after Bush shredded No. 16 Fresno State for a Pac-10 record 513 all-purpose yards as the Trojans kept their hopes alive for an unprecedented third straight national championship.

“When he breaks (loose), it’s like, “Ah, here we go again,”‘ quarterback Paul Pinegar said.

“No. 5 (Bush) is a great, great player,” coach Pat Hill said.

The win was the 33rd straight for USC (11-0, 7-0 Pac-10) and its 26th in a row at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where a crowd of 90,007 watched the 23-point underdog Bulldogs give the Trojans all they could handle. Without Bush, the Trojans might have well been in deep trouble against a team that did an excellent job limiting Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart and containing the inside running of LenDale White.

But the Bulldogs (8-2, 6-0 WAC) couldn’t keep up with the elusive 6-foot-0, 200-pound junior, who made a strong Heisman Trophy statement by running for 294 yards on 23 carries and scoring on runs of 45 and 50 yards. Bush’s 294 yards are a career high and the second-highest rushing total at USC, surpassed only by Ricky Bell’s 347-yard effort against Washington State in 1976.

Bush also caught three passes for 68 yards. His all-purpose yardage easily broke the USC record of 368 yards set by Anthony Davis in 1972.

“I was really feeling it – I was in synch tonight,” Bush said. “They were trying to take angles on me early in the game, and I remembered that and cut back on them as the game wore on.”

That was evident on the 50-yard scoring run late in the third quarter that gave the Trojans a 41-28 lead.

Bush credited his offensive line and receivers for their downfield blocking, but it appeared he did much of the damage on his own.

“Reggie’s extraordinary; stats don’t tell the whole story,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “He lit it up and was electric all night long. We expect guys like him to separate himself from the others at the end of the season. He’s just got the magic.”

As if to show he’s human, Bush fumbled while returning a kickoff in the fourth quarter, and Fresno State’s Jason Huss recovered to set up an 18-yard touchdown run by Wendell Mathis that put the Bulldogs on top 42-41 with 9:47 remaining.

“It was hard to stay positive after the turnover. I was a little down,” Bush said. “But my teammates backed me up. I can’t get frustrated – I have to stay positive.”

Said Carroll: “It broke his heart when he fumbled the ball. But that wasn’t the end of the game.”

It certainly wasn’t. The Trojans responded by moving 89 yards to take a 47-42 lead, scoring on a 2-yard run by White with 6:22 remaining. The first three plays of the drive were runs of 6 and 19 yards by Bush and a 43-yard pass from Leinart to Bush.

Three plays after White’s go-ahead touchdown, Lawrence Jackson sacked Pinegar and forced a fumble, which Brian Cushing recovered at the Fresno State 15. That set up a 26-yard field goal by Mario Danelo with 3:06 to play that completed the scoring.

The Bulldogs moved to the USC 25 before Darnell Bing intercepted a pass by Pinegar at the goal line and returned it 40 yards with 1:46 to play. The Trojans then ran out the clock.

“They’re one of the best teams in the history of football in my eyes,” Andrews said.

That must make his Bulldogs pretty good, too.

Carroll can attest to that.

“No question, they should be in the top 10 – easily,” the USC coach said.

Leinart completed 22 of 33 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown. Pinegar was 27-of-45 for 317 yards and four TDs with four interceptions. Mathis gained 109 yards on 23 carries.

USC, which has clinched the Pac-10’s BCS bowl berth, finishes the regular season Dec. 3 against No. 11 UCLA (9-0, 6-1).

AP-ES-11-20-05 1614EST


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.