No. 1 USC Football Team Travels To Sold Out Washington State
Oct. 24, 2004
It's the first road game in a month for the top-ranked, defending national champion USC football team, which travels to the potentially-rainy Palouse to meet Washington State. All of Martin Stadium's 37,600 seats have been sold. Troy only has lost 3 times in Pullman, but fell in overtime in its last visit there. It's the first of 2 straight trips to the Pacific Northwest for the Trojans, who play at Oregon State the following week. It's USC's first game on turf in 2004. Although the series with the Cougars has been decidedly in USC's favor, the teams have split their last 6 meetings. USC--off to its best start since 1988--is coming off a dominating shutout over Washington. Troy is riding some notable win streaks: 16 overall games (second longest in school history), 11 Pac-10 games and 8 road games. USC's defense--behind such All-American candidates as DTs Shaun Cody (a Lombardi semifinalist) and Mike Patterson and LBs Matt Grootegoed (a Butkus semifinalist) and Lofa Tatupu--is ranked in the national Top 11 in every statistical category, including second in turnover margin and third in scoring. USC is averaging 36 points and almost 420 yards a game, while only allowing about 10 points and 270 yards. The Trojans have surrendered just 7 points in the last 9 quarters (and foes still haven't scored a TD in the fourth quarter). Heisman Trophy candidate QB Matt Leinart is on pace to have a better year than he did last year and some of his key stats surpass those of Carson Palmer's 2002 Heisman campaign after 7 games. The 'Thunder and Lightning' tailback duo of LenDale White and Reggie Bush each have scored as many touchdowns in 2004 as USC's opponents. Leinart has found many options in the receiving corps, including freshman phenom WR Dwayne Jarrett and now-healthy TE Dominique Byrd. P Tom Malone would rank in the NCAA's Top 5 in punting average, but--like last year--the USC offense isn't giving him enough attempts to qualify. More than 60% of PK Ryan Killeen's kickoffs have been touchbacks and he hasn't missed a PAT this year. Washington State has lost its last 3 games (including at Oregon State last Saturday) after starting off 3-1. Although the Cougars are without injured starting QB Josh Swogger and possibly again will be missing RB Chris Bruhn, they do have such talented players as SE Jason Hill, whose 9 TD catches in 2004 are just 2 shy of the school season record, and 2003 All-Pac-10 first team LB Will Derting. The game will be shown live regionally on ABC-TV.