Trojans Will Try And Make It Four Straight Over UCLA

Nov. 17, 2002

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TICKETS:Tickets for the USC-UCLA game, priced at $58, are available at the USC Ticket Office (213-740-GO SC).

RADIO-TV: Live regional TV: 12:30 p.m. (PST), ABC-TV, Keith Jackson, Dan Fouts, Todd Harris.
Live national radio: 4 p.m. (PST), Westwood One, Bob Fitzgerald, Fran Curci.
Live local radio: 11:30 a.m. (PST), 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 or can pay to listen to it live by dialing 1-800-846-4675 ext. 5933. Also, KXTA-AM (1150), Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, John Ireland.
Local Spanish-language radio: 12:15 p.m. (PST), XPRS-AM (1090), Victor Duarte, Jose Tolentino, Victor Munoz.
USC Sports Magazine Show: 5 p.m. (PST), Thursday (Nov. 21), FOX Sports Net 2, and 10:30 p.m. (PST), Friday (Nov. 22), FOX Sports Net, Tom Kelly.
USC Insider Show: 7 p.m. (PST), Tuesdays during football season, KMPC-AM (1540) and KPLS-AM (830), Pete Arbogast, Petros Papadakis.
USC Trojan Talk: 7 p.m. (PST), Sundays from late August through Memorial Day, KDWN-AM (720), Harvey Hyde, Chuck Hayes.

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USC (8-2 overall, 6-1 Pac-10) vs. UCLA (7-3 overall, 4-2 Pac-10), Saturday, Nov. 23, 12:30 p.m. PST, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

It's the 72nd meeting in this classic intracity rivalry between USC and UCLA, with the winner getting the Victory Bell. Both teams are hot, with the Trojans on a 5-game winning streak (their best start since 1995 and its highest ranking this late in the season since 1988) and UCLA coming off a byehaving won its past 3. USC has claimed the last 3 games in the series, including shutting out UCLA last season (only once before 1976-79has Troy beaten the Bruins 4 straight years). UCLA is the seventh AP-ranked opponent USC has played in 2002. It's the first time since 1993 that both teams enter the game ranked. A prime post-season bowl could go to the winner. The Rose Bowl is USC's second home, as this will be the 42nd time the Trojans have played in Pasadena. USC has scored at least 30 points in each of its past 5 games. QB Carson Palmer, a key player in the Heisman Trophy mix, is on the verge of setting Pac-10 career records for passing yardage, completions and attempts. Palmer will face one of the Pac-10's top secondaries (the Bruins are highly-ranked nationally in pass efficiency defense). Will WR Mike Williams, who is about to set the Pac-10 freshman receiving yardage mark, catch a TD pass in his eighth consecutive game? UCLA has weathered the loss of starting QB Cory Paus, as a pair of true freshman signalcallers (Drew Olson and Matt Moore) have kept the Bruin offense productive. Can USC in the Top 10 nationally in rushing defense and which has not allowed anyone to hit the century rushing mark this seasoncontrol the Pac-10's No. 2 rushing offense and TB Tyler Ebell, who has a string of 6 straight 100-yard outings? Key points are at stake in the Lexus Gauntlet competition between the schools. The game, approaching a sellout, will be televised live regionally by ABC-TV.

USC is ranked seventh by AP and USA Today/ESPN. UCLA is 25th by AP and 24th by USA Today/ESPN.

USC leads the series with crosstown rival UCLA, 37-27-7 (dating to 1929). It has been a series of streaks recently: the Trojans have won the last 3 games after UCLA's 8-game winning stretch (the longest streak by either team in the series), with 6 of those losses coming by a touchdown or less, and before that USC had a 4-game unbeaten run over the Bruins. In games against UCLA in the Rose Bowl, the Trojans are 3-7.Last year in the Coliseum, USC thoroughly dominated No. 20 UCLA, 27-0. It was USC's first shutout in the crosstown series since 1947 (and its first of any team since 1998) and just the eighth overall whitewash in the 71-game rivalry. It was also the biggest margin of victory in the series since 1979. The Trojans, who became bowl eligible with the victory, posted their third consecutive win over the Bruins. It was also USC's fourth straight win in 2001 (and fifth in 6 games) after beginning the season at 1-4 and UCLA's fourth loss in a row after starting off 6-0. The victory was so complete that the Trojans held UCLA to USC-opponent season lows in first downs (10), rushing yards (28), total yards (114, USC's fewest allowed since holding Oregon to 112 in 1988) and plays (55). UCLA's 28 rushing yards were its fewest against USC since gaining 23 in 1956 and its 86 passing yards were its fewest versus Troy since getting 86 in 1975 (the ground and air yardage was also UCLA's lowest in 2001). UCLA averaged just 2.1 yards per play, converted only 2-of-11 third downs and held the ball just 27:01. The Bruins penetrated USC territory on just 3 of their 12 drives and got no closer than the 22-yard line (that fourth quarter drive ended on CB Kevin Arbet's interception at the 2). USC set the tone early, driving 80 yards in 8 plays on the game's opening possession for a touchdown, a 4-yard pass from QB Carson Palmer to WR Keary Colbert (it was set up by TE Kori Dickerson's career-long 66-yard reception of a Palmer third down aerial). Then, as the first quarter ended, CB Antuan Simmons made an amazing through-the-legs interception of a pass from QB Cory Paus that bounced off WR Brian Poli-Dixon and returned it 36 yards for a TD (the third scoring pick of his career). After S Troy Polamalu blocked P Nate Fikse's punt on UCLA's ensuing series (it was Polamalu's third blocked punt of 2001 and fourth of his career), PK David Davis made it 17-0 with a 20-yard field goal. TB Chris Howard raced a career-long 34 yards for a TD late in the third quarter (the first offensive touchdown UCLA had allowed in the third quarter in 2001) and then, after Polamalu intercepted Paus 2 plays later, Davis hit another 20-yard field goal early in the final quarter to close out the scoring. Palmer completed 14-of-23 passes for 180 yards (he was intercepted once, a short pass at the goal line late in the first half), with 3 throws each to Dickerson (for a career-best and game-high 92 yards), TE Alex Holmes (37 yards) and Colbert (26 yards). Howard had a game-best 49 yards on 8 carries, while FB Sunny Byrd added 40 yards on 20 carries out of the tailback spot. USC DT Shaun Cody made a game-high 8 tackles (3 for losses, with 2 sacks) and recovered a fumble. Polamalu was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Paus was 7-of-15 for 45 yards with 2 interceptions and was sacked 5 times before being replaced after the third quarter by QBs Scott McEwan (3-of-8 for 29 yards and a pick) and Ryan McCann (3-of-4 for 12 yards). Bruin WR Craig Bragg had a game-leading 6 receptions, but for just 29 yards, while TB Manuel White (subbing for ineligible TB DeShaun Foster, the Pac-10's leading rusher and scorer) had only 23 yards on 9 attempts.

