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John David Booty
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LOS ANGELES (AP) -As expected, No. 1 Southern California began the season with a one-sided victory. It could hardly be called a memorable performance.
John David Booty threw three touchdown passes, Stafon Johnson scored the first two TDs of his college career, and the Trojans sputtered at times while beating outmanned Idaho 38-10 Saturday night for their 34th straight victory at home dating to 2001 - the longest such active streak in the country.
"There's a lot of areas we can do better on," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "I didn't think that we took advantage of our really nice opportunities. We had some shots at guys and didn't hit them.
"I'm pleased to get this first game behind us. I'm happy that we won a game, and let's get to work for the next one. We know we have a very difficult matchup in two weeks."
After taking next weekend off, the Trojans figure to get a much stiffer test Sept. 15 when they travel to face No. 20 Nebraska, a 52-10 winner over Nevada on Saturday.
The crowd of 90,917 at the Los Angeles Coliseum got restless on occasion, and there were some boos following USC's second straight punt late in the second quarter. The vaunted USC defense allowed 182 yards of total offense in the first half and forced only one turnover.
"I felt like we didn't shut the run down like we should have," Carroll said. "I'm really disappointed we turned the ball over three times. The turnover thing is always going to be the No. 1 issue for us. This was not a good night in that area."
Favored by 46 points, the Trojans scored touchdowns on their first three possessions before being outgained in the second period. Then, they scored 17 points while holding Idaho without a first down in the third quarter to make it a runaway. Reserves played most of the final period.
USC entered the season with a 59-6 record during the last five years, and was ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason poll for the third time in four years.
Idaho was just 14-45 during the last five seasons, and Robb Akey is the Vandals' third coach in three years. Akey spent the last eight years as an assistant at Washington State.
"We had bodies where they belonged all night, but we were not making the plays," Akey said. "I'm excited about some of the things we did tonight. We did not win, so we can't get too carried away with this effort."
Booty completed 21 of 32 passes for 206 yards with one interception before coming out of the game for good late in the third quarter. C.J. Gable gained 68 yards on eight carries and Johnson, who had only three carries as a freshman last year, picked up 64 yards on 12 attempts.
"We had times where we played like we expected to play, and times there where we played like we don't want to play," Booty said. "The big thing is that we got our first win. I felt like we stopped ourselves at times."
The Trojans played without Patrick Turner, their leading returning receiver.
"He got a stinger in practice during the week," Carroll said. "He's just not back to full strength yet."
Idaho's Nathan Enderle completed 16 of 34 passes for 155 yards, and Deonte Jackson gained 99 yards on 22 carries. Both are redshirt freshman.
"This experience was way different than anything I'd seen before," Enderle said. "I liked it. I love coming here with the big crowd. We felt them giving us energy. We need to work on our red-zone play; we seemed to stall out every time we got near their goal."
A 4-yard run by Johnson and an 8-yard pass from Booty to Gable capped 80-yard scoring drives in the first quarter, and Booty threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Vidal Hazelton early in the second period.
Following their first touchdown, the Trojans lined up for the conversion without a kicker in memory of Mario Danelo, who made 26 of 28 field goals while holding the job the past two years before falling to his death Jan. 6. After USC took an intentional delay-of-game penalty, David Buehler kicked the first of his five conversions.
"Nobody around here's really gotten used to the thought of it, that Mario's not here," Carroll said. "The opportunity tonight to make a statement to Mario's family was a beautiful thing."
The USC offense didn't do much in the second quarter following the third touchdown, with Booty being intercepted by Shiloh Keo before the two punts, and Idaho finally showed some offense, putting together two impressive drives.
Tino Amancio's 36-yard field goal with 3 1/2 minutes left before halftime was blocked, but the Vandals moved into position for a 20-yarder by Amancio with 22 seconds left in the half, cutting USC's lead to 21-3.
The Vandals gained 122 yards to USC's 80 and had eight first downs to the Trojans' four in the second period.
Booty threw a 3-yard scoring pass to Stanley Havili to cap a 70-yard drive with the second-half kickoff, and the Trojans added a 1-yard scoring run by Johnson and a 36-yard field goal by Buehler before the third quarter was over, giving them a 38-3 lead.
Idaho scored its touchdown on a 1-yard run by Jayson Bird to cap a 39-yard drive after Keo's second interception of the game, this one on a pass thrown by Michael McDonald.
Keo also recovered a fumble by Joe McKnight at the USC 16 early in the fourth quarter before Amancio missed a 44-yard field goal.
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