Trojans Battle With Crosstown Rival UCLA

Nov. 11, 2001

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It's the 71st meeting in this classic intracity rivalry between USC and UCLA, with the teams headed lately in opposite directions. The Trojans are riding a 3-game winning streak (and have won 4 of their last 5, including 4 consecutive Pac-10 contests) after starting off the 2001 season at 1-4. The Bruins, after winning their first 6 games of 2001 and rising to No. 4 in the AP poll, have lost their last 3. But, as is often the case in this series, expect the unexpected. Troy has won the past 2 meetings over UCLA, including last year's heart stopper at the Rose Bowl. A USC win would make the Trojans eligible for post-season play. The game features the league's top 2 units in total defense and scoring defense. The victor not only gets the traditional Victory Bell, but garners 10 points in the new Lexus Gauntlet competition between the schools. The Coliseum could be sold out, the game will be shown live nationally on FOX Sports Net cable.

UCLA is ranked 20th by AP and 21st by ESPN/USA Today. USC is not ranked.

USC leads the series with crosstown rival UCLA, 36-27-7 (dating to 1929). It has been a series of streaks recently: the Trojans have won the last 2 games after UCLA's 8-game winning stretch (the longest streak by either team in the series), with 6 of those losses coming by a touchdown or less, and before that USC had a 4-game unbeaten run over the Bruins. In games in the Coliseum, USC holds a 33-20-7 edge.

Last year in the Rose Bowl, PK David Bell-who began the season as USC's third string placekicker-nailed a 36-yard field goal with 9 seconds to play to give the Trojans a dramatic 38-35 win over UCLA in a game that featured 6 lead changes. It was USC's first win over the Bruins in Pasadena since 1990 and Troy's first back-to-back victories over UCLA since 1987-88. It was only the second field goal in 6 career attempts for Bell, USC's kickoff man for 4 seasons, he had missed 3 previous attempts in 2000, including a 24-yarder earlier in the game's fourth quarter. USC dominated the statistics-getting more total yards (557-328), plays (82-51), first downs (29-12) and possession time (34:22-25:38)-but Troy's 2 first half fumbles and numerous untimely penalties (13 overall) kept the game close.

The Bruins got on the board 20 seconds into the game when FB Chad Pierson fumbled on the first play from scrimmage (after a pair of USC penalties on the opening kickoff spotted the ball at the 3) and SS Marques Anderson recovered it in the end zone. But USC drove 80 yards on the ensuing series, capped by an 8-yard TD pass from QB Carson Palmer to TE Antoine Harris. However, UCLA countered on its next drive on a tricky 45-yard scoring pass from FL Freddie Mitchell to SE Brian Poli-Dixon. USC tied it early in the second quarter on a 6-yard run by TB Sultan McCullough to culminate a 78-yard drive. After UCLA stopped a Trojan fake field goal late in the half, the Bruins went 84 yards to recapture the lead on a 4-yard pass from QB Cory Paus to FB Ed Ieremia-Stansbury. But USC quickly put together a 74-yard drive, topped by a 39-yard Palmer TD bomb to WR Kareem Kelly with 24 seconds to go in the half. In the first half, USC had 285 total yards to UCLA's 165 (just 18 rushing), and also had a substantial edge in first downs (15-4), plays (48-20) and time (19:56-10:04). The teams traded touchdowns on their first possessions of the second half, first a 4-yard Paus scoring pass to Mitchell (aided by a successful Bruin fake field goal) to highlight a 64-yard drive and then Palmer's 12-yard TD pass to WR Keary Colbert to conclude a 71-yard drive. USC went up 35-28 with 3:58 to play in the game on a 57-yard Palmer TD aerial to WR Steve Stevenson, but UCLA struck right back as Paus' 1-yard run capped a 75-yard drive with 1:05 to go, setting up Bell's heroics.

USC squandered several other scoring opportunities, including losing a second quarter fumble at the UCLA 26, the failed fake field goal from the 19 late in the first half and Bell's fourth quarter missed field goal (the Trojans had the ball on the Bruin 4, but a personal foul stopped their momentum). Palmer completed 26-of-37 passes for a then-career-high 350 yards (his 4 TDs were also a personal best), McCullough ran for a game-high 105 yards on 26 tries (his seventh 100-yard outing of 2000), TB Malaefou MacKenzie had a number of key runs (51 yards on 4 carries) and catches (57 yards on 5 tries), and Kelly caught a game-best 6 passes for 91 yards. LB Zeke Moreno and SS Frank Strong led USC with 6 tackles each. Troy limited UCLA to 71 rushing yards (just 43 on 20 tries by TB DeShaun Foster). Paus was 13-of-22 for 212 yards, including 4 tosses to Mitchell for a game-high 140 yards.

In 1999 in the last game in the Coliseum, USC-behind a pair of touchdown passes from QB John Fox to WR Kareem Kelly along with 143 hard-earned rushing yards by TB Chad Morton and inspired play by the Trojan defense-snapped an 8-year losing streak to UCLA with a 17-7. It was USC's first win over the Bruins since 1990 and the first over UCLA in the Coliseum since 1987. Troy scored on its initial possession as PK David Newbury hit a 22-yard field goal. But UCLA took the lead late in the second quarter when freshman QB Ryan McCann, making his first start, scrambled for a 6-yard TD. However, USC answered right back 2 plays later on a 22-yard pass from Fox to Kelly (it was set up by TB Sultan McCullough's 48-yard run, the longest by a Trojan in 1999). The Trojans scored again early in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard Fox pass to Kelly, who appeared to have a foot out of bounds on the catch. USC dominated the statistics, getting more total yards (430-249), plays (84-62), first downs (19-13) and possession time (34:59-25:01).

