USC Football Concludes 2000 Season Hosting Notre Dame In Famous Intersectional Rivalry
USC (5-6 overall, 2-6 Pac-10 for eighth place tie) vs. Notre Dame (8-2 overall), Saturday (Nov. 25), 12:30 p.m. (PST), Los Angeles Coliseum.
USC and Notre Dame meet for the 72nd time in the most famous intersectional rivalry in college football. The Trojans, who dramatically beat crosstown foe UCLA last weekend, have the chance to defeat the Bruins and Irish in the same season for the first time since 1981 (and in back-to-back games for the first time since 1978). USC is looking to avenge last year's 1-point loss at Notre Dame and knock the Irish out of a lucrative BCS spot. The Trojans haven't lost to Notre Dame in the Coliseum since 1992. The Irish are riding a 6-game winning streak. The Trojans are looking for a positive finish to a disappointing 2000 season. Notre Dame is in the national Top 20 in rushing offense, averaging more than 210 yards a game, but USC's defense is allowing almost 100 yards less than that a game. The contest will be shown live nationally on ABC-TV.
Notre Dame is ranked 10th by USA Today/ESPN and 11th by AP. USC is not ranked.
Notre Dame leads the series which began in 1926, 40-26-5. In the past 6 games, USC is 3-2-1. Since 1967, the series is knotted at 15-15-3.
In Los Angeles games, USC leads 17-16-4, including USC's 10-0 win over the No. 10 Irish in 1998. It was the first shutout in the series since 1962 and Notre Dame's first shutout since 1987. QB Carson Palmer ran for a 2-yard TD and PK Adam Abrams hit a 23-yard field goal, both in the third quarter. ND, without injured QB Jarious Jackson, was limited to 123 rushing yards (its fewest versus Troy since 1984) and 217 total yards (its fewest against USC since 1980).
Last year in South Bend, Notre Dame scored 22 unanswered second-half points to post a 25-24 comeback win over USC (the Irish's biggest comeback in 21 years). The Trojans led 21-3 at halftime by scoring on 3 of their first 4 possessions, first on QB Mike Van Raaphorst's 23-yard pass to WR Windrell Hayes, then on TB Chad Morton's 1-yard run and next on Van Raaphorst's 12-yard pass to WR R. Jay Soward. The Irish only could counter with PK David Miller's 37-yard field goal late in the half, but USC PK David Newbury hit a 29-yarder at the start of the second half. But then, despite being up 24-3, USC self-destructed. First, TE Dan O'Leary caught a 7-yard TD pass from QB Jarious Jackson midway through the third quarter on a drive that was kept alive by a Trojan personal foul penalty. After USC coughed up a fumble, TB Tony Driver plowed 2 yards for another score early in the fourth quarter. Then, after an 11-yard Trojan punt, Miller then nailed a 33-yard field goal to close the gap to 24-19. Finally, with 2:40 to go, Jackson scrambled 13 yards but fumbled the ball into the end zone, where TE Jabari Holloway jumped on it. USC had 298 total yards, including 113 rushing (only 21 in the second half). The Trojans held the ball just 23:20, including only 10:07 in the second half. Van Raaphorst was 23-of-41 passing for 298 yards, Morton ran for 85 yards on a game-high 21 carries, Soward had a game-best 10 catches for 101 yards and Hayes added 8 grabs for 107 yards. LB Markus Steele had a game-high 12 tackles (with a sack) and forced a fumble and CB Antuan Simmons had 9 stops and 2 blocks (a field goal and PAT). For ND, Jackson was 19-of-30 for 257 yards, FL Joey Getherall had 7 grabs for 73 yards and RB Julius Jones had 194 all-purpose yards. The game was only the seventh in 71 meetings that neither USC nor Notre Dame was ranked.
IN THE COLISEUM
USC has a 358-119-27 (.737) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923.
HACKETT VS. NOTRE DAME
Although USC head coach Paul Hackett was 0-3 against Notre Dame while the head coach at Pittsburgh (1990-92), he is 1-1 as USC's head coach and owned a 4-1 record as an assistant at Troy (1976-80).
USC is 58-39-10 (.589) in all season finales.
On USC's current 44-man 2-deep (not including the punter or kicker), 33 players are non-seniors, including 14 who are starters.
USC has no players from Indiana, but there are 7 Californians on the Notre Dame rosterï¿½USC linebackers coach A.J. Christoff was Notre Dame's defensive coordinator in 1984 and 1985ï¿½Notre Dame women's volleyball coach Debbie (Landreth) Brown was a 2-time All-American (1976-77) at USC on 2 national championship teamsï¿½The athletic departments and business schools at USC and Notre Dame, along with those at North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan and Texas, conduct the Sports Management Institute, for mid- and upper-level sports administrators who aspire to be athletic directors, executive directors or general managers in college, amateur or pro sports.
