USC Football Looks To Bounce Back At Stanford
Oct. 29, 2006
No. 9 USC, in unfamiliar territory after having lost for just the third time in the last 54 games, will look to bounce back from its 2-point upset loss at Oregon State when it visits Stanford, its oldest current rival. The last 7 times that Troy has lost, it has responded with a victory. The Trojans are still in control of their destiny in the Pac-10 title race as they enter November, a month when sixth-year head coach Pete Carroll--the nation's winningest active coach--has never lost a game (16-0). It's the first of 5 consecutive games for the Trojans in the state of California. USC has won 4 in a row over Stanford, including the last time Troy was ranked as low as ninth by AP (in 2003). USC--which has had an AP Top 4 finish (including national championships in 2003 and 2004) and a BCS bowl appearance ni each of the past 4 years--has scored at least 20 points in an NCAA-record 59 consecutive outings and been ranked in the AP Top 10 for the past 53 games. But Troy has been playing nailbiters lately, as its last 4 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. USC is playing one of the nation's toughest schedules. QB John David Booty, the Pac-10 leader in passing and total offense, directs a unit that is nationally ranked in the passing, total and scoring offense categories. WR Steve Smith, an All-American candidate who is ninth with a bullet on USC's career receiving list, is coming off a monster game (11 catches, 258 yards, 2 TDs) and ranks among the nation's leaders. He is joined by 2005 Biletnikoff Award finalist and All-American first team WR Dwayne Jarrett, who is the Pac-10's career touchdown reception leader. TB Chauncey Washington has gained control of USC's ground attack, running behind the likes of 2005 All-American OT Sam Baker and Rimington Award candidate C Ryan Kalil. The young Trojan defense (1 senior starter) tops the Pac-10 in total defense and scoring defense and also is highly ranked nationally against the run. Troy's key defenders include LBs Keith Rivers, Rey Maualuga (a 2006 Butkus Award semifinalist) and Dallas Sartz and DE Lawrence Jackson. PK Mario Danelo continues his near-flawless kicking (he is listed nationally in field goals). Winless Stanford, off to its slowest start since 1960, is coming off a bye. The Cardinal have been hit hard by the injury bug, as 8 of its 10 returning starters on offense have missed some action (including QB Trent Edwards and WR Mark Bradford). QB T.C. Ostrander has replaced Edwards. Stanford has one of the league's top pass defenses and LB Michael Okwo is the Pac-10 tackle leader. Second-year Stanford head coach Walt Harris was Carroll's position coach at Pacific and also coached Carroll's oldest son (USC assistant Brennan Carroll) at Pittsburgh. This will be USC's first look at newly refurbished, 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium. The game will be shown live nationally on FSN cable. For the first time ever, USC and crosstown rival UCLA will be playing in the Bay Area on the same day. Before the game, the top-ranked USC men's water polo team will play at Stanford.