Troy, which allowed the Bruins to rush for only 45 yards, sacked McCann 6 times and forced 5 turnovers (3 interceptions, including 2 by S David Gibson and the other by LB Zeke Moreno, and 2 fumble recoveries, by Moreno and S Ifeanyi Ohalete). Three of the Bruin turnovers came when UCLA was threatening within the Trojan 30-yard line, as did a failed Bruin fake field goal. USC was hampered by 16 penalties for 126 yards (including 8 illegal motion penalties), while UCLA was flagged 9 times for 68 yards. Morton, who publicly guaranteed the victory back in August and whose brother (Johnnie) was on the last Trojan team to beat UCLA, ran for a game-best 143 yards on a personal-high 36 carries (the most rushes by a Trojan since Steven Webster had 40 against Washington in 1987). I

n the game, Morton went over the 1,000-yard rushing barrier for the season. Fox was 17-of-34 for 216 yards and the 2 scores (with no interceptions). McCullough added 69 yards on 8 rushes, WR Windrell Hayes had a team-best 5 catches for 92 yards and Kelly had 3 grabs for 32 yards. McCann hit 17-of-29 passes for 204 yards but had 3 picked off, TB DeShaun Foster caught a game-high 6 passes for 30 yards (he also ran for 59 yards on 17 tries) and WR Freddie Mitchell added 5 catches for 88 yards. Moreno led USC in tackles with 7 (2 for losses) to go along with his interception and fumble recovery (which he forced), while Gibson (with the 2 picks), LB Markus Steele and CB Darrell Rideaux each had 6 stops. It was the first time since 1941 that both teams entered the game with losing records.

USC has a 360-122-27 (.734) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923.

USC running backs coach Wayne Moses held the same job at UCLA from 1990 to 1995...USC special teams coordinator Kennedy Pola was a graduate assistant coach at UCLA in 1992 and 1993...UCLA head coach Bob Toledo was the secondary coach at USC from 1976 to 1978 (the Trojans won the 1978 national title and a pair of Rose Bowls in that span)...UCLA WLB Ryan Nece is the son of ex-USC All-American S Ronnie Lott (1977-80)...UCLA OL Matt Mosebar is the nephew of ex-USC All-American OT Don Mosebar (1979-82)...UCLA SLB Kevin Stromsborg is the brother of ex-USC infielder Ryan Stromsborg (1995?96) and the grandson of ex?USC basketballer Steve Miletich (1942)...UCLA assistant coach Gary Bernardi was a USC assistant (1987?92)...USC men's basketball coach Henry Bibby played on 3 UCLA NCAA title teams (1970?72), earning All?American honors in 1972...USC men's and women's water polo head coach Jovan Vavic was a Bruin men's assistant in 1991...USC women's basketball assistant coach Colleen Matsuhara was an assistant coach, assistant athletic director and radio analyst at UCLA during parts of the past 3 decades...USC women's basketball director of operations Patrick Auerbach is a former UCLA yell leader...USC assistant track coach John Henry Johnson was a decathlete at UCLA in the late 1980s...USC assistant women's tennis coach Karin Huebner captained UCLA's 1981 AIAW national championship team...USC head trainer Russ Romano spent 1997 at UCLA...USC associate director of Student-Athlete Academic Services Wayne Johnson had similar responsibilities at UCLA...UCLA women's basketball coach Kathy Olivier was a USC assistant for 3 years (1984-86), including on Troy's 1984 NCAA championship team...USC CB Kris Richard's mother is a UCLA alum.

USC starters and reserves scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams as the Trojans overwhelmed California, 55-14, in front of 33,506 fans in Berkeley (it rained rain throughout the second half). It was the most points and biggest victory margin by Troy since a 62-7 win over Hawaii in 1999 and the greatest over the Golden Bears since a 61-0 blanking in 1994 (it was also USC's most points ever in Berkeley). The outcome got Troy to .500 for the first time since the second game of the season and extended Cal's school-record losing streak to 12 games (it came just 6 days after head coach Tom Holmoe announced his resignation at season's end). It also snapped the Trojans' 3-game losing skid to the Bears. After Cal drove 75 yards on the game's opening series, ending in a 5-yard TD run by QB Kyle Boller, USC scored the next 35 points.

First, backup TB Chris Howard raced 25 yards through the right side late in the first quarter on his first carry of the game for his first career TD. USC got the ball back on the next play on S DeShaun Hill's interception and turned it into another TD on a 5-yard pass from QB Carson Palmer to WR Kareem Kelly early in the second quarter. Midway through that period, S Troy Polamalu stepped in front of a Boller pass and returned it 58 yards for a score (his second TD interception of 2001 and the third of his career). Howard got his second touchdown run of the game on a 15-yarder around the left side late in the first half on his second carry of the day. The Trojans used a tricky fake field goal to score a touchdown on their opening possession of the second half as holder Mike MacGillivray flipped the ball to PK David Davis, who ran 3 yards around the left end. Cal broke Troy's scoring run on an 8-yard TD toss from backup QB Reggie Robertson to WR Charon Arnold late in the quarter, but USC answered with a pair of Davis field goals (33 and 26 yards) and a 15-yard scoring dash by reserve TB Eric Reese (seeing his first-ever action at tailback) on its next 3 drives.