David Bell, who began the season as USC's third string placekicker, nailed a 36-yard field goal with 9 seconds to play to give the Trojans a dramatic 38-35 win over UCLA in a game that featured 6 lead changes before a soldout Rose Bowl crowd of 80,227 and a live FOX Sports Net West 2 audience. It was USC's first win over the Bruins in Pasadena since 1990 and Troy's first back-to-back victories over UCLA since 1987-88. It was only the second field goal in 6 career attempts for Bell, USC's kickoff man for 4 seasons, he had missed 3 previous attempts in 2000, including a 24-yarder earlier in the game's fourth quarter. USC dominated the statisticsï¿½getting more total yards (557-328), plays (82-51), first downs (29-12) and possession time (34:22-25:38)ï¿½but Troy's 2 first half fumbles and numerous untimely penalties (13 overall) kept the game close. The Bruins got on the board 20 seconds into the game when FB Chad Pierson fumbled on the first play from scrimmage (after a pair of USC penalties on the opening kickoff spotted the ball at the 3) and SS Marques Anderson recovered it in the end zone. But USC drove 80 yards on the ensuing series, capped by an 8-yard TD pass from QB Carson Palmer to TE Antoine Harris. However, UCLA countered on its next drive on a tricky 45-yard scoring pass from FL Freddie Mitchell to SE Brian Poli-Dixon. USC tied it early in the second quarter on a 6-yard run by TB Sultan McCullough to culminate a 78-yard drive. After UCLA stopped a Trojan fake field goal late in the half, the Bruins went 84 yards to recapture the lead on a 4-yard pass from QB Cory Paus to FB Ed Ieremia-Stansbury. But USC quickly put together a 74-yard drive, topped by a 39-yard Palmer TD bomb to WR Kareem Kelly with 24 seconds to go in the half. In the first half, USC had 285 total yards to UCLA's 165 (just 18 rushing), and also had a substantial edge in first downs (15-4), plays (48-20) and time (19:56-10:04). The teams traded touchdowns on their first possessions of the second half, first a 4-yard Paus scoring pass to Mitchell (aided by a successful Bruin fake field goal) to highlight a 64-yard drive and then Palmer's 12-yard TD pass to WR Keary Colbert to conclude a 71-yard drive. USC went up 35-28 with 3:58 to play in the game on a 57-yard Palmer TD aerial to WR Steve Stevenson, but UCLA struck right back as Paus' 1-yard run capped a 75-yard drive with 1:05 to go, setting up Bell's heroics. USC squandered several other scoring opportunities, including losing a second quarter fumble at the UCLA 26, the failed fake field goal from the 19 late in the first half and Bell's fourth quarter missed field goal (the Trojans had the ball on the Bruin 4, but a personal foul stopped their momentum). Palmer completed 26-of-37 passes for a career-high 350 yards (his 4 TDs were also a personal best), McCullough ran for a game-high 105 yards on 26 tries (his seventh 100-yard outing of 2000), TB Malaefou MacKenzie had a number of key runs (51 yards on 4 carries) and catches (57 yards on 5 tries), and Kelly caught a game-best 6 passes for 91 yards. LB Zeke Moreno and SS Frank Strong led USC with 6 tackles each. Troy limited UCLA to 71 rushing yards (just 43 on 20 tries by TB DeShaun Foster). Paus was 13-of-22 for 212 yards, including 4 tosses to Mitchell for a game-high 140 yards.
In the latest Jeff Sagarin/USA Today strength of schedule rankings, USC plays the nation's 11th most difficult schedule. Although USC plays 7 of its 12 games at home, its 2000 schedule began with a challenge as the Trojans traveled to East Rutherford, N.J., to play Penn State in the Kickoff Classic. Beyond that, Troy didn't have a long road trip, going to defending Pac-10 champion Stanford, 1999 bowl teams Arizona State and Oregon State, and UCLA. Visiting the Coliseum were non-conference foes Colorado (the 1999 Insight.com Bowl winner), Notre Dame and San Jose State, plus Pac-10 opponents Oregon (the 1999 Sun Bowl champ), Arizona, California and Washington State.
FUN FACT I
The last time USC beat both UCLA and Notre Dame in the same season was 1981. Troy has accomplished that feat 11 times overall, with 8 of those occasions occurring in back-to-back Bruin/Irish games (1938-56-62-64-72-74-76-78) and the other 3 times (1967-79-81) coming when the Irish game was in October and the Bruin contest in November.
FUN FACT II
USC is 15-18-4 against Notre Dame in games immediately following the UCLA game. When the Trojans are coming off a win over the Bruins, they are 8-8-3 against ND.
FUN FACT III
USC is 4-7 against Notre Dame when the Trojans entered the game with a losing record.
FUN FACT IV
USC is 16-24-4 against ranked Notre Dame teams. In games when Notre Dame was ranked higher than USC, Troy is 9-19-2, including 6-7-2 when the Trojans were not ranked at all.
