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USC's reign at No. 1 tenuous after close call

Published Aug. 28, 2005

Southern California's hold on No. 1 loosened after the Trojans struggled against Stanford.

USC received 46 first-place votes in the Associated Press Top 25 released Sunday, eight fewer than last week.

Idle Oklahoma benefited most from Southern Cal's come-from-behind 31-28 victory on Saturday. The second-ranked Sooners got 18 first-place votes and narrowed the gap between them and the Trojans to 35 (1,605-1,570).

USC trailed 28-17 at the half to Stanford, but never panicked.

"It was fun," USC quarterback Matt Leinart said. "We haven't had too many close games."

The Trojans defense came alive in the second half, shutting out the Cardinal and allowing just 36 yards. Meanwhile, Leinart and tailbacks Reggie Bush and LenDale White made key plays offensively to secure the Trojans' 13th straight victory. But it will get harder for the Trojans. USC is off this weekend before hosting California on Oct. 9. Cal was the last team to beat the Trojans, winning 34-31 in triple overtime last season.

USC's win was part of another perfect weekend for ranked teams. The 19-0 performance, 17-0 in Saturday's games, left the Top 25 virtually unchanged. No teams fell out of the rankings or moved more than two spots in either direction.

LATE SATURDAY: Laurence Maroney had a 50-yard touchdown run and finished with 145 yards rushing to lead Minnesota 43-17 over visiting Northwestern. Bryan Cupito, who completed passes to eight receivers, threw for 155 yards and two TDs for the Gophers in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

In Tempe, Jamar Williams intercepted two passes and Jordan Hill recovered two fumbles in Arizona State's 27-14 win over mistake-prone Oregon State in the Pac-10 opener for both. The Sun Devils' Emmanuel Franklin saved an Oregon State TD by knocking the ball loose from Joe Newton, then recovering the ball for a touchback, a play that turned the game around late in the first half.

PENN STATE: Quarterback Michael Robinson was released from the hospital after being treated for a concussion he received in the 16-3 loss at Wisconsin. Robinson is a junior who also plays receiver and running back.

UNLV: Coach John Robinson will retire at the end of the season because of family issues, leaving the struggling program with one year left on his contract. The Rebels fell to 0-4 after a 31-21 loss at home to Utah State on Saturday. Robinson, who had two coaching stints at Southern California and another with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, is 26-37 in six seasons. He is 18th among active coaches in Division I-A with a .641 winning percentage (130-72-4).

SUN DEVILS SAVE: Emmanuel Franklin, right, strips the ball from Oregon State's Joe Newton in Arizona State's 27-14 win Saturday.