The Bears got to the USC 5-yard line late in the game, but DE Kenechi Udeze sacked reserve QB Eric Holtfreter and forced a fumble, which LB John Cousins returned 89 yards for a TD. The Trojans had a productive day, notching season highs bests in plays (84), first downs (27), rushing yards (213), possession time (35:09) and sacks (7) and allowed season lows in first downs (12), rushing yards (68), plays (60) and total offense (223). USC's 448 yards of total offense were the second most of 2001. Cal suffered from 10 penalties, converted just 2-of-12 third downs and had to punt 9 times. Palmer was 18-of-35 for 230 yards (he also gained 45 yards on 8 rushes), Howard had a team-best 61 rushing yards on 8 tries, Kelly (88 yards) and WR Devin Pitts (32) yards each caught 4 balls, Hill and LB Mike Pollard both made 6 tackles and walk-on CB Justin Tolliver had USC's third interception at game's end. For Cal, TB Terrell Williams had a game-high 63 yards on 14 carries, Boller was 6-of-15 for 92 yards with the 2 picks and Arnold had 4 receptions for 36 yards. The game was not televised, snapping a streak of 48 consecutive USC games on live TV.

USC might be the unluckiest team in America, as its 5 losses have been by a combined 25 points (5.0 average). Four of the defeats were by 5 points or less (2, 3, 4 and 5 points) and the fifth was by 11 points. Troy has never had a season in which it lost 4 games by 5 points or less. Two of the losses have come when foes have kicked field goals in the final 12 seconds, including once at the gun, the first time the Trojans have lost twice in a season in the final 12 seconds. Three of the losses were to teams ranked in the Top 12 at the time of the game and the 5 teams that beat USC have been ranked in the AP Top 25 at some point this season. Here's how close those losses have been:

After suffering the 5 close losses mentioned above, perhaps the tide turned for USC. Its next 2 game were nailbiter wins, as Troy beat Arizona, 41-34, when CB Kris Richard returned an interception 58-yard for a TD with 1:50 to play and then defeated Oregon State in overtime, 16-13, on QB Carson Palmer's 4-yard run.

USC's 11-game schedule is challenging, featuring 7 teams that played in bowls last season and 5 that were ranked in AP's final Top 15. Four opponents are ranked in this week's AP Top 20. The current USA Today/Sagarin rankings say USC is playing the nation's 19th toughest schedule. Three of USC's opponents were ranked in the AP Top 12 at the time of the game and the first 5 foes were undefeated at game time (the sixth had just 1 loss). At the start of the season, Sports Illustrated said USC has the nation's toughest schedule, Phil Steele's magazine ranked it sixth toughest nationally and The Sporting News said USC plays the toughest schedule among TSN's pre-season Top 25 teams.

A USC team with a .500 record going into the UCLA game has never beaten the Bruins, posting a 0-3-1 mark (losses in 1942-61-96 and a tie in 1958).

Pete Carroll, who led the New England Patriots to the NFL playoffs twice in 3 years, brings big doses of experience, enthusiasm and leadership in his quest to revive the USC football program. He was named the Trojans' head football coach on Dec. 15, 2000 (he signed a 5-year contract). The 50-year-old Carroll, who also has coached on the college level for 10 years, has 26 years of NFL and college experience. He is 5-5 as a college head coach. He was the head coach of the NFL's New England Patriots for 3 seasons (1997-99) and New York Jets for 1 year (1994). He guided the Patriots into the playoffs in his first 2 seasons, winning the AFC Eastern Division title at 10-6 in 1997 and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, then posting a 9-7 regular season mark in 1998. His overall record in New England was 27-21 in the regular season (including 8-8 in 1999) and 1-2 in the playoffs. He owns the franchise's second-best winning percentage (54.9%).

After serving as the Jets' defensive coordinator for 4 seasons (1990-93), he became the team's head coach the following season. His 1994 Jets went 6-10. Only 3 other Jets head coaches won more games in their rookie campaign. He spent the next 2 years (1995-96) as the defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC Western Division title both seasons. The 49ers were 11-5 in the 1995 regular season when they had the NFL's top-ranked defense and then went 12-4 in 1996. Carroll began his coaching career at the college level, serving as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Pacific, for 3 years (1974-76), working with the wide receivers and secondary. He then spent a season each as an assistant in charge of the secondary at Arkansas (1977) under Lou Holtz as the Razorbacks won the 1978 Orange Bowl, at Iowa State (1978) under Earle Bruce (the Cyclones played in the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl) and at Ohio State (1979) under Bruce. That Buckeye squad lost to USC in the 1980 Rose Bowl. He next spent 3 seasons (1980-82) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at North Carolina State, then returned to Pacific in 1983 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.

He entered the NFL in 1984 as the defensive backs coach of the Buffalo Bills, then held a similar position with the Minnesota Vikings for 5 seasons (1985-89). The Vikings advanced to the playoffs his last 3 years there, getting to the NFC Championship game in 1987. The 1988 team was 11-5 in the regular season and the 1989 squad won the NFC Central Division crown with a 10-6 mark. His secondary averaged 25 interceptions a season and led the NFL in passing defense in 1989. Carroll spent the 2000 season as a consultant for pro and college teams, doing charitable work for the NFL and writing a column about pro football for Carroll was a 2-time (1971-72) All-Pacific Coast Conference free safety at Pacific and earned his bachelor's degree in 1973 in business administration. He received his secondary teaching credential and a master's degree in physical education from Pacific in 1976.

He was a 3-sport (football, basketball and baseball) standout at Redwood High in Larkspur, Calif., earning the school's Athlete of the Year award as a senior. He played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. He then played football at Marin Junior College in Kentfield, Calif., in 1970. He was born on Sept. 15, 1951 in San Francisco. He and his wife, Glena, who played volleyball at Pacific, have 3 children: sons Brennan, 22, a senior tight end at Pittsburgh (he previously played at Delaware), and Nathan, 14, and daughter Jaime, 19, a sophomore on the USC women's highly-ranked volleyball team which competed in the 2000 NCAA Final Four. His late father-in-law, Dean Goranson, received his master's degree from USC.

