Trojans Hope To Improve Record At ASU This Saturday
Oct. 29, 2000
THE FACTS--USC (3-5 overall, 0-5 Pac-10 for 10th place) vs. Arizona State (5-3, 2-3 for fifth place tie), Saturday (Nov. 4), 7 p.m. MST (6 p.m. PST), Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
THEMES-A pair of angry teams-USC trying to snap a 5-game losing skid and Arizona State looking to rebound after a disheartening double overtime loss-will battle in the desert. A loss this week by the Trojans, who are off to their worst conference start ever (0-5), would tie the school record for longest losing streak (set in 1991). Arizona State, needing a win to qualify for a bowl, has played overtimes in its past 2 outings. ASU is the only Pac-10 team with a winning record over USC. This will be Troy's last long road trip of the regular season (although the Trojans still must play at UCLA). The game will be shown live throughout Southern California on FOX Sports Net West.
RANKINGS-USC and Arizona State are not ranked.
SERIES-Arizona State is the only Pac-10 school with a winning record against USC, as the Trojans trail in the series which began in 1978, 7-9. ASU won 5 of the first 7 games, but USC then captured 4 of the next 5 meetings before ASU come back to win 3 of the past 4 contests. ASU is also USC's newest and least played Pac-10 rival. In Tempe contests, USC is 4-5, including a 35-7 loss in 1997 in its last visit there.
Last year in Los Angeles, USC lost its fifth game in a row as it fell to ASU, 26-16. After Troy jumped to a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard run by TB Chad Morton, the Sun Devils responded with 3 consecutive TDs (a 2-yard pass from QB Ryan Kealy to TE Todd Heap and a pair of short runs by TB J.R. Redmond). USC closed to 19-10 at halftime on a 29-yard field goal by PK David Newbury and then to within 3 points in the fourth quarter when DT Ennis Davis returned an interception 30 yards. Redmond's 14-yard TD run sealed the victory. USC QB John Fox, who made his first start since 1997, was 15-of-24 for 148 yards, but was replaced early in the second half by Mike Van Raaphorst, who hit 12-of-24 passes for 91 yards. Kealy was 18-of-29 for 223 yards, including 7 to Heap for 100 yards. Redmond rushed for 148 yards on 34 carries.
CONNECTIONS-While only 1 Trojan claims Arizona as his home-USC TE Doyal Butler prepped at Sabino HS in Tucson and then played at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College-38 Sun Devils hail from California...USC QB Mike Van Raaphorst is the brother of ex-record setting ASU QB Jeff Van Raaphorst (1983-86), who is now the analyst for Sun Devil games on KMVP-AM Radio (Jeff's 95-yard TD pass to Aaron Cox in 1985 still stands as the longest against the Trojans)...USC defensive coordinator Bill Young was ASU's defensive line coach for 3 years (1985-87)...USC offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson was an assistant at Arizona State for 4 years (1992-95), he also held an NFL summer coaching internship in 1992 with the Phoenix Cardinals...ASU head coach Bruce Snyder was a USC assistant coach in 1974 and 1975...ASU defensive line coach Kevin Wolthausen spent 6 years (1987-92) at USC in a similar role...USC secondary coach Dennis Thurman was an assistant coach for the Phoenix Cardinals for 2 years (1988-89)...ASU DT Tommie Townsend was on USC's team in 1997...ASU men's golf coach Randy Lein was USC's coach from 1984 to 1992...ASU women's tennis coach Sheila McInerney played for the Women of Troy from 1977 to 1980...USC TE Chad Cook celebrates his 20th birthday this Saturday (Nov. 11).
LAST GAME-Despite a significant advantage in offensive statistics, USC dropped its fifth consecutive game of the season, this one to California, 28-16, before a Homecoming crowd of 54,393 in the Coliseum and a regional FOX Sports Net syndication TV audience. It was Cal's third win in a row over USC (for the first time since 1948-50). Troy, off to its worst-ever conference start (0-5), had more total yards (320-213), plays (78-51), first downs (22-11) and possession time (33:14-26:46) than Cal, but couldn't capitalize. Cal's 51 plays were the fewest by a Trojan opponent since 1990 (when Washington had 50). The Bears scored just 4 plays into the game on a 44-yard pass from QB Kyle Boller to WR Phillip Pipersburg. But the Trojans scored on their first possession by driving 82 yards on 9 plays, as QB Carson Palmer threw a 19-yard TD pass to FB Chad Pierson. After Palmer fumbled away the ball on the USC 7-yard line while being sacked early in the second quarter, Cal TB Joseph Echema went 1 yard for a TD. But the Trojans took a 16-14 lead into halftime on a 32-yard scoring run by TB Sultan McCullough with just over 2 minutes to go and then, after recovering a Cal fumble on the ensuing kickoff, PK John Wall nailed a 25-yard field goal. However, USC couldn't generate much offense in the second half (only 55 total yards and 6 first downs) and only crossed midfield on 1 series in the half (just to the Cal 45). The Bears went ahead for good late in the third quarter on a 12-yard Boller pass to WR Derek Swafford. Then, after USC had to punt early in the final quarter on its following possession, CB Jemeel Powell returned the punt 83 yards for a TD (he also intercepted a Palmer pass later in the quarter). Troy was also hampered by penalties (a season-high 11 for 101 yards), turnovers (2 interceptions, 1 fumble), sacks (7) and blocked kicks (a PAT and a field goal). McCullough had his third 100-yard rushing game in a row (a game-high 122 yards on 15 carries), Palmer was 19-of-32 for 202 yards and WR Kareem Kelly caught a game-best 5 passes for 42 yards. Boller hit 7-of-12 passes for 131 yards and TB Joe Igber rushed for 80 yards on 28 tries. LB Zeke Moreno led USC with 8 tackles and LB Markus Steele added 7 (2 for losses, with a sack).
SCHEDULE--Although USC plays 7 of its 12 games at home, its 2000 schedule began with a challenge as the Trojans traveled to East Rutherford, N.J., to play Penn State in the Kickoff Classic. Beyond that, Troy doesn't have a long road trip, going to defending Pac-10 champion Stanford, 1999 bowl teams Arizona State and Oregon State, and UCLA. Visiting the Coliseum are non-conference foes Colorado (the 1999 Insight.com Bowl winner), Notre Dame and San Jose State, plus Pac-10 opponents Oregon (the 1999 Sun Bowl champ), Arizona, California and Washington State.
FUN FACT-USC has a 207-119-20 (.627) all-time record while playing in the month of November.
HACKETT--Paul Hackett, a one-time USC assistant coach who has been on coaching staffs that have won a national championship in college and a Super Bowl in the pros, made an immediate mark on the Trojan football program upon his return to Troy as its head football coach. In his first year at USC's helm, he led the Trojans to an 8-5 record in 1998 (5-3 in the Pac-10 for a third place tie) and a berth in the Sun Bowl. With his 1998 opening win over Purdue, he became the first head coach to win his Trojan debut since Jess Hill in 1951, and by starting off 3-0, he became only the third Trojan coach since 1915 to win his first 3 games (joining Hill in 1951 and the legendary Howard Jones in 1925). Hackett is one of only two USC head coaches to have won their first outing against Notre Dame (John Robinson is the other). Hackett, Robinson and Larry Smith are the only USC coaches to have guided squads to a bowl game in their first seasons at Troy. In 1999 in his second year at USC, Hackett's team went 6-6 overall (4-5 in the Pac-10 for a sixth place tie) as Troy won its final 3 games of the season and snapped UCLA's 8-game winning streak over the Trojans. USC was in every game, as it was the first time ever that Troy lost all 6 games by 10 points or less. The 53-year-old Hackett signed a 5-year contract to replace Robinson on Dec. 17, 1997. Regarded as one of the game's most progressive offensive coaches, he has 31 years of experience as a college and professional assistant and head coach. He has tutored some of football's top players--including Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Jerry Rice, Andre Rison, Tony Dorsett, Steve Bartkowski, Charles White, Brian Sipe, Herschel Walker, Danny White, Dwight Clark and Vince Evans--and has worked under such head coaches as Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Marty Schottenheimer and Robinson. Before coming to Troy, Hackett was the offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs for 5 years (1993-97). The Chiefs advanced to the NFL playoffs in 4 of those years, including 1997. Before that, he was at the University of Pittsburgh (1989-92), the first season as the quarterbacks coach and then 3 seasons as the Panthers' head coach (posting a 13-20-1 record). As a college coach, he has a 30-36-1 overall mark in 5 seasons, including 17-16 in 3 years at USC. Hackett began his coaching career for 3 seasons (1969-71) at his alma mater, UC Davis. He then was an assistant at California for 4 years (1972-75). Then, at age 29, Hackett moved to USC for 5 years (1976-80), where under Robinson he was in charge of the quarterbacks and receivers for the first 2 years and then the quarterbacks and passing game the final 3 years. During his Trojan tenure, USC was the 1978 national champion, won 4 bowl games (including 3 Rose Bowls), posted a 50-8-2 record and produced a Heisman Trophy winner (White). Hackett began his pro coaching career as quarterbacks coach with the Cleveland Browns for 2 seasons (1981-82). He next was the quarterbacks and receivers coach with the San Francisco 49ers for 3 years (1983-85). The 49ers won Super Bowl XIX in the 1984 season. He then became the pass offense coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys for 3 years (1986-88) before returning to the college ranks at Pitt. A 3-year starting quarterback at UC Davis (1966-68), Hackett collects old music juke boxes filled with 1950s and 1960s rock 'n roll music. A rock music fan, he sat in the front row at the final Beatles concert, held in 1966 in Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Born on July 5, 1947 in Burlington, Vt., he shares a birthday with former USC head coach John McKay. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have 2 sons, David, 28, and Nathaniel, 20. David played on the 1988 Texas Division III state football champion while at Carroll High in Southlake, Tex., and then was an administrative assistant with the USC football program, while Nathaniel is a sophomore on UC Davis' football team. Hackett is 1-1 in his career against Arizona State.