Paul Hackett, a one-time USC assistant coach who has been on coaching staffs that have won a national championship in college and a Super Bowl in the pros, made an immediate mark on the Trojan football program upon his return to Troy as its head football coach. In his first year at USC's helm, he led the Trojans to an 8-5 record in 1998 (5-3 in the Pac-10 for a third place tie) and a berth in the Sun Bowl. With his 1998 opening win over Purdue, he became the first head coach to win his Trojan debut since Jess Hill in 1951, and by starting off 3-0, he became only the third Trojan coach since 1915 to win his first 3 games (joining Hill in 1951 and the legendary Howard Jones in 1925). Hackett is one of only two USC head coaches to have won their first outing against Notre Dame (John Robinson is the other). Hackett, Robinson and Larry Smith are the only USC coaches to have guided squads to a bowl game in their first seasons at Troy. In 1999 in his second year at USC, Hackett's team went 6-6 overall (4-5 in the Pac-10 for a sixth place tie) as Troy won its final 3 games of the season and snapped UCLA's 8-game winning streak over the Trojans. USC was in every game, as it was the first time ever that Troy lost all 6 games by 10 points or less. The 53-year-old Hackett signed a 5-year contract to replace Robinson on Dec. 17, 1997. Regarded as one of the game's most progressive offensive coaches, he has 31 years of experience as a college and professional assistant and head coach. He has tutored some of football's top players--including Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Jerry Rice, Andre Rison, Tony Dorsett, Steve Bartkowski, Charles White, Brian Sipe, Herschel Walker, Danny White, Dwight Clark and Vince Evans--and has worked under such head coaches as Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Marty Schottenheimer and Robinson. Before coming to Troy, Hackett was the offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs for 5 years (1993-97). The Chiefs advanced to the NFL playoffs in 4 of those years, including 1997. Before that, he was at the University of Pittsburgh (1989-92), the first season as the quarterbacks coach and then 3 seasons as the Panthers' head coach (posting a 13-20-1 record). As a college coach, he has a 32-37-1 overall mark in 5 seasons, including 19-17 in 3 years at USC. Hackett began his coaching career for 3 seasons (1969-71) at his alma mater, UC Davis. He then was an assistant at California for 4 years (1972-75). Then, at age 29, Hackett moved to USC for 5 years (1976-80), where under Robinson he was in charge of the quarterbacks and receivers for the first 2 years and then the quarterbacks and passing game the final 3 years. During his Trojan tenure, USC was the 1978 national champion, won 4 bowl games (including 3 Rose Bowls), posted a 50-8-2 record and produced a Heisman Trophy winner (White). Hackett began his pro coaching career as quarterbacks coach with the Cleveland Browns for 2 seasons (1981-82). He next was the quarterbacks and receivers coach with the San Francisco 49ers for 3 years (1983-85). The 49ers won Super Bowl XIX in the 1984 season. He then became the pass offense coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys for 3 years (1986-88) before returning to the college ranks at Pitt. A 3-year starting quarterback at UC Davis (1966-68), Hackett collects old music juke boxes filled with 1950s and 1960s rock ï¿½n roll music. A rock music fan, he sat in the front row at the final Beatles concert, held in 1966 in Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Born on July 5, 1947 in Burlington, Vt., he shares a birthday with former USC head coach John McKay. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have 2 sons, David, 28, and Nathaniel, 20. David played on the 1988 Texas Division III state football champion while at Carroll High in Southlake, Tex., and then was an administrative assistant with the USC football program, while Nathaniel is a sophomore on UC Davis' football team. Hackett is 1-4 in his career against Notre Dame (including 1-1 at USC and 0-3 at Pittsburgh).
Although he has struggled somewhat this season, there's little doubt that sophomore quarterback Carson Palmer (211-of-380, 55.5%, 2,663 yds, 14 TD, 16 int in 2000) has outstanding potential. He already ranks fifth on USC's career passing ladder (with 380 completions) with just 19 starts under his belt. He is also seventh on Troy's all-time total offense chart (4,777 yards). His 211 completions in 2000 puts him fourth on USC's season passing list and his 2,646 yards of total offense is fourth on the Trojan season total offense list. With Palmer at the reins last year, USC started off the 1999 season undefeated as he completed nearly 75% of his passes. But when he broke his collarbone 2 plays before halftime in Troy's third game (at Oregon), USC hit a tailspin from which it took a while to recover. After missing the rest of the 1999 campaign while rehabilitating the injury (he was allowed to redshirt because he was knocked out so early in the season), he was fully healthy for the 2000 season.
ALSO AT QUARTERBACK
USC might have the most experienced backup signalcaller in the nation in senior Mike Van Raaphorst (17-of-28, 60.7%, 234 yds, 3 TD in 2000). A 15-game starter in his career, he is ninth on USC's all-time passing list (249 completions) and 17th on the Trojans' career total offense chart (3,042 yards). He took over for 5 games in 1999 when Carson Palmer went down with an injury before being replaced by John Fox. Against Stanford last year, he set USC single game passing yardage (415 yards) and total offense (390 yards) records. Also a star in the classroom, he has a team-best 3.72 GPA and is taking classes in USC's M.B.A. program this fall after receiving his bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and political science this spring. He is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship.
At USC's tailback position in 2000, there was concern about who would replace Chad Morton, a 2-year starter who ended his career as USC's No. 8 rusher (2,511 yards), including a dozen 100-yard outings, and now plays in the NFL. Last fall, he ran for 1,141 yards (the most at USC since 1990) and 15 TDs (the most by a Trojan since 1981). But speedy sophomore Sultan McCullough (217 tcb, team-high 1,149 yds, 5.3 avg, 6 TD in 2000, plus 9 rec, 2.8 avg), who has started 10 games of 2000 (he was slated to start the California game but hurt his ankle on the opening kickoff and didn't come in until the second series), has erased any of those worries. He currently is 22nd nationally in rushing (104.5, second in Pac-10) and has 7 100-yard games this season (and in his career), including 4 in a row (128 versus Penn State and 136 versus San Jose State earlier in the year, then the 4-game string of 152 against Oregon, 130 at Stanford, 122 versus California and a career-high 176 at Arizona State, and then 105 last week at UCLA). It was the first time that a Trojan had 4 consecutive 100-yard outings since Ricky Ervins had 5 straight in 1989. His 7 100-yard outings is the most by a Trojan in a season since Ervins had 9 in 1989. In the past 6 games (Oregon, Stanford, California, Arizona State, Washington State, UCLA), he has run for 729 yards on 116 carries (121.5 per game, 6.3 per carry). His 1,149 rushing yards in 2000 puts him 18th on USC's season rushing chart and is the 22nd time that a Trojan has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. He reached the 1,000-yard plateau quicker (9 games) than any Trojan since Marcus Allen did so in his 1981 Heisman Trophy season (5 games). He is on pace to rush for 1,254 yards this year, which would be the most at USC since 1989 (Ervins' 1,395) and would approach the Pac-10 sophomore record (non-bowl) of 1,329 set by Oregon State's Ken Simonton in 1999 (USC's Charles White had 1,478 as a soph in 1977, but that included bowl yardage). His 5.3 average per carry is the highest of any Trojan rushing leader since Allen had 5.6 in 1981. He has long runs of 59, 51, 46, 39, 35 and 32 yards in 2000. His 1,562 career yards is already 27th on USC's career rushing list. He is a legitimate speed merchant. The 1999 Pac-10 100 meters champion and eighth-place finisher in the 2000 NCAA 100 (he also ran a leg on USC's 400-meter relay which was fifth at the 2000 NCAA Meet), McCullough is the fastest Trojan footballer ever (10.17 in the 100, the best mark in the world in 1999 by an under-20 runner). He showed flashes of his gridiron potential last fall, even jetting 48 yards against UCLA for Troy's longest run of 1999.