In 2000 in the last meeting in the Rose Bowl, PK David Bellwho began the season as USC's third string placekickernailed 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. 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 statisticsgetting more total yards (557-328), plays (82-51), first downs (29-12) and possession time (34:22-25:38)but 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 then-career-high 350 yards (his 4 TDs were also a then-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.

USC is 25-16 in regular and post-season games it has played in the Rose Bowl, including 20-8 in the Rose Bowl game, 3-7 versus UCLA and 2-1 in the 1922 regular season.

USC's No. 7 AP ranking is its highest this late into a season since the 1988 team was No. 2 after 10 games. It is also the first season since 1995 that USC has been ranked in the AP poll each week.

USC's 8-2 record is its best start since the 1995 squad was 8-1-1.

USC has scored at least 30 points in its last 5 games (all victories), the first time that has happened since the last contest of 1994 and the first 4 of 1995. On the year, the Trojans have scored 30 points 6 times, the most since getting 6 in 1999.

USC running backs coach/special teams coordinator Kennedy Pola was a graduate assistant coach at UCLA in 1992 and 1993...USC OG Fred Matua is a cousin of former UCLA defensive lineman Manu Tuiasosopo (1976-78)...UCLA head coach Bob Toledo was the secondary coach at USC from 1976 to 1978 (the Trojans won the 1978 national title and a pair of Rose Bowls in that span)... UCLA assistant coach Gary Bernardi was a USC assistant (198792)...UCLA OT Matt Mosebar is the nephew of ex-USC All-American OT Don Mosebar (1979-82)...USC men's basketball coach Henry Bibby played on 3 UCLA NCAA title teams (197072), earning AllAmerican honors in 1972...USC men's and women's water polo head coach Jovan Vavic was a Bruin men's assistant in 1991...USC women's rowing head coaches Kelly and Zenon Babraj previously were head coaches at UCLA, Kelly guiding the women (1986-91) and Zenon the men (1987-91); Kelly also rowed for the Bruins for 2 years...Ted Gleason, who coaches the USC men's and women's golfers, captained the UCLA men's squad in 1993...USC women's basketball director of operations and marketing Patrick Auerbach is a former UCLA yell leader...USC assistant track coach John Henry Johnson was a decathlete at UCLA in the late 1980s...USC assistant women's tennis coach Karin Huebner captained UCLA's 1981 AIAW national championship team...USC head trainer Russ Romano spent 1997 at UCLA...USC assistant director of Student-Athlete Academic Services Wayne Johnson had similar responsibilities at UCLA...UCLA women's basketball coach Kathy Olivier was a USC assistant for 3 years (1984-86), including on Troy's 1984 NCAA championship team.

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 84-44 (65.6%); at the time they played USC, the first 11 foes were 42-20 (only Stanford came in with a losing record). Five of Troy's 2002 opponents currently are ranked in the AP poll (7 of USC's first 11 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: 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.

QB Carson Palmer threw 2 touchdowns and ran for another, while TB Justin Fargas rushed for 125 yards with a score and the Trojan defense allowed only 3 second-half points, to help No. 8 USC to a 34-13 Homecoming victory over Arizona State before 73,923 fans in the Coliseum (the big non-UCLA/Notre Dame home crowd since the 1988 California game had 73,937) and a national TBS Superstation cable audience. It was USC's fifth consecutive win in 2002 and its eighth straight in the Coliseum. It also gave Troy a 10-9 edge in its series with ASU (USC now holds a series lead over every Pac-10 team). And, it was the fifth game in a row that USC scored at least 30 points. USC opened up a 20-3 lead late in the second quarter on Palmer scoring tosses to WR Mike Williams (18 yards) and TE Alex Holmes (2 yards) and field goals by PK Ryan Killeen (20 and 41 yards). ASU closed to 20-13 following a 24-yard scoring pass from QB Andrew Walter to WR Shaun McDonald late in the first half and PK Mike Barth's second field goal of the game (a 27-yarder at the end of the third quarter; he had a 22-yarder at the end of the first quarter). But USC responded with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns on short runs by Fargas (3 yards) and Palmer (2 yards). The Trojans piled up 434 total yards (their sixth straight game over 400 yards) to ASU's 324 and held the ball 35:15. Troy ran for a season-best 201 yards against an ASU defense that was allowing just 107.6 rushing yards. USC, which posted 4 sacks, slowed down a Sun Devil offense that was averaging 34.4 points. ASU ran for just 27 yards (the fifth consecutive game USC has held foes under 100 yards on the ground) and converted only 3-of-14 third downs (and 0-of-2 fourth downs). Palmer, who has emerged as a leading contender in the Heisman Trophy race, completed 20-of-34 passes for 214 yards. Fargas had his third career 100-yard outing (second at USC) with his 125 yards on 26 carries. WR Keary Colbert had a game-best 7 catches for 98 yards and Holmes caught a career-high 6 passes for 50 yards. Among his 7 punts, P Tom Malone boomed a 72-yarder. CB Darrell Rideaux and S DeShaun Hill each had 6 tackles, with Hill and LB Melvin Simmons getting interceptions and DE Kenechi Udeze recovering a fumble. Walter hit 24-of-49 throws for 297 yards, but was picked off twice.