PALMER-Although he has struggled somewhat this season, there's little doubt that sophomore Carson Palmer (151-of-280, 53.9%, 1,889 yds, 8 TD, 13 int in 2000) is one of the nation's better quarterbacks. He already ranks sixth on USC's career passing ladder (with 320 completions) with just 16 starts under his belt. He is also ninth on Troy's all-time total offense chart (4,134 yards). His 151 completions in 2000 puts him 13th on USC's season passing list. With Palmer at the reins last year, USC started off the 1999 season undefeated as he completed nearly 75% of his passes. But when he broke his collarbone 2 plays before halftime in Troy's third game (at Oregon), USC hit a tailspin from which it took a while to recover. After missing the rest of the 1999 campaign while rehabilitating the injury (he was allowed to redshirt because he was knocked out so early in the season), he was fully healthy for the 2000 season.
--In his first game after an 11-month layoff, Palmer was 10-of-20 passing for 87 yards (with an interception) against Penn State.
--He bounced back from that shaky debut against Penn State by hitting 25-of-30 passes (83.3%) for 275 yards and a TD (3 of his passes were dropped) against Colorado. On USC's game-winning drive-a 9-play, 72-yard drive that began with 1:14 on the clock and culminated with a game-winning field goal with 13 seconds to play-he was 6-of-6 for 68 yards.
--For the second game in a row (and the first time since Rodney Peete did it in 1987 against Arizona and UCLA), he led USC on a late game-winning scoring drive: this time against San Jose State, he brought Troy back from a 12-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter by guiding the Trojans to 22 unanswered points. Overall, he hit 22-of-38 passes for a career-high 338 yards with 2 TDs, including 10-of-12 for 148 yards and a TD in the fourth quarter (he had 6 passes dropped).
--At Oregon State, he was 19-of-38 for 282 yards and 2 TDs, but threw a career-high 3 interceptions.
--He was 26-of-50 (a career-best in attempts) for 321 yards and a TD against Arizona, but for the second week in a row he threw a career-high 3 interceptions.
--He hit 15-of-35 passes for 194 yards with a TD and an interception against Oregon and also ran for 31 yards on 5 tries (with a career-long 28-yard scramble).
--At Stanford, he was 15-of-30 for 190 yards (with 2 interceptions) and also ran for a 1-yard TD.
--He was 19-of-39 for 202 yards and a TD against California, but threw 2 picks and was sacked 7 times.
ALSO AT QUARTERBACK--USC might have the most experienced backup signalcaller in the nation in senior Mike Van Raaphorst. A 15-game starter in his career, he is 10th on USC's all-time passing list (232 completions) and 20th on the Trojans' career total offense chart (2,809 yards). He took over for 5 games in 1999 when Palmer went down before being replaced by John Fox. Against Stanford last year, he set USC single game passing yardage (415 yards) and total offense (390 yards) records. Also a star in the classroom, he has a team-best 3.72 GPA and is taking classes in USC's M.B.A. program this fall after receiving his bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and political science this spring. He is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship.
RUNNING BACKS--One tailback usually carried the ball for Troy in 1999: Chad Morton, a 2-year starter who ended his career as USC's No. 8 rusher (2,511 yards), including a dozen 100-yard outings, and now plays in the NFL. Last fall, he ran for 1,141 yards (the most at USC since 1990) and 15 TDs (the most by a Trojan since 1981). In 2000, a combination of speed burners and power runners have seen time at tailback. Sophomore Sultan McCullough (150 tcb, team-high 824 yds, 5.5 avg, 4 TD in 2000, plus 8 rec, 3.0 avg), who has started USC's first 7 games of 2000 (he was slated to start the California game but hurt his ankle on the opening kickoff and didn't come in until the second series), currently is 22nd nationally in rushing (103.0, third in Pac-10) and has 5 100-yard games this season, including the last 3 in a row (128 versus Penn State, 136 versus San Jose State, 152 against Oregon, 130 at Stanford, 122 versus California). He is on pace to rush for 1,236 yards this year, which would be the most at USC since 1989. In the past 3 games (Oregon, Stanford, California), he has run for 404 yards on 48 carries (8.4 average) and he is the first Trojan to have 3 straight 100-yard outings since Delon Washington in 1995. He has long runs of 59, 46, 39, 35 and 32 yards in 2000. He is a legitimate speed merchant. The 1999 Pac-10 100 meters champion and eighth-place finisher in the 2000 NCAA 100 (he also ran a leg on USC's 400-meter relay which was fifth at the 2000 NCAA Meet), McCullough is the fastest Trojan footballer ever (10.17 in the 100, the best mark in the world in 1999 by an under-20 runner). He showed flashes of his gridiron potential last fall, even jetting 48 yards against UCLA for Troy's longest run of 1999. The power guys are senior Petros Papadakis (57 tcb, 140 yds, 2.5 avg, team-high 7 TD in 2000, plus 1 rec, 11.0 avg), who ran for 365 yards and a team-best 8 touchdowns while starting 4 times in 1998 but missed all of 1999 and last spring's practice with a serious foot injury, and junior Malaefou MacKenzie (29 tcb, 205 yds, 7.1 avg in 2000, plus 17 rec, 8.2 avg and 1 KOR, 20.0 avg), who has 686 rushing yards and 2 starts in a career that has been injury-plagued. Look for Papadakis in USC's short-yardage formations (his 7 rushing TDs in 2000 have all been 5 yards or less). A pair of Trojans appear at fullback, led by returning starter Charlie Landrigan (3 tcb, 9 yds, 3.0 avg in 2000, plus 3 rec, 5.7 avg), an unheralded junior who performed solidly in 1999, and sophomore Chad Pierson (3 tcb, 16 yds, 5.3 avg in 2000, plus 7 rec, 16.0 avg, 2 TD and 1 KOR, 11.0 avg). Both are rugged blockers and good pass catchers, but none has been asked yet to prove his running ability.
--In his first-ever career start, McCullough ran for 128 yards on 29 carries (both career highs) against Penn State (he also caught 3 passes for 16 yards) to gain Kickoff Classic MVP honors, while Papadakis had 29 yards on 11 carries (with a 2-yard TD on his first carry of 2000 after missing the 1999 season with a broken foot) and Pierson had 16 yards on 2 carries and another 28 yards on 2 catches.
--Against Colorado, McCullough ran for a team-best 91 yards on 28 carries and had a 5-yard TD run, while Papadakis had 23 yards on 5 tries, MacKenzie caught 2 passes for 16 yards and Landrigan caught an 11-yard pass.
--McCullough had 21 carries for a career-best 136 yards, both game highs, against San Jose State, while Papadakis ran for 52 yards and a career-best 3 TDs (1, 5 and 3 yards) on a career-high 15 carries (his 5-yard score was the game winner with 2:34 to play).
--At Oregon State, McCullough had a team-best 33 yards on 10 carries before leaving early in the second half with a knee injury, MacKenzie added 28 yards on 9 tries and another 68 yards on 4 catches and Pierson caught 2 passes for 33 yards (including a 1-yard TD grab).
--McCullough had just 32 yards on 13 tries against Arizona and Papadakis scored on a 1-yard run.
--Against Oregon, McCullough ran for a career-best and game-high 152 yards on 23 carries (his third 100-yard game of the season and his career) and raced a personal-best 59 yards for a TD, while MacKenzie added 47 yards on 3 tries (including a career-long 34-yarder) and caught 2 passes for 10 yards.
--McCullough had a game-high 130 yards on just 11 carries at Stanford and scored on a 39-yard burst (he also had a 46-yard non-scoring jaunt), Papadakis scored a pair of 2-yard TDs while gaining 22 yards on 12 tries, MacKenzie had a career-long 69 yard non-scoring run the only time he ran the ball (he also caught a 10-yard pass) and Pierson caught a 22-yard pass.
--McCullough had a game-best 122 yards on 15 carries, with a 32-yard TD, against California, MacKenzie added 28 yards on 7 tries (plus 3 catches for 14 yards) and Pierson had 2 grabs for 29 yards (including a 19-yard TD).