OTHER RUNNING BACKS
Besides McCullough, USC employs several power runners at tailback: senior Petros Papadakis (61 tcb, 147 yds, 2.4 avg, team-high 8 TD in 2000, plus 1 rec, 11.0 avg), who ran for 365 yards and a team-best 8 touchdowns while starting 4 times in 1998 but missed all of 1999 and last spring's practice with a serious foot injury, and junior Malaefou MacKenzie (36 tcb, 266 yds, 7.4 avg in 2000, plus 24 rec, 8.5 avg and 4 KOR, 22.8 avg), who has 747 rushing yards and 3 starts in a career that has been injury-plagued. Look for Papadakis in USC's short-yardage formations (his 8 rushing TDs in 2000 have all been 5 yards or less). A pair of Trojans appear at fullback, led by returning starter Charlie Landrigan (8 tcb, 34 yds, 4.2 avg in 2000, plus 8 rec, 5.9 avg), an unheralded junior who performed solidly in 1999 and is known for his blocking, and sophomore Chad Pierson (29 tcb, 130 yds, 4.5 avg, 1 TD in 2000, plus 10 rec, 14.7 avg, 2 TD and 1 KOR, 11.0 avg), who is equally adept running and catching and has started once in 2000.
You'd think that USC would be in trouble at the wide receiver spots in 2000, since such high-caliber players as starters R. Jay Soward and Windrell Hayes are gone. After all, Soward finished his time at Troy as the school's No. 4 all-time pass catcher (161 grabs, including 51 last fall) and was an NFL first round draft pick. Hayes, another NFL draftee, caught 79 passes in his Trojan career, including a team-best 55 in 1999 with 4 TDs. But USC has an outstanding young wideout corps, led by experienced sophs Kareem Kelly (team-high 51 rec, 13.8 avg, 3 TD in 2000, plus 5 tcb, 8 yds, 1.6 avg and 5 PR, 2.4 avg), Marcell Allmond (16 rec, 15.2 avg in 2000, plus 2 tcb, 23.0 avg and 1 KOR, 16.0 avg) and Steve Stevenson (14 rec, 18.0 avg, 2 TD in 2000, plus 2 KOR, 15.5 avg). Kelly, the 1999 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American second teamer, was USC's second-leading receiver last fall. He set Pac-10 freshman records for most catches (54, 11th best of any USC receiver) and receiving yards (902) while starting twice. The only Trojan with a catch in every game in 1999, he had 4 outings with 100 receiving yards. He was on the 2000 Biletnikoff Award Watch List. He has caught a pass in every game he has played in since he arrived at USC (22, he sat out this year's Arizona game with an injury) and has 7 100-yard receiving games in his career. With 105 career receptions, Kelly is tied for 10th on USC's all-time pass catching list. His 51 catches in 2000 is tied for 13th on USC's season list. Allmond -- who broke his leg against Arizona and is out for the rest of the 2000 seasonï¿½started 3 times in 1999, while Stevenson's start at Oregon in 1999 marked the first time that a true freshman started at wide receiver for USC since 1984 (he also started against California and Washington State this season). Kelly (sprints) and Allmond (hurdles, decathlon), former California state prep champs in their specialties, also compete for the Trojan tracksters. Kelly owns the world junior record in the indoor 50-meter dash, while Allmond was second in the 110-meter high hurdles and seventh in the decathlon at the 2000 Pac-10 Meet. Other wideouts who contribute are senior Matt Nickels (31 rec, 12.9 avg, 3 TD in 2000, plus 1 tcb, 3 yds, 3.0 avg), an ex-walk-on who earned a scholarship this season and has started 3 times in 2000, and prep All-American Keary Colbert (32 rec, 14.8 avg, 3 TD in 2000), a true freshman who has 5 starts in 2000.
USC's tight ends are more prominent in 2000 than in recent years. Senior Antoine Harris (22 rec, 13.2 avg, 4 TD in 2000), a reliable veteran, starts at tight end for his fourth season in 2000. An accomplished blocker and able receiver, he has 53 receptions with 6 touchdowns in his career. His 22 catches in 2000 is a personal season best (and the most by a Trojan tight end since John Allred had 27 in 1996) and his 4 TD catches leads USC in 2000. Besides sophomore backup Scott Huber (he started the 2000 Arizona game for an injured Harris), a pair of top-quality recruits have entered the picture this fall: sophomore Doyal Butler (4 rec, 13.0 avg in 2000, plus 2 KOR, 8.0 avg), who spent 1998 at Purdue, and freshman Alex Holmes (6 rec, 7.7 avg in 2000, plus 1 KOR, 6.0 avg and 0-of-1 passing).
