LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- No. 1 Southern California overcame a slow start against Arizona and, as a result, has itself in position for a strong finish to the season.
Matt Leinart threw three touchdown passes, LenDale White ran for three scores and the Trojans scored 35 second-half points in a 49-9 rout of the Wildcats that clinched USC's third straight Pac-10 Conference title.
USC (10-0, 7-0 Pac-10) can do no worse than a Rose Bowl berth and likely is two wins away from a shot at the national title in the Orange Bowl. The Trojans host Notre Dame on November 27 and finish the season with rival UCLA on December 4.
"This is just a wonderful accomplishment for our program, tonight, at this point the first chance we had to clinch part of the conference title again and have the position we have about the Rose Bowl," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "At this point we've done everything we can do with the season, I couldn't be more proud and excited about where we are right now as a team."
In this one, Arizona (2-8, 1-6) held a 3-0 lead after the first quarter before the USC offense got on track and scored 21 consecutive points.
"I don't know where to start. USC is a very good football team. They're one of the better ones I've ever coached against," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "They make it look easy. They can hit you in a lot of different ways. We got out-manned, out-played and out-coached. That's why they're the No. 1 team in the country."
Leinart hit David Kirtman with a five-yard TD pass on the first play of the second quarter and White scored on a three-yard run just before the half to give USC a 14-3 lead at the break.
White added two more scoring runs in the third and Leinart hooked up with Dwayne Jarrett for a 12-yard scoring strike as USC opened a 35-9 lead heading into the fourth.
Jarrett finished with six catches for 144 yards and two TDs.
Leinart completed 27-of-35 passes for 280 yards and White rushed for 118 yards on 16 carries for USC, which won its 20th consecutive home game and 18th overall.
"We didn't even make any adjustments at halftime, we were fine," Leinart said. "We just kind of had to get, you know, maybe a little more physical and get our energy up a little bit, and in the second half we put up tons of points."