WIDE RECEIVERS--You'd think that USC would be in trouble at the wide receiver spots in 2000, since such high-caliber players as starters R. Jay Soward and Windrell Hayes are gone. After all, Soward finished his time at Troy as the school's No. 4 all-time pass catcher (161 grabs, including 51 last fall) and was an NFL first round draft pick. Hayes, another NFL draftee, caught 79 passes in his Trojan career, including a team-best 55 in 1999 with 4 TDs. But USC has an outstanding young wideout corps, led by experienced sophs Kareem Kelly (team-high 32 rec, 13.0 avg, 1 TD in 2000, plus 4 tcb, 11 yds, 2.8 avg), Marcell Allmond (16 rec, 15.2 avg in 2000, plus 2 tcb, 23.0 avg and 1 KOR, 16.0 avg) and Steve Stevenson (8 rec, 13.1 avg in 2000, plus 2 KOR, 15.5 avg). Kelly, the 1999 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American second teamer, was USC's second-leading receiver last fall. He set Pac-10 freshman records for most catches (54) and receiving yards (902) while starting twice. The only Trojan with a catch in every game in 1999, he had 4 outings with 100 receiving yards. He was on the 2000 Biletnikoff Award Watch List. He has caught a pass in every game he has played in since he arrived at USC (19, he sat out this year's Arizona game with an injury) and has 6 100-yard receiving games in his career. With 86 career receptions, Kelly is tied for 15th on USC's all-time pass catching list. Allmond-who broke his leg against Arizona and is out for the rest of the 2000 season-started 3 times in 1999, while Stevenson's start at Oregon in 1999 marked the first time that a true freshman started at wide receiver for USC since 1984 (he also started against California this season). Kelly (sprints) and Allmond (hurdles, decathlon), former California state prep champs in their specialties, also compete for the Trojan tracksters. Kelly owns the world junior record in the indoor 50-meter dash, while Allmond was second in the 110-meter high hurdles and seventh in the decathlon at the 2000 Pac-10 Meet. Other wideouts who contribute are senior Matt Nickels (18 rec, 14.3 avg, 3 TD in 2000), an ex-walk-on who earned a scholarship this season and has started twice in 2000, and prep All-American Keary Colbert (19 rec, 15.4 avg in 2000), a true freshman who has 3 starts in 2000.
--Kelly had 2 catches for 15 yards against Penn State and Allmond added a 21-yard grab (Fletcher ran a blocked punt 6 yards for a TD on special teams).
--Kelly had a career-best 10 catches for 145 yards (both game highs) against Colorado, while Allmond (18 yards), Nickels (26 yards) and Colbert (34 yards) each had 3 grabs (Nickels caught an 8-yard TD).
--Against San Jose State, Kelly had a game-high 7 catches for 106 yards (including a 61-yard TD), Allmond made 4 grabs for a career-best 99 yards, Stevenson (28 yards) and Colbert (29 yards) each had big catches in USC's game-winning scoring drive (Colbert had 2 grabs for 40 yards in the game) and Nickels made a spectacular 2-point conversion grab.
--At Oregon State, Allmond had 5 catches for 75 yards (tying for game high and career best in receptions), Nickels had 2 grabs for 35 yards (including an acrobatic 12-yard TD on the side of the end zone, Colbert added 2 catches for 39 yards and Kelly had 1 for 11 yards.
--With Kelly sidelined against Arizona with quad and ankle injuries and Allmond suffering a season-ending broken leg (he had 3 catches for 31 yards before the injury, he did not start for disciplinary reasons), Nickels and Colbert both started and came through with career bests in receptions and yardage. Nickels caught a game-high 7 passes for 72 yards and Colbert had 6 receptions for a game-high 113 yards (joining Kelly and R. Jay Soward as the only Trojan true freshmen with 100-plus receiving yards).
--Against Oregon, Colbert had 4 catches for 46 yards, Kelly added 3 grabs for 45 yards and Nickels had 1 for 16 yards.
--At Stanford, Kelly had a team-best 4 catches for 51 yards, Nickels added 3 for 65, and Colbert (13 yards) and Stevenson (10 yards) each had 1 reception.
--Kelly had a game-high 5 catches for 42 yards against California (he also had 2 carries for 8 yards), Nickels (44 yards) and Stevenson (18 yards) added 2 grabs each, and Colbert had an 8-yard catch.
TIGHT ENDS-USC's tight ends are more prominent in 2000 than in recent years. Senior Antoine Harris (15 rec, 12.6 avg, 2 TD in 2000), a reliable veteran, starts at tight end for his fourth season in 2000. An accomplished blocker and able receiver, he has 46 receptions with 4 touchdowns in his career. Besides sophomore backup Scott Huber (he started the 2000 Arizona game for an injured Harris), a pair of top-quality recruits have entered the picture this fall: sophomore Doyal Butler (3 rec, 15.3 avg in 2000), who spent 1998 at Purdue, and freshman Alex Holmes (4 rec, 8.8 avg in 2000).
--Against Colorado, Harris had 2 catches for 28 yards.
--Harris had 2 receptions for 21 yards against San Jose State, including an 8-yard TD midway through the fourth quarter to start USC's comeback.
--At Oregon State, Harris had 3 catches for 21 yards.
--Harris missed the Arizona game with a neck injury (Huber started in his place), while Butler had 3 grabs for 46 yards and Holmes caught a 6-yard pass.
--Harris caught 4 passes for a career-best 73 yards against Oregon, including a 7-yard TD and a non-scoring 49-yard catch-and-run.
--Harris had a 12-yard grab at Stanford.
--Harris had 3 catches for 34 yards against California and Holmes added a 13-yard grab.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN--For the first time in Paul Hackett's 3 years, USC has solid depth on its offensive line. But, as has been the case the past 2 seasons, Troy's offensive success depends heavily on the performance of these blockers. Dependable senior Brent McCaffrey starts for his third season at left tackle. Senior Trevor Roberts, who started 3 times at left tackle last year, entered the fall as the starting left guard, but was slowed with a foot injury. He didn't see his first action until being a backup against Arizona and then he started versus Oregon, Stanford and California. Redshirt freshman Lenny Vandermade started for Roberts at left guard for the first 5 games of 2000, then moved to center and played there in the second half against Arizona and started there versus Oregon, Stanford and California. The right side of USC's line suffered the loss of 1999 All-Pac-10 first team tackle Travis Claridge, last year's Pac-10 Morris Trophy winner who started all 48 games of his USC career (the first Trojan offensive lineman ever to do so without redshirting) and is now in the NFL. But junior Faaesea Mailo, who started 5 times last fall at guard, has moved out to right tackle. He also was used as a fullback in short yardage situations at times last year and proved to be a devastating blocker, watch for him in the backfield again in 2000. Sophomore Zach Wilson, who started the final 7 games of 1999 at right guard and was impressive enough to earn Freshman All-American second team notice, starts there once again. Senior Eric Denmon returned at center after starting there most of last year, but his Trojan career has been marked by nagging injuries (he sprained an ankle against Arizona this year and missed the Oregon, Stanford and California games).
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN--The defensive line is the most veteran unit on the entire USC team. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better pair of tackles than USC's returning starters: senior Ennis Davis (33 tac, 8 for losses, team-high 4 sac, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2000), a 2-year starter and on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy 'Watch List,' and junior Ryan Nielsen (17 tac, 3 for losses, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2000). Davis, a 1998 All-Pac-10 first teamer, was never quite himself last season after suffering a knee injury in the 1998 Sun Bowl, but he still showed his big-play potential often, tying for the team lead in sacks (5) and even intercepting a pair of passes (returning one 30 yards for a TD as he hurdled his 300-pound body over an opponent to get into the end zone). The underrated Nielsen was named USC's Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1999. Sophomore Bernard Riley (12 tac, 3 for loss, 1 FR, 1 BLK in 2000), who appeared mostly in short yardage situations last fall, will push this duo for time (he started against Arizona, Oregon, Stanford and California for an injury-slowed Nielsen). USC's already-deep group of ends was bolstered by the return of senior Sultan Abdul-Malik (17 tac, 8 for loss, 2.5 sac, 1 dfl in 2000) to the position. He was USC's sack leader in 1997 and 1998 while starting at end, but started at strongside linebacker last fall. He was moved back to the line to take advantage of his pass rushing skills (he has 21.5 sacks in his career). Abdul-Malik started USC's first 4 games of 2000 and the California contest, and in the others he backed junior Lonnie Ford (13 tac, 5 for losses, 3.5 sac, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2000), who started at end in 1999 after playing tight end earlier in his USC career. Ford's 5 sacks last fall gave him a share of the Trojan lead. The other end spot again is manned by Matt Childers (26 tac, 6 for loss, 2 sac, 1 FR, 1 FF in 2000) and his often-used backup, Shamsud-Din Abdul-Shaheed (10 tac, 3 for loss, 1 sac in 2000), both seniors. They are an interchangeable pair as Childers started 7 times last season and Abdul-Shaheed had 5 starts. Childers tied for the team lead in sacks (5) in 1999.
--Davis had 4 tackles (2 for losses, with a 17-yard sack) against Penn State, Childers added 3 stops and Ford had 2 tackles (with a 4-yard sack) and a deflection.
