Top-Ranked USC Football Visits No. 14 Arizona State
Sept. 25, 2005
USC enters the month of October by staying on the road for another key Pac-10 showdown game, this time at No. 14 Arizona State. The Trojans have won a Pac-10 record-tying 25 consecutive games, as well as 16 straight Pac-10 games, 11 road games in a row (1 shy of the school record) and 12 consecutive versus AP Top 25 teams. Troy has captured the last 5 meetings in this young series with ASU (the Trojans have played the Sun Devils less than any other league foe), but USC hasn't fared well against ranked Sun Devil teams. Heisman Trophy QB Matt Leinart, who is 4 TD tosses shy of the Pac-10 career record, returns to the scene of his career-defining 2003 game. The Trojans, riding last weekend's comeback blitzkrieg at Oregon, feature a high-powered offense that ranks in the national top 25 in every statistical category. Besides Leinart, there are such key offensive performers as TBs Reggie Bush and LenDale White, WRs Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, TE Dominique Byrd and a potential all-honors line (many of USC's skill players can be found near the top of this week's NCAA stat charts). USC's nicked-up defense, coordinate by head coach Pete Carroll, showed the resiliency at Oregon that it'll need this season, particularly this week. Arizona State, already playing its fourth home game of 2005, won big at Oregon State last week. Coach Dirk Koetter's potent offense is statistically similar to USC's. QB Sam Keller is on fire, and he's joined by the likes of ASU record-holding WR Derek Hagan and precocious freshman TB Keegan Herring. The Sun Devil defense will be challenged by a Trojan offense that is in the midst of a scoring explosion (233 points in the past 4 games). USC will see a familiar face in the ASU athletic director's box (long-time Trojan women's volleyball coach and administrator Lisa Love). The game will be shown live regionally on ABC-TV. ESPN's GameDay pre-game show will be on site.