Trojans Prepare For Clash With Conference Rival Huskies This Saturday
Oct. 13, 2002
Tickets for the USC-Washington game, priced at $30, are available at the USC Ticket Office (213-740-GO SC), www.usctrojans.com, the L.A. Sports Arena box office and all Ticketmaster agencies. For group discounts (25 or more), call (213) 740-4170.
Live regional TV: 12:30 p.m. (PDT), ABC-TV, Keith Jackson, Dan Fouts, Todd Harris.
Live national radio: 12:30 p.m. (PDT), Westwood One, Bob Fitzgerald, Fran Curci.
Live local radio: 11:30 a.m. (PDT), KMPC-AM (1540), Pete Arbogast, Paul McDonald, Petros Papadakis, Jeff Kopp and Mark Carrier (includes 1-hour pre-game and 2-hour post-game shows). Five other stations are included on the USC radio network: KPLS-AM 830 in Orange, XEMM-AM 800 in San Diego, KXPS-AM 1010 in Palm Springs, KGEO-AM 1230 in Bakersfield and KVEN-AM 1450 in Ventura. Fans also can hear the live KMPC broadcast on the Internet as a 'cybercast' on www.usctrojans.com or can pay to listen to it live by dialing 1-800-846-4675 ext. 5933.
Local Spanish-language radio: 12:30 p.m., XPRS-AM (1090), Jorge Villanueva, Efren Dominguez, Victor Duarte.
USC Sports Magazine Show: 10:30 p.m. (PDT), Thursday (Oct. 17), and 9 a.m. (PDT), Saturday (Oct. 19), FOX Sports Net 2, Tom Kelly.
USC Insider Show: 7 p.m. (PDT), Tuesdays during football season, KMPC-AM (1540) and KPLS-AM (830), Pete Arbogast, Petros Papadakis.
USC Trojan Talk: 7 p.m. (PDT), Sundays from late August through Memorial Day, KDWN-AM (720), Harvey Hyde, Chuck Hayes.
USC FOOTBALL REMAINS AT HOMEWHERE IT HAS WON 6 IN ROWTO FACE WASHINGTON
USC (4-2 overall, 2-1 Pac-10) vs. Washington (4-2 overall, 1-1 Pac-10), Saturday, Oct. 19, 12:30 p.m. PDT, Los Angeles Coliseum.
For the only time this season, USC is playing its second consecutive game in the Coliseum, where it has won the past 6 in a row. But it's the first USC-Washington contest in the Coliseum since 1998. Troy hasn't had much success versus the Huskies recently, with only 3 wins in the last 10 meetings...but USC has been more successful against them in Los Angeles lately (winning 6 of the last 8). Expect a close game, as Trojan-Husky affairs traditionally are tight. Washington is the fifth ranked team USC has faced in 2002. Both squads are coming off comeback home victories, USC by scoring 27 straight points against California and Washington by scoring a TD with 2 minutes to go versus Arizona. It'll be a matchup of USC's highly-ranked defense (eighth nationally in total defense, second in pass defense) against Washington's statistically-impressive offense (fourth in the U.S. in total offense, second in passing), which is guided by QB Cody Pickett (second in the country in total offense). USC WR Kareem Kelly needs a catch to tie the Pac-10 record for consecutive games with a reception (he's at 41). The game will be televised live regionally on ABC-TV.
USC is ranked 19th by AP and 20th by USA Today/ESPN. Washington is ranked 22nd by AP and 17th by USA Today/ESPN.
USC leads its series with Washington, 42-26-4. USC has won only once since 1995 (going 1-3-1) and only 3 times (with a tie) in the past 10 games. Sixteen of the past 24 meetings have been decided by 12 points or less. Of the 72 games overall, 29 have been decided by a TD or less. In their last 39 meetings since 1960, the Trojan-Husky winner has advanced to the Rose Bowl 23 times (15 by USC). In the Coliseum, USC has won 6 of the last 8 from Washington and 13 of the past 16. Overall in the Coliseum, USC is 26-10 versus Washington.
Last year in Seattle, PK John Anderson kicked a 32-yard field goal at the gun to give No. 11 Washington a 27-24 win over USC in the first meeting between the schools after a 2-year layoff. It was USC's fourth consecutive loss of 2001 (by a total of just 14 points) and dropped the Trojans to 1-4, their worst start since 1958. It was also the Huskies' 12th straight win (and ninth Pac-10 victory in a row). After UW scored late in the first quarter on a 7-yard pass from QB Cody Pickett to FL Todd Elstrom following a Trojan turnover, USC took a 14-7 halftime lead on a 21-yard pass from QB Carson Palmer to FB Charlie Landrigan and then a 22-yard interception return by S Troy Polamalu. The game see-sawed in the second half, starting with Washington tying the score on its opening possession on a 13-yard pass from QB Tyler Bartonwho replaced an injured Pickettto WR Reggie Williams. PK David Davis put USC back ahead on a 40-yard field goal later in the quarter. Anderson's 25-yard field goal tied it up again early in the fourth period and then, after Anderson missed a 35-yard try on UW's next possession, the Huskies took the lead with 5:35 to go on Barton's 14-yard toss to TB Willie Hurst. But USC struck right back to tie it at 24-24 as Palmer hit WR Kareem Kelly on a 58-yard bomb with 3:47 left. The Huskies then drove 49 yards to set up Anderson's game-winner. The statistics were close at halftime, but the Huskies controlled the second half stats, allowing USC to hold the ball only 11:33 while getting more total yards (305 to 115), plays (42 to 23) and first downs (14 to 5) than the Trojans. Overall, Washington had more total yards (441-286), plays (75-55), first downs (22-15) and possession time (32:57-27:03). TB Sultan McCullough ran for a game-high 132 yards on a then-career-best 32 carries. Palmer was 8-of-14 passing for 152 yards with the 2 TDs, including 7-of-7 for 94 yards in the first half. Kelly caught 3 passes for 93 yards. For Washington, Hurst had 102 yards on 19 rushes, Barton was 11-of-20 for 197 yards and 2 scores in relief of Pickett, who went 8-of-14 for 70 yards with a TD, and Williams had 5 grabs for 101 yards (both game highs). Polamalu led USC with 13 tackles (2 for losses).
The teams' last Los Angeles meeting came on Halloween in 1998, as USC posted a 33-10 win. It was Troy's most decisive win over the Huskies since 1974. QB Carson Palmer, in his first career start (becoming only the second true freshman to start at quarterback for USC), completed 18-of-31 passes for 279 yards, including a 57-yard TD to WR Billy Miller. The Trojans led 14-0 at halftime behind the Miller's score and a 10-yard TD run by TB Chad Morton (he had 110 yards on 13 carries overall). But UW closed to 14-10 in the third quarter on a 34-yard field goal by WR-PK Joe Jarzynka and a 23-yard TD pass from QB Brock Huard to WR Chris Juergens. Then, 3 interceptions helped USC regain control, including 2 for touchdowns by CB Antuan Simmons (29 and 90 yards) to tie a Pac-10 record. USC's other score came on a 1-yard run by TB Petros Papadakis after the first of those 3 picks. Overall, USC had 5 interceptions, blocked a field goal and limited UW to 116 rushing yards. Washington threw a Pac-10 record-tying 68 passes as Huard was 33-of-62 for 301 yards.
HOME WIN STREAK
USC has won its last 6 games in the Coliseum, with shutouts in 2 of the past 4 home contests. It's USC's longest Coliseum winning streak since Troy won 10 in a row during the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
IN THE COLISEUM
USC has a 365-122-27 (.736) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923.
USC has 2 players who prepped in WashingtonTB David Kirtman of Mercer Island HS and P Tommy Huff of Bellevue HSwhile the Huskies have 29 California natives...Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel earned his law degree from USC in 1990...Washington SE Matt DeBord is the cousin of ex-USC WR Benji DeBord (1995)... USC women's basketball coach Chris Gobrecht was the winningest coach in Washington history in her 11 years (1986-96) there, where she led the Huskies to 9 NCAA tourneys and 3 conference championships while she was twice named Pac-10 Coach of the Year...Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges was a key administrator in the USC athletic department from 1974 to 1991...Washington women's volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin was the USC men's head coach for 7 seasons (1990-96), guiding the Trojans to the 1990 NCAA title and the runner-up spot in 1991...Washington men's tennis coach Matt Anger was a 3-time All-American at USC and then was an assistant coach for Troy's 1994 men's NCAA championship tennis team...UW assistant sports information director Jeff Bechthold is a USC graduate.
NEW USC JERSEYS
In its first major uniform change in 30 years, USC are wearing jerseys in 2002 with a style that harkens back to the heyday era of the 1960s. The new jerseys are similar to those worn by Trojan teams from 1958 to 1969 (when Troy won 2 national titles and played in 5 Rose Bowls under coach John McKay). The jerseys feature a single crescent stripe on each shoulder pad and numbers on the sleeve (all stripes and numbers are sewn in). There also is an interlocking 'SC' logo on the bottom of the neckline. Per tradition, there will be no names on the back of the jersey. The last time USC underwent a uniform change of this magnitude was in 1972, when the jerseys worn up until last season (3 stripes on each sleeve) were first introduced. (In 1970 and 1971, USC's jerseys had no markings except for the front and back numeral.)
S Troy Polamalu (for the second consecutive year) and QB Carson Palmer have been selected by their teammates as season captains. Each game, they will join captains representing the special teams and the service (scout) team.
USC, as usual, is playing one of the nation's most difficult 12-game schedules. This week's NCAA ranking and the current USA Today/Sagarin ranking both again have USC playing the nation's toughest schedule. Coming into the season, Sports Illustrated listed Troy's slate as the nation's toughest. The cumulative record of USC's 12 opponents currently is 53-21 (71.6%); at the time they played USC, the first 7 foes were 20-6. Six of Troy's 2002 opponents currently are ranked in the AP poll (5 of USC's first 7 foes were ranked going into the game). Seven opponents played in bowls last season and 5 were ranked in the final 2001 AP Top 20 (3 were in the Top 10). The Trojans opened up 2002 on Labor Day evening against Auburn; the other non-conference games included early road contests at Colorado and Kansas State, then the regular season finale at home with Notre Dame. In Pac-10 games, USC hosts Washington, Arizona State, Oregon State and California, and goes to Oregon, Washington State, Stanford and UCLA.
