No. 7 USC Football Hosts Top 20 Oregon To Start 3-Game Homestand
Nov. 5, 2006
It's Homecoming at USC, in more ways than one as the No. 7 Trojans start a crucial 3-game homestand against ranked opponents. First up is No. 21/20 Oregon, making its first visit to the sold-out Coliseum since 2000 (the last 3 Trojan-Duck games have been in Eugene). The Trojans, who are playing one of the nation's toughest schedules, remain in control of their quest for an unprecedented fifth consecutive Pac-10 championship. Although USC historically hasn't fared well against a ranked Oregon club, Troy has been tough to beat in the Coliseum lately, as it is riding a 30-game home winning streak and a 21-game Pac-10 home winning streak (both are league records). And the Trojans are 17-0 in November under sixth-year head coach Pete Carroll, the nation's winningest active coach. USC, winner of 52 of its last 55 games, is coming off a dominating bounceback shutout at Stanford (coming on the heels of its only 2006 loss). In fact, Troy is sitting on a string of having scored 63 unanswered points in its past 2 games. USC--which has had an AP Top 4 finish (including national championships in 2003 and 2004) and a BCS bowl appearance in each of the past 4 years--has scored at least 20 points in an NCAA-record 60 consecutive outings and been ranked in the AP Top 10 for the past 54 games. USC is nationally ranked in total, scoring and passing offense. Efficient and productive QB John David Booty is coming off his fifth 3-TD passing performance of the year and is within range of USC's career Top 10 passing list in just his first year as a starter. His main targets both rank in USC's career pass receiving Top 10: All-American candidate WR Steve Smith and 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 continues to lead 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 (just 1 senior starter) tops the Pac-10 and is highly ranked nationally in total, scoring and rushing defense. After a 3-game drought, the defense came up with 3 turnovers last Saturday. 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 has been a near-flawless kicker. Oregon, coming off a 20-point win over Washington last Saturday, is guided by the Pac-10's senior head coach, Mike Bellotti (12th year). The Ducks' spread offense ranks among the nation's leaders in all statistical categories and is the Pac-10's best in total, scoring and rushing offense. Oregon has a multi-threat signalcaller in QB Dennis Dixon, one of the Pac-10's top receivers in WR Jaison Williams and a potent one-two rushing attack in TBs Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson. MLB Blair Phillips, among the Pac-10 tackle leaders, anchors a defense that is especially strong against the pass. In fact, the game features the Pac-10's top 2 teams in total defense. PK Paul Martinez is highly ranked in field goals and scoring. The game will be shown live nationally on FSN cable.