USC has one of the nation's better signalcallers in 2001 in junior Carson Palmer (192-of-328, 58.5%, 2,387 yds, 12 TD, 11 int in 2001, plus 76 tcb, 89 yds, 1.2 avg, 1 TD). He is on the 'Watch List' for the 2001 Davey O'Brien Award, given to the top collegiate quarterback. His 58.5% completion rate in 2001 is tops among Pac-10 starting quarterbacks. His 192 completions in 2001 is eighth on the USC season chart and his 2,476 yards of total offense in 2001 is sixth on Troy's season list. He already ranks third on Troy's career passing list (589 completions). He is also third on USC's all-time total offense chart (7,526 yards), 14th on the Pac-10 career list. His 7,546 career passing yards are third-most in USC history and 15th in Pac-10 annals. His 37 career TD tosses is tied for fourth most at USC and 37th on the Pac-10 ladder. He owns the USC single game total offense record (419 yards at Oregon in 2001) and his 411 passing yards in that game were 4 shy of tying another school mark. He is on pace to break Rob Johnson's school career records for completions (676) and passing yardage (8,472), plus Rodney Peete's USC career total offense yardage mark (8,640). He had a span this season where he threw 87 consecutive passes without an interception before getting picked off at Notre Dame. With 30 career starts under his belt, he has completed at least 60.0% of his passes 14 times (including 6 contests at 70.0%-plus) and thrown for at least 200 yards 19 times. After missing the last 9 games of 1999 with an injury, in 2000 he showed signs of brilliance (his 228 completions and 2,914 passing yards were the second most in USC history) and rustiness (he tied the school interception mark with 18). His 5,159 career passing yards through the 2000 season were the most by a Trojan at the end of his sophomore year.

  • He was 21-of-28 for 213 yards (with an interception) and hit his first 9 aerials in the San Jose State opener.

  • Against Kansas State, he ran for a team-best and career-high 60 yards on 12 carries (the most rushing yards by a Trojan quarterback since Reggie Perry's 60 versus Memphis State in 1991) and hit 16-of-36 passes for 197 yards.

  • He set the USC single game total offense record with 419 yards at Oregon and his career-high 411 passing yards were 4 yards shy of another school mark, he completed 25-of-40 aerials, including TDs of 93 and 75 yards (the 2 longest passes of his career), but he was intercepted 3 times and sacked 5 times.

  • He was 22-of-42 for 240 yards against Stanford, but he threw 2 interceptions.

  • He was 8-of-14 for 152 yards and 2 TDs at Washington, including a perfect 7-of-7 for 94 yards and a score in the first half, it was his fewest completions since the 1998 Washington State game and his fewest attempts since the 1999 Oregon game.

  • Against Arizona State, he was 18-of-26 for 295 yards and 3 TDs (the second most of his career) and also ran for 28 yards on 8 tries.

  • He was 19-of-30 for 230 yards with 2 TDs at Notre Dame, but was intercepted twice and sacked 5 times.

  • He was 24-of-49 for 248 yards with 2 TDs at Arizona, but was intercepted twice.

  • He scored the game-winning TD in overtime against Oregon State on a 4-yard naked bootleg run in which he broke one tackle and dove to the flag while getting slammed by another Beaver, passing, he was 21-of-28 for 171 yards and an interception (including 13-of-15 for 80 yards in the first half while connecting on his first 9 aerials) despite getting sacked 6 times.

  • At California, he hit 18-of-35 passes for 230 yards and a TD (with no interceptions) and also ran for 45 yards (with a career-long 54-yard scramble) on 8 carries.

    Besides Carson Palmer, the other quarterbacks on the Trojan roster have thrown a combined 2 passes in college. Redshirt freshman Matt Cassel (1-of-2, 50.0%, 5 yds in 2001, plus 3 tcb, 22 yds, 7.3 avg and 1 rec, 12.0 avg and 1 tac) and 2000 prep All-American freshman Matt Leinart are competing to be Palmer's backup in 2001. Cassel has appeared in 5 games in 2001 (Washington, Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State and California) as a wide receiver and on special teams, he also played quarterback briefly at California

  • Cassel gained 4 yards on a reverse at Notre Dame.

  • Cassel did a little bit of everything at California, catching a 12-yard pass as a wide receiver, making a tackle on special teams and, in his first career action at quarterback, hitting 1-of-2 passes for 5 yards and gaining 20 yards on a run.

    Troy returned a 1,000-yard runner in 2001 and he's a good one: speedy junior tailback Sultan McCullough (115 tcb, 410 yds, 3.6 avg, 5 TD in 2001, plus 6 rec, 16.7 avg, 1 TD). He was listed as a candidate for the 2001 Doak Walker Award. He is 14th on USC's prestigious career rushing chart with 1,986 yards and has run for at least 100 yards in 9 games at Troy (twice in 2001). But he sat out most of the Arizona State contest and all of the Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State and California games with a strained abdominal muscle. His rushing total of 1,163 yards last fall was the most at USC since 1990. He hit the 100-yard rushing barrier 7 times in 2000 (the most by a Trojan since 1989), including 4 games in a row. That was good enough to earn him All-Pac-10 second team acclaim in 2000. The 1999 Pac-10 champion in the 100-meter dash, he is the fastest player ever to wear a Trojan football uniform (10.17 in the 100 meters).

  • He rushed for 167 yards with 3 TDs (14, 35 and 7 yards) on 25 carries (all game highs) in San Jose State opener (it was the most rushing yards by a Trojan in a season opener since Marcus Allen had 210 yards versus Tennessee in 1981, as well as his eighth 100-yard outing in his career and his first multi-TD game).

  • He scored USC's only touchdown (a 7-yard run) versus Kansas State and ran for 40 yards on 18 carries.