For the first time in Paul Hackett's 3 years, USC has solid depth on its offensive line. But, as has been the case the past 2 seasons, Troy's offensive success depends heavily on the performance of these blockers. Dependable senior Brent McCaffrey starts for his third season at left tackle. Senior Trevor Roberts, who started 3 times at left tackle last year, entered the fall as the starting left guard, but was slowed with a foot injury. He didn't see his first action until being a backup against Arizona and then he started the past 6 games (versus Oregon, Stanford, California, Arizona State, Washington State and UCLA). Redshirt freshman Lenny Vandermade started for Roberts at left guard for the first 5 games of 2000, then moved to center and played there in the second half against Arizona and has started there the next 6 contests (versus Oregon, Stanford, California, Arizona State, Washington State and UCLA). The right side of USC's line suffered the loss of 1999 All-Pac-10 first team tackle Travis Claridge, last year's Pac-10 Morris Trophy winner who started all 48 games of his USC career (the first Trojan offensive lineman ever to do so without redshirting) and is now in the NFL. But junior Faaesea Mailo, who started 5 times last fall at guard, has moved out to right tackle. He also was used as a fullback in short yardage situations at times last year and proved to be a devastating blocker, watch for him in the backfield again in 2000. Sophomore Zach Wilson, who started the final 7 games of 1999 at right guard and was impressive enough to earn Freshman All-American second team notice, starts there once again. Senior Eric Denmon returned at center after starting there most of last year, but his Trojan career has been marked by nagging injuries (he sprained an ankle against Arizona this year and missed the Oregon, Stanford, California, Arizona State and Washington State games, then saw brief action at UCLA).
The defensive line is the most veteran unit on the entire USC team. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better pair of tackles than USC's returning starters: senior Ennis Davis (46 tac, 10 for losses, team-high 6 sac, 3 dfl, 1 FF in 2000), a 2-year starter who was on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy 'Watch List,' and junior Ryan Nielsen (22 tac, 3 for losses, 4 dfl, 1 FF in 2000). Davis, a 1998 All-Pac-10 first teamer, was never quite himself last season after suffering a knee injury in the 1998 Sun Bowl, but he still showed his big-play potential often, tying for the team lead in sacks (5) and even intercepting a pair of passes (returning one 30 yards for a TD as he hurdled his 300-pound body over an opponent to get into the end zone). The underrated Nielsen, who has been bothered by a bad back in 2000, was named USC's Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1999. Sophomore Bernard Riley (15 tac, 3 for loss, 1 FR, 1 BLK FG in 2000), who appeared mostly in short yardage situations last fall, has pushed Nielsen for time this fall (he started against Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, California, Arizona State, Washington State and UCLA for an injury-slowed Nielsen). USC's already-deep group of ends was bolstered by the return of senior Sultan Abdul-Malik (26 tac, 11 for loss, 3.5 sac, 1 dfl, 1 FF, 1 BLK PAT in 2000) to the position. He was USC's sack leader in 1997 and 1998 while starting at end, but started at strongside linebacker last fall. He was moved back to the line to take advantage of his pass rushing skills (he has 21.5 sacks in his career). Abdul-Malik started USC's first 4 games of 2000 and the past 4 contests (California, Arizona State, Washington State and UCLA), and in the others he backed up junior Lonnie Ford (16 tac, 6 for losses, 4 sac, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2000), who started at end in 1999 after playing tight end earlier in his USC career. Ford's 5 sacks last fall gave him a share of the Trojan lead. The other end spot again was manned by Matt Childers (34 tac, 9 for loss, 4 sac, 2 FR, 1 FF in 2000) and his often-used backup, Shamsud-Din Abdul-Shaheed (23 tac, 5 for loss, 1 sac in 2000), both seniors, until Childers broke his arm against Washington State and was sidelined for the rest of 2000 (so Abdul-Shaheed started at UCLA). They were an interchangeable pair as Childers started 7 times last season and Abdul-Shaheed had 5 starts. Childers tied for the team lead in sacks (5) in 1999.
USC's 2 returning starters at linebacker are good enough to have been considered for the Butkus Award (both were on the award's 'Watch List'): seniors Zeke Moreno (team-high 89 tac, 13 for losses, 3 sac, 3 dfl, 2 FR for TDs, 1 FF in 2000) in the middle (he moved to the weak side against Arizona State, Washington State and UCLA) and Markus Steele (59 tac, team-best 17 for losses, 3 sac, 1 dfl, 1 FR in 2000) on the weak side. Steele suffered an ankle sprain late in the California game and missed the Arizona State and Washington State contests (he then played briefly at UCLA). Moreno, who is starting for his third year and was also on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy 'Watch List,' was USC's leading tackler in 1999. He was third in the Pac-10 in tackles (9.0), tied for first in forced fumbles (5) and tied for third in fumble recoveries (2). Steele, who made an immediate impact in 1999 after transferring from a junior college, topped Troy in tackles for losses last season and was second in total tackles. He was third in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (3) and tied for third in fumble recoveries (2). Each found the end zone in 1999, Moreno twice (on an interception and fumble recovery against Oregon State) and Steele once (on a fumble recovery at Hawaii). When Steele was sidelined, sophomore Aaron Graham (22 tac, 2 for loss, 1 sac, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2000) started in the middle against Arizona State, Washington State and UCLA.
THE OTHER LINEBACKEREven though one of 1999's starting linebackers--Sultan Abdul-Malik--moved to the defensive line, there's no cause for concern at the Trojans' strongside linebacker position in 2000. The new starter there is junior Kori Dickerson (28 tac, 2 for loss, 1 dfl, 1 FF in 2000), who played defensive end earlier in his career (even starting once there last fall). He also high jumps for the USC track squad, with a best of 6-8, because of his hops, he was used as a wide receiver on a Hail Mary pass against Oregon this year (it fell incomplete). His backup is redshirt freshman Chris Prosser (4 tac in 2000), who started against Washington State.