No. 20 USC behind a powerful running performance by TB Sultan McCulloughscored 27 unanswered points to overcome a 21-3 deficit and then held on for a 30-28 win over California before 63,113 fans in the Coliseum and a live FOX Sports Net national cable audience. It snapped a 3-game Coliseum winning streak by the Golden Bears. McCullough equaled a career-high with 176 rushing yards and had a touchdown on a career-best 39 carries (the most by a Trojan since Steven Webster had 40 against Washington in 1987). It was all Cal for most of the first half, as the Bears opened up that 21-3 lead by scoring on their first 2 possessions (runs of 3 yards by TB Joe Igber and 1 yard by TB Terrell Williams that sandwiched USC's 34-yard field goal by PK Ryan Killeen) and then adding a TD early in the second quarter on a 15-yard pass from QB Kyle Boller to WR Jonathan Makonnen. But USC came alive late in the half when, after LB Matt Grootegoed forced and recovered a Boller fumble, QB Carson Palmer hit WR Kareem Kelly for a 6-yard TD and then, on Troy's next possession, WR Mike Williams took a Palmer pass 21 yards for a score with 1:06 left to bring USC within 21-17 at intermission. The Trojans took the lead for good on the opening drive of the second half on McCullough's 2-yard TD run. A pair of fourth quarter Killeen field goals (32 and 18 yards, the final one coming with 1:41 to play) ended USC's scoring, but Cal responded with a 5-yard Boller scoring toss to TE Tom Swoboda with 35 seconds to go to tighten it up and force USC to recover an onside kick to seal the win. The Trojans dominated the statistics, getting more total yards (464-311), plays (90-55), first downs (28-17) and possession time (38:32-21:28). It was the longest USC held the ball since 1995 (38:34 versus California). Cal converted just 3-of-10 third downs. Palmer completed 25-of-39 passes for 289 yards with the 2 TDs (but threw 2 picks), Williams (103 yards) and WR Keary Colbert (75 yards) each had 6 catches and TE Alex Holmes caught a career-high 5 passes for 65 yards. For Cal, Boller was 20-of-30 for 221 yards with the 2 TDs (he also threw an interception), WR Lashaun Ward had 7 grabs for 96 yards and Swoboda had 6 for 53 yards, and Igber ran 14 times for 45 yards. Grootegoed had a team-high 11 tackles (2 were sacks) with the forced and recovered fumble, while S Jason Leach (filling in for injured S Troy Polamalu) had an interception. It was the 90th USC-California game.
USC head coach Pete Carroll's 1972 senior season at Pacific began with a 13-6 loss at No. 9 Washington. Carroll started at safety in the game and had 8 tackles.
Pete Carroll brought big doses of experience, enthusiasm and leadership in his quest to revive the USC football program when he was named the Trojans' head football coach on Dec. 15, 2000 (he signed a 5-year contract). After Troy started off his opening 2001 season slowly at 1-4, Carroll stayed the course and got his troops to rally by winning 5 of their last 7 games (including the final 4 regular season contests) to finish at 6-6 overall. USC, which won its last 5 Pac-10 games after beginning league play at 0-3, placed fifth in the conference at 5-3 and earned a berth into the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl. Putting an exclamation point on the regular season was a 27-0 blanking of No. 20 UCLA, USC's first shutout in the crosstown rivalry since 1947 and the series' biggest margin of victory since 1979. The 51-year-old Carroll has 27 years of NFL and college experience, including 11 on the college level. He is 10-8 as a college head coach. He was the head coach of the NFL's New England Patriots for 3 seasons (1997-99) and New York Jets for 1 year (1994). He guided the Patriots into the playoffs in his first 2 seasons, winning the AFC Eastern Division title at 10-6 in 1997 and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, then posting a 9-7 regular season mark in 1998. His overall record in New England was 27-21 in the regular season (including 8-8 in 1999) and 1-2 in the playoffs. He owns the franchise's second-best winning percentage (54.9%). After serving as the Jets' defensive coordinator for 4 seasons (1990-93), he became the team's head coach the following season. His 1994 Jets went 6-10. Only 3 other Jets head coaches won more games in their rookie campaign. He spent the next 2 years (1995-96) as the defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC Western Division title both seasons. The 49ers were 11-5 in the 1995 regular season when they had the NFL's top-ranked defense and then went 12-4 in 1996. Carroll began his coaching career at the college level, serving as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Pacific, for 3 years (1974-76), working with the wide receivers and secondary. He then spent a season each as an assistant in charge of the secondary at Arkansas (1977) under Lou Holtz as the Razorbacks won the 1978 Orange Bowl, at Iowa State (1978) under Earle Bruce (the Cyclones played in the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl) and at Ohio State (1979) under Bruce. That Buckeye squad lost to USC in the 1980 Rose Bowl. He next spent 3 seasons (1980-82) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at North Carolina State, then returned to Pacific in 1983 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He entered the NFL in 1984 as the defensive backs coach of the Buffalo Bills, then held a similar position with the Minnesota Vikings for 5 seasons (1985-89). The Vikings advanced to the playoffs his last 3 years there, getting to the NFC Championship game in 1987. The 1988 team was 11-5 in the regular season and the 1989 squad won the NFC Central Division crown with a 10-6 mark. His secondary averaged 25 interceptions a season and led the NFL in passing defense in 1989. Carroll spent the 2000 season as a consultant for pro and college teams, doing charitable work for the NFL and writing a column about pro football for CNNSI.com. Carroll was a 2-time (1971-72) All-Pacific Coast Conference free safety at Pacific and earned his bachelor's degree in 1973 in business administration. He received his secondary teaching credential and a master's degree in physical education from Pacific in 1976. He was a 3-sport (football, basketball and baseball) standout at Redwood High in Larkspur, Calif., earning the school's Athlete of the Year award as a senior. He played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. He then played football at Marin Junior College in Kentfield, Calif., in 1970. He was born on Sept. 15, 1951 in San Francisco. He and his wife, Glena, who played volleyball at Pacific, have 3 children: sons Brennan, 22, who played tight end at Pittsburgh (he previously played at Delaware) and is now an assistant at USC, and Nathan, 14, and daughter Jaime, 19, a junior at USC who played on the Women of Troy's highly-ranked volleyball team which competed in the 2000 NCAA Final Four. His late father-in-law, Dean Goranson, received his master's degree from USC.
Senior Troy Polamalu (29 tac, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2002), in his third year starting at strong safety, is a leading candidate for the Thorpe Award in 2002 after last fall becoming USC's first All-American first team safety since Thorpe recipient Mark Carrier in 1989. A 2002 pre-season All-American, he is on the 'Watch List' for the 2002 Walter Camp Award, Thorpe Award and Bronko Nagurski Award. Sports Illustrated named him as 1 of 5 'Terminators' in college football in 2002, a player 'boasting an otherworldly combination of speed, strength and athleticism...who can single-handedly kill off drives and wreak havoc on game plans.' His jersey currently is on display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in the 'Race for the Pantheon' exhibit that highlights the nation's 10 leading candidates for post-season individual honors. He will play in the 2003 East-West Shrine Game. Polamalu, who twice won Pac-10 Player of the Week honors in 2001, made big plays in seemingly every game last season. Last year, he had 118 tackles (13 for losses, with a sack), 6 deflections, 3 interceptions (2 for TDs), 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery and 3 blocked punts. His 118 tackles topped USC and were tied for second in the Pac-10. His tackle totals were game highs 7 times, including a Las Vegas Bowl record 20 against Utah. In his career, he has run back 3 of his 5 picks for scores and blocked 4 punts.
--He had 7 tackles (1 for a loss) against Auburn.
--He had a team-high 11 tackles at Colorado, earning Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
--At Kansas State, he had 7 tackles (2 for losses, with a sack), a deflection and forced a fumble (which DT Mike Patterson picked up and ran 3 yards for a TD).
--He had 4 tackles and a deflection against Oregon State.
--He sprained his ankle on the first series at Washington State and saw only brief action late in the second half (he didn't make a tackle).
--He sat out the California game with the ankle sprain.
'Troy Polamalu is one of the best players I've ever coached,' said USC head coach Pete Carroll, who has tutored such star defensive backs as Ronnie Lott, Tim McDonald, Aaron Glenn, Merton Hanks, Eric Davis and Lawyer Milloy. 'He is a tremendous football player and it shows in every phase of the game: pass defense, run defense, blitzing and special teams. Pound for pound, he is our strongest player (600 pounds in the squat and 353 pounds in the power clean) and he has been a star in our off-season conditioning program. He is a team player, as shown by his desire and performance on special teams. He is also a humble, dedicated team leader who is respected greatly by his teammates, as evidenced by the rare feat of being voted a team captain as just a junior last year. I can't imagine a better safety in college football in 2002.'
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT TROY POLAMALU
Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville: 'He plays everywhere. You can tell he loves contact. He's all over the field. He reminds me of Benny Blades when I coached at Miami. He's a tremendous athlete and he can probably play several other positions on the football team either on offense or defense.'
Colorado wide receiver Derek McCoy: 'He is one of the best defensive backs I have seen. He's all over the place, always ready to make a big play.'
Colorado head coach Gary Barnett: 'Troy Polamalu, what do you do, what do you say? He's a great football player. He's a punishing tackler and a tremendous leader.'
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder: 'He is a very talented player who runs extremely well and plays the game extremely hard. He's a sideline to sideline player. He's good at what he does. He's a good tackler.'
Oregon State head coach Dennis Erickson: 'Troy Polamalu is as good as there is.'
Former Utah offensive guard Ed Ta'amu: 'When we watched film, everywhere we looked he was in the picture.'
UCLA head coach Bob Toledo: 'He's a great football player. He's all over the field. He makes plays. You'd better account for him because he's going to be around the football all the time.'
Ken Peters, Associated Press: 'Sometimes it seems there's a whole group of Trojans wearing No. 43, blocking punts, returning interceptions for touchdowns, forcing fumbles, smacking punt returners to the ground. Actually, there's only oneTroy Polamalu, playing 'Fa'a Samoan' style. That roughly translates, he says, to being a gentleman everywhere but on the football field.'
Senior quarterback Carson Palmer (143-of-238, 60.1%, 1,633 yds, 9 TD, 6 int in 2002, plus 28 tcb, -86 yds, -3.1 avg, 3 TD) is one of the nation's marquee signalcallers. He currently is 24th nationally in total offense (257.8, fourth in Pac-10). He is on the 2002 Davey O'Brien Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award 'Watch Lists.' He was listed as a 2002 Heisman Trophy candidate by The Sporting News.com, CBS Sportsline.com and FOX Sports.com. Now in his fourth year as a starter, he owns 6 USC career records: total offense (9,348, fourth on the Pac-10 chart), plays (1,551), passing yardage (9,509, third on the Pac-10 list), completions (761), attempts (1,328) and interceptions (45). His 48 career TD tosses are third most at USC (tied for 19th in the Pac-10). In 2002, he has completed passes to 12 different receivers. With 38 career starts, he has completed at least 60.0% of his passes 19 times (including 8 contests at 70.0%-plus) and has thrown for 300-plus yards in 6 games. Last fall, he was 221-of-377 (58.6%) for 2,717 yards with 13 TDs and 12 interceptions. His 58.6% completion rate in 2001 topped the Pac-10 and his 419 yards of total offense at Oregon was a USC game record (his 411 passing yards in that game were 4 shy of tying another school mark). He will play in the 2003 East-West Shrine Game.