USC has a 4-3-3 record against a UCLA team that is coming off a bye, including a victory in the most recent such game (1977). The wins were in 1938-52-63-77, the losses were in 1950-54-75 and the ties were in 1936-41-71. Also, USC is 4-0-1 in another occurrence against a rested UCLA Bruin season openers (the wins were in 1929-30-43-45 and the tie was in 1944).

USC is 18-18-2 against UCLA in seasons when Troy's next game is against Notre Dame.

The USC-UCLA series is tied at 10-10-1 when both teams enter the game ranked by AP. The most recent such meeting was in 1993 (a UCLA victory). USC's wins were in 1947-52-67-69-72-73-76-78-81-88, the losses were in 1946-51-53-54-65-66-80-82-86-93 and the tie was in 1939.

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 14-8 as a college head coach (all at USC); his losses were by a total of 39 points (4.9 average) and only 1 was by more than a touchdown (it was by 11 points). After starting off his Trojan career 2-5, he has gone 12-3. 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 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 (59 tac, 6 for loss, 2 sack, 1 int, 4 dfl, 1 FF in 2002), in his third year starting at strong safety, is 1 of 14 semifinalists 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 made the 'Watch List' for the 2002 Walter Camp 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. He has played with a nagging ankle sprain for the second half of 2002. 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.
--He had 5 tackles, an interception (which he returned 33 yards to set up a USC field goal) and a deflection against Washington.
--At Oregon, he had 7 tackles (1 for a loss).
--He had a game-high 13 tackles at Stanford, including 2 for losses (with a sack).
--He made 5 tackles and had a deflections against Arizona State.

'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.'

Mike Williams is 16th nationally in receiving yards and 22nd in receptions .


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 (237-of-380, 62.4%, 2,960 yds, 24 TD, 8 int in 2002, plus 39 tcb, -142 yds, -3.6 avg, 4 TD) is among the leading 2002 Heisman Trophy contenders. He currently is 10th in passing efficiency (144.4, second in Pac-10) and 11th nationally in total offense (281.8, second in Pac-10). In his last 4 games, he has thrown for 1,327 yards and 15 TDs (and in his last 6 games, he has gone for 1,997 yards and 19 TDs). He has thrown a TD pass in every game in 2002, including at least 2 in the past 7 outings. He currently has thrown 93 consecutive passes without an interception. His 237 completions in 2002 puts him second on the USC season list (first is Rob Johnson's 308 in 1993), as does his 2,960 passing yards (Johnson had 3,630) and 24 TD passes (Johnson had 29), and his 2,818 yards of total offense is fifth on the Trojan season chart. He is 1 of 5 semifinalists for the 2002 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, 1 of 10 finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and 1 of 14 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. Now in his fourth year as a starter, among the USC career records he owns are these: total offense (10,619, second on the Pac-10 chart), plays (a Pac-10 record 1,704), passing yardage (10,836, second on the Pac-10 list), passing touchdowns (63, sixth on the Pac-10 ladder), completions (855), attempts (1,470) and interceptions (47). He is within range of the Pac-10 career marks for total offense (11,285; he needs 667), passing yardage (10,911; he needs 76), completions (870; he needs 16) and attempts (1,480; he needs 11). His 3 seasons with 2,500-plus yards of total offense ties a Pac-10 record (with Stanford's John Elway and Oregon State's Erik Wilhelm). His 10,406 non-bowl career passing yards ranks 16th on the NCAA ladder and his 10,091 non-bowl career total offense yardage is 21st in the NCAA. In 2002, he has completed passes to 13 different receivers. With 42 career starts, he has completed at least 60.0% of his passes 22 times (including 9 contests at 70.0%-plus), with 7 of those coming in 2002, and has thrown for 300-plus yards in a co-USC-record 9 games in his career (a co-USC record 5 in 2002, including 4 of the past 6), with a pair of 400-yard outings (a USC record). His 3 consecutive 300-yard outings (all this year) and his 27 200-yard games are USC marks. He owns 3 USC game records: total offense (434), passing yards (448) and TD passes (5, shared with Rodney Peete), all set at Oregon in 2002. He is the first player to lead USC in passing for 4 years. 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 since-broken USC game record (his 411 passing yards in that game were 4 shy of tying that 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.
--He hit 21-of-34 passes for 348 yards with 4 TDs (equaling a then-career best) against Washington.
--He had a record-setting performance at Oregon: he set USC single game marks for passing yardage (448) and total offense (434) while hitting 73.8% (31-of-42) of his throws (he had 1 interception) and his 5 TD tosses equaled a USC record. He was 14-of-18 for 216 yards in the first half and then 12-of-14 for 183 yards in the third quarter. For this, he was named National Player of the Week by, and, as well as Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week.
--At Stanford, he threw 4 touchdowns while going 22-of-32 for 317 yards and no interceptions.
--He threw for 2 touchdowns (on 20-of-34 passing with no interceptions) and ran for another (2 yards) against Arizona State.


USC head coach Pete Carroll: 'He's got to be one of the best quarterbacks in America. I don't know who could possibly be better.'

Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens: 'He has been mentioned as a Heisman possibility and I think it's justified. He throws the ball well. He hits all different types of throws. He's mobile for a big guy. He'll adjust if he gets flushed. He seems to have a good presence. The guys we had when I was at Florida, he's as good as anyone I've seen in that section of the country.'

Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti: 'He's always been a great athlete, but he's playing like a great quarterback right now.'

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.'

Hunter S. Thompson, 'Let me tell you about this vision I had. Who can know for sure about these things. In my vision, Beano Cook is saying he 'has no idea who will win the Heisman Trophy this year.' But I do. Try Carson Palmer from USC, who has a bitchin' arm and a nice habit of lulling a defense to sleep with normal stuff, and then breaking their backs with long weird strikes to the heart. Sudden death: WHACK! Right down the middle, so fast that it catches you flat-footed, two steps behind and stupid.'

Mel Kiper, 'Palmer has turned in Drew Bledsoe-type passing performances on a week-to-week basis this season in the Pac-10. If Palmer continues to perform at this level the rest of the campaign and then puts on a show in the post-season, he could ultimately become a top-five pick in round one of the NFL draft. And he could potentially be in the mix as the No. 1 overall selection.'

Terry Bowden, 'He is without a doubt the hottest quarterback in the country. He is on an incredible run. If he finishes out in the same fashion, there may be a lot more people wanting tickets to the Carson Show.'

Gary Cole, 'He's having an unbelievable season. In fact, if we were casting our Heisman vote tomorrow, Palmer would get it hands down.'


Eight of the last 10 Pac-10 champions were guided by a senior quarterback (and all 10 had QBs with at least 4 years in the program), which bodes well for USC's fifth-year senior signalcaller Carson Palmer.

Three relatively untested youngsters are behind Carson Palmer at quarterback: sophomore Matt Cassel (1-of-2, 50.0%, 10 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 came in 2002: 2 snaps at the end of the Colorado game and 3 late mop-up series at Oregon). 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).
--Cassel played the final series against Washington, but didn't throw a pass, while Hart saw his first action as a Trojan while playing on the punt return team.
--Leinart directed 3 late series at Oregon, but didn't throw a pass.
--Cassel completed his only pass attempt (for 10 yards) while directing 2 late drives at Stanford.
--Cassel played the final series against Arizona State, but didn't throw a pass.

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 (152 tcb, team-best 665 yds, 4.4 avg, 6 TD in 2002, plus 10 rec, 72 yds, 7.2 avg and 2 KOR, 38 yds, 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 (2,651 yards, 36th 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 (37 tcb, 147 yds, 4.0 avg, 2 TD in 2002, plus 32 rec, 321 yds, 10.0 avg, 4 TD and 2 tac), who has 912 rushing yards and 69 receptions25th on the all-time USC receiving chartin his Trojan career (he has started 11 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). He plays often in 2002 in 2-back sets, on passing downs and lately has started at fullback. Senior Justin Fargas (105 tcb, 432 yds, 4.1 avg, 4 TD in 2002, plus 2 rec, 48 yds, 24.0 avg and 4 KOR, 73 yds, 18.2 avg), 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. He has a trio of 100-yard games in his career, including 2 at USC. 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 (36 tcb, 114 yds, 3.2 avg in 2002, plus 2 rec, 6 yds, 3.0 avg and 8 KOR, 136 yds, 17.0 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, to earn Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors, 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.
--McCullough had 37 yards on 22 carries against Washington, while Fargas added 22 yards on 6 tries (with a 13-yard TD. his first at USC), MacKenzie caught 2 passes for 12 yards (he started at fullback) and Dennis ran for 7 yards on 2 carries.
--At Oregon in his first start as a Trojan, Fargas ran for a career-high 139 yards on 27 carries with a 15-yard TD, MacKenzie caught 6 passes for 43 yards (with a pair of 8-yard TDs) and ran 4 yards on 3 tries from fullback, Dennis rushed for 19 yards on 10 carries (he also caught a 2-yard pass) and McCullough added 16 yards on 2 carries.
--Fargas has a team-best 43 yards on 9 carries (with a 7-yard TD) at Stanford, MacKenzie added 41 yards on 3 tries (with a 4-yard score), Dennis had 21 yards on 6 carries and McCullough had 14 yards on 7 tries (with a 6-yard TD).
--Fargas ran for a game-best 125 yards on 26 carries with a 3-yard TD (he also caught 2 passes for 48 yards and returned a kickoff 22 yards) versus Arizona State, McCullough added 69 yards on 4 tries (with a 59-yard burst), MacKenzie caught 3 passes for 5 yards and Dennis had 23 yards on 5 rushes.


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: 990 carries, 4,347 yards, 4.4 average per carry, 32 TDs, 35 starts, 15 100-yard games...oh, and seven surgeries!

Senior Sunny Byrd (2 rec, 15 yds, 7.5 avg in 2002, plus 3 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, 56 yds, 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, 15 yds, 7.5 avg and 3 tac, 1 FR), who enrolled at USC this past spring after earning prep All-American honors, sophomore Lee Webb (2 tac in 2002), a converted linebacker, and redshirt freshman David Kirtman (2 tac, 1 FF 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, Washington, Oregon, Stanford or Arizona State.

Swift senior Kareem Kelly (36 rec, 425 yds, 11.8 avg, 3 TD in 2002, plus 1 tcb, 1 yd, 1.0 avg and 7 PR, 50 yds, 7.1 avg), a 4-year starter, is second on Troy's career pass catching list (194 receptions, tied for 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 2,924, seventh on the Pac-10 chart). He has a catch in all 45 games he has played as a Trojan, 1 shy of Pac-10 recordholder Keenan Howry of Oregon (Howry has played in 1 more game this year, but Oregon only has 2 games left while USC has 3). The Pac-10 counts bowl games in its career records. The NCAA record for consecutive games with a catchwhich until this year did not include bowl gamesis 46 in a row (held by New Mexico's Carl Winston); that means that Howry (who has played in 3 bowls) is at 43 when it comes to the pursuit of the NCAA mark and therefore cannot reach Winston's record, while Kelly (who has played in 1 bowl) is at 44 and could surpass it. He was 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.
--He caught a 16-yard pass against Washington.
--At Oregon, he had 6 receptions for 94 yards, with a 31-yard TD.
--He had 3 receptions for 69 yards (including a 50-yarder) at Stanford.
--He had an 11-yard catch versus Arizona State.

