Lono Manners brought down USC's Reggie Bush during the first half of yesterday's game at Aloha Stadium.

UH feels genuine
Heisman stiff-arm

Three figures grace the hard cover of the USC media guide -- Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Leinart's Heisman Trophy.

Two of those figures -- Bush and Leinart -- gave the Hawaii defense fits yesterday, and it's conceivable that by season's end another Heisman Trophy will enter the picture for either player.

Leinart showed his smooth operating power at quarterback, locating receivers all over the field in the Trojans' 63-17 victory over Hawaii at Aloha Stadium. Many times, Leinart had it easy, lofting balls to wide-open targets in soft spots of the Hawaii defense.

Two of his three touchdown passes -- a 22-yarder to Dwayne Jarrett and a 67-yard strike to Steve Smith -- came on obvious UH defensive backfield malfunctions.

"They were bringing seven and eight guys and leaving single coverage, and Steve just made a double move and went up the sideline," said Leinart, who audibled on the play, calling off a run when he saw Hawaii's defensive package.

"They left a couple of guys uncovered because they did a lot of blitzing and our guys on the line did a great job of blocking. Because they were putting so much pressure on us, it forced us to get the ball off quick," added the quarterback, who took a lot of one- and two-step drops to ensure a quick release.

Leinart, who chose to play his senior season instead of opting for the NFL Draft, was pulled late in the third quarter after completing 18 of 24 passes for 332 yards, 225 of which came in that third quarter. He was intercepted once, when Kenny Patton made a jumping grab in the end zone.

Surprisingly, Leinart guided only four plays in the first quarter because the USC offense didn't get on the field until 1:24 remained.

A Heisman finalist a year ago, Bush ran in between the tackles more often than not for his 86 yards on 12 carries. But his biggest gain -- a 41-yard second-quarter touchdown -- came when he was able to kick it to the outside by weaving through the open spaces created by his blockers.

"I got a lot of key blocks that made it happen," said Bush, who dove up and over the goal line and about 5 yards into the end zone. "One guy had a good angle on me and I wasn't sure I was going to make it in, but I wanted to make sure I could get a touchdown for the team."

Desmond Reed, a backup to Bush and LenDale White at tailback, gave a little jab to Bush.

"Are you surprised that Superman can fly?," Reed asked reporters before bringing his open stick deodorant close to Bush's mouth, pretending it was a microphone.

Kidding aside, Bush is taking a liking to his increasing role.

"My leadership role has really stepped up tremendously this year," said Bush, the flashy starting tailback who moved ahead of the power-running White on the depth chart. "I'm doing what I can do to be a leader."

Bush also caught four passes for 58 yards, but the Trojans didn't exploit his deep-threat potential.

Another chance at a touchdown early in the third quarter slipped away for Bush. He lined up wide with no defenders on him and Leinart hit him for a 20-yard gain, but it would have gone for six points if Hawaii's Lono Manners didn't make a heads-up play, sprinting to the sideline just in time to push Bush out.

"I almost (waved my hands and) said, 'Hey, hey, hey,' " Bush said. "But Matt's a good quarterback and he recognized it. I was so mad I didn't score a touchdown."

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