--He completed 23-of-32 passes (71.9%) for 302 yards with 1 TD and 2 interceptions against Auburn (he had 3 drops) and also scored the game-winning TD on a 1-yard sneak with 1:26 to play to earn Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He was 11-of-13 in the second half and completed passes to 8 different receivers in the game.
--He hit 22-of-30 passes (73.3%) for 244 yards with 1 TD at Colorado and also scored a TD on a 1-yard sneak. He hit his first 6 passes in the game and then was 8-of-8 in the second half. His completions went to 7 different receivers.
--At Kansas State, he hit 18-of-46 passes (8 throws were dropped) for 186 yards and a TD while setting USC career records for plays, completions and passing yards.
--He completed 23-of-41 passes for 231 yards with 2 TDs against Oregon State while setting the USC career total offense mark.
--At Washington State, he hit 32-of-50 passes (both career highs and just 1 completion short of the USC game record) for 381 yards and 2 TDs (with an interception), plus he scrambled for a 3-yard score.
--He was 25-of-39 for 289 yards with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions against California.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT CARSON PALMER
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder: 'A guy who throws in excess of 8,000 yards in a career tells you a lot of things. It tells you he's very accurate, very confident, very efficient and he has an awful lot of experience. He's got good size and people would say he's the prototype NFL quarterback. He's extremely talented and he has some mobility about him.'
Kansas State defensive end Andrew Shull: 'He's a great quarterback. He's tall, has a great arm and good scrambling capabilities. He puts the ball where it needs to be.'
Oregon state head coach Dennis Erickson: 'Carson Palmer is playing like everyone thought he would. He's such a talent. He's not making mistakes and has a great arm and is throwing it well.'
Three relatively untested youngsters are behind Carson Palmer at quarterback: sophomore Matt Cassel (0-of-1, 00.0%, 0 yards in 2002), who completed 1-of-2 passes for 5 yards and also played some as a tight end-in-motion (he had a 12-yard catch in 2001) and on special teams (1 tackle in 2001) last season, and redshirt freshmen Matt Leinart and Billy Hart, who is also a reserve infielder for the Trojan baseball team. Cassel, who was slowed in 2002 fall camp after suffering a bone chip in his knee, has emerged as the No. 2 quarterback, ahead of Leinart (his only career action was 2 snaps at the end of the 2002 Colorado game). Junior Brandon Hance, who started Purdue's first 9 games of 2001 and completed 136-of-258 passes (52.7%) for 1,529 yards with 8 TDs (he also ran for 242 yards and 4 scores), enrolled this fall, but he must sit out the 2002 season per the NCAA transfer rule.
--At Colorado, Cassel was 0-of-1 while directing 2 late drives (including 1 for a score), while Leinart took the game's final 2 snaps, but didn't throw a pass.
--Cassel played the final series versus Oregon State, but didn't throw a pass (he also held on placekicks).
Last year demonstrated why it is critical to have depth in the tailback corps. Injuries decimated USC's runners in 2001 and by midseason a fullback was starting at tailback. It's no wonder the Trojans averaged just 87.7 rushing yards a game last fall. USC is 5-deep at tailback in 2002, including 3 experienced seniors. Speedy senior Sultan McCullough (117 tcb, team-best 529 yds, 4.5 avg, 5 TD in 2002, plus 9 rec, 7.1 avg and 2 KOR, 19.0 avg) returns after starting Troy's first 6 games of 2001. But he was sidelined the rest of that year with a strained abdominal muscle that required surgery and finished with 410 yards on 115 carries (3.6 avg) with 5 TDs. He ran for 1,163 yards in 2000 and is eighth on USC's prestigious career rushing ladder (2,515 yards, 43rd on the Pac-10 list). He has rushed for 100 yards 11 times in his career (twice in 2002). The 1999 Pac-10 100-meter champion, he is the fastest player ever to wear a Trojan football uniform (10.17). Senior Malaefou MacKenzie (31 tcb, 102 yds, 3.3 avg, 1 TD in 2002, plus 19 rec, 12.5 avg, 2 TD and 2 tac), who has 867 rushing yards and 56 receptions in his Trojan career (he has started 7 times), gained a sixth year of eligibility in 2002 from the NCAA. He was expected to team with McCullough to give Troy a 1-2 punch at the tailback position in 2001. But he left school at midseason last fall without seeing any action and returned home to Western Samoa (he missed 4 early games with a knee sprain and a fifth to attend his father's funeral). Senior Justin Fargas (37 tcb, 103 yds, 2.8 avg in 2002), who was impressive while serving as USC's scout team tailback in 2001 and had an eye-opening performance in 2002 spring drills (139 and 111 rushing yards in 2 intrasquad scrimmages), is looking to make an impact this season (a hamstring strain suffered in 2002 fall camp slowed him for USC's first 2 games). He sat out the 2001 campaign after transferring from Michigan, where he had 362 rushing yards in an injury-plagued career. Sophomore Darryl Poston (4 tcb, -2 yds, -0.5 avg, 1 TD in 2002) showed brief flashes last fall, but was bothered by a mid-year knee sprain. He, too, looked good in 2002 spring practice, but a back injury early this season has sidelined him. Prep All-American Hershel Dennis (12 tcb, 44 yds, 3.7 avg in 2002, plus 1 rec, 4.0 avg and 7 KOR, 16.6 avg) joined the tailback fray this fall as a freshman.
--MacKenzie, in his first game since 2000, started against Auburn and had a game-best 6 catches for 117 yards (the first 100-yard receiving game by a USC running back since Mike Garrett had 122 yards against California in 1964) as well as running for 33 yards on 10 tries, while McCullough led USC with 58 rushing yards on 20 carries (he also caught a 10-yard pass and returned a kickoff 20 yards) and Poston had 1 carry for 2 yards (Fargas was sidelined with a hamstring strain and Dennis was used on kickoff returns, but did not touch the ball).
--At Colorado, McCullough had a game-high 110 yards on 15 carries (his 10th career 100-yard outing), including a career-long 62-yard run for a TD, while MacKenzie broke several tackles while scoring on a 32-yard pass and a 14-yard run (he rushed for 35 yards on 10 carries and caught 2 passes for 38 yards overall), Poston scored on a 4-yard run, Dennis ran for 32 yards on 5 tries and caught a 4-yard pass, and Fargas saw his first action as a Trojan (he had a 4-yard run).
--McCullough had a team-high 73 yards on 11 carries, including a 25-yard TD, at Kansas State, while Fargas added 24 yards on 6 tries, MacKenzie had 12 yards on 6 rushes and Dennis ran for 9 yards on 3 carries and returned a kickoff 10 yards.
--McCullough ran for a team-best 50 yards on 19 carries (he also caught 4 passes for 38 yards) against Oregon State, Fargas added 41 yards on 17 rushes, MacKenzie gained 7 yards on 2 carries and 6 yards on 3 receptions and Dennis ran for 3 yards on 4 tries and returned a kickoff 21 yards.
--McCullough ran for a team-best 62 yards on 13 tries at Washington State (with a 6-yard TD) and caught 2 passes for 12 yards, MacKenzie had 4 catches for 53 yards (with a 15-yard scoring reception) and Fargas added 33 yards on 12 rushes.
--Against California, McCullough equaled a career-high with 176 rushing yards (his 11th career 100-yard game) and had a touchdown on a career-best 39 carries (the most by a Trojan since Steven Webster had 40 against Washington in 1987), plus he caught a 3-yard pass, while MacKenzie ran for 15 yards on 3 tries, caught 4 passes for 24 yards and had a tackle, Dennis returned 3 kickoffs for 40 yards and Fargas had a 1-yard carry.
SENIOR TAILBACK TRIO
Few teams in the country can boast of having a trio of senior tailbacks of USC's quality. The combined career stats of Sultan McCullough, Malaefou MacKenzie and Justin Fargas: 881 carries, 3,837 yards, 4.4 average per carry, 26 TDs, 27 starts, 13 100-yard games...oh, and seven surgeries!
Senior Sunny Byrd (2 rec, 7.5 avg in 2002, plus 1 tac) enjoyed folk hero status in 2001 when he took over for Sultan McCullough at tailback and provided some hard-nosed running. He had never touched the ball at USC before then, but he started USC's last 6 contests and led the Trojans in rushing 5 times (he had at least 20 carries in 6 outings). Overall last fall, he ran for 336 yards on 123 carries (2.7 avg) with 4 TDs, plus had 11 catches (7.4 avg) and made 5 tackles. He is back at fullback in 2002, where he backs up another senior, Chad Pierson (6 rec, 9.3 avg in 2002). Pierson, who started once in 2000 and proved to be just as effective a runner and receiver as a blocker, missed the first half of 2001 with a back injury (he ran for just 11 yards, but did catch a TD). Also in the mix at fullback to replace Charlie Landrigan, a 3-year starter known for his leadership, rugged blocking and good hands (49 career receptions), are freshman Brandon Hancock (3 tcb, 8 yd, 2.7 avg in 2002, plus 2 rec, 7.5 avg and 1 tac, 1 FR), who enrolled at USC this past spring after earning prep All-American honors, sophomore Lee Webb, a converted linebacker, and redshirt freshman David Kirtman (1 tac in 2002).
--Byrd started against Auburn and caught 2 passes for 15 yards, while Hancock had a 1-yard run, a 3-yard catch and a tackle (Pierson was sidelined by a hamstring strain).
--Pierson caught a 2-yard pass at Colorado and Hancock had an 8-yard run.
--No fullbacks touched the ball at Kansas State.
--Against Oregon State, Pierson caught a 7-yard pass, Hancock lost 1 yard on a rush and Kirtman made a tackle.
--Pierson caught 4 passes for 47 yards at Washington State, while Hancock had a 12-yard reception and recovered a fumble (which led to a USC TD).
--No fullbacks touched the ball versus California.
Swift senior Kareem Kelly (25 rec, 9.4 avg, 2 TD in 2002, plus 1 tcb, 1 yd, 1.0 avg and 7 PR, 7.1 avg), a 4-year starter, is second on Troy's career pass catching list (183 receptions, eighth on the Pac-10 chart). He is within range of Johnnie Morton's school records for receptions (201) and receiving yards (3,201; he has 2,734, ninth on the Pac-10 chart). He has a catch in all 41 games he has played as a Trojan, a USC record (the Pac-10 mark is 42; Oregon's Keenan Howry currently also has a 41-game streak). He is on the 'Watch List' for the 2002 Biletnikoff Award. He has had 100-yard receiving games 9 times in his career. In 2001, he had 49 catches (16.3 avg) with 3 TDs, plus ran 6 reverses for a 6.3 average. He also sprints and runs relays for the USC track team.