--Against Colorado, Davis had 5 tackles (2 were sacks), Abdul-Malik and Childers each added 3 stops (with 1 sack apiece, Childers also forced a fumble which USC recovered), Nielsen had 3 tackles and Riley made 2 stops and blocked a field goal.
--Abdul-Malik had 3 tackles (2 for losses) against San Jose State, Davis and Childers added 2 stops each (1 for losses, with Davis also getting a deflection), and Nielsen and Abdul-Shaheed 1 each (Abdul-Shaheed's was for a loss).
--At Oregon State, Childers had 8 tackles (2 for losses), Davis and Nielsen both added 5 tackles and forced fumbles which USC recovered (Nielsen's was returned 80 yards for a TD by Zeke Moreno, he also deflected 2 passes), Abdul-Shaheed had 4 tackles (1 sack) and Abdul-Malik had 2 stops.
--Davis had 4 tackles (1 for a loss) against Arizona, Riley started for an injury-slowed Nielsen and added 2 stops (1 for a loss) and recovered a fumble, Ford had 2 stops (both for losses, including a sack) and forced a fumble and deflected a pass, and Childers had 2 tackles.
--Against Oregon, Ford and Davis had 5 tackles, while Riley and Childers had 2 (Childers also recovered a fumble).
--Among Abdul-Malik's 7 tackles at Stanford were 4 tackles for losses with 2 sacks (both game highs), while Davis also had 7 stops, Childers added 5 tackles, Nielsen had 4 and Ford had 2 (each had a tackle for a loss).
--Against California, Riley had 3 tackles, while Abdul-Malik, Ford, Davis, Childers, Nielsen and Abdul-Shaheed each had 1 stop.
MORENO/STEELE--USC's 2 returning starters at linebacker are good enough to have been considered for the Butkus Award (both were on the award's 'Watch List'): seniors Zeke Moreno (team-high 65 tac, 12 for losses, 3 sac, 3 dfl, 1 FR for a TD, 1 FF in 2000) in the middle and Markus Steele (59 tac, team-best 17 for losses, 3 sac, 1 dfl, 1 FR in 2000) on the weak side. Steele currently leads the Pac-10 in tackles for losses (17), although he suffered an ankle sprain late in the California game. Moreno, who is starting for his third year and is also on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy 'Watch List,' was USC's leading tackler in 1999. He was third in the Pac-10 in tackles (9.0), tied for first in forced fumbles (5) and tied for third in fumble recoveries (2). Steele, who made an immediate impact in 1999 after transferring from a junior college, topped Troy in tackles for losses last season and was second in total tackles. He was third in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (3) and tied for third in fumble recoveries (2). Each found the end zone in 1999, Moreno twice (on an interception and fumble recovery against Oregon State) and Steele once (on a fumble recovery at Hawaii).
--Moreno led USC with 6 tackles (including 3 for losses) against Penn State, while Steele added 3 stops.
--Against Colorado, Steele tied for the game high in tackles with 9 (2 were sacks) and Moreno added 7 stops and broke up a pass.
--Steele had a game-high 12 tackles (4 for losses) against San Jose State and Moreno added 6 stops (2 for losses).
--At Oregon State, Moreno had a game-best 11 tackles (3 for losses, including 2 sacks) and returned a fumble 80 yards for a TD (the second year in a row he has done so against the Beavers), while Steele added 7 stops (1 for a loss) and also recovered a fumble.
--Moreno had 8 tackles (2 for losses, with a sack) against Arizona and Steele had 5 stops (4 for losses) with a deflection.
--Steele had 9 tackles (3 for losses) against Oregon, while Moreno added 7 stops (1 for a loss), 2 deflections and forced a fumble which USC recovered.
--Moreno had a game-high 12 tackles (1 for a loss) at Stanford and Steele added 7 stops (1 for a loss).
--Moreno led USC with 8 tackles against California, while Steele had 7 stops, including 2 for losses (with a sack), before spraining his ankle late in the game.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT ZEKE MORENO & MARKUS STEELE
San Jose State head coach Dave Baldwin: 'The best pair of tandem inside linebackers that I have ever seen. We've watched film and one moment you'll think Zeke Moreno is the better one, then you watch Markus Steele and think he looks better. They are tremendous together.'
Penn State fullback Mike Cerimele: 'A great linebacking corps. They fly to the ball.'
Tom Reynolds, USC Report: 'On the field, Moreno-USC's ferocious inside linebacker-stalks every play, searching for a ball carrier to pounce on. He is like a cat searching for prey. Off the field, Moreno couldn't be any more the opposite of his on-field demeanor. He is a soft-spoken, God-fearing momma's boy (by his own admission). But don't call him soft.'
David Cisneros, Daily Trojan: 'Ask anybody who knows him. They'll tell you what a wonderful guy he is. They might tell you how he has become a role model. And they'll tell you he's a hell of a middle linebacker...Moreno displays character rarely seen in sports.'
Arizona head coach Dick Tomey: 'He's an incredible player. There was nobody in our conference who was as outstanding at linebacker in 1999.'
USC cornerback Kris Richard: 'Markus can play. He had a lot of hype coming in and he backed it up. When you watch him on film, it's pretty amazing. To be as fast as he is at that position. He plays fast and he hits hard. And he is so intelligent on the field.'
Former USC tailback Chad Morton: 'He's fast, real fast. People try comparing him to (ex-USC Butkus Award winner) Chris Claiborne, but they're not the same type of players. Chris would run through people and rough you up. Markus' game is to get to the ball and cover well. He's very fast. He'll catch you if you're not running your fastest.'
USC safety DeShaun Hill, Steele's junior college teammate: 'The first time I saw him with pads on, I knew what the deal was. I started calling him 'freak' because he has freaky athletic ability. He's fast enough to play defensive back but strong enough to take on offensive tackles. He's just amazing. He's just scratching the surface.'
Phil Collin, South Bay Daily Breeze: 'He makes numerous highlight film-type plays with his relentless pursuit and ability to slither away from blocking schemes designed to slow him down.'
Scott Wolf, Los Angeles Daily News: 'His speed and size make him attractive. He could probably even play strong safety in the NFL because of his athleticism.'
Former USC linebackers coach Shawn Slocum: 'He's a guy with the ability to make plays all over the field. He's just plain fast. He comes off the edge and slithers through. What stands out is his range and that he plays with violence.'
USC football television analyst Craig Fertig, a former Trojan player and assistant coach: 'People are starting to run away from him. But, hey, go ahead. He'll catch them.'
Long Beach City College head coach Larry Reisbig: 'He's the best player I've ever had. Sure, he's got great athletic ability, but he's much more than just a great athlete. He has a real feel for the game and how the position is supposed to be played. He'd constantly talk to the coaches and watch as much film as he could. He's a great leader and a wonderful kid to coach.'
THE OTHER LINEBACKER--Even though one of 1999's starting linebackers--Sultan Abdul-Malik--moved to the defensive line, there's no cause for concern at the Trojans' strongside linebacker position in 2000. The new starter there is junior Kori Dickerson (19 tac, 1 for loss, 1 FF in 2000), who played defensive end earlier in his career (even starting once there last fall). He also high jumps for the USC track squad, with a best of 6-8, because of his hops, he was used as a wide receiver on a Hail Mary pass against Oregon this year (it fell incomplete).
--He made 2 tackles against Penn State.
--He had 2 stops versus Colorado.
--He had 2 tackles against San Jose State.
--He made 1 tackle at Oregon State.
--He had 6 tackles against Arizona.
--He had 1 tackle and forced a fumble against Oregon.
--At Stanford, he made 2 tackles.
--He had 3 tackles against California (1 for a loss).