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 (56 rec, 789 yds, 14.1 avg, 4 TD in 2002, plus 1 tcb, 2 yds, 2.0 avg and 1 tac) returns at the other wideout spot. His 56 receptions in 2002 is tied for ninth on the USC season list. The consistent 2-year starter has 123 career grabs to put him tied for seventh on USC's career reception chart, including 34 (13.0 avg) in 2001 with 2 TDs. Also making a huge impact is true freshman Mike Williams (team-high 59 rec, 931 yds, 15.8 avg, 11 TD in 2002, plus 1-of-1 passing for 19 yds and 2 tcb, 9 yds, 4.5 avg and 1 tac, 1 FF, 1 FR), a prep All-American. ESPN analyst Lee Corso calls him 'the best freshman wide receiver in the nation,' while former USC star receiver Keyshawn Johnsonin his own modest waysays 'he could be the second best receiver to play at USC.' He currently is 16th nationally in receiving yards (92.1, fourth in Pac-10) and 22nd in receptions (5.9, fourth in Pac-10). His 59 catches in 2002 is seventh on the USC season list. With 931 receiving yards, he is aiming to become USC's first 1,000-yard receiver since Keyshawn Johnson had 1,434 yards in 1995. Williams has 4 100-yard receiving games in 2002 (all in a rowversus Washington State, California, Washington and Oregonthe most since Johnson had 12 in a row in 1994 and 1995). He has caught a TD pass in each of the last 7 games. His 11 TD receptions are the most by a Trojan in a season since Johnnie Morton had a USC-record 14 in 1994. His 3 TD receptions against Washington in 2002 tied a USC game record and his 13 catches at Oregon was a USC freshman mark. He owns the Pac-10 freshman record for catches (59) and is within range of the Pac-10 freshman mark for receiving yards (973; he has the USC freshman record with 931), as well as the NCAA frosh marks in those categories (79 by Marshall's Josh Davis and 1,185 by Florida's Jabar Gaffney) plus the most TD catches by a freshman (14 by Gaffney). Two other Trojans started a game in 2001: senior Grant Mattos (2 rec, 16 yds, 8.0 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 (an ankle sprain sidelined him the first half of 2002). Also possibilities in the rotation are junior Jason Mitchell (3 KOR, 35 yds, 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 (an ankle sprain slowed him earlier this seasn), and another freshman who came aboard this fall, prep All-American Chris McFoy. Redshirt freshman walk-on Greig Carlson (21 PR, 100 yds, 4.8 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.
--Against Washington, Williams not only tied a USC game record with his 3 TD grabs, but his 9 catches in the game equaled Kareem Kelly's USC freshman mark and his 159 receiving yardsa career highwas his third consecutive 100-yard performance (the most by a Trojan since Keyshawn Johnson had 12 in a row in 1994 and 1995); Colbert finished with 7 receptions for a career-high 146 yards, his third 100-yard career outing (it was the first time that 2 Trojans had 100 yards receiving in the same game since Kelly and Windrell Hayes did so against Arizona in 1999), and Mattos had a 4-yard catch.
--At Oregon, Williams had another huge game with 13 receptions (a USC freshman record) for 226 yards (both career bests) and 2 TDs (35 and 16 yards)his fourth consecutive 100-yard game and fifth game in a row with a TD grabwhile Colbert added 4 catches for 77 yards.
--Williams caught 8 passes for 94 yards (with an 8-yard TD) at Stanford while setting the Pac-10 freshman record for receptions, while Colbert had 5 grabs for 66 yards (with a pair of scores, 17 and 13 yards).
--Colbert had 7 catches for 98 yards (both game highs) versus Arizona State, while Williams added an 18-yard TD grab (he also completed a 19-yard pass to Colbert).

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 (23 rec, 249 yds, 10.8 avg 2 TD in 2002, plus 3 tac) is the most experienced tight end on the roster, as he saw significant action the past 2 seasons as the backup. He has 54 career catches with 4 touchdowns, including 22 grabs (7.5 avg) with 2 TDs in 2001. Backing him is sophomore Gregg Guenther Jr. (6 rec, 36 yds, 6.0 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 (1 rec, 10 yds, 10.0 avg in 2002, plus 2 tac), 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 then-career highs) against California.
--Holmes had an 11-yard catch and 2 tackles against Washington.
--Guenther caught a 6-yard pass at Oregon.
--Holmes grabbed 3 passes for 57 yards at Stanford, including a 22-yard TD.
--Holmes had a career-high 6 catches for 50 yards against Arizona State, while Guenther added a 3-yard grab.

USC's offensive line from a year agosave for 2-year starting guard-tackle Faaesea Mailocame back. But this group had to improve its performance if the Trojan offense was 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. Steady junior Lenny Vandermade started at center the past 2 years, but was moved to left guard in 2002 spring practice and started there first 9 games there in 2002 before suffering a season-ending torn bicep tendon (he started 5 times there in 2000). Starting junior left tackle Jacob Rogers started for the first time in 2001 and did a commendable job, as did Eric Torres at right tackle. Torres, who started the opener there this year, has since been used at right guard, left guard and left tackle (he has started at least once at each spot in 2002), but he has assumed Vandermade's left guard spot now. 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.
--Against Washington, Torres started at left tackle for an injured Rogers, while Vandermade (left guard), Norm Katnik (center), Wilson (right guard) and Justice (right tackle) remained in place.
--The usual starting line of Rogers, Vandermade, Norm Katnik, Wilson and Justice started at Oregon and Stanford.
--Against Arizona State, Torres started at left guard for an injured Vandermade, while Rogers (left tackle), Nortm Katnik (center), Wilson (right guard) and Justice (right tackle) remained in place.