--He caught a game-best 6 passes for 66 yards with a TD against Auburn and also returned 2 punts for 0 yards.
--He had 4 catches for 36 yards at Colorado and returned 4 punts for 31 yards.
--At Kansas State, he caught 3 passes for 42 yards and returned a punt 19 yards.
--He had a 6-yard catch against Oregon State.
--He had a game-best 8 catches for 66 yards at Washington State.
--He grabbed 3 passes for 19 yards against California, including a 6-yard TD.
OTHER WIDE RECEIVERS
Like last year, USC's wide receivers are a deep and talented group with starters returning at both spots. Besides Kareem Kelly, junior Keary Colbert (team-high 33 rec, 12.2 avg, 1 TD in 2002, plus 1 tac) returns at the other wideout spot. The consistent 2-year starter has 98 career grabs to put him 13th on USC's career reception chart, including 34 (13.0 avg) in 2001 with 2 TDs. Also making an impact is true freshman Mike Williams (28 rec, 15.5 avg, 4 TD in 2002, plus 2 tcb, 9 yds, 4.5 avg and 1 tac, 1 FF, 1 FR), a prep All-American. He has a pair of 100-yard receiving games in 2002. Two other Trojans started a game in 2001: senior Grant Mattos (1 rec, 12.0 avg in 2002), who missed part of last season with a knee sprain but had 10 catches for a 10.4 average, and junior D. Hale, a one-time walk-on who earned a scholarship this past spring after getting 7 catches (15.1 avg) in 2001. Also possibilities in the rotation are junior Jason Mitchell (3 KOR, 11.7 avg in 2002), a 2001 junior college All-American who enrolled at USC this past spring (a back injury has sidelined him), junior Sandy Fletcher (1 tac in 2002), a converted safety, and another freshman who came aboard this fall, prep All-American Chris McFoy. Redshirt freshman walk-on Greig Carlson (10 PR, 6.8 avg in 2002) also sees some action.
--Against Auburn, Williams made his Trojan debut by catching 4 passes for 56 yards off the bench, Colbert started and had 2 grabs for 23 yards and Mattos had a 12-yard reception.
--Williams had a game-high 7 grabs for 90 yards at Colorado, while Colbert added 4 catches for 52 yards.
--At Kansas State, Colbert caught 11 passes for 125 yards (both career highs and game bests) with a 5-yard TD, Williams had an 11-yard catch, Mitchell returned 3 kickoffs for 35 yards and Carlson had 2 punt returns for 23 yards.
--Colbert had 6 catches for 67 yards (both game highs) versus Oregon State, Williams caught 4 passes for 62 yards, including a pair of TDs (11 and 16 yards) and Carlson returned 3 punts for 4 yards.
--Williams caught 6 passes for 112 yards at Washington State, including a 55-yard TD bomb in which he outjumped the defender, while Colbert added 5 catches for 60 yards.
--Williams had 6 receptions for 103 yards with a 21-yard TD against California, Colbert added 6 grabs for 75 yards, Kelly had 3 catches for 19 yards and Carlson returned 4 punts for 27 yards.
For the second consecutive year, USC is starting a new tight end, this time in place of Kori Dickerson, the one-time linebacker who had 25 catches and 2 scores last fall. Junior Alex Holmes (13 rec, 10.1 avg in 2002, plus 1 tac) is the most experienced tight end on the roster, as he saw significant action the past 2 seasons as the backup. He has 42 career catches with 2 touchdowns, including 22 grabs (7.5 avg) with 2 TDs in 2001. He rotates with sophomore Gregg Guenther Jr. (4 rec, 6.8 avg in 2002), who at 6-8 also was a reserve center on the 2002 Trojan men's basketball team that advanced to the NCAA tourney. Also available is senior Scott Huber, who played some at fullback in 2001 (a hip injury has sidelined him). Dominique Byrd, a prep All-American who also has worked at defensive end, enrolled in the fall as a freshman.
--No tight end caught a pass against Auburn.
--Guenther caught 3 passes for 22 yards at Colorado.
--Guenther had a 5-yard reception at Kansas State and Holmes caught a 2-yard toss.
--Holmes caught 4 passes for 45 yards (both career bests) against Oregon State.
--Holmes had 3 receptions for 19 yards at Washington State.
--Holmes caught 5 passes for 65 yards (both career highs) against California.
USC's offensive line from a year agosave for 2-year starting guard-tackle Faaesea Mailocame back. But this groupwhich has seen some early-season experimentation on the right sideneeds to improve its performance if the Trojan offense is to click. Senior guard Zach Wilson has started the past 3 years on the right side and has been solid, but a foot injury slowed him the first 2 games. Starting junior tackles Jacob Rogers (left side) and Eric Torres (right side) started for the first time in 2001 and did commendable jobs (Torres also is being used at right guard and left tackle). Steady junior Lenny Vandermade started at center the past 2 years, but was moved to left guard in 2002 spring practice and starts there in 2002 (he started 5 times there in 2000). And junior Norm Katnik, the line's utility man after having started at all 3 positions in 2001 (5 times at guard, 4 at center and once at tackle), handles the starting center job in 2002. Veterans angling for backup duty are senior Phillip Eaves at tackle, sophomore Travis Watkins at guard and senior Derek Graf at center and guard. Freshmen help arrived this fall with a quartet of prep All-Americans--tackles Winston Justicehe has emerged as the starting right tackleand Kyle Williams, guard Fred Matua, and center-guard Chris Doyleplus guard Kurt Katnik, Norm's younger brother.
--In the Auburn opener, Rogers and Torres started at the tackle spots, Vandermade was at left guard, Norm Katnik was at center and Graf saw his first appreciable career action when he started for Wilson (ankle sprain) at right guard (Matua also saw time there).
--At Colorado, Rogers (left tackle), Vandermade (left guard) and Norm Katnik (center) started at their usual spots, while Torres moved inside to right guard for the injured Wilson and Winston Justice celebrated his 18th birthday by starting at right tackle (becoming the first true freshman to start on the offensive line since OG Travis Claridge and OT Faaesea Mailo did so in 1996 against Notre Dame).
--At Kansas State, Wilson got his first start of 2002 (at right guard), joining Rogers (left tackle), Vandermade (left guard), Norm Katnik (center) and Justice (right tackle).
--The line starters of Rogers, Vandermade, Norm Katnik, Wilson and Justice remained intact versus Oregon State, Washington State and California.
Although half of last year's 4-man defensive front2-year starting end Lonnie Ford (81 tackles, 30 for a loss, 16 sacks in his career) and 3-year starting tackle Ryan Nielsen (107 career tackles)is gone, USC is still in good shape here in 2002. In fact, some media have called Troy's 2002 defensive front, 'The Wild Bunch II,' in honor of USC's famed 1969 defensive line. Two of the nation's top young defensive linemen return as sophomore starters: tackle-end Shaun Cody (20 tac, 1 for loss, 1 FR, 1 dfl, 1 blk FG in 2002), who was a Freshman All-American first team pick last season, and end Kenechi Udeze (24 tac, 8 for loss, 3.5 sack, 3 FF, 1 dfl in 2002), a Freshman All-American second teamer last year. Both are destined for big things at USC; in fact, both are on the 2002 Lombardi Award 'Watch List.' Cody had 39 tackles (7 for losses, with 5 sacks) and a fumble recovery in 2001, while Udeze added 35 stops (9 for losses, with 4 sacks, plus a fumble recovery, 3 forced fumbles and a deflection). Senior tackle Bernard Riley (5 tac in 2002), who started Troy's first 5 games of 2001 before injuring his knee (he also started in 2000), also is back. He had 26 tackles (5 for losses, with a sack, plus a fumble recovery and interception last year. However, sophomore Mike Patterson (24 tac, 8.5 for loss, 5.5 sack, 2 FR including 1 for a TD in 2002) starts at Riley's tackle spot. Senior Anthony Daye (2 tac in 2002), who can also play end, and junior Nate Steinbacher, a converted offensive tackle, also are available at tackle. The other end spot is being manned by junior Omar Nazel (26 tac, 6 for loss, 3 sack, 1 int, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2002). Among his backups are junior Chris Prosser, who has 5 career starts (including 3 last year, when he made 20 tackles) at strongside linebacker but is sidelined because of a concussion, and senior Doyal Butler, a converted tight end...or by a newcomer. Joining USC this fall were a pair of junior college All-Americansends Daniel Urquhart, who is a junior (he's been out with an arm injury), and sophomore Van Brown (1 tac in 2002)plus freshmen ends LaJuan Ramsey (1 FR in 2002) and Travis Tofi. Sophomore walk-on Jay Bottom has also seen brief action at end.
--Patterson, in his first career start, had a team-high 8 tackles (1.5 for loss) versus Auburn, while Nazelalso making his first starthad 6 stops and intercepted a pass (to set up a USC touchdown), 3 of Udeze 5 tackles were for losses, and Cody had 2 stops and Daye added 1 tackle.
--At Colorado, Patterson had 5 tackles (including 2 sacks), Cody and Nazel each added 4 stops, Riley had 3, Udeze had a tackle for a loss, Brown and Daye each had a tackle and Ramsey returned a fumble 19 yards to set up a USC TD.
--Cody and Udeze both had 5 tackles at Kansas State (Cody also blocked a field goal and Udeze forced a fumble, which USC recovered and led to a TD), Patterson had 4 stops (with a sack) and returned a fumble 3 yards for a TD, and Nazel had 3 stops (1 for a loss) and a deflection.
--The defensive linemen was dominant against Oregon State (8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 deflections, 2 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries which led to scores) as Nazel had a team-best 7 tackles (4 for loss with 2 sacks) plus a deflection and forced fumble to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors, Udeze and Patterson each had 4 stops, with 2 for losses (Udeze had a sack, deflection and forced fumble, while Patterson had 2 sacks and recovered a fumble), Riley had 2 tackles and Cody recovered a fumble.
--At Washington State, Udeze had 5 tackles (with a sack) and forced a fumble, Cody added 4 stops with a deflection, 2 of Patterson's 3 tackles were for losses and Nazel had 3 stops.
--Cody had 5 tackles (1 for a loss) against California because leaving with a knee sprain, Nazel added 4 stops (with a sack) and Udeze had 3 tackles.