DEFENSIVE BACKS--If it's competition you're looking for, watch USC's secondary throughout the 2000 season. The Trojans started out well-stocked here, particularly at the cornerback spots. Both cornerbacks who started in 1999 came back, although only one sees the field in 2000. Junior Kris Richard (7 tac, 3 dfl in 2000, plus 12 PR, 7.8 avg) led USC in interceptions (6, tied for 17th nationally) last season (he returned 2 for scores), opening some eyes in the process. However, he has been slowed much of the 2000 season with a knee sprain suffered against Colorado. Senior pre-season All-American Antuan Simmons, a 3-year starter who has blocked 6 kicks in his career (including 2 field goals and a PAT last year), missed spring drills while recovering from late-season back surgery. He then had surgery in May to remove a benign abdominal tumor and will redshirt the 2000 season while recuperating. He returned a fumble 44 yards for a TD at Arizona in 1999. Sharing Simmons' corner spot have been a trio of players: sophomores Darrell Rideaux (18 tac, 4 dfl in 2000) and Kevin Arbet (23 tac, 1 for a loss, 2 dfl in 2000, plus 7 KOR, 19.4 avg), and junior Chris Cash (29 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sac, 2 int, 4 dfl, 2 FF in 2000). Rideaux, who started USC's last 2 games of 1999 for an injured Simmons and was named a Freshman All-American second teamer, has started 6 games in 2000 (all but Arizona and California), but suffered an ankle sprain at Stanford which sidelined him. He doubles as a sprinter for the Trojan tracksters (in the spring of 2000, he was fifth in the 100 meters at the Pac-10 Meet and ran leadoff for the 400-meter relay squad which was fifth at the NCAA Meet). Arbet, a one-time walk-on who made such an immediate impression in 1999 that he earned a scholarship during his initial fall camp, has started 3 times this year (Arizona, Oregon and Stanford). He also started twice in 1999 as an extra defensive back (returned an interception 75 yards for a TD against Louisiana Tech last season). Cash, a junior college transfer who enrolled at USC last spring and participated in spring practice, started the San Jose State game for an injury-slowed Richard and then against California. Last season's starting free safety, senior Ifeanyi Ohalete (29 tac, 1 for a loss, 3 dfl in 2000) returned, but he learned before the California game that he had a season-ending stress fracture in his ankle (he was slowed the pprevious 2 games with the injury). Ohalete led USC in deflections (15) and was third in tackles (84) in 1999, and also tied for first in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (5) and fumbles recovered (3). This year's new starting strong safety is sophomore Troy Polamalu (46 tac, 4 for losses, 1 sac, 2 int with 1 for a TD, 4 dfl, 1 FR in 2000). Polamalu is filling the shoes of USC's only departed defensive starter from last season, 1999 All-Pac-10 first teamer David Gibson, a 3-year starter who had 241 career tackles (81 last fall). Two other safeties see playing time: junior Frank Strong (9 tac, 1 FF, 1 BLK in 2000, plus 14 KOR, 19.9 avg and 4 PR, 14.8 avg), a one-time tailback who was moved to defense in the middle of last season, and sophomore DeShaun Hill (26 tac, 3 for a loss, 1 sac, 2 int, 4 dfl in 2000), who was able to redshirt last fall after suffering an early-season back injury. Hill has started at free safety against Oregon, Stanford and California this year.
--Ohalete had 5 tackles versus Penn State, Arbet and Rideaux had 2 apiece (Rideaux also broke up 2 passes), Polamalu had a 43-yard scoring interception return to go along with 2 tackles, Strong blocked a punt which USC returned for a TD, Cash forced a fumble and Richard broke up 2 passes.
--Against Colorado, Ohalete tied for the game high in tackles with 9, Polamalu made 5 stops and returned a fumble 19 yards to set up a USC TD, Arbet had 4 tackles, Cash made 3 stops and Richard had 2 stops and a deflection before leaving with a knee sprain.
--Cash, who made his first start in the San Jose State game, and notched 9 tackles and intercepted a pass late in the contest to seal the win, while Ohalete added 5 stops (1 for a loss) and a deflection, Polamalu had 4 tackles with a deflection, Hill made 3 stops (1 for a loss), Rideaux had 3 tackles and 2 deflections, Strong and Richard had a tackle each and Arbet broke up 2 passes.
--At Oregon State, Ohalete had 7 tackles and 2 deflections, Polamalu and Arbet had 5 stops each (Polamalu also had a sack), Rideaux and Cash had 2 tackles each, and Strong, Richard and Hill added 1 stop apiece.
--Hill had a game-high 9 tackles (2 for losses, with a sack) and also intercepted a pass (to set up a USC TD) against Arizona, Ohalete and Rideaux had 2 stops each (Ohalete injured an ankle mid-game), and Arbet started for Rideaux and got a tackle.
--Against Oregon, Polamalu had a game-high and personal-best 13 tackles (2 for losses) and intercepted a pass, Hill added 7 stops, Rideaux, Cash and Arbet had 5 each, and Strong had 2 (plus returned 4 kickoffs for 94 yards).
--Polamalu had 11 tackles at Stanford, Cash and Hill both made 4 stops and an interception (Cash's set up a USC TD and Hill's was at the goal line), Arbet had 3 tackles and Rideaux had 2 before spraining his ankle.
--Cash and Polamalu each had 5 tackles (1 for a loss) against California, while Richard and Arbet had 2 apiece and Strong and Hill had 1 each.
SPECIALISTS--Junior Mike MacGillivray (39.9 avg in 2000) is back for his third season as USC's punter and is listed on the 'Watch List' for the Ray Guy Award. An effective placement punter (68 of his 201 career punts have pinned opponents inside the 20) with an above-average leg (25 of his career punts have traveled at least 50 yards), he has become more consistent in 2000. Although junior David Newbury (4-of-9 FG, 9-of-12 PAT in 2000) was USC's placekicker last fall, a 3-way battle for the job was waged this fall between Newbury, senior David Bell (0-of-1 FG in 2000) and 1999 prep All-American John Wall (4-of-4 FG, 4-of-8 PAT in 2000), a true freshman. Newbury, who initially regained his job for 2000 before faltering and being replaced by Wall in the middle of the Arizona game, began his first year at Troy by nailing a season-long 48-yard field goal on his first attempt at Hawaii in 1999, but then struggled with consistency the rest of the way. Wall has nailed all 4 of his field goals (all within 27 yards), but has had 4 of his 8 PATs blocked. Bell, who is in his fourth season as USC's strong-legged kickoff man, has had touchbacks on 23 of his 38 kickoffs (60.5%) in 2000 (5 others were not returned past the 20, another 8 didn't advance past the 28 and 2 were unsuccessful on-side kicks). Last year, he took over the placement chores for Newbury in the third quarter of the season-ending Louisiana Tech game and nailed a 38-yard field goal and both extra point kicks (he is used on field goal attempts over 40 yards in 2000). In his career, 102 of Bell's 222 kickoffs have not been returned past the 20 (with 58 touchbacks).
--Newbury, who missed 9-of-20 field goals in 1999, hit all 3 attempts (47, 27 and 44 yards) against Penn State to tie a Kickoff Classic game record, MacGillivray averaged 46.3 yards punting (but had 1 blocked for a safety) and 5 of Bell's 6 kickoffs were touchbacks.
--Newbury, who had missed a pair of field goals earlier in the Colorado game, nailed a game-winning 24-yarder with 13 seconds to play (it was the latest in a game that a Trojan kicked a game-winnign field goal since Don Shafer did so at the gun at Baylor in 1986), for his performance, he was named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week. MacGillivray averaged 48.0 yards on his 2 punts against the Buffs and 3 of Bell's 4 kickoffs were touchbacks (the other was not returned past the 20).
--Against San Jose State, 3 of Bell's 6 kickoffs were touchbacks (2 others weren't returned past the 20) and MacGillivray averaged 40.0 yards on his 4 punts (but had another blocked for a TD).
--At Oregon State, MacGillivray averaged 40.3 yards on his 6 punts (2 were pinned OSU within the 20) and 2 of Bell's 4 kickoffs were touchbacks.
--After Newbury missed a pair of field goals and had a PAT kick blocked against in the first half of the Arizona game, Wall assumed the placekicking duties in the second half and nailed a 27-yard field goal on his first kick as a Trojan (he had a PAT kick blocked). Bell had 2 of his kickoffs land as touchbacks (another wasn't returned past the 25 and the fourth was an unsuccessful on-side kick), while MacGillivray averaged 37.0 yards on 7 punts (with 3 pinning the Wildcats within the 20).
--Against Oregon, Wall hit his only field goal attempt (a 25-yarder) and both PATs, Bell had touchbacks on 2 of his kickoffs (another was returned to the 21 and the other to the 8) and MacGillivray averaged 37.7 yards on his 6 punts (with 3 pinning the Ducks within the 20).
--Bell notched touchbacks on 5 of his 6 kickoffs at Stanford (the other was returned to the 22), MacGillivray averaged 37.7 yards on his 7 punts (with a 59-yarder) and Wall hit a 22-yard field goal (but had 2 of his 3 PATs blocked).
--MacGillivray averaged 41.8 yards on his 6 punts (with a season-long 63-yarder) against California, Bell had a touchback on his 4 kickoffs (the others were returned to the 9, 21 and 28) but had his 42-yard field goal try blocked, and Wall hit a 25-yard field goal (1 of is 2 PATs was blocked).
TO THE RESCUE-Four USC players--DT Bernard Riley and Malcolm Wooldridge, WR Steve Stevenson and S Kyle Matthews--have received quite a bit of national attention for their role in coming to the aid of an injured USC student early in the season. In the early morning hours on Sept. 1, USC sophomore Danielle Dauenhauer accidentally fell head first out of the second floor window of her campus apartment, only to get impaled in the buttocks by a pair of spikes on a security fence. The players, who were in the downstairs apartment, heard her screams and rushed outside. For the next 20 minutes, they supported the 165-pound woman (her feet were sticking in the air, her head was pointed down) to relieve the pressure of the spikes while paramedics were summoned. They also kept talking with her to help calm her down. When the paramedics arrived, the bars were cut off the fence still sticking in her, she was taken to a local hospital where the bars were removed, and unbelievably she was released the following day in good condition. (If she hadn't been impaled, she likely would have landed on her head and broken her neck). The players subsequently appeared on such national television shows as NBC's 'Today,' ABC's 'Good Morning America' and ESPN's 'College GameDay.' They also received a commendation from California lieutenant governor Cruz M. Bustamante.