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 returned 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 (39 tac, 12 for loss, 5.5 sack, 5 FF, 1 FR, 1 int, 1 dfl, 1 BLK FG in 2002), a Freshman All-American second teamer last year. Both are destined for big things at USC; in fact, both were on the 2002 Lombardi Award 'Watch List.' Udeze currently shares the Pac-10 lead in forced fumbles (5). However, Cody suffered a torn knee ligament against California and is sidelined for the rest of 2002. He 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 (14 tac in 2002), who started Troy's first 5 games of 2001 before injuring his knee (he also started in 2000), also is back and returned to the starting lineup at nose tackle after Cody's injury. He had 26 tackles (5 for losses, with a sack, plus a fumble recovery and interception last year. Sophomore Mike Patterson (32 tac, 10.5 for loss, 5.5 sack, 2 FR including 1 for a TD, 1 dfl in 2002) started at Riley's nose tackle spot the first half of 2002, then moved over to Cody's position when Cody was injured. 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 (32 tac, 8.5 for loss, 5.5 sack, 1 int, 3 dfl, 1 FF in 2002). Among his backups are senior Doyal Butler (3 tac, 1.5 for loss, 1.5 sack in 2002), a converted tight end or several newcomers who joined USC this fall: 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 (4 tac, 1.5 for loss, 1.5 sack in 2002)plus freshmen ends LaJuan Ramsey (1 tac, 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.
--Udeze had 5 tackles, including 4 for losses of 23 yards (with 2 sacks), a forced fumble and he blocked a field goal against Washington, while Nazel added 3 stops (with a sack) and Riley and Patterson each had 2 (Patterson also had a deflection).
--At Oregon, Riley had 3 tackles, Patterson had 2, Butler posted a sack, and Udeze and Nazel each had a stop.
--Udeze had 5 tackles and intercepted a pass that he batted into the air at the line of scrimmage at Stanford, while Brown, Patterson and Riley each had 3 stops (Brown had 1.5 sacks and Patterson had 1 for a loss), Butler had 2 tackles (0.5 sacks) and Ramsey had a stop.
--Against Arizona State, Udeze had 4 tackles, a fumble recovery (to set up a USC TD) and a forced fumble, Nazel had 2 stops (with a sack), Riley had a tackle and Patterson had a tackle for a loss.

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 (34 tac, 6 for loss, 1 sack, 2 FR, 1 FF, 2 dfl in 2002) in the middle and versatile sophomore Matt Grootegoed (team-best 64 tac, 12.5 for loss, 6 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 int, 3 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 (55 tac, 6.5 for loss, 2.5 sack, 2 int, 2 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 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 a reserve on the weak side in 2002 (he's out with a hip injury). Sophomore Bobby Otani (10 tac in 2002) on the weak side saw measurable action last fall, although he suffered a midseason knee injury. Two prep All-AmericansOscar Lua (10 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 1 FR, 1 FF in 2002) and Dallas Sartz (8 tac, 1 for loss, 1 int, 1 dfl 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 (he also recovered a late on-side kick), while Simmons added 5 tackles (2 for losses), Lua had 2 stops and Pollard 1.
--Simmons had a game-best 7 tackles against Washington, Pollard added 4 stops (1 for a loss), Grootegoed had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and an interception (which he returned 49 yards to set up a USC TD) and Sartz had 2 tackles (1 for a loss).
--Grootegoed had a team-best 8 tackles at Oregon (with a deflection), Pollard added 4 stops (1 for a loss), Otani had 2, and Simmons, Sartz and Lua had 1 (Simmons also had an interception to set up a TD and Sartz had a deflection).
--At Stanford, Simmons had 10 tackles (0.5 sacks), Grootegoed added 8 stops (including 3 sacks for 18 yards) and a deflection, Pollard had 6 tackles, Otani and Sartz had 3 each and Lua had 1.
--Grootegoed had 5 tackles (with a sack) against Arizona State, Pollard had 3 stops (with a sack) and a deflection and Simmons intercepted a pass (to set up a USC TD) to go along with his 2 tackles (1 was a sack) and 1 deflection.

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 2002 cornerbacks are senior Darrell Rideaux (38 tac, 4 for loss, 2 sack, 1 int, 4 dfl, 1 FF in 2002), who has 16 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 (16 tac, 1 for loss, 6 dfl in 2002), a converted wide receiver, took over the next 3 games, with help from prep All-American Justin Wyatt (10 tac, 2 FR, 1 dfl in 2002, plus 1 PR, 16 yds, 16.0 avg), who is a freshman, before being replaced by junior Marcell Allmond (23 tac, 5 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 (46 tac, 1 int, 1 FR, 1 FF, 7 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 (25 tac, 1 for loss, team-high 3 int, 3 dfl in 2002), redshirt freshman John Walker (he also can play cornerback), and first-year freshman Mike Ross (6 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.
--Against Washington, Hill had a game-high 7 tackles, Allmond had 6 stops and a deflection, Rideaux had 3 tackles and 2 deflections, Leach had 3 stops and Buchanon had 1.
--At Oregon, Rideaux and Hill had 5 tackles (Rideaux also had 1.5 sacks and an interception, while Hill had 2 deflections), Allmond and Ross had 4 stops (Allmond added a deflection), Leach had 3 tackles and a deflection, Buchanon had a stop and Wyatt broke up a pass.
--Rideaux had 7 tackles (0.5 sacks) and forced a fumble at Stanford, while Hill and Leach each had 5 stops, Allmond and Wyatt both had 4 (Wyatt also recovered a fumble) and Buchanon had 2.
--Rideaux and Hill each had a team-best 6 tackles against Arizona State (Rideaux had 1 for a loss, while Hill made a diving interception in the end zone), Allmond had 4 tackles and 2 deflections, Wyatt had 2 stops (and returned a punt 16 yards) and Leach had 1.