The linebacking corps, an area of concern last year because of 3 new starters, has become a position of strength for USC in 2002. Two starters return from 2001: reliable senior Mike Pollard (17 tac, 3 for loss, 2 FR, 1 FF, 1 dfl in 2002) in the middle and versatile sophomore Matt Grootegoed (team-best 40 tac, 7.5 for loss, 2 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 dfl in 2002) on the strong side. Pollard was second on the Trojans in tackles (81, including 8 for losses) and first in deflections (7) last fall, and added a fumble recovery and 2 forced fumbles. Grootegoed broke his leg near the end of last season, but posted 32 tackles (8 for losses, with a sack), plus a fumble recovery and 2 deflections. Junior Melvin Simmons (35 tac, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 1 dfl in 2002) sat out last season after transferring from Washington State, where he was a starter in 2000, but he has emerged as the weakside replacement for Frank Strong, who had 82 tackles and 2 interceptions in his career (he also was a safety, tailback and returner at USC). There is plenty of quality depth behind these linebackers. Senior Aaron Graham has started 5 times in the middle in his career (he had 11 tackles in 2001), but is as a backup on the weak side in 2002 (he's out with a hip injury). Sophomore Bobby Otani (5 tac in 2002) on the weak side saw measurable action last fall, although he suffered a midseason knee injury. Two prep All-AmericansOscar Lua (8 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 1 FR, 1 FF in 2002) and Dallas Sartz (2 tac, 1 int in 2002)joined this group this fall as freshmen. Sophomore Lofa Tatupu (from Maine) and redshirt freshman Frostee Rucker (Colorado State) both must sit out the 2002 season after transferring in this fall.
--Simmons had 5 stops (1.5 for loss, with a sack) against Auburn in his Trojan debut, while Pollard and Grootegoed each added 3 tackles (Pollard also forced a fumble, which he recovered to set up a USC TD) and Lua had 1 stop.
--At Colorado, Simmons had 9 tackles, Pollard had 4 stops (including 2 for losses, with a sack), Otani also had 4 tackles, Grootegoed had 3, and Lua and Sartz each had a stop (Lua's was a sack, forcing a fumble which USC recovered).
--At Kansas State, Simmons had a game-high 11 tackles (1.5 for loss), Grootegoed added 9 stops (1.5 for loss), Pollard had 4 tackles and recovered a fumble (to set up a USC TD), Otani had a stop and Lua recovered a fumble.
--Grootegoed had 5 tackles (3 for loss) and a deflection against Oregon State, Lua had 2 stops, Pollard had a tackle for loss and a deflection, Simmons had a tackle and Sartz returned an interception 22 yards.
--Grootegoed had a team-best 9 tackles (1 for a loss) at Washington State, Simmons (with a deflection) and Pollard (1 for a loss) each had 4 stops, Lua had 2 and Sartz 1.
--Grootegoed made a team-high and career-best 11 tackles (2 were sacks) and also forced a fumble (on a sack) that he recovered (to set up a TD) against California, while Simmons added 5 tackles (2 for losses), Lua had 2 stops and Pollard 1.
At first glance, the secondary appeared to be an area of worry for USC in 2002, considering that 3 top-quality starters departed. Gone are 4-year starting safety-cornerback Antuan Simmons (208 tackles, 9 interceptions, 6 blocked kicks in his career), who beat a life-threatening illness in 2000 and had an impressive 2001 season (he'll long be remembered for his amazing between-the-legs interception for a TD versus UCLA), and cornerbacks Kris Richard (125 tackles, 8 picks as a 3-year starter) and Chris Cash (86 tackles, 4 interceptions as a 2-year starter), both who were NFL draft picks. But things are not as dire as they appear, especially not when the Trojans return perhaps the nation's best safety in previously-mentioned senior All-American strong safety Troy Polamalu. Add a collection of experienced players alongside Polamalu and, if the cornerback positions solidify, USC's secondary could be as effective as it was last season (defensive backs accounted for 15 of the Trojans' 20 interceptions and 6 of the defense's 8 touchdowns; USC was 16th nationally in pass defense). The cornerback spot did take a huge hit when senior Kevin Arbet (25 tackles, 3 for losses, 2 sacks, 6 deflections, 3 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery in 2001), a 4-time career starter who won All-Pac-10 first team laurels last year as a special teams player and who returned 1 of his 3 picks for a TD, was lost for the 2002 season after breaking a bone in his foot during fall camp. So, the new cornerbacks are senior Darrell Rideaux (17 tac, 1 for loss, 2 dfl in 2002), who has 12 career starts, and then a new face. Junior college All-American Ronald Nunn (3 tac in 2002), who is a junior, started the first 3 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. So, redshirt freshman William Buchanon (12 tac, 1 for loss, 6 dfl in 2002), a converted wide receiver, has taken over, with help from prep All-American Justin Wyatt (4 tac, 1 FR in 2002), who is a freshman, and junior Marcell Allmond (5 tac, 1 dfl in 2002), another converted wide receiver who redshirted last fall while suspended from USC for a student conduct violation (he has 30 career catches while starting 6 times on offense, but he last played defense as a 1998 high school senior). Rideaux (sprints, relays) and Allmond (hurdles) also compete for the USC track team. Senior DeShaun Hill (23 tac, 1 FR, 1 FF, 5 dfl in 2002) won the starting free safety job, as he started 8 games earlier in his career (he had 42 tackles, 2 interceptions, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in 2001). Other safeties include sophomore Jason Leach (13 tac, 1 for loss, team-high 3 int, 2 dfl in 2002), who currently is tied for 21st nationally in interceptions (0.5, tied for fifth in Pac-10), redshirt freshman John Walker (he also can play cornerback), and first-year freshman Mike Ross (2 tac, 1 TD on a blocked punt recovery in 2002).
--Against Auburn, Rideaux had 5 tackles as a starter, Leach and Hill had 4 each (Hill also forced a fumble and deflected a pass), and Wyatt and Nunn (making his first start at Troy) both had 1.
--Hill and Wyatt had 2 tackles at Colorado, Buchanon had 11, Leach had an interception and Ross recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a TD.
--At Kansas State, Rideaux had 7 tackles, Buchanon made 4 stops and had a deflection, Nunn had 2 tackles before injuring his knee, Hill had 2 stops and recovered a fumble and Wyatt recovered a fumble.
--Hill had 6 tackles with 2 deflections against Oregon State, Leach and Buchanon both added 2 stops, including 1 for a loss (Leach had 2 deflections and Buchanon had 1), and Rideaux and Wyatt each had a tackle.
--At Washington State, Hill had 8 tackles and a deflection, Leach filled in for an injured Polamalu and made 6 stops and intercepted a pass, Rideaux had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and a deflection, Buchanon had 2 tackles and 3 deflections, Ross had a tackle and Allmond had a breakup.
--Allmond had 5 tackles against California, Buchanon added 3 with a deflection, while Leach (with an interception while starting for an injured Polamalu), Rideaux (with a deflection) and Hill each had 1 stop.
Senior David Davis (1-of-3 FG, 7-of-10 PATs in 2002), 16-of-21 on field goals and 38-of-44 on PATs in his USC career, had an impressive showing in 2001 after transferring from a junior college. The lefty was the Pac-10's most accurate field goal kicker last fall (83.3%) and was tied for 18th nationally in field goals (1.3). He hit 12 field goals in a row at one point. Overall in 2001, he nailed 15-of-18 field goals and 31-of-34 PATs. He even ran for a short TD on a fake field goal. He is on the 2002 Lou Groza Award 'Watch List.' However, when Davis struggled early in 2002, he was replaced by sophomore Ryan Killeen (6-of-10 FG, 9-of-10 PAT in 2002), a junior college fall transfer. Killeen also handles the kickoffs, replacing David Newbury, who last year compensated for a lack of leg strength by pooching his kickoffs (which resulted in 14 fair catches). Those short kickoffs accounted for USC's creditable kickoff coverage average of 20.2 yards in 2001 (second best in the Pac-10), although only 1 of Newbury's 62 kickoffs was a touchback and just 7 pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line. So far this year, 15 of Killeen's 33 kickoffs have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line, with 13 touchbacks. USC's punter the past 4 seasonsMike MacGillivray, who set school career records for punts (298) and punt yardage (11,700) while owning a 39.3-yard averagehas graduated. The Trojans are hoping his replacement will be more consistent: freshman Tom Malone (41.8 avg in 2002), who enrolled at USC this past spring after earning prep All-American honors. He showed a strong leg in 2002 spring practice. This season, 13 of his 32 punts have kept foes within the 20-yard line and 6 have traveled at least 50 yards. Both of USC's snappersjunior center Joe Boskovich, who hikes on placekicks, and junior linebacker Matt Hayward, who snaps on puntsare back after doing flawless work last fall. There's a new holderMalone, backed by QB Matt Casselnow that MacGillivray, who handled the job last year, is gone. USC's top punt returnersenior cornerback Kevin Arbet (25 punt returns, 9.0 average in 2001, plus 3 kickoff returns, 17.7 average)is sidelined in 2002 with a foot injury, but last year's top kickoff returnersenior cornerback Darrell Rideaux (19 kickoff returns, 19.1 average in 2001)is back. However, punts are being handled by redshirt freshman walk-on wide receiver Greig Carlson (10 PR, 6.8 avg in 2002) or senior wide receiver Kareem Kelly (7 PR, 7.1 avg in 2002), while the kickoff return duties are manned by freshman tailback Hershel Dennis (7 KOR, 16.6 avg in 2002), junior cornerback Marcell Allmond, senior tailback Sultan McCullough (2 KOR, 19.0 avg in 2002) or junior wide receiver Jason Mitchell (3 KOR, 11.7 avg in 2002).
--Against Auburn, Davis hit his only field goal try (a 37-yarder) and all 3 PATs, Malone averaged 42.0 yards on 3 punts in his Trojan debut (including a 50-yarder) and Killeen had 2 of his 5 kickoffs pin the Tigers within the 20-yard line.
--Malone averaged 51.2 yards on his 4 punts at Colorado (including a 60-yarder), but had a punt blocked, while Davis had a field goal and PAT blocked (another PAT missed) while hitting 4-of-6 PATs and Killen had 5 of his 7 kickoffs hold the Buffaloes within the 20 (with 4 touchbacks).
--At Kansas State, Davis missed a 30-yard field goal and had a PAT blocked (and returned for a defensive PAT) before giving way to Killeen, who hit both of his PATs and also put all 3 of his kickoffs out of the end zone, while Malone averaged 36.9 yards on 11 punts (4 pinned the Wildcats within the 20 and 2 traveled 50-plus yards).
--Killeen replaced Davis as the placekicker against Oregon State and hit 3-of-4 field goals (43, 42 and 32 yards), including the first 2 tries of his career, plus added an extra point and saw 2 of his kickoffs pin the Beavers within the 20 to earn Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week notice, while Malone averaged 39.8 yards on his 6 punts (with 3 keeping OSU within the 20).