  • At Oregon, he ran 20 times for just 31 yards, but caught 3 passes for 84 yards, including a 75-yard TD (the longest reception of his career and the first career TD catch).

  • He had just 32 yards on 16 carries against Stanford and caught 3 passes for 16 yards.

  • At Washington, he had his second 100-yard outing of 2001 (ninth of his career) with a game-best 132 yards on a career-high 32 carries (the most by a Trojan since Chad Morton had 36 versus UCLA in 1999).

  • He suffered a strained abdominal muscle late in the first quarter against Arizona State and had only 8 yards on 4 carries.

  • He missed the Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State and California contests with the abdominal injury.

    Coming into 2001, it looked like the Trojans would have a 1-2 punch at tailback with Sultan McCullough joined by powerful and experienced senior Malaefou MacKenzie (41 tcb, 284 yds, 6.9 avg in 2000, plus 27 rec, 9.2 avg), a threat running and receiving. But MacKenzie left the team this midseason without seeing action in 2001: he missed USC's first 2 games with a knee sprain, the third while attending his father's funeral in Western Samoa and the next 2 after re-spraining his knee. He then decided to go back to Western Samoa for the rest of the season. He was second on the Trojans in rushing last season (284 yards) and his 27 receptions were the most by a USC running back since 1996. In his career (which includes 4 starts), he has 765 rushing yards and 37 receptions. Besides McCullough and MacKenzie, Troy's other true tailbacks have carried the ball only 30 times in their careers. Redshirt freshman Chris Howard (19 tcb, 73 yds, 3.8 avg, 2 TD in 2001, plus 2 rec, 6.5 avg), who is coming off 2000 knee surgery, and freshmen Darryl Poston (5 tcb, 4 yds, 0.8 avg, 1 TD in 2001), a 2000 prep All-American, are angling for backup tailback duty.

    However, Poston sprained his knee at Notre Dame and missed the Arizona, Oregon State and California games. Also available at tailback are seniors Eric Reese (6 tcb, 25 yds, 4.2 avg, 1 TD in 2001, plus 1 tac), who was a reserve cornerback the past 3 years after redshirting as a 1997 freshman at tailback, and Frank Strong (5 tcb, 6 yds, 1.2 avg in 2001, plus 45 tac, 2 for loss, 5 dfl, 1 int, 1 FR, 2 FF and 1 KOR, 23.0 avg), a rare 2-way player who has started 8 games in 2001 at weakside linebacker (he spent his first year-and-a-half at USC as a reserve tailback and then the next year-and-a-half as a part-time starting free safety). At fullback, senior Charlie Landrigan (8 tcb, 12 yds, 1.5 avg in 2001, plus 29 rec, 12.1 avg, 2 TD and 3 tac), an outstanding blocker and receiver, returned as the starter. Behind him are juniors Sunny Byrd (93 tcb, 265 yds, 2.9 avg, 3 TD in 2001, plus 8 rec, 6.8 avg and 5 tac), who redshirted last fall after transferring from a junior college, Chad Pierson (4 tcb, 11 yds, 2.8 avg in 2001, plus 3 rec, 20.3 avg, 1 TD in 2001), who missed the first 6 games of 2001 after having surgery for a herniated disk in his back, and Scott Huber, a converted tight end who had 1 start last fall but no receptions. Byrd has all of his 2001 carries while running out of the tailback spot for an injured McCullough (against Arizona State, Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State and California), he even started versus Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State and California. He had at least 20 carries in those first 4 games at tailback, leading Troy in rushing each outing.

  • Landrigan caught a then-career-best 4 passes for 45 yards in the San Jose State opener.

  • Against Kansas State, Landrigan grabbed 5 passes for 58 yards, both career highs.

  • Landrigan caught a pair of passes for 24 yards at Oregon and Poston got his first career action, getting 1 yard on 2 carries.

  • Landrigan had 3 catches for 77 yards (with a career-best 63-yarder) and a 4-yard rush versus Stanford, Byrd had a 9-yard catch and Howard got his first career carries (2 for 0 yards).

  • At Washington, Landrigan caught a 21-yard TD pass (the first score of his career).

  • Against Arizona State, Byrd had a game-best 63 yards on 20 carries with 2 short TDs (he scored on his first career carry) while running from the tailback spot for injured starter Sultan McCullough (Byrd was handed the ball on all but the last of USC's final 17 rushes, including on 8 consecutive plays), Howard added 10 yards on 6 carries and 13 yards on 2 catches, Landrigan caught a TD pass (20 yards on his only reception) for the second week in a row and ran for 7 yards on 2 tries, and Poston had 3 yards on 2 carries (including a 7-yard TD, the first of his career).

  • Byrd started at tailback at Notre Dame and ran for 62 yards on 22 carries (he also caught 3 passes for 10 yards), Landrigan caught a game-best 6 passes for 46 yards, Pierson caught a 54-yard TD pass the first time he touched the ball in 2001 (he had been sidelined with a back injury) and Poston had a 10-yard catch.

  • Byrd had a team-best 67 yards on 22 carries, with a 1-yard TD, and caught a 21-yard pass as the starting tailback at Arizona, while Landrigan had 3 grabs for 24 yards and Pierson caught a 5-yard pass.

  • Against Oregon State, Byrd ran for a team-best 54 yards on a game-high 20 carries and caught 3 passes for 14 yards, Landrigan had 2 grabs for 16 yards, Howard had 2 yards on 3 carries and Pierson caught a 2-yard pass.

