Johnson's 128 receiving yards, TD, help So. Cal. back up its trash talking

By Craig Sanders

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Brash and bravado, confident and more than a little cocky Southern Cal came out talking the talk and walking the walk Saturday night.

In their 31-10 thrashing of the Wildcats at Arizona Stadium, the Trojans came in swaggering and left spouting off at the team they had just defeated.

"So much for the Desert Swarm," USC receiver Keyshawn Johnson said as soon as he stepped out of the showers. "They came out talking and I knew they were thinking about me. They were out of their league."

Johnson, a Heisman Trophy candidate, did more than his share to back up his talk. On a drive during the second quarter, Johnson caught two consecutive passes, one a 26-yard play in which he had Arizona safety Mikal Smith running in circles, and another in which he grabbed a quick hitch and juked three defenders on his way to a 28-yard touchdown. Johnson finished the game with nine receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown.

"We were all over them," Johnson said. "(Johnny) McWilliams caught the ball, (Rodney) Sermons caught the ball. Cover me and see what happens to you."

What happened to the Wildcats is that they were dominated from that first USC touchdown until the final seconds ticked off the clock. As Arizona fans filed out of the stadium, Trojan fans celebrated in the southwest corner, chanting "beat the Sun Devils" in mockery of the home fans who remained around them.

When the game ended, the USC band struck up its fight song and players marched off the field, their fans humming the tune and holding up two fingers in the Trojan sign of victory.

Most Southern Cal players seemed quite content to beat the Wildcats.

"I'm so happy we beat them. You don't know how badly I wanted to beat them," Johnson said. "I followed them through high school and junior college and I just wanted to win. I woke up at five in the morning, worrying about what I'm going to do to them."

"It wasn't a walk in the park," said USC quarterback Kyle Wachholtz, who entered the game when starter Brad Otton had the wind knocked out of him in the first quarter. "Arizona has a good team, but we just worked our butts off. We came in and beat them in their own house."

Other members of the Trojans laughed off their victory in the locker room.

"You better be afraid of their third-team offense," one player yelled sarcastically, in reference to Arizona's touchdown drive in the final minutes. "Man, they're dangerous."

Wachholtz said he was not surprised by his team's ability to move the ball seemingly at will. The Arizona defense has lost respect in the eyes of many of the Trojan players.

"By watching film, I don't think they have the personnel they had a couple of years ago," Wachholtz said. "They don't have the speed. Our defense did a great job. I think they deserve more respect than Arizona's defense."

Wachholtz had 138 yards and three touchdowns on eight-of-nine passing. Otton, who split time with Wachholtz throughout the game, finished 12-of-17 for 95 yards.

"I don't think there is anything wrong with their defensive scheme," Johnson said. "I just don't think they have the players to run it anymore."

Read Next Article