--At Washington State, Malone averaged 43.7 yards on 6 punts (with 3 pinning the Cougars within the 20), but Killeen missed a pair of field goals and 1 of his 4 PATs (however, 3 of his 5 kickoffs were touchbacks).
--Killeen hit 3-of-4 field goals (34, 32 and 18 yards) and all 3 of his PATs (plus had a touchback among his 7 kcikoffs) against California, while Malone averaged 49.0 yards (with a 50-yarder) on his 2 punts.
STATISTICS OF NOTE
***USC is seventh nationally in pass defense (156.7, first in Pac-10), eighth in total defense (274.5, first in Pac-10), 18th in scoring defense (17.5, second in Pac-10), 20th in pass efficiency defense (100.3, second in Pac-10), 22nd in turnover margin (+1.0, tied for third in Pac-10) and 21st in passing offense (272.2, fifth in Pac-10).
***USC is allowing opponents to convert just 17.6% of third downs (best in the Pac-10) in 2002.
***USC is averaging 34:49 time of possession (tops in the Pac-10) in 2002 and has won the possession battle in 5 games (all but Kansas State).
***In the red zone, USC has scored 20-of-26 times (76.9%) in 2002.
***In first halves in 2002, USC allowed 54 total yards to Colorado, 118 to Kansas State and 98 to Oregon State.
***In second halves in 2002, USC allowed 35 total yards to Auburn, 7 to Colorado, 33 to Oregon State and 107 to California.
***Through the first 6 games of 2002, no opposing runner has rushed for 100 yards.
***USC has allowed only 5 TD passes in 2002 and opponents are completing just 47.5% of their passes, both lowest in the Pac-10.
***USC has had at least 20 first downs in all but 1 game (Kansas State) in 2002, including 28 in each of the last 2 games (the Trojans had 20 first downs only once in 2001).
***USC has finished its halves strong, outscoring opponents 46-26 in the second quarter and 63-28 in the fourth quarter.
CAPITALIZING ON TURNOVERS
USC has capitalized 64.7% of the time when it gets a turnover. So far in 2002, the Trojans have collected 17 turnovers and scored 11 times (9 touchdowns and 2 field goals).
FIELD GOAL, PAT ADVENTURES
USC's field goal and PAT tries have been an adventure at times in 2002. The Trojans are 7-of-13 on field goals, 16-of-20 on PAT kicks and 0-of-1 on PAT passes.
NEWCOMERS SEE ACTION
Eighteen new Trojans have seen action for the Trojans in 2002: 12 first-year freshmen (WR Mike Williams, P Tom Malone, CB Justin Wyatt, TB Hershel Dennis, FB Brandon Hancock, S Mike Ross, LB Dallas Sartz, LB Oscar Lua, OG Fred Matua, TE Dominique Byrd, OT Winston Justice and DE LaJuan Ramsey), 4 junior college transfers (PK Ryan Killeen, WR Jason Mitchell, CB Ronald Nunn and DE Van Brown) and 2 college transfers (LB Melvin Simmons and TB Justin Fargas). Also, 9 walk-ons have played: WR Greig Carlson, DE Jay Bottom, SNP Joe Boskovich, DT Spencer Torgan, WR Forrest Mozart, S Greg Farr, LB Collin Ashton, WR Steve Levario Jr. and WR Matt Haugen. Fourteen newcomers and 3 walk-ons saw action in the Auburn opener.
NEW ASSISTANT COACHES
There are two new full-time assistant coaches in 2002: Greg Burns, who handles the secondary, and Tim Davis, who is in charge of the offensive line (guards and centers). Burns, a one-time Washington State defensive back spent the past 4 years at Louisville after a year at Idaho. Davis was at Wisconsin the last 5 years after a 7-year stint at Utah. Also, Brennan Carroll (head coach Pete Carroll's son who was a tight end at Pittsburgh the last 3 years), joined the staff as a graduate assistant working with the offense and special teams. Several returning assistant coaches have different responsibilities in 2002. Steve Sarkisian, who was the offensive graduate assistant in 2001, now works fulltime as the quarterbacks coach. Kennedy Pola, last year's special teams coordinator, added the duty of running backs coach. Lane Kiffin switched from tight ends to wide receivers coach. Keith Uperesa, last year's offensive line coach, now is in charge of offensive tackles and tight ends. And offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who also was USC's quarterbacks coach in 2001, just handles the coordinator duties in 2002.
***S Troy Polamalu's jersey currently is on display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in the 'Race for the Pantheon' exhibit that highlights the nation's 10 leading candidates for post-season individual honors.
***USC head coach Pete Carroll vacationed in Italy this past July, which meant in the span of several months he walked the floor of Rome's Colosseum and Los Angeles' Coliseum, perhaps the world's two most historic stadiums.
***USC has 3 players who graduated a semester early from high school and enrolled at USC in the spring. Starting OT Jacob Rogers did so in the spring of 1999, while starting P Tom Malone and key backup FB Brandon Hancock came to USC this past spring.
***Former USC All-American back Jon Arnett was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., this past Aug. 9-10, while ex-USC All-American safety Ronnie Lott will be inducted into the Hall at a Dec. 10 dinner in New York (he'll be enshrined in August of 2003). Arnett was a 1955 All-American who rushed for 1,898 career yards at Troy and then played 10 years in the NFL with the Rams and Bears. Lott, a 1980 All-American, had 250 tackles and 14 interceptions at USC before a 15-year NFL career that saw him land in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
***A bronze sculpture of 'The Wild Bunch,' USC's famous 1969 defensive line (Al Cowlings, Jimmy Gunn, Willard Scott, Tody Smith and Charlie Weaver), was unveiled in front of Heritage Hall in September of 2002. Commissioned by a donor who wished to remain anonymous, it was sculpted by Don Winton and Ernie Shelton (USC's 1954 and 1955 high jump champion).
***Strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle has beaten cancer. He learned he had Hodgkin's Disease in December of 2000, began radiation treatments in Tennessee (where he was still the Volunteers' associate strength and conditioning coach), was hired by USC in February of 2001, kept his illness a secret except to Trojan head coach Pete Carroll, continued treatments in Tennessee and at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, then doctors told him in the summer of 2001 that the cancer was in remission. He informed the USC players of his ordeal at the start of fall 2001 camp.
***A new tradition at Troy's home games (started in 2001) sees the USC team buses unload the Trojan players amid the tailgaters in front of the Coliseum peristyle about 2 hours before kickoff. The players walk through the crowd into the Coliseum before going to dress in the locker room.
***USC's oldest living football letterman is 102-year-old James Pursell. He lettered in 1921-22-23 as a 156-pound guard and was a member of USC's first Rose Bowl team.
***USC's football team can field a pretty imposing track and field squad...and, in fact, Trojan track coach Ron Allice benefits from a number of footballers (many helped Troy win the 2000 Pac-10 meet). TB Sultan McCullough is the fastest Trojan football player ever, having run a 10.17 in the 100 (fifth fastest of any USC trackster in history!). He was the Pac-10 100 champ in 1999. WR Kareem Kelly, who owns the world junior record in the indoor 50, has clocked 10.28 in the 100 and anchored USC's sprint relay squad which finished fifth at this year's NCAA meet. CB Darrell Rideaux has gone 10.27 and ran leadoff on the 2002 sprint relay team. CB Marcell Allmond is a 13.54 high hurdler (he was a 2-time California state prep champ) and national Junior Olympic record-setting decathlete. TB Justin Fargas has run the 100 in 10.47. Fargas (1997), Rideaux (1998) and Kelly (1999) all won the California state high school 100.
***USC players are sporting a gold football-shaped decal reading 'Goux' on the back of their helmets this year. The decal is in memory of Marv Goux, the legendary USC assistant football coach (1957-82) and star Trojan player (1952, 54-55) who died this past July 27 at age 69.
***Two TrojansTE Gregg Guenther Jr. and S Sandy Fletcherhave played on the USC basketball team. Guenther saw action in 9 games (starting 3) as a center in 2002 and Fletcher played in 4 games as a point guard in 2000. And, as a youngster, LB Collin Ashton was a ballboy for several years for the USC men's basketball team.
***LB-DE Chris Prosser is allergic to grass, which causes his skin to get rashes when he plays football.
***OT Phillip Eaves spent part of 1997 in the Army at Fort Jackson, S.C.
***PK David Davis wants to be a firefighter and paramedic. In fact, while in junior college, he became certified as an emergency medical technician when he worked 2 years as a fire explorer at an Inglewood fire station and with a Los Angeles ambulance company.
***Four Trojans have Hollywood connections. As a youngster, USC S-CB John Walker was a television actor who appeared in such shows as 'E.R.' and '7th Heaven' (in fact, he didn't play football until his sophomore year of high school because a clause in his acting contract prevented him from doing anything that could affect his appearance). TB Justin Fargas is the son of actor Antonio Fargas, who has appeared in television (including as Huggy Bear on 'Starsky and Hutch') and film ('Shaft,' 'Pretty Baby,' 'The Gambler' and 'Car Wash,' among others). C Derek Graf's father, Allan, is a stuntman, stunt coordinator and second unit director who has been involved in many noted Hollywood films, 'On Any Given Sunday' and 'The Replacements.' USC linebackers coach Nick Holt is the grandson of Clarence 'Buster' Crabbe, USC's first All-American swimmer (1931) who was a 1931 NCAA freestyle titlist and 1932 Olympic gold medalist before starring in Hollywood as Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.
***Three Trojans have fathers who played on national championship USC football squads: C Derek Graf (father, Allan, was on the 1972 team), S Kyle Matthews (father, 1977 All-American Clay, was on the 1974 team) and LB Lofa Tatupu (father, Mosi, was on the 1974 team).
*** Several other Trojans have relatives with USC football connections. QB Morgan Craig is the grandson of ex-USC 1939 All-American QB Grenville 'Grenny' Lansdell. CB Kevin Arbet is the stepson of ex-Trojan (1980-82) Jeff Simmons. Two Trojans have cousins who played at USCWR Kareem Kelly (Rashard Cook, 1995-98) and TE-SNP Joe Boskovich (Martin Boskovich, 1993)and five have uncles who were Trojan footballers: S Troy Polamalu (Kennedy Pola, 1982-85, now USC's running backs coach and special teams coordinator), C Norm Katnik/OG Kurt Katnik (John Katnik, 1986-87) and OG-DT Fred Matua (Titus Tuiasosopo, 1990-92) and S Kyle Matthews (Bruce Matthews, 1980-82, 1982 All-American).