  • Howard came off the bench at California to run for a team-high 61 yards on 8 carries and scored the first 2 TDs of his career (25 and 15 yards) the first 2 times he touched the ball in the game, while Reese saw his first-ever action at tailback and responded with 25 yards on 6 tries (with a 15-yard TD, the first score of his career), Byrd added 19 yards on 9 attempts, Pierson had 11 rushing yards on 4 tries (his first carries of 2001), Landrigan caught 2 passes for 10 yards and Strong saw action on both defense (1 tackle while starting at linbacker) and offense (6 yards on 5 carries from tailback).

    Kareem Kelly (team-best 44 rec, 17.4 avg, 3 TD in 2001, plus 4 tcb, 32 yds, 8.0 avg and 8 PR, 6.4 avg), an acrobatic, fleet junior, headlines USC's receiving corps. He was on the 'Watch List' for the 2001 Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top receiver. He already is fifth on Troy's all-time pass catching chart with 153 grabs, tied for 23rd on the Pac-10 career list. His 2,463 career yards is 18th on the Pac-10 career ladder. He is within sight of Johnnie Morton's school record for receptions (201) and receiving yardage (3,201). He has a reception in all 33 games he has played as a Trojan, within range of John Jackson's USC record of 37. He has had 100-yard receiving games 9 times in his career (twice in 2001). Last fall, he topped the Trojans in receptions (55) and receiving yardage (796), in 1999, he set Pac-10 freshman records for most catches (54) and receiving yards (902). He also sprints for USC's track squad (his 5.67 clocking in the 50-meter dash is an American collegiate and world junior record).

  • He had 3 catches for 18 yards in the San Jose State opener and returned a punt 10 yards.

  • He had 7 catches for 75 yards (both game bests) against Kansas State.

  • He had 4 catches for a game-high 165 yards at Oregon, including a 93-yard TD (the longest catch of his career).

  • He had a game-high 6 catches for 46 yards against Stanford.

  • At Washington, he caught 3 passes for 93 yards, including a 58-yard TD.

  • He had 5 receptions for 127 yards (both game highs) versus Arizona State.

  • He had 2 catches for 16 yards at Notre Dame.

  • He had 5 catches for 64 yards (both team bests) at Arizona.

  • He caught 5 passes for 73 yards (both team highs) against Oregon State.

  • At California, he caught a team-best 4 passes for a game-high 88 yards, including a 5-yard TD, and also ran 2 reverses for 23 yards.

    In addition to Kareem Kelly, USC's wide receiver corps in 2001 has a nice blend of experienced, speedy veterans and talented newcomers. Last year's co-starters at the other wideout spot also returned in sophomore Keary Colbert (29 rec, 13.0 avg in 2001, plus 1 tcb, 9 yds, 9.0 avg and 1 KOR, 22.0 avg and 2 tac) and junior Marcell Allmond (16 rec, 15.2 avg in 2000). However, Allmond-who doubles as a hurdler and decathlete on the Trojan track team-will miss USC's 2001 games while suspended for a student conduct violation. He was off to a good start in 2000 before breaking his leg in the fifth game and sitting out the rest of the way. Colbert took over for him then and ended up second on the team in receptions with 33 (the second most ever by a USC freshman). Also in the mix is a pair of junior college transfers-sophomore Devin Pitts (14 rec, 6.6 avg in 2001) and 2000 J.C. All-American Grant Mattos (10 rec, 10.4 avg in 2001, plus 2 tac), a junior-plus junior Steve Stevenson (1 rec, 0.0 avg in 2001, plus 1 TD on blk P), who has 22 catches, 3 starts and 2 TDs on recoveries of blocked punts in his career, and sophs Sandy Fletcher (2 rec, 5.5 avg in 2001, plus 2 tac) and D. Hale (6 rec, 15.5 avg in 2001), a walk-on who even started at Arizona. Mattos missed the Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State and California contests with a knee sprain.

  • In the San Jose State opener, Mattos had a team-best 5 catches for a game-high 75 yards in his USC debut, Pitts added 2 grabs for 12 yards in his Trojan debut and Colbert had a 7-yard catch.

  • Besides Kelly, no other wide receivers had catches versus Kansas State.

  • At Oregon, Colbert had a game-best 6 catches for 67 yards, Mattos added 3 grabs for 9 yards and Pitts had 2 for 18 yards.

  • Colbert had 4 catches for 48 yards versus Stanford, while Mattos (8 yards), Pitts (7 yards) and Stevenson (0 yards) each added a grab.

  • Colbert caught 2 passes for 14 yards at Washington.

  • Colbert had a game-high 5 catches for 85 yards against Arizona State and Mattos added a 12-yard grab.

  • Colbert had 5 catches for a game-high 88 yards, including a 20-yard TD, at Notre Dame, while Fletcher had his first career reception (6 yards).

  • At Arizona, Colbert had 4 receptions for 51 yards, Pitts had 3 for 20 yards and Hale-who started for Kelly-made his first career grab (a 15-yarder).

  • Hale (17 yards) and Pitts (4 yards) had 2 grabs each against Oregon State, Colbert added a 7 yard reception and Stevenson recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a TD.

  • At California, Pitts had 4 catches for 32 yards and Hale added 3 for 61 yards, while Colbert (11 yards) and Fletcher (5 yards) each had a reception (Colbert also returned a kickoff 22 yards)..

    USC had quite a challenge in finding a replacement in 2001 for dependable 4-year starting tight end Antoine Harris, who had 61 catches and 7 scores in his career. Going into the 2001 season, the tight ends had just 11 catches and limited offensive playing time to their names. The starter came from an unlikely spot: defense. Rangy senior Kori Dickerson (20 rec, 11.7 avg, 2 TD in 2001, plus 1 tcb, 2.0 avg) was last season's starting strongside linebacker, where he notched 32 tackles. He was moved to tight end this past spring and has been impressive. He doubles as a 6-8 high jumper for the USC track team. Behind him are sophomore Alex Holmes (17 rec, 6.6 avg, 2 TD in 2001), a Freshman All-American second teamer last year, and junior Doyal Butler (4 rec, 13.0 avg in 2000).