If it's competition you're looking for, watch USC's secondary throughout the 2000 season. The Trojans started out well-stocked here, particularly at the cornerback spots. Both cornerbacks who started in 1999 came back, although only one sees the field in 2000. Junior Kris Richard (19 tac, 5 dfl in 2000, plus 13 PR, 7.5 avg) led USC in interceptions (6, tied for 17th nationally) last season (he returned 2 for scores), opening some eyes in the process. However, he was slowed much of the first half of the 2000 season with a knee sprain suffered against Colorado. Senior pre-season All-American Antuan Simmons, a 3-year starter who has blocked 6 kicks in his career (including 2 field goals and a PAT last year), missed spring drills while recovering from late-season back surgery. He then had surgery in May to remove a benign abdominal tumor and is redshirting the 2000 season while recuperating. He returned a fumble 44 yards for a TD at Arizona in 1999. Sharing Simmons' corner spot have been a trio of players: sophomores Darrell Rideaux (20 tac, 4 dfl in 2000) and Kevin Arbet (27 tac, 1 for a loss, 2 dfl in 2000, plus 7 KOR, 19.4 avg), and junior Chris Cash (37 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sac, 2 int, co-team-high 7 dfl, 2 FF in 2000). Rideaux, who started USC's last 2 games of 1999 for an injured Simmons and was named a Freshman All-American second teamer, has started 6 games in 2000 (all but Arizona, California, Arizona State, Washington State and UCLA), but suffered an ankle sprain at Stanford which sidelined him the next 2 outings. He doubles as a sprinter for the Trojan tracksters (in the spring of 2000, he was fifth in the 100 meters at the Pac-10 Meet and ran leadoff for the 400-meter relay squad which was fifth at the NCAA Meet). Arbet, a one-time walk-on who made such an immediate impression in 1999 that he earned a scholarship during his initial fall camp, has started 3 times this year (Arizona, Oregon and Stanford). He also started twice in 1999 as an extra defensive back (returned an interception 75 yards for a TD against Louisiana Tech last season). Cash, a junior college transfer who enrolled at USC last spring and participated in spring practice, started the San Jose State game for an injury-slowed Richard and then against California, Arizona State, Washington State and UCLA. Last season's starting free safety, senior Ifeanyi Ohalete (29 tac, 1 for a loss, 3 dfl in 2000) returned, but he learned before the California game that he had a season-ending stress fracture in his ankle (he was slowed the previous 2 games with the injury). Ohalete led USC in deflections (15) and was third in tackles (84) in 1999, and also tied for first in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (5) and fumbles recovered (3). This year's new starting strong safety is sophomore Troy Polamalu (69 tac, 4 for losses, 1 sac, 2 int with 1 for a TD, co-team-high 7 dfl, 1 FR in 2000). Polamalu is filling the shoes of USC's only departed defensive starter from last season, 1999 All-Pac-10 first teamer David Gibson, a 3-year starter who had 241 career tackles (81 last fall). Two other safeties see playing time: junior Frank Strong (18 tac, 1 int, 2 dfl, 1 FF, 1 BLK P in 2000, plus 21 KOR, 19.9 avg and 6 PR, 13.2 avg), a one-time tailback who was moved to defense in the middle of last season and is also now USC's top punt and kickoff returner, and sophomore DeShaun Hill (36 tac, 3 for a loss, 1 sac, 2 int, 5 dfl in 2000), who was able to redshirt last fall after suffering an early-season back injury. Hill has started at free safety 5 times this year (against Oregon, Stanford, California, Arizona State and Washington State), while Strong started there at UCLA.
Junior Mike MacGillivray (39.4 avg in 2000) is back for his third season as USC's punter and was listed on the 'Watch List' for the Ray Guy Award. An effective placement punter (72 of his 214 career punts have pinned opponents inside the 20) with an above-average leg (25 of his career punts have traveled at least 50 yards), he has become more consistent in 2000. Although junior David Newbury (4-of-9 FG, 9-of-12 PAT in 2000) was USC's placekicker last fall, a 3-way battle for the job was waged this fall between Newbury, senior David Bell (1-of-4 FG, 8-of-9 PAT in 2000) and 1999 prep All-American John Wall (5-of-5 FG, 9-of-14 PAT in 2000), a true freshman. Newbury, who initially regained his job for 2000 before faltering and being replaced by Wall in the middle of the Arizona game, began his first year at Troy by nailing a season-long 48-yard field goal on his first attempt at Hawaii in 1999, but then struggled with consistency the rest of the way. Wall has nailed all 5 of his field goals (all within 27 yards), but has had 5 of his 14 PATs blocked. He missed the Washington State and UCLA games with a groin injury, so Bell filled in. Bell, who is in his fourth season as USC's strong-legged kickoff man, has had touchbacks on 26 of his 55 kickoffs (50.9%) in 2000 (8 others were not returned past the 20, another 15 didn't advance past the 30 and 3 were unsuccessful on-side kicks). Last year, he took over the placement chores for Newbury in the third quarter of the season-ending Louisiana Tech game and nailed a 38-yard field goal and both extra point kicks. In his career, 112 of Bell's 239 kickoffs have not been returned past the 20 (with 61 touchbacks).