***Speaking of genes: CB Kevin Arbet's cousin, Lamarr Arbet, is a sophomore defensive lineman at San Jose State and his uncle, Darren Arbet, is the head coach of the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. DE Van Brown's brother, Chad, is an All-Pro linebacker who has played with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1993-96) and Seattle Seahawks (1997-2001) after starting 4 seasons at Colorado (1989-92). CB-WR William Buchanon is the son of ex-NFL star Willie Buchanon, a 1971 All-American cornerback at San Diego State who was a 3-time Pro Bowler during his 11-year (1972-82) NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers. QB Matt Cassel's older brother, Jack, is a pitcher in the San Diego Padres organization. WR Keary Colbert's cousin is ex-Arizona State DT Tommie Townsend (1999-2001). TB Hershel Dennis' father, Hershel Sr., played tailback at North Carolina A&T. LB Matt Grootegoed's brother, John, was an offensive guard at San Jose State in 1994 and 1995. WR D. Hale's brother, Damon Boddie, played tailback at Montana in the mid-1990s. TE Alex Holmes' father, Mike, lettered at defensive end at Michigan in 1974 and 1975. C Norm Katnik's and OG Kurt Katnik's father, Norman, was a 2-year starting center at Arizona (1978-79). FB David Kirtman's father, Louis, ran track at California and his uncle, Nate Kirtman, played football at Stanford in 1967. WR Grant Mattos' sister, Adrienne, was an All-American swimmer at California. OG-DT Fred Matua's uncle, Navy Tuiasosopo, played offensive line at Utah State and later with the Los Angeles Rams and a distant cousin, Manu Tuiasasosopo, was a 3-time All-Conference defensive lineman at UCLA (1976-78) who then played with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. TB Sultan McCullough's brother, Saladin, was a tailback at Oregon in 1996 and 1997 who has played in the XFL and NFL, while his late father, Bruce, ran track at San Jose State in the 1960s and his mother, Mabel, played basketball on the 1959 Arkansas high school championship team. WR Jason Mitchell's cousin, Christian Radley, is a junior coxswain on the USC women's rowing team. QB Carson Palmer's brother, Jordan, is a freshman quarterback at UTEP. S Troy Polamalu's brother, Kaio Aumua, played football at UTEP; an uncle, Al Pola, played football at Penn State; a cousin, Nicky Sualua, was a running back with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys who attended Ohio State, another cousin, Leie Sualua, was a defensive lineman at Oregon, and another cousin, Joe Polamalu, played for Oregon State in 1987 and 1988. DT Bernard Riley's father, Bernard Sr., was a starting offensive guard at Oregon in 1975. DE-DT A.J. Single's father, Doug, played at Stanford, then was the Cardinal's offensive line coach before serving as athletic director at Northwestern and SMU. LB Dallas Sartz's father, Jeff, played safety at Oregon State and his grandfather, also named Dallas, was a Golden Gloves boxer at Washington State and a professional hydroplane racer. DE Travis Tofi's cousin, Suaese 'Pooch' Taase, played football at Louisiana Tech. OG Travis Watkins' brother, Todd, is a redshirt freshman wide receiver on the Norfolk State football team, while his father, Don, was a lineman at Pasadena City College and his uncle, Tom Watkins, played 8 seasons in the NFL in the 1960s with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. OT Kyle Williams' father, Scott, played college basketball, while an uncle, Eric Williams, was a defensive lineman with the Detroit Lions (1984-89) and Washington Redskins (1990-93, including on the 1991 Super Bowl champs) after earning 1983 All-Pac-10 first team honors in his 3 years (1981-83) at Washington State; his grandfather, Roy Williams, played for the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, another uncle played professional basketball in Europe, while his other grandfather played 3 sports at Lehigh in the 1960s. DB coach Greg Burns' brother, Dexter, was a defensive back at San Jose State in the mid-1990s. LB coach Nick Holt's wife, Julie, was the head women's basketball at Nevada Reno, Pacific, Gonzaga and Idaho (she currently is the head coach at Los Angeles Harbor Junior College). WR coach Lane Kiffin's father, Monte, is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (he is a longtime NFL and collegiate assistant coach who also served as North Carolina State's head coach in the early 1980s). OT/TE coach Keith Uperesa's brother, Kevin, played football at California in 1977 and 1978, while his nephew Dane, is a freshman offensive lineman at Hawaii. OFF/SPT coach Brennan Carroll is the son of USC head coach Pete Carroll.
***How about these names: FB Sunny Byrd. LB Frostee Rucker. Walk-on WR Forrest Mozart. DE Kenechi Udeze (he goes by BKU, as in Big Kenechi Udeze; he's 6-4 and 280). LB Lofa Tatupu. DE Travis Tofi. WR D. Hale (it's for Donald, but he goes by D.; he says only his mother calls him Donald).
IN THE NFL
USC is always well-represented in the NFL. At the start of training camp this summer, there were 39 ex-Trojans on NFL rosters. Last year, there were 26 Trojans on opening day NFL rosters, including players such as LBs Junior Seau and Chris Claiborne, OL Tony Boselli, DL Willie McGinest, WRs Keyshawn Johnson, Johnnie Morton and Curtis Conway, QB Rob Johnson and DBs Jason Sehorn, Sammy Knight, Rashard Cook and Daylon McCutcheon. Five 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 and Miami's Dave Wannstedt. Ten current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: DE Van Brown (brother, Chad Brown), CB-WR William Buchanon (father, Willie Buchanon), WR Kareem Kelly (cousin, Rashard Cook), OG-DT Fred Matua (cousin, Manu Tuiasosopo), S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr.; father, Clay Matthews; uncle, Bruce Matthews), TB Sultan McCullough (brother, Saladin McCullough), S Troy Polamalu (cousin, Nicky Sualua), LB Lofa Tatupu (father, Mosi Tatupu), OG Travis Watkins (uncle, Tom Watkins) and OT Kyle Williams (uncle, Eric Williams; grandfather, Roy Williams). Additionally, head coach Pete Carroll was an NFL head coach and assistant coach, and assistant Lane Kiffin was an NFL assistant. Four assistant coaches played professionally: Keith Uperesa in the NFL, Norm Chow, Steve Sarkisian and Tim Davis in the CFL (Davis also played in the USFL).
USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 301 times, including 167 of the past 169 games. In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997 (snapped against Oregon State) and another streak of 48 in a row from 1997 to 2001 (broken against California).
PAC-10'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY
The 2002 season marks the 25th year of the Pacific-10 Conference as Arizona and Arizona State joined the league prior to the 1978 football season. USC became a member in 1922 when the league was called the Pacific Coast Conference (it later was called the Athletic Association of Western Universities, the Pacific-8 Conference and now the Pac-10).
There are a number of updates from the roster in the 2002 USC football media guide:
***There are 3 new scholarship players (their complete bios are below): #58 Lofa Tatupu (LB, 5-11, 215, So./So., Plainville, MA, King Philip Regional HS/Maine), #90 Frostee Rucker (LB, 6-4, 240, Fr.*/So., Tustin, Tustin HS/Colorado State) and #98 Travis Tofi (DE, 6-4, 235, Fr./Fr., Aoa, American Samoa, Fagaitua HS).
***Eleven other players have joined the team as walk-ons: #5 Morgan Craig (QB, 6-2, 190, Fr./Fr., Newport Beach, Newport Harbor HS), #9 Chase McBride (S, 6-2, 195, Fr./Fr., Solana Beach, Santa Fe Christian HS), #17 Nick Vanderboom (QB, 6-4, 215, Fr./Fr., Medina, MN, Breck HS), #19 Matt Newhouse (LB, 6-4, 205, Fr./Fr., Diamond Bar, Diamond Bar HS), #27 John Zilka (WR, 6-4, 185, Fr./Fr., Lake Forest, IL, Lake Forest HS), #29 Matt Haugen (WR, 6-0, 290, Fr./Fr., Irvine, Mater Dei HS), #38 Kirk Shepherd (CB, 5-10, 160, Fr./Fr., Rancho Palos Verdes, Peninsula HS), #40 Greg Farr (S, 6-0, 195, Jr./Jr., Carlsbad, Carlsbad HS/Palomar JC), #49 Mike Brittingham (S, 6-1, 195, Fr./Fr., Santa Ana, Foothill HS), #60 Jonathan Lanza (OT, 6-3, 265, Fr./Fr., San Diego, Horizon HS) and #80 Steve Levario Jr. (WR 5-9, 170, So.*/Jr., West Covina, Wilson HS/Mt. San Antonio JC).
***Two players have changed numbers: WR Greig Carlson is now #19 and CB Alex Gomez is #26.
***Eight players have switched positions: William Buchanon is now at CB, Nate Steinbacher is at DT, Chris Prosser is at LB-DE, Doyal Butler is at DE-TE, John Walker is at S-CB, Dominique Byrd is at TE-DE, Lee Webb is at FB and Forrest Mozart is at WR.
***Also, delete DE Austin Jackson, WR Frank Candela, CB Miguel Fletcher, CB Justin Tolliver and CB Marcus Johnson, who all quit the team, plus S Darnell Bing and DT Manuel Wright, who both did not qualify for admission.
BIOS OF NEW SCHOLARSHIP TROJANS
LOFA TATUPUH will have to sit out the 2002 season because of NCAA transfer rules...He started at linebacker as a first-year freshman in 2001 at Maine...He was second on the Black Bears in tackles with 67, including 13 for losses (with 3.5 sacks), tied for the team lead in interceptions with 3 (returned for a 16.7 average), and had 2 deflections, 1 forced fumble and 4 kickoff returns (for a 14.8 average)...He was named the team's Defensive Rookie of the Year...Maine went 9-3 in 2001, winning a share of the Atlantic 10 title and its first post-season game en route to advancing to the NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals...As a 2000 senior at King Philip Regional High in Wrentham, Mass., he recorded 110 tackles at linebacker and threw for 800 yards and 10 TDs as a quarterback while also rushing for 450 yards and 5 TDs...He was a 2000 All-State pick, as well as a 2-time (1999-2000) Sun Chronicle All-Star and All-League linebacker (earning All-League Defensive MVP honors as a senior)...King Philip Regional's head coach was his father, former USC fullback Mosi Tatupu (1974-77), who was a member of Troy's 1974 national championship team (he ran for 1,277 yards on 223 carries in his Trojan career and was USC's Offensive Player of the Year and Most Inspirational Player in 1977) and then played 14 years in the NFL with the New England Patriots (1978-90) and Los Angeles Rams (1991)....His name is pronounced 'LOW-fah ta-TOO-poo.'
FROSTEE RUCKERH will have to sit out the 2002 season because of NCAA transfer rules...He redshirted as a first-year freshman outside linebacker at Colorado State in 2001...He was named to the 2000 All-CIF Division VI first team (as a running back), Orange County Register All-Orange County second team (as a linebacker) and All-Golden West League MVP as a senior at Tustin (Calif.) High.