  • In the San Jose State opener, Dickerson-in his first game as a tight end-caught 3 passes for 41 yards and Holmes had another 3 receptions for 15 yards.

  • Dickerson (51 yards) and Holmes (13 yards) each had 2 catches against Kansas State.

  • At Oregon, Dickerson caught 4 passes for 32 yards, while Holmes added a 12-yard grab.

  • Dickerson had 2 catches for 29 yards versus Stanford.

  • Holmes caught 2 passes for 24 yards at Washington.

  • Against Arizona State, Dickerson (21 yards) and Holmes (4 yards) each had their first career TD receptions, overall, both had 2 receptions (Dickerson for 27 yards and Holmes for 11 yards).

  • No tight ends caught a pass at Notre Dame.

  • Dickerson (24 yards) and Holmes (14 yards) each had 3 receptions at Arizona and both caught a TD (Dickerson's was 17 yards and Holmes' was 1 yard).

  • Against Oregon State, Holmes caught 3 passes for 17 yards (including a difficult 9-yarder on 3-and-8 from the Beaver 12-yard line to set up USC's winning TD in overtime) and Dickerson had 2 grabs for 21 yards.

  • Dickerson caught 2 passes for 9 yards and had a 2-yard run at California, while Holmes had a 7-yard reception.

    Three-fifths of USC's starters on the offensive line are back in 2001 and each is a solid player. But the rest of the unit is relatively inexperienced, which is a concern since Troy starts new tackles and must develop some reliable depth along the line. Usually manning the guard spots are senior Faaesea Mailo, who started at tackle last season but had 6 starts earlier in his career at left guard, and junior Zach Wilson, a 3-year starter on the right side. Both tip the scales at more than 300 pounds. Mailo, the only senior lineman, fills the left guard spot held by Trevor Roberts last fall. A twisted knee slowed him in fall camp, so sophomore Norm Katnik started there in the San Jose State opener and then again (because of better showings in practice) versus Stanford and Oregon State (Mailo came in off the bench in all those games).

    Katnik can play any line position: he worked mainly at center in 2000, was moved to tackle last spring, went back to center this fall and now is also working at guard. So far in 2001, he has appeared at all 3 line spots, even starting at center versus Oregon, Washington, Arizona State and Notre Dame, at guard against Stanford (left), Arizona (right) and Oregon State (left) and at left tackle (California). Sophomore Lenny Vandermade returned as the center after earning Freshman All-American first team honors last year (he also started some at guard in 2000). He is on the 'Watch List' for the 2001 Dave Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center. He didn't start (but played off the bench) versus Oregon, Arizona State and Notre Dame and he did not see action at Washington this season. Vandermade also has played some at guard in 2001. Sophomores Jacob Rogers (he missed last spring's practice while recovering from shoulder surgery) and Eric Torres (he saw limited time in 2000) won the starting tackle jobs vacated by 3-year starter Brent McCaffrey on the left and Mailo on the right, respectively (Rogers did not start at California, but did see action).

    The situation on the USC defensive line coming into 2001 was not as dire as it might have appeared. Although starters were gone at 3 positions-tackle Ennis Davis (who had 146 tackles, including 36 for losses with 15 sacks, as a 3-year starter) and ends Sultan Abdul-Malik (a 3-year starter who had 22.5 career sacks) and Matt Childers (a 2-year starter)-USC had plenty of quality bodies to fill in. Last year, senior Ryan Nielsen (24 tac, 2 for loss, 2 sack, 1 dfl, 1 FR in 2001) and junior Bernard Riley (26 tac, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 1 FR, 1 dfl, 1 int in 2001) shared a tackle spot. This season, Nielsen-a 3-year starter-and Riley started off side by side at tackle. However, Nielsen sprained his shoulder against Stanford and missed the Washington game, so 2000 prep All-American freshman Shaun Cody (27 tac, 4 for loss, 3 sack in 2001, plus 1 KOR, 22.0 avg), who was USA Today's national Defensive Player of the Year last season, has started there since the Washington contest (Cody began the year as a backup end, but moved to tackle after the second contest). And then when Riley tore ligaments in his knee at Washington and was lost for the season, Nielsen returned for the Arizona State contest and has started since at Riley's nose tackle spot.

    Another first-year freshman, Mike Patterson (6 tac, 3 for loss, 2 sack, 2 FF, 2 FR in 2001), also has been pressed into action at nose tackle. Patterson is tied for third in the Pac-10 in fumble recoveries (2). One end spot is a pseudo-linebacker, giving USC's 4-3 look a 3-4 feel. Senior Lonnie Ford (32 tac, team-high 13 for loss, team-best 6 sack, 2 dfl, team-high 4 FF in 2001), who has 26 tackles for losses and 22 starts in his career, is the ideal man for that job, with soph Omar Nazel (13 tac, 4 for loss, 3 sack, 1 int, 1 dfl in 2001), who saw brief action in 5 games last season without making a stop, backing him up. Ford currently is tied for the Pac-10 lead in forced fumbles (4) and is tied for fifth in both tackles for a loss (13) and sacks (6). The other end has been manned mainly by redshirt freshman Kenechi Udeze (28 tac, 7 for loss, 3 sack, 1 FR, 2 FF, 1 dfl in 2001) and some by senior Bobby DeMars (5 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 3 dfl, 1 int, 1 blk FG in 2001), who had seen limited action entering the 2001 season. Udeze-who has seen action in every game in 2001-started every game except Oregon and Stanford, which DeMars started (but DeMars suffered a neck sprain versus Stanford and missed the Washington and Arizona State contests). True freshman Jason Wardlow (3 tac in 2001) also has seen some action at end, although a hamstring pull has sidelined him lately.