**USC, which had 25 turnovers in 1999 (2.1 a game), already has 22 in 2000 (2.8 a game), including 20 in the past 6 games (with 4 each versus San Jose State and Oregon State and 5 against Arizona).
**USC, which had a national-best 39 takeaways in 1999 (3.3 a game), has just 13 in 2000 (1.6 average).
**In points off of turnovers, USC has scored 6 TDs and 1 field goal off the opponents' 13 giveaways, while foes have 7 TDs and 3 field goals off of Troy's 22 miscues.
**USC is converting 40.7% (48-of-118) of its third downs and holding opponents to 32.5% (41-of-126).
**USC has allowed opponents to return only 14 of 38 kickoffs (fewest in the Pac-10).
**USC has outscored opponents in the second (59-42) and fourth (60-45) quarters, but the Trojans have been drastically outscored in the first quarter (69-34).
**USC has scored on 74.2% of its trips into the red zone (17 TDs, 6 field goals), while opponents are at 73.3% (18 TDs, 4 field goals).
**In 5 games (San Jose State, Oregon State, Arizona, Stanford and California), USC spotted opponents a cumulative 66-0 lead before scoring (7-0 versus California, 10-0 versus SJSU, 14-0 versus OSU and Stanford, and 21-0 versus UA).
**USC is outgaining its opponents (386.9 total yards to 329.6).
**USC has had 2 punts blocked in 2000 (one for a safety and another for a TD).
**USC has missed 8 PATs (5 were blocked) and 6 field goals (1 was blocked) in 2000.
**USC, which was penalized an average of 10.7 times for 91.1 yards a game in 1999, has improved somewhat in that area in 2000, where it has had 8.3 penalties for 73.0 yards per outing.
***A pair of senior former walk-ons-WR Matt Nickels and LB Ryan Shapiro-earned scholarships in 2000.
***Quarterback Mike Van Raaphorst has 15 career starts, is 10th on USC's all-time passing list, owns the USC single game passing record (415 yards), has a team-best 3.72 GPA, already earned his bachelor's degree and is taking courses in USC's M.B.A. program this fall. Not bad for a backup!
***OT Brent McCaffrey, who worked on his grandfather's Fresno farm as a youngster, was named to the 2000 All-American Farm Team by Successful Farming magazine (he was similarly honored in 1999).
***James Pursell, USC's oldest living football letterman, turned 100 on Aug. 20. He lettered in 1921-22-23 as a 156-pound guard and was a member of USC's first Rose Bowl team (Troy beat Penn State, 14-3, in the 1923 Rose Bowl).
***Marcus Allen, USC's 1981 Heisman Trophy-winning tailback, will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this Dec. 12. USC has 29 representatives in the College Football Hall of Fame, including 22 players.
***This year's San Jose State contest was USC's 500th football game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
***The 2000 season is the 50th anniversary of the adoption of 'Conquest' as USC's battle cry and the 100th anniversary of the birth of the song's composer, Alfred Newman.
***This might be one of the fastest teams USC has fielded. In fact, the Trojan men's track team (which won the 2000 Pac-10 title and was seventh at the NCAA meet) has benefited greatly from the USC football squad. TB Sultan McCullough (bests of 10.17 in the 100 meters, 20.61 in the 200 meters) won the 100 at the 1999 Pac-10 meet, placed eighth in the 100 in the 2000 NCAA meet and 3 times has clocked 10.17 in the 100 to become the fastest Trojan footballer ever. WR Kareem Kelly (10.28, 20.53), who set the world junior record in the indoor 50-meter dash (5.67) and ran a best of 10.33 in the 100 in 2000, won the 100 and 200 at the 1999 California state meet after capturing the 200 in 1998. CB Darrell Rideaux (10.30, 21.03), who clocked a best of 10.37 in the 100 in 2000, won the California state 100 in 1998 (he was second in 1999 and third in 1997) and was fourth in the 200 in 1999. CB Miguel Fletcher (10.47, 20.94), who went a best of 10.61 in the 100 and 21.06 in the 200 in 2000, was the runnerup in the California state 100 in 1997 and 1998 and in the 200 in 1998. The Rideaux-McCullough-Fletcher-Kelly quartet even ran an early-season 400-meter relay in 2000, winning in 40.08. WR Marcell Allmond (13.54 in the 110-meter high hurdles) won the California state high hurdles in 1998 and 1999 (he was sixth in the 1999 intermediates), and also set a National Junior Olympics record in the decathlon in 1999. In 2000, he was second in the high hurdles in the Pac-10 meet and the U.S. Junior Nationals, and ran a best of 13.89. And speaking of track, another Trojan footballer contributes in the field portion of the sport. LB Kori Dickerson (6-8 high jump) placed third in the high jump at the 1999 and 2000 USC-UCLA dual meets.
***OT-OG Faaesea Mailo, a 6-4, 330-pound Hawaiian, participated in the sumo club in high school, where he won the Hawaii state championship. He even went to Japan in 1996 to train with pro sumo wrestlers, who tried unsuccessfully to convince him to take up the sport as a profession. He missed the 1997 and 1998 USC seasons while on a Mormon mission in Sapporo, Japan (imagine opening your door and seeing him!). In short yardage situations last season, he lined up at fullback a la Refrigerator Perry and proved to be a devastating blocker (USC converted all but one try in that formation in 1999), he's doing that again in 2000.
***LB John Cousins is deaf in one ear and impaired in the other. He wears a hearing aid. That handicap could present some unique challenges on the football field. Incidentally, PK John Wall knows sign language, having volunteered with deaf and hearing impaired youth programs while in high school.
***OT Phillip Eaves spent part of 1997 in the Army at Fort Jackson, S.C.
***Four Trojans have fathers who played on national championship USC football squads: DE Sultan Abdul-Malik (father, Ed Powell (now Wali Abdul-Malik) was on 1972 and 1974 teams, OT-OG Derek Graf (father, Allan, was on 1972 team), OT Brent McCaffrey (father, Bob McCaffrey, was on 1972 and 1974 teams), and S Kyle Matthews (father, 1977 All-American Clay, was on the 1974 team). Matthews' uncle, Bruce, was a 1982 All-American offensive guard at USC. Two other Trojans have dads who lettered at Troy in 1970 and 1971: TB Petros Papadakis (father, John) and S John Morgan (father, Mike). And S-CB Kevin Arbet is the stepson of ex-Trojan (1980-82) Jeff Simmons. Papadakis also has a brother (Taso, 1994 and 1996) who played at USC, as does LB Darryl Knight (Ryan, 1984-87, and Sammy, 1993-96). Two Trojans have cousins who played at USC--WR Kareem Kelly (Rashard Cook, 1995-98) and TE-SNP Joe Boskovich (Martin Boskovich, 1993)--and two have uncles who were Trojan footballers: S Troy Polamalu (Kennedy Pola, 1982-85, now USC's running backs coach) and OG-C Norm Katnik (John Katnik, 1986-87).
***Speaking of genes: DE Sultan Abdul-Malik's brother, Hassan, is a junior safety on Cal State Northridge's football team, while brother Saeed is a senior defensive end at UNLV. S-CB Kevin Arbet's cousin, Lamarr Arbet, is a freshman defensive lineman at San Jose State and his uncle, Darren Arbet, is the head coach of the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. TE Alex Holmes' father, Mike, lettered at defensive end at Michigan in 1974 and 1975. Besides his 2 brothers who played at USC, another of LB Darryl Knight's brothers, Greg, played defensive line at Colorado, and his father, Sam Sr., played on the California state championship basketball team in the early 1960s at Riverside (Calif.) Community College that was coached by Jerry Tarkanian. TB Sultan McCullough's brother, Saladin, was a tailback at Oregon, while his late father, Bruce, ran track at San Jose State in the 1960s. OT-OG Faaesea Mailo's father, James, played football at Hawaii, while brother, Anipati, is a sophomore linebacker at Hawaii and brother, Fulutusi, is a freshman linebacker at Montana State. LB Zeke Moreno's brother, Moses, was a 3-year (1995-97) starting quarterback at Colorado State who now plays for the San Diego Chargers, his mother, Arcinia Arenas, played fullback and linebacker with the Mighty Mommas in a San Diego women's tackle football league for a season when Zeke was little. PK David Newbury's father, Gerry, played professional soccer in England. S Ifeanyi Ohalete's half brother, Earl Simpson, played football at Texas A&M and another, Carl, plays pro basketball overseas. S Troy Polamalu's uncle is former USC fullback Kennedy Pola (1982-85), now the Trojans' running backs coach, while another uncle, Al Pola, played football at Penn State, a cousin, Nicky Sualua, was a running back with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys who attended Ohio State, another cousin, Leie Sualua, was a defensive lineman at Oregon, and another cousin, Joe Polamalu, played for Oregon State in 1987 and 1988. LB A.J. Single's father, Doug, played at Stanford, then was the Cardinal's offensive line coach before serving as athletic director at Northwestern and SMU. QB Mike Van Raaphorst's brother, Jeff, was a record-setting quarterback at Arizona State (1983-86) and the 1987 Rose Bowl MVP, his dad, Dick, was a kicker with Ohio State and the San Diego Chargers, while another brother, Bill, was an offensive lineman at San Diego State. TE coach Brian Schottenheimer is the son of ex-Kansas City Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer. DB coach Dennis Thurman's brother, Junior, was a USC defensive back (1985-86). LB coach A.J. Christoff's son, Rob, is an assistant football coach at Montana State.