TRAVIS TOFIHe was a 2-time (2000-01) All-Star (winning Defensive Line MVP in 2001) as a senior defensive end at Fagaitua (American Samoa) High...He had 49 tackles and 9 sacks in 2001...He also won a Samoa International Sports Award in 2001, which recognizes the achievements of Samoan athletes...His real first name is Tupula...His cousin, Suaese 'Pooch' Taase, played football at Louisiana Tech...Tofi's last name is pronounced 'TOE-fee.'
USC IS THE PLACE TO BE
Based on several national accolades it has received recently, USC can stake its claim as one of the nation's premier schools. USC was named the 'College of the Year' by the 2000 edition of the Time/Princeton Review College Guide because of the remarkable bonds it has forged with the local community. The editors said USC has one of the most ambitious social-outreach programs of any university in the nation and cited the school's model of service learning (applying academic theory to real-life situations through public service). They also pointed out that USC's undergraduate applications have nearly doubled over the last few years and it is enrolling the most academically accomplished freshman classes in its history. Troy also was selected as one of America's nine 'hottest schools' by the 2001 edition of the Newsweek/Kaplan College Guide because it lives up to its reputation as a top-notch institution of higher education. Students quoted in the guide said that what attracted them to the university was Los Angeles' ethnic diversity, the offer of scholarships, the small classroom sizes and USC's standing in academe. Also in 2001, the Association of American Colleges and Universities picked USC as one of 16 'Leadership Institutions' for providing stimulating educational experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. USC was cited for emphasizing a campus culture featuring new learning techniques, curriculum and organizational structure and for demonstrating a strong commitment to liberal arts education relevant to the contemporary world. The organization said USC not only linked liberal arts and pre-professional study, but offered students the opportunity to learn by doing through off-campus work in community projects and internships. Also, USC was lauded for stressing critical thinking, effective communication and contributing to a diverse society.
Two of USC's most recent graduation rates for football were the highest in USC history. The 2001 official NCAA graduation rate for Trojan football players was 82%, an all-time high (topping the previous USC high of 80% in 2000). That rate compared to 73% for the general USC student body...and it was about 30 percentage points higher than the national football average for Division I schools. Among the top scholars on the 2002 Trojan squad are: FB Brandon Hancock (team-high 3.81 GPA, business), S Andre Woodert (3.43), QB Billy Hart (3.35, business), LB-SNP Matt Hayward (3.29, business), QB Matt Cassel (3.23, communication), P Tom Malone (3.2, kineseology), DT Spencer Torgan (3.04, business), LB Melvin Simmons (3.01, social sciences/history), TE Scott Huber (2.97, communication), FB David Kirtman (2.92, business), C-SNP Joe Boskovich (2.87, business), OT Justin Brown (2.82, business) and DE Jay Bottom (2.78). Huber was a 1999 and 2000 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention choice. In its history, USC football has produced 22 Academic All-American first teamers (tops in the Pac-10 and sixth 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.
Washington, guided by fourth-year head coach Rick Neuheisel, escaped last Saturday with a 32-28 late win over Arizona that ended a 5-game Seattle homestand. The Huskies are second nationally in passing offense (380.5, first in Pac-10) and fourth in total offense (480.3, first in Pac-10). Junior QB Cody Pickett (176-of-263, 66.9%, 2,251 yds, 13 TD, 4 int in 2002), second nationally in total offense (369.5, first in Pac-10) and 11th in passing efficiency (152.1, third in Pac-10), is sixth on UW's career passing yardage list (4,666) and seventh on completions (346). Junior TB Rich Alexis (118 tcb, 440 yds, 3.7 avg, 6 TD in 2002, plus 18 rec, 10.3 avg) headlines the ground game, while sophomore WR Reggie Williams (38 rec, 17.2 avg, 5 TD in 2002)already seventh on the school's career receiving yardage list (1,628)and senior WR Patrick Reddick (28 rec, 10.8 avg, 1 TD in 2002) are the top receivers. Williams caught 3 Pickett TD tosses against Arizona last week. The Husky defense ranks ninth in the nation in rushing defense (85.8, second in Pac-10). Leading tacklers include senior ILB Ben Mahdavi (team-best 50 tac, 7 for loss, 1 sack, 1 FR in 2002), junior ILB Marquis Cooper (46 tac, 7 for loss, 2 sack, 1 int, 1 FF in 2002) and junior FS Greg Carothers (41 tac, 5.5 for loss, 1 sack, 2 FR in 2002). Senior PK John Anderson (12-of-16 FG, 19-of-21 PAT in 2002), second nationally in field goals (2.0, first in Pac-10) and 23rd in scoring (9.2, third in Pac-10), is third on UW's career field goal chart (51).
The sixth class of USC's Athletic Hall of Fame will be introduced at halftime...The USC women's volleyball team, ranked No. 1 nationally, will be recognized during the Team Trojan Spotlight...Women's volleyball middle blocker Emily Adams, an international relations major, will be saluted during the Verizon Academic Salute...Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior (Trojans in the News), 1974 All-American tailback Anthony Davis (FOX Sports Greatest Trojan) and the 1984 USC-Washington game (Daily Trojan Great Moments) will be honored during video board presentations.
OUT: LB Aaron Graham (hip), TE Scott Huber (hip), LB-DE Chris Prosser (concussion), DE Daniel Urquhart (arm), TB Darryl Poston (back), WR Jason Mitchell (back), CB Ronald Nunn (knee), CB Kevin Arbet (foot), WR D. Hale (ankle), OG-OT Joe McGuire (shoulder), DE-DT A.J. Single (shoulder), QB Nick Vanderboom (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Shaun Cody (knee), OT Jacob Rogers (knee), WR Sandy Fletcher (ankle), OG Fred Matua (knee)
PROBABLE: S Troy Polamalu (ankle)
Oh, he has been around USC for the last two-and-a-half years, but he has spent most of that time either injured or sick.
Now, halfway through his redshirt sophomore season, the highly-touted Grootegoed is not only making his presence known, but he has been all over the field for the Trojans.
'It definitely feels good to be back,' said Grootegoed, who redshirted his first season at USC after suffering from mononucleosis and then missed six games last season due to concussions and a broken leg. 'Things are starting to roll my way, but I try not to think about it. You never know how things will happen.'
Grootegoed is just happy to be back. His first season in 2000 was a rough one. For much of the time, he wasn't even able to practice. Some of his teammates nicknamed him 'The Ghost,' since his presence could barely be felt.
'I had mono and they didn't want me around because it was contagious,' said Grootegoed. 'The only time I really showed up was for games. No one knew where I was the whole week because I'd be in my room sleeping and then going to class. Then, I'd show up for the games and they'd say, 'Where'd he come from?'
'It was a hard time. I didn't even feel like I was part of the team. All of a sudden I was at USC and not playing football, struggling in class because I was so sick. The first month was really bad. I had a cold, strep throat and was constantly fatigued.'
His sickness was quite a setback after Grootegoed had had a promising first training camp for the Trojans. Despite his sickness, he still was able to participate in USC's season opener against Penn State in 2000 back East in the Kickoff Classic.
'Playing Penn State was amazing,' said Grootegoed. ' I was on the first kickoff at the start. I was all amped, but completely nervous. I was already getting sick before that game, so I had a temperature of 104. It was really humid, but I was just really excited. I talked to my brother before the game and he told me not to be nervous. It was a great moment to look up and see all those people in the stands. It was the loudest I had ever heard a stadium. Even though I didn't make a play, just being out there felt like I had made it.'
Grootegoed had to savor that feeling, since he didn't see the field again for a whole year. As one would expect, he was quite rusty as the 2001 season started. What's more, he was moved from his natural strong safety spot to the strongside outside linebacker position. So he not only had to overcome a year of inactivity, but he had to learn a new position as well. He did quite well, too, tallying 32 tackles, including eight for losses, plus a sack before breaking his leg against California. Now, he is once again healthy and making plays.
'It was hard when I got hurt and was inactive and then I got thrown back into it,' said Grootegoed. 'It took awhile to get my instincts back. I still have a ways to go. I'm comfortable enough to make plays, but I'm just a few steps away from a real big play. It's going to take a little while for me to get back the feel of just playing. I'm doing okay.'
He is doing well enough to be leading the Trojans in tackles so far in 2002. He had a career-high 11 tackles against California, including two sacks. On one sack, he forced a fumble and recovered the ball, setting up a Trojan touchdown. He even recovered a fourth quarter onside kick to shut the door on Cal's comeback. It was the second week in a row he led USC in tackles. For the season, he has 40 tackles, seven-and-a-half of them going for losses. To Grootegoed, that kind of play is no big deal.
'I'm not a flashy guy,' said Grootegoed. 'I just do my job. If I do something good, that's what I'm supposed to do. It's no big deal to me.'
As humble as he is, Grootegoed has been a big deal around Southern California for a long time. He was a football prodigy even back in his Pop Warner days, when he was a finalist in the national Punt, Pass and Kick competition as a 10-year-old.
'I figured I'd try it out and I went through each part of it,' said Grootegoed. 'It turned out I had the longest throws and kicks. So I got to go to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii and throw and kick at halftime. It was a great experience. Jim Kelly and Junior Seau were out there. We even went to a luau with Junior where he talked to each one of us.'
Grootegoed went on to an oustanding prep career at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif. As a freshman, he was a placekicker for the varsity. By his junior year, he was already one of the best all-around players ever to play at football powerhouse Mater Dei. For Grootegoed, he was just following in the footsteps of his brother, John, who played offensive line at Mater Dei and later at San Jose State in the mid-90s. Grootegoed credits his brother with helping his football development.
'Playing football with my brother when I was younger helped me a lot,' said Grootegoed. 'We'd go in the back yard and play tackle football. He's a lot older than me and, back then, he was a lot bigger than me, too. Just from doing that, that is what got me to love football. My brother taught me a lot about football. I learned a lot from what he weny through and he is helping me a lot with what I am going through.'
For now, Grootegoed is at linebacker, but there is always a chance that he will be heading back to the strong safety spot to be vacated next season after Troy Polamalu leaves.
'As a linebacker, I have my job and I try to do the best I can,' said Grootegoed. 'It's still early to say whether I will switch. Wherever I can play or where they need me, that's fine. I think I can pick it (strong safety) up pretty quick in the offseason if need be.'
In the meantime, Grootegoed will continue in his blue-collar role, making great plays seem like routine ones. And if he ever gets a hold of a ball on his way to the end zone, don't expect to see him get too excited.
'You won't see me doing a little dance or highstepping,' said Grootegoed. 'I would probably fall over.'
by Chris Huston
Assistant Sports Information Director