TO THE RESCUE
Four USC players--DT Bernard Riley and Malcolm Wooldridge, WR Steve Stevenson and S Kyle Matthews--have received quite a bit of national attention for their role in coming to the aid of an injured USC student early in the season. In the early morning hours on Sept. 1, USC sophomore Danielle Dauenhauer accidentally fell head first out of the second floor window of her campus apartment, only to get impaled in the buttocks by a pair of spikes on a security fence. The players, who were in the downstairs apartment, heard her screams and rushed outside. For the next 20 minutes, they supported the 165-pound woman (her feet were sticking in the air, her head was pointed down) to relieve the pressure of the spikes while paramedics were summoned. They also kept talking with her to help calm her down. When the paramedics arrived, the bars were cut off the fence still sticking in her, she was taken to a local hospital where the bars were removed, and unbelievably she was released the following day in good condition. (If she hadn't been impaled, she likely would have landed on her head and broken her neck). The players subsequently appeared on such national television shows as NBC's 'Today,' ABC's 'Good Morning America' and ESPN's 'College GameDay.' They also received a commendation from California lieutenant governor Cruz M. Bustamante.
There are several personnel updates that are not listed in the 2000 USC football media guide: Malcolm Wooldridge, a 6-2, 300-pound first-year freshman defensive tackle (he'll wear #96), joined the Trojans midway through training camp as a scholarship player. He played at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., in 1999 after spending the 1997 and 1998 seasons at Olympic Heights High in Boca Raton, Fl. (he was a 1998 All-Palm Beach County Athletic Conference Class 5-A first teamer and made 80 tackles with 9 sacks in 1997)...OT Nate Steinbacher is now #71, SNP-TE Joe Boskovich is now #64, S Danny Bravo is now #47 and WR Ryan Kaiser is now #82...Ten walk-ons have joined the Trojan squad: #5, QB Richie Wessman (6-1, 195, San Clemente, San Clemente HS/Orange Coast JC), #13, CB Peter Polk (5-10, 175, Los Angeles, St. Bernard HS/West Los Angeles CC), #15, QB Matt Harris (6-4, 210, Las Vegas, NV, Meadows HS), #18, P Tommy Huff (6-1, 225, Bellevue, WA, Bellevue HS, U. of Michigan), #31, P-PK Drew Thomas (6-3, 200, Johnson City, TN, Westlake HS), #41, P-CB Matt Lemos (5-10, 165, Redwood City, St. Francis HS), #46, WR Forrest Mozart (6-1, 195, Los Altos Hills, St. Francis HS), #48, S Kyle Matthews (6-0, 170, Agoura, Westlake HS), #61, LB Aaron Orndorff (6-1, 235, Bakersfield, Stockdale HS), and #70, OG Spencer Torgan (6-1, 265, Calabasas, Harvard-Westlake HS). Wessman and Polk are sophomores, Huff is a redshirt freshman and the others are first-year freshmen...A trio of walk-onsï¿½#40 Michael Torres, #47 Spencer McCroskey and #82 D. Haleï¿½has quit the team, as has #57 Carlos Acosta...Freshman DT Sagan Atuatasi did not meet USC admission standards and is not with the Trojans in 2000.
USC: COLLEGE OF THE YEAR 2000
USC was named the 'College of the Year' by the 2000 edition of the Time/The Princeton Review College Guide. USC was chosen because of the remarkable bonds the university has forged with local schools, community residents, police, businesses and community organizations. 'More institutions might do well to emulate USC's enlightened self-interest,' according to the guide's editors. 'For not only has the 'hood dramatically improved, but so has the university.' The editors cited the university's model of service learning -- the practice of applying academic theory to real-life situations through public service -- as their main reason for choosing USC as college of the year, saying USC has one of the most ambitious social-outreach programs of any university in the nation. USC also has seen its undergraduate applications nearly double over the last few years and enrolled the most academically accomplished freshman class in its history. And USC is the only university in history to have received three individual gifts of $100 million or more.
USC: 'HOT SCHOOL' OF 2001
USC has been chosen as one of America's nine 'hottest schools' by the 2001 edition of the Newsweek/Kaplan College Guide. USC was selected because it lives up to its reputation as a top-notch institution of higher education. 'Just as East Coast students go for New York and NYU, the West Coast is gravitating to USC in Los Angeles,' according to the guide's article. 'USC has morphed from a jock school to a serious contender for top students.' Students quoted in the article said Los Angeles' ethnic diversity, the offer of scholarships, the small classroom sizes and USC's standing in academe attracted them to the university.
USC's official 2000 NCAA football graduation rate is an all-time high 80%...and the 2001 rate will rise to 82%. That rate is more than 20 points higher than the national football average for Division I schools. Among the top scholars on the 2000 Trojan squad are QB Mike Van Raaphorst and LB Ryan Shapiro, who both sport a team-best 3.72 GPA. Both received their bachelor's degrees last spring and are taking graduate courses this fall (Van Raaphorstï¿½who is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship--received his degree in broadcast journalism/political science and is now taking M.B.A. classes, while Shapiro was a business administration grad who is going after his master's in communication). Other USC footballers who star in the classroom are: FB Brennan Ochs (3.12, political science), TE Scott Huber (3.10, business), TE Chad Cook (3.00, business), OG-OT Trevor Roberts (2.96, public policy and management), OT Brent McCaffrey (2.82, planning and development), DT-DE Bobby DeMars (2.82, business administration) and OT Phillip Eaves (2.80, business). Van Raaphorst and Ochs made the 1999 Pac-10 All-Academic first team (Van Raaphorst was an honorable mention selection in 1997 and 1998 and Ochs was an honorable mention pick in 1998), while Huber was an 1999 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention pick. In its history, USC football has produced 22 Academic All-American first teamers (tops in the Pac-10 and tied for fifth in the nation), 20 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners, 12 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes, 4 NCAA Today's Top Six winners, 1 Rhodes Scholar and 1 Academic All-American Hall of Famer.
