TEMPE, Ariz. - Forty-seven days after an unimaginable loss to Stanford, Southern Cal is back in the Rose Bowl hunt.
John David Booty threw for 375 yards and matched a career high with four touchdown passes as the 11th-ranked Trojans routed No. 7 Arizona State, 44-24, last night, reviving their bid for an unprecedented sixth straight Pac-10 title.
Southern Cal (9-2, 6-2 Pac-10) will win the conference outright if it beats UCLA Dec. 1 and Oregon loses to UCLA or Oregon State.
The Trojans needed no help in dismantling the Sun Devils (9-2, 6-2).
The Southern Cal defense overwhelmed Arizona State, sacking quarterback Rudy Carpenter six times. Trojans defensive end Lawrence Jackson had four sacks, most in a game by a Trojans player since 1989.
Southern Cal broke open a 17-17 game with 10 points in the final five minutes of the first half, then pulled away from the Sun Devils with 17 more points in the third quarter.
Booty hit Joe McKnight for a 7-yard touchdown midway through the quarter, then connected with Fred Davis for a 34-yard score on fourth and 2 to give the Trojans a 44-17 lead entering the fourth.
ASU has staged some stirring rallies this season, but the Sun Devils had no chance against Southern Cal's defense, which allows 16 points per game, sixth in the nation.
ASU rushed 27 times for zero yards through three quarters.
It was Southern Cal's eighth straight win over Arizona State.