***Two Trojans have Hollywood connections. OT Derek Graf's father, Allan, is a stuntman, stunt coordinator and second unit director who has been involved in many noted Hollywood films, most recently 'On Any Given Sunday' and 'The Replacements.' TE Antoine Harris' late stepfather was comedian/actor Robin Harris, who appeared in movies such as 'Mo' Better Blue,' 'House Party,' 'Do The Right Thing,' and 'Harlem Nights.' The cartoon series, 'Bebe's Kids,' is based on characters in Robin's comedy routine.
***USC head coach Paul Hackett is a rock music fan. He sat in the front row at the final Beatles concert, in 1966 in Candlestick Park in San Francisco. He still goes to concerts quite frequently. As a hobby, he collects old music juke boxes filled with 1950s and '60s rock 'n roll music.
ROSTER UPDATES-There are several personnel updates that are not listed in the 2000 USC football media guide: Malcolm Wooldridge, a 6-2, 300-pound first-year freshman defensive tackle (he'll wear #96), joined the Trojans midway through training camp as a scholarship player. He played at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., in 1999 after spending the 1997 and 1998 seasons at Olympic Heights High in Boca Raton, Fl. (he was a 1998 All-Palm Beach County Athletic Conference Class 5-A first teamer and made 80 tackles with 9 sacks in 1997)...OT Nate Steinbacher is now #71, SNP-TE Joe Boskovich is now #64 and S Danny Bravo is now #47...Ten walk-ons have joined the Trojan squad: #5, QB Richie Wessman (6-1, 195, San Clemente, San Clemente HS/Orange Coast JC), #13, CB Peter Polk (5-10, 175, Los Angeles, St. Bernard HS/West Los Angeles CC), #15, QB Matt Harris (6-4, 210, Las Vegas, NV, Meadows HS), #18, P Tommy Huff (6-1, 225, Bellevue, WA, Bellevue HS, U. of Michigan), #31, P-PK Drew Thomas (6-3, 200, Johnson City, TN, Westlake HS), #41, P-CB Matt Lemos (5-10, 165, Redwood City, St. Francis HS), #46, WR Forrest Mozart (6-1, 195, Los Altos Hills, St. Francis HS), #48, S Kyle Matthews (6-0, 170, Agoura, Westlake HS), #61, LB Aaron Orndorff (6-1, 235, Bakersfield, Stockdale HS), and #70, OG Spencer Torgan (6-1, 265, Calabasas, Harvard-Westlake HS). Wessman and Polk are sophomores, Huff is a redshirt freshman and the others are first-year freshmen...A trio of walk-ons-#40 Michael Torres, #47 Spencer McCroskey and #82 D. Hale-has quit the team, as has #57 Carlos Acosta...Freshman DT Sagan Atuatasi did not meet USC admission standards and is not with the Trojans in 2000.
USC: COLLEGE OF THE YEAR 2000--USC was named the 'College of the Year' by the 2000 edition of the Time/The Princeton Review College Guide. USC was chosen because of the remarkable bonds the university has forged with local schools, community residents, police, businesses and community organizations. 'More institutions might do well to emulate USC's enlightened self-interest,' according to the guide's editors. 'For not only has the 'hood dramatically improved, but so has the university.' The editors cited the university's model of service learning -- the practice of applying academic theory to real-life situations through public service -- as their main reason for choosing USC as college of the year, saying USC has one of the most ambitious social-outreach programs of any university in the nation. USC also has seen its undergraduate applications nearly double over the last few years and enrolled the most academically accomplished freshman class in its history. And USC is the only university in history to have received three individual gifts of $100 million or more.
USC: 'HOT SCHOOL' OF 2001--USC has been chosen as one of America's nine 'hottest schools' by the 2001 edition of the Newsweek/Kaplan College Guide. USC was selected because it lives up to its reputation as a top-notch institution of higher education. 'Just as East Coast students go for New York and NYU, the West Coast is gravitating to USC in Los Angeles,' according to the guide's article. 'USC has morphed from a jock school to a serious contender for top students.' Students quoted in the article said Los Angeles' ethnic diversity, the offer of scholarships, the small classroom sizes and USC's standing in academe attracted them to the university.
ACADEMICS--USC's official 2000 NCAA football graduation rate is an all-time high 80%...and the 2001 rate will rise to 82%. That rate is more than 20 points higher than the national football average for Division I schools. Among the top scholars on the 2000 Trojan squad are QB Mike Van Raaphorst and LB Ryan Shapiro, who both sport a team-best 3.72 GPA. Both received their bachelor's degrees last spring and are taking graduate courses this fall (Van Raaphorst-who is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship--received his degree in broadcast journalism/political science and is now taking M.B.A. classes, while Shapiro was a business administration grad who is going after his master's in communication). Other USC footballers who star in the classroom are: FB Brennan Ochs (3.12, political science), TE Scott Huber (3.10, business), TE Chad Cook (3.00, business), OG-OT Trevor Roberts (2.96, public policy and management), OT Brent McCaffrey (2.82, planning and development), DT-DE Bobby DeMars (2.82, business administration) and OT Phillip Eaves (2.80, business). Van Raaphorst and Ochs made the 1999 Pac-10 All-Academic first team (Van Raaphorst was an honorable mention selection in 1997 and 1998 and Ochs was an honorable mention pick in 1998), while Huber was an 1999 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention pick. In its history, USC football has produced 22 Academic All-American first teamers (tops in the Pac-10 and tied for fifth in the nation), 20 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners, 12 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes, 4 NCAA Today's Top Six winners, 1 Rhodes Scholar and 1 Academic All-American Hall of Famer.
IN THE NFL--USC is always well-represented in the NFL. There were 31 ex-Trojans on 2000 opening day NFL rosters (tied for seventh among all schools), including players such as LB Junior Seau, OLs Tony Boselli and Bruce Matthews, DLs Willie McGinest and Darrell Russell, WRs Keyshawn Johnson, Curtis Conway and Johnnie Morton, QB Rob Johnson, and DBs Jason Sehorn and Mark Carrier. Six NFL head coaches have USC ties (either as former players or assistants): New York Giants' Jim Fassel, Tennessee's Jeff Fisher, Seattle's Mike Holmgren, San Francisco's Steve Mariucci, Washington's Norv Turner and San Diego's Mike Riley. Seven current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: C Eric Denmon (cousin, Rod Jones), WR Kareem Kelly (cousin, Rashard Cook), LB Darryl Knight (brother, Sammy), S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr., father, Clay Matthews, uncle, Bruce Matthews), OT Brent McCaffrey (father, Bob McCaffrey, uncle, Mike McCaffrey), S Troy Polamalu, (cousin, Nicky Sualua), QB Mike Van Raaphorst, (father, Dick Van Raaphorst). Additionally, head coach Paul Hackett and assistants Dennis Thurman and Brian Schottenheimer were NFL assistants (Thurman also played in the NFL).
ON TV--USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 280 times, including all 12 games in 1998 and 1999. In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE-Ninth-year head coach Bruce Snyder's Arizona State club lost in double overtime to No. 7 Oregon at home last Saturday, 56-55 (ASU's other losses were to UCLA and Washington, also both within a touchdown). It was the Sun Devils' second overtime game in a row. ASU, which needs 1 more win to become bowl eligible, have had 3 starters at QB-redshirt freshman Jeff Krohn (86-of-170, 50.6%, 1,301 yds, 11 TD, 5 int in 2000), the current starter, plus seniors Ryan Kealy (17-of-34, 50.0%, 288yds, 2 TD, 1 int in 2000), out with a knee injury, and Griffin Goodman (28-of-70, 40.0%, 638 yds, 5 TD, 2 int in 2000)-but still rank 17th nationally in passing offense (285.1, first in Pac-10) and 24th in total offense (420.3, second in Pac-10). True freshman TB Mike Williams (109 tcb, 479 yds, 4.4 avg, 5 TD in 2000) stepped in when senior starter Delvon Flowers hurt his knee in the pre-season and junior TB Tom Pace (108 tcb, 455 yds, 4.2 avg, 3 TD in 2000) has come on of late. Junior TE Todd Heap (30 rec, 16.0 avg, 3 TD in 2000), a 1999 All-Pac-10 first teamer, not only leads ASU in receptions this year, but he is the school's career leader in receptions by a tight end (97 catches). Other top pass catchers are WRs Donnie O'Neal (26 rec, 19.8 avg, 6 TD in 2000), a junior, and senior Richard Williams (26 rec, 20.2 avg, 6 TD in 2000, plus 20.9 KOR avg). Arizona State has scored first in all 8 games this season and has outscored opponents in the first quarter, 64-23 (it has allowed just 1 first quarter TD in the last 7 games). Senior LB Adam Archuleta (87 tac, 12 for losses, 3 sac, 1 int, 3 FR in 2000), another 1999 All-Pac-10 first team selection and a Butkus Award semifinalist this season, leads the Pac-10 in tackles (10.9). Among the other key defenders are sophomore LB Solomon Bates (71 tac, 10 for losses, 2 sac, 2 int in 2000), who is tied for fourth in the Pac-10 in tackles (8.9), plus soph FS Alfred Williams (58 tac, 3 for losses, 2 sac, 2 FR in 2000) and senior CB Nijrell Eason (35 tac, 3 int, 15 dfl, 3 FR in 2000), who tops the Pac-10 in deflections (15) and is tied for first in fumble recoveries (3). Sophomore PK Mike Barth (9-of-16 FG, 24-of-26 PAT in 2000), who is tied for first in the Pac-10 in field goals (1.1), has kicked a pair of last-second, game-winning 41-yard field goals this season (versus Colorado State and at Washington State in overtime).