IN THE NFL
USC is always well-represented in the NFL. There were 31 ex-Trojans on 2000 opening day NFL rosters (tied for seventh among all schools), including players such as LB Junior Seau, OLs Tony Boselli and Bruce Matthews, DLs Willie McGinest and Darrell Russell, WRs Keyshawn Johnson, Curtis Conway and Johnnie Morton, QB Rob Johnson, and DBs Jason Sehorn and Mark Carrier. Six NFL head coaches have USC ties (either as former players or assistants): New York Giants' Jim Fassel, Tennessee's Jeff Fisher, Seattle's Mike Holmgren, San Francisco's Steve Mariucci, Washington's Norv Turner and San Diego's Mike Riley. Seven current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: C Eric Denmon (cousin, Rod Jones), WR Kareem Kelly (cousin, Rashard Cook), LB Darryl Knight (brother, Sammy), S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr., father, Clay Matthews, uncle, Bruce Matthews), OT Brent McCaffrey (father, Bob McCaffrey, uncle, Mike McCaffrey), S Troy Polamalu, (cousin, Nicky Sualua), QB Mike Van Raaphorst, (father, Dick Van Raaphorst). Additionally, head coach Paul Hackett and assistants Dennis Thurman and Brian Schottenheimer were NFL assistants (Thurman also played in the NFL).
USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 283 times, including all 12 games in 1998 and 1999. In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997.
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
Notre Dame, under fourth-year head coach Bob Davie, is riding a 6-game winning streak (including a 45-17 win at Rutgers last Saturday) and could land a berth in a lucrative BCS bowl with a win over USC. The Fighting Irish's ground-based offense, which is 16th nationally in rushing (210.3), features tailbacks Julius Jones (142 tcb, 586 yds, 4.1 avg, 6 TD in 2000), a sophomore, and juniors Tony Fisher (117 tcb, 536 yds, 4.6 avg, 5 TD in 2000, plus 11 rec, 8.9 avg, 3 TD) and Terrance Howard (66 tcb, 377 yds, 5.7 avg, 3 TD in 2000). Freshman QB Matt LoVecchio (64-of-111, 57.7%, 838 yds, 11 TD, 1 int in 2000), ND's third starting signalcaller this season, is 6-0 as a starter after succeeding junior Arnaz Battle (13-of-31, 41.9%, 173 yds, 2 TD, 1 int in 2000, plus 26 tcb, 157 yds, 6.0 avg), who broke his wrist, and soph Gary Godsey (19-of-41, 46.3%, 224 yds, 2 TD, 2 int in 2000), who has been switched to tight end. Junior FL David Givens (23 rec, 12.0 avg, 2 TD in 2000) and senior FL Joey Getherall (16 rec, 19.1 avg, 4 TD in 2000) are the top pass catchers. The Irish feature excellent return teams, as they are ranked third nationally in kickoff returns (25.0) and seventh in punt returns (15.4) thanks to the efforts of Jones (his 28.5 KOR avg with 1 TD is fourth nationally) and Getherall (his 16.9 PR avg with 2 TD is sixth nationally). Notre Dame, which has lost just 8 turnovers (tied for fewest in the nation), is sixth in the country in turnover margin (+1.1). Defensive leaders include senior ILB Anthony Denman (team-high 78 tac, team-best 13 for losses, 5 sac, 2 FF in 2000), senior FS Tony Driver (60 tac, 1 int, 5 dfl, 2 FR in 2000), junior OLB Rocky Boiman (56 tac, 8 for losses in 2000) and junior DE Anthony Weaver (45 tac, 10 for losses, 5 sac, 2 int, 4 dfl, 1 FR, 1 FF in 2000).
'The UCLA win was a very, very sweet victory. After we spotted them 7 points and didn't get off to the kind of start we would have liked, it was marvelous how we responded. We had a tremendous performance defensively. Even though we gave up a couple big plays, we just kept playing. Offensively, Carson Palmer, Sultan McCullough and Malaefou MacKenzie really added some punch. And what can you say about David Bell. It was just a tremendously satisfying win for the Trojansï¿½Well, here comes our second monster game in a row. This game against Notre Dame really is our bowl game. And we know Notre Dame is working to get into a BCS bowl. I know our fans will be emotionally fired up to see this game and say goodbye to our seniors. We need to put together our finest performance of 2000. We can't wait to get back on the field again. When you have the kind of energizing victory we had against UCLA, it's exciting to know Notre Dame is ahead of us.'
USC's senior footballers will be saluted prior to the game and they will run onto the field through a 'Heritage Tunnel' made up of numerous former USC playersï¿½Senior quarterback Mike Van Raaphorst, who has a team-high 3.72 GPA and is enrolled in the M.B.A. program, will be recognized during the Verizon Academic Saluteï¿½The Trojan Team Spotlight will salute the USC women's basketball team, which was ranked in several Top 25 pre-season pollsï¿½Some of the Trojans who participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics will be honored at halftime (32 athletes with a USC affiliation competed in Sydney and won 15 medals, including 8 golds).
The Top 25-ranked USC men's basketball team hosts Loyola Marymount this Saturday (Nov. 25) at 7 p.m. in the Sports Arena. Fans with a ticket to the Notre Dame football game can get into the basketball game for $5.
The Top 5-ranked USC women's volleyball team closes out its regular season by hosting Notre Dame this Friday (Nov. 24) at 6 p.m. in the North Gym on campus.
OUT: DE Matt Childers (arm), S Ifeanyi Ohalete (ankle), WR Marcell Allmond (leg), S Matt Grootegoed (mono), Joe McGuire (back), Gregg Guenther (back), TB Chris Howard (knee), CB Antuan Simmons (abdominal tumor), TE Chad Cook (knee), DE Jamaal Williams (leg), S John Morgan (knee). PROBABLE: LB Markus Steele (ankle), PK John Wall (groin).