Top-Ranked USC Football Opens Pac-10 Play At Stanford

Sept. 19, 2004

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Top-ranked and defending national champion USC begins Pac-10 play this week, which signals the start of its annual 'Race For The Roses.' Appropriately, the Trojans travel to Stanford, USC's oldest rival (the teams first met 99 years ago). Troy puts several winning streaks on the line: 12 games, 7 road games and 7 Pac-10 games. It's USC's second road game in row, but then the Trojans get a bye before starting a 3-game homestand. BYU was the last opponent for both USC and Stanford: the Trojans smashed the Cougars last week (42-10), while the Cardinal easily handled them 2 weeks ago (37-10) before having a bye this past weekend. Well-rested and undefeated Stanford features an offense that is nationally ranked in passing (thanks to QB Trent Edwards) and scoring, while the other side of the ball is listed statistically in scoring defense, rushing defense, turnover margin and pass efficiency defense. However, the Trojans are in the nation's Top 25 in every offensive and defensive statistical category. The USC offense, featuring Heisman Trophy candidate QB Matt Leinart and the dangerous duo of TBs Reggie Bush and LenDale White, appears as potent as last year's (Troy is averaging nearly 40 points, 485 yards of total offense and 240 rushing yards in 2004). And the Trojan defense--with such All-American candidates as LB Matt Grootegoed and DLs Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson--is on track to mirror last year's stingy unit (no team in 2004 has hit 300 total yards or 14 points against USC, which already has 12 takeaways). The game will be shown live nationally on TBS.

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