HACKETT SAYS-'The California game was a field position game. We handled ourselves well in the first half, as it was a close game then. But our inability in special teams gave our offense bad field position and, coupled with turnovers, we gave them good field position with turnovers. So, field position, the inability of our offense to move the ball out, some key penalties and poor special teams play set the tone that we weren't able to overcome. It was a difficult loss for us, but we have to regroup and move on...We've played two close games on the road at Oregon State and Stanford. Now, we have to go win a game at Arizona State. They are coming off of 2 overtime games in which they had tremendous performances, particularly offensively. We'll have to find a way to slow them down defensively and on offense we'll need to find the correct mix of running and passing. We have ourselves a very formidable challenge. We'll have to circle the wagons and come out swinging.'
INJURY UPDATE-OUT: LB Markus Steele (ankle), S Ifeanyi Ohalete (ankle), WR Marcell Allmond (leg), S Matt Grootegoed (mono), Joe McGuire (back), Gregg Guenther (back), TB Chris Howard (knee), CB Antuan Simmons (abdominal tumor), TE Chad Cook (knee), DE Jamaal Williams (leg), S John Morgan (knee). POSSIBLE: Darrell Rideaux (ankle), C Eric Denmon (ankle), DT Bobby DeMars (knee).
A LOOK AT USC'S...
6-1, 185, Freshman
Oxnard, Calif. (Hueneme)
Sophomore wide receiver Kareem Kelly's outstanding freshman year in 1999 did more than earn him Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors. His breakout season also inspired another young wide receiver to come to USC and strive to give Trojan fans a repeat performance.
As a senior at Hueneme High in Oxnard, Calif., Keary Colbert watched as Kelly caught pass after pass and scored touchdown after touchdown last season. He figured that if he came to USC, he might just be able to do the same.
'One of my reasons for coming here was watching Kareem have so much success as a freshman,' said Colbert. 'I figured that I could have the same success.'
The 6-1, 185-pound wide receiver has gotten off to a great start so far in 2000. He has played in every game this year and has 19 catches while averaging 15.4 yards per catch (best among the wide receivers). With a career high 6 grabs for 113 yards against Arizona, Colbert joined Kelly and former Trojan R. Jay Soward as USC's only true freshmen wide receivers to gain 100-plus receiving yards in a single game.
Not bad company to keep, yet this optimistic freshman has set his goals even higher.
'My goal is to get Pac-10 Freshman of the Year just like Kareem did,' Colbert said. 'We always talk about who is going to have the better stats as a freshman and I am shooting to try and pass him up. That is my goal.'
Despite this friendly competition, Colbert and his fellow wide receivers have a great relationship and always encourage each other to perform.
'We work together,' he said. 'Nobody talks about who is starting or who is playing more. It is a good group. I know from talking to my friends that a lot of other schools have trouble with people and positions, but the receivers here have a good relationship.'
Colbert's dedication to his teammates dates back to middle school and high school, where he voluntarily switched from running back to wide receiver for a fellow player.
'In eighth grade I was a running back. But in high school one of my friends was also a running back, so I let him have that position and I switched to receiver,' said Colbert, who doesn't regret his altruistic gesture. 'I played really well at the freshman level and got moved up to varsity and the rest is history.
History shows that the former running back went on to earn prep All-American honors as a senior wide receiver at Hueneme High, where he caught 25 passes for 600 yards and had 10 touchdown receptions. As a true freshman at USC, Colbert has already started three games and ranks behind only Kelly in terms of receiving statistics for a Trojan freshman receiver.
But just like any other college freshman, Colbert has also had to adjust to the many demands of collegiate life.
'School is tough because at the end of the day I get very tired,' he said. 'Sometimes you need more time to study than the two hours of study hall, so when you go home you really have to concentrate and study. There's lots of quizzes, too.'
Luckily for Colbert, he didn't move too far from home and his family has provided the support he needs to meet the demands that come with being a collegiate athlete.
'Being only an hour away, I can just get in my car and drive home,' Colbert said. 'Both of my parents have really been there for me. They are proud of me and they support me a lot.'
This support is helping Colbert emerge as a key player in the offense, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by his teammates.
'He has adjusted to the offense well,' said junior fullback Charlie Landrigan. 'He has gone out there and made big plays when he had to. He doesn't play like a freshman. He plays more like a sophomore or junior. He has a great attitude and he works hard.'
That hard work seems to be paying off for the freshman. Perhaps when he leaves USC, his No. 83 jersey will be as famous as Keyshawn Johnson's No. 3, which is actually the number Colbert wore in high school.
'When I was in high school, I wore No. 3 because of Keyshawn Johnson,' Colbert said. 'I wanted to come here and wear it, but CP (Carson Palmer) wears it. I am thinking about sticking with No. 83 now.
'I think I'm making it look pretty good.'
TICKETS-Tickets for the USC-Arizona State game, priced at $35, are available at the USC Ticket Office (213-740-GO SC).
RADIO-TV-Live regional TV: 6 p.m. (PST), FOX Sports Net West, Tom Kelly, Craig Fertig.
Live local radio: 4 p.m. (PST), XTRA-AM (690), Lee Hamilton, Paul McDonald, Tim Ryan (includes 1-hour USC pre- and post-game shows sandwiched by 1-hour college football pre- and post-game shows). Four other stations are included on the USC radio network: KMPC-AM 1540 in Los Angeles, KGEO-AM 1230 in Bakersfield, KFIG-AM 1430 in Fresno and KRLV-AM 1340 in Las Vegas, Nev. Fans also can hear the live XTRA broadcast on the Internet on www.usctrojans.com or can pay to listen to it live by dialing 1-800-846-4675 ext. 5933.
USC Sports Magazine Show: 6 p.m. (PST), Thursday (Nov. 2), and 1 a.m. (PST), Friday (Nov. 3), FOX Sports Net West 2, Tom Kelly.
USC Trojan Talk: 7 p.m. (PST), Sundays during football season, KDWN-AM (720), Harvey Hyde, Chuck Hayes. Fans also can hear the live KDWN broadcast on the Internet (type http://www.usctrojans.com).
USC HOTLINE--Dial (213) 743-2989 for a brief taped interview with USC coach Paul Hackett.
INFO CONNECTION--Dial (770) 558-6000, passcode 72210, for the Pac-10 Info Connection, a fax-on-demand system that provides access to press releases from the Pac-10 Office and all Pac-10 schools on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Media callers must have a PIN number (which can be obtained by calling 770-399-0096). Media can also access information at www.mediateamlink.com.
USC ONLINE--The USC athletic department has an official 'home page' on the World Wide Web, featuring current and historical information about Trojan sports. For access, type http://www.usctrojans.com.
IT'S NOT SOUTHERN CAL--Note to the media: In editorial references to athletic teams of the University of Southern California, the following are preferred: USC, Southern California, So. California, Troy, Trojans and (for women's teams) Women of Troy. PLEASE do not use Southern Cal.
PAC-10 ONLINE--Pac-10 information, press releases, statistics and links to all league schools are available online at http://www.pac-10.org.
PAC-10 SATELLITE FEED-The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed featuring interviews with coaches and selected players regarding upcoming games along with highlight footage. The half hour feed airs every Wednesday at noon (PST) through Nov. 22. Coordinates are Telstar 5, Transponder 16 (C-band). Trouble numbers: 310-543-1835 or 310-286-3749 or pager 888-423-0095 or 925-932-4411.
PAC-10 COACHES TELECONFERENCES-Pac-10 football coaches are available for 10 minutes each on a media teleconference beginning at 9:30 a.m. (PST) every other Tuesday during the season. The remaining date is Nov. 7. USC coach Paul Hackett comes on at 10:45 a.m. (PST). Beginning at 1:30 p.m. (PST) each of those Tuesdays, a taped replay of the teleconference is available anytime. Call the Pac-10 office (925-932-4411) or USC sports information office (213-740-8480) to obtain the media-only phone numbers for the Pac-10 Coaches Teleconference.
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