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 in 2001. 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 was on the 2002 Lou Groza Award 'Watch List.' However, when Davis struggled early in 2002, he was replaced by sophomore Ryan Killeen (11-of-16 FG, 30-of-32 PAT in 2002, plus 1 tac), 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, 28 of Killeen's 63 kickoffs have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line, with 23 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 (42.4 avg in 2002), who enrolled at USC this past spring after earning prep All-American honors. He currently is 23rd nationally in punting (42.4, second in Pac-10). He showed a strong leg in 2002 spring practice. This season, 21 of his 51 punts have kept foes within the 20-yard line and 11 have traveled at least 50 yards (including a 72-yarder). 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 Leinartnow 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 (21 PR, 100 yds, 4.8 avg in 2002), freshman cornerback Justin Wyatt (1 PR, 16 yds, 16.0 avg in 2002) or senior wide receiver Kareem Kelly (7 PR, 50 yds, 7.1 avg in 2002), while the kickoff return duties are manned by freshman tailback Hershel Dennis (8 KOR, 136 yds, 17.0 avg in 2002), junior cornerback Marcell Allmond (4 KOR, 75 yds, 18.8 avg in 2002), senior tailbacks Justin Fargas (4 KOR, 73 yds, 18.2 avg in 2002) and Sultan McCullough (2 KOR, 38 yds, 19.0 avg in 2002) or junior wide receiver Jason Mitchell (3 KOR, 35 yds, 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 kickoffs) against California, while Malone averaged 49.0 yards (with a 50-yarder) on his 2 punts.
--Against Washington, Killeen hit a pair of field goals (30 and 33 yards) and all 5 of his PATs, plus 4 of his 7 kickoffs were touchbacks, while Malone averaged 45.2 yards on his 5 punts (with 54- and 52-yarders) and twice pinned the Huskies within the 20-yard line.
--Killeen was 5-of-6 on PATs and 1-of-2 on field goals (a career-long 48-yarder) at Oregon (1 of his 8 kickoffs were touchbacks), while Malone averaged 49.0 yards on his 2 punts (with a 52-yarder), with 1 pinning the Ducks within the 20.
--Killeen hit all 7 of his PATs at Stanford and pinned the Cardinal within the 20 on 3 of his 8 kickoffs (with 2 touchbacks), while Malone averaged 41.8 yards on his 5 punts (with a 54-yarder), with 1 pinning Stanford within the 20.
--Malone averaged 42.1 yards on his 7 punts against Arizona State, including a 72-yarder (USC's longest since John Stonehouse nailed a 76-yarder versus Washington State in 1994), and pinned the Sun Devils 4 times within the 20, while Killeen was perfect on his field goals (20 and 41 yards) and PATs (4-of-4) and pinned ASU within the 20 on 4 of his 7 kickoffs (with 3 touchbacks).

Carson Palmer has thrown for 1,327 yards and 15 TDs in his last four games.

***Defensively, USC is eighth nationally in rushing defense (88.3, second in Pac-10), tied for 12th in turnover margin (+1.1, second in Pac-10), 13th in total defense (298.2, second in Pac-10), 21st in pass efficiency defense (105.9, third in Pac-10) and 22nd in scoring defense (18.9, second in Pac-10).
***On offense, USC is 10th in passing efficiency (144.5, second in Pac-10), 12th nationally in passing offense (298.9, fourth in Pac-10), 18th in total offense (421.2, third in Pac-10) and 20th in scoring offense (33.1, fourth in Pac-10).
***USC has a balanced attack, with 387 rushing attempts and 383 passing attempts in 2002.
***USC has had 400-plus yards of total offense in each of its past 6 games in 2002 (and 7 times overall this season), the most consecutive in a season since 9 in a row in 1989.
***USC is allowing opponents to convert just 26.8% of third downs (second in the Pac-10) in 2002.
***USC is averaging 33:36 time of possession (tops in the Pac-10) in 2002 and has won the possession battle in 8 games (all but Kansas State and Stanford).
***USC is completing 62.4% of its passes in 2002 (tops in the Pac-10).
***In the red zone, USC has scored 41-of-49 times (83.7%) in 2002.
***Conversely, USC's opponents are scoring just 75.0% of the time (24-of-32) when in the red zone in 2002 (tied for fourth in the Pac-10).
***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, 107 to California, 86 to Stanford and 107 to Arizona State.
***USC has held 7 opponents under 100 yards rushing in 2002, including the past 5.
***Through the first 10 games of 2002, no opposing runner has rushed for 100 yards.
***USC has had at least 20 first downs in all but 2 games (Kansas State and Washington) in 2002, including 31 at Oregon and 28 against both Washington State and California (the Trojans had at least 20 first downs only once in 2001).
***USC has come out of halftime strong, with a 74-20 scoring margin in the third quarter.
***USC has finished its halves well in 2002, outscoring opponents 73-42 in the second quarter and 108-63 in the fourth quarter.
***USC also has had dominant second halves in 2002, outscoring foes 182-86.
***USC scored 40-plus points in 3 consecutive games (Washington, Oregon, Stanford) in 2002. That was the first time Troy did that since the final game of 1994 and the first 2 games of 1995 (it was also the first time it happened in the same season since 1972). On the year, the Trojans have a quartet of 40-plus games, the most since getting 5 in 1979.
***USC has a knack for scoring a string of unanswered points in 2002. The Trojans scored 30 unanswered points at Oregon, 28 at Stanford, 27 against California and Washington, 22 versus Oregon State and 20 (twice) at Colorado.

USC's field goal and PAT tries have been an adventure at times in 2002. The Trojans are 12-of-19 on field goals, 37-of-42 on PAT kicks and 0-of-1 on PAT passes. USC has had 5 kicks blocked.

USC has capitalized 69.2% of the time when it gets a turnover. So far in 2002, the Trojans have collected 26 turnovers and scored 18 times (15 touchdowns and 3 field goals).

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, CB-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.

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 and QB Carson Palmer already have accepted invitations to play in the 78th annual East-West Shrine Game at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2003.

***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.

***OT Phillip Eaves spent part of 1997 in the Army at Fort Jackson, S.C.

***QB Matt Cassel played on the Northridge (Calif.) team that was a finalist at the 1994 Little League World Series, while LB Bobby Otani was a national champion in judo.

***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. S Jason Leach's cousin is Arizona State senior S Alfred Williams. 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 CB-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).

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 305 times, including 171 of the past 173 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).

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).

***Three players have changed numbers: WR Greig Carlson is now #19, LB Collin Ashton is now #59 and CB Alex Gomez is #26.

***Seven players have switched positions: William Buchanon is now at CB, Nate Steinbacher is at DT, 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 CB-WR.

***Also, delete DE Austin Jackson, WR Frank Candela, CB Miguel Fletcher, CB Justin Tolliver and CB Marcus Johnson, who all quit the team, and LB-DE Chris Prosser, who quit for medical reasons, plus S Darnell Bing and DT Manuel Wright, who both did not qualify for admission.


He 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.'

He 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.

He 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.'


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.

UCLA, under seventh-year head coach Bob Toledo, is coming off a bye after winning its last 3 games, most recently over Arizona, 37-7. After losing senior QB Cory Paus (109-of-184, 59.2%, 1,647 yds, 10 TD, 6 int in 2002)the school's No. 2 career passing yardage leader (6,877 yards)to a broken ankle at California in the seventh game, the Bruins have turned to a pair of true freshmen in QBs Drew Olson (29-of-54, 53.7%, 404 yds, 1 TD in 2002) and Matt Moore (13-of-27, 48.1%, 232 yds, 1 TD in 2002). Neither Olson or Moore has thrown an interception, helping UCLA rank 15th nationally in pass efficiency (140.5, third in Pac-10). Sophomore SE Craig Bragg (44 rec, 738 yds, 16.8 avg, 8 TD in 2002, plus 11 PR, 134 yds, 12.2 avg), junior FL Tab Perry (34 rec, 692 yds, 20.4 avg, 1 TD in 2002, plus 19 KOR, 452 yds, 23.8 avg) and senior TE Mike Seidman (34 rec, 535 yds, 15.7 avg, 4 TD in 2002) headline the receiving corps. In Paus' absence, UCLA has turned even more to its running game, led by redshirt freshman TB Tyler Ebell (188 tcb, 858 yds, 4.6 avg, 9 TD in 2002, plus 23 PR, 266 yds, 11.6 avg), the school's freshman rushing recordholder who has 100-yard outings in his last 6 games, plus junior TB Akil Harris (77 tcb, 318 yds, 4.1 avg, 3 TD in 2002) and soph FB/TB Manuel White (61 tcb, 265 yds, 4.3 avg, 4 TD in 2002). Defensive leaders for UCLA, which is 18th nationally in pass efficiency defense (104.8, second in Pac-10), include redshirt freshman WLB Spencer Havner (78 tac, 9 for loss, 2 sack, 3 int, 6 dfl, 3 FF in 2002), senior MLB Marcus Reese (77 tac, 7 for loss, 3 sack, 2 int, 4 dfl, 1 BLK in 2002), junior SLB Brandon Chillar (60 tac, 9 for loss, 4 sack, 1 int, 1 dfl, 1 FR, 1 BLK in 2002) and senior CB Ricky Manning (33 tac, 2 for loss, team-high 4 int, 5 dfl, 1 FF in 2002). Manning was a 2001 All-Pac-10 first teamer, along with P/PK Nate Fikse (41.5 P avg in 2002, plus 10-of-11 FG and 9-of-9 PAT).

The winner of the USC-UCLA football game scores 10 points toward the Lexus Gauntlet, a trophy awarded annually to the school with the most successful athletic year against the other. Points will be awarded to the winner of each Trojan-Bruin head-to-head contest and the Lexus Gauntlet will be awarded to the school with the most points at year's end (56 points is the magic number). The Southern California Lexus Dealer Association is the title sponsor of every USC-UCLA athletic competition. This is the first time the two universities have partnered with a corporate entity for complete rivalry sponsorship. Last fall, the schools signed a 4-year contract of undisclosed terms with Lexus, America's best-selling luxury automotive manufacturer. USC captured last year's inaugural trophy. Currently, UCLA leads the Lexus Gauntlet competition, 15-10.

The USC men's water polo team plays UCLA in a meeting of 2 of the nation's Top 5 teams on Saturday (Nov. 23) at 10 a.m. at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center in Pasadena. A Trojan win would provide USC with 2.5 Lexus Gauntlet points and take 2.5 away from the Bruins (UCLA won the earlier meeting).

OUT: OG Lenny Vandermade (bicep), DT Shaun Cody (knee), LB Aaron Graham (hip), TE Scott Huber (hip), DE Daniel Urquhart (arm), TB Darryl Poston (back), WR Jason Mitchell (back), CB Ronald Nunn (knee), CB Kevin Arbet (foot), OG-OT Joe McGuire (shoulder), DE-DT A.J. Single (shoulder)
OG Fred Matua (knee)
CB William Buchanon (neck)

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