  • In the San Jose State opener, Udeze had 4 tackles (1 for a loss), Riley had 4 stops and made a nice 1-handed interception of a deflected pass, Nielsen had 4 tackles, Ford and Nazel each had 2 stops and a deflection and Cody had a tackle.

  • Against Kansas State, Riley had 10 tackles, recovered a fumble (to set up a USC TD) and deflected a pass, Udeze and Ford both had 7 stops (both had a sack and Ford forced the fumble which Riley recovered) and Nielsen added 4 tackles.

  • Ford had 5 tackles (1.5 for losses) at Oregon, Riley added 4 stops (0.5 for a loss), Nielsen had 3 tackles and a deflection, Nazel had a 7-yard sack and DeMars-in his first career start-had a tackle, deflection and blocked field goal.

  • Riley had 4 tackles (2 for losses) versus Stanford, Cody, Udeze and Nazel added 3 stops each (Udeze also recovered a fumble and Nazel had a sack), Ford had 2 stops (with a sack) and forced a fumble which USC recovered, and Nielsen had a tackle before spraining his shoulder.

  • Cody had 5 tackles (1 for a loss) at Washington, Riley added 4 stops with a sack (he played most of the game after tearing ligaments in his knee), Udeze had 3 tackles (1 for a loss), Patterson had 2 stops and a fumble recovery and Ford had a tackle and deflection.

  • Against Arizona State, Ford had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and forced a fumble (which USC recovered), Wardlow had 2 stops, Patterson had a sack and forced fumble, Udeze had a tackle and deflection and Nielsen and Cody each had a stop.

  • Ford had 8 tackles at Notre Dame, including 3 for losses (with a sack), and a forced fumble, while Cody had 6 stops (2 were sacks), Nielsen had 4 tackles and recovered a fumble and Udeze made 3 stops and forced a fumble.

  • At Arizona, Cody and Udeze had 2 stops each (Cody had a sack and Udeze a tackle for a loss), with 1 tackle each going to Patterson (for a loss), DeMars (along with 2 deflections and an interception), Nielsen (a sack), Nazel (plus an interception to set up a TD) and Ford (a sack).

  • Nielsen had 5 tackles (with a sack) against Oregon State, Cody added 4 stops, both of Ford's and Udeze's tackles were for losses (each with a sack), Nazel had 2 tackles, DeMars had 1 stop and Patterson recovered a fumble.

  • At California, Cody had 5 tackles, Nazel had 4 (with 2 for losses, including a sack), Udeze had 3 (with a sack) and forced a fumble which USC returned for a TD, Patterson and DeMars each had 2 (with a sack) and Patterson also forced a fumble, Ford had a sack and Nielsen added a tackle.

    Of any area on the USC team, the linebacking corps faced the biggest challenge in 2001. After all, Troy had to replace all 3 starters, including a pair of elite linebackers: 3-year starter Zeke Moreno, who posted 285 tackles (33 for loss), 5 picks and 4 touchdowns in his career while topping the Trojans in stops the past 2 seasons, and 2-year starter Markus Steele, who made 152 tackles (29 for loss) in his career. Last year's starter on the strong side (Kori Dickerson) moved to tight end. Filling in at middle linebacker for Moreno are juniors Mike Pollard (78 tac, 8 for loss, team-best 7 dfl, 1 FR, 2 FF in 2001) as the starter and backup Aaron Graham (7 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack in 2001), who started there for USC's final 4 games last fall when Moreno moved to the weakside for an injured Steele, and redshirt freshman backup Lee Webb (6 tac in 2001), a converted fullback who broke his foot against Stanford and has didn't return until the California game.

    Pollard is tied for sixth in the Pac-10 in tackles (7.8). The outside spots manned last season by Steele on the weak side and Dickerson on the strong side are being handled by a pair of converted safeties: senior Frank Strong (45 tac, 2 for loss, 5 dfl, 1 int, 2 FR, 2 FF in 2001, plus 5 tcb, 6 yds, 1.2 avg and 1 KOR, 23.0 avg), who was a free safety the previous year-and-a-half and also was USC's top kickoff returner last year (21.6 avg on 25 runbacks), on the weak side and redshirt freshman Matt Grootegoed (32 tac, 8 for loss, 1 sack, 1 FR, 2 dfl in 2001), who sat out last year with mononucleosis, on the strong side. Strong-who is tied for third in the Pac-10 in fumble recoveries (2)-has even been forced back into duty at tailback (at California) and kickoff return (against Oregon State and California) in 2001 because of injuries, an unusual role for a linebacker. Grootegoed broke his leg at California to end his seasn. When Strong missed the Kansas State game with a knee sprain and Grootegoed missed the Oregon and Stanford games with a shoulder sprain (he didn't start at Washington, but saw brief duty on special teams), senior John Cousins (25 tac, 1 for loss, 1 FR for TD in 2001)-who is deaf in one ear and hearing impaired in the other-got the starts versus Kansas State and Oregon and sophomore Chris Prosser (14 tac, 4 for loss, 2 sack, 1 dfl in 2001), who missed USC's first 2 games of 2001 while ineligible, got the starts versus Stanford and Washington (he missed the Arizona State, Notre Dame, Arizona and Oregon State games with a concussion). Also seeing backup duty on the outside is true freshman Bobby Otani (1 tac in 2001), but he has been sidelined with torn knee ligaments prior to the Arizona contest.

  • In the San Jose State opener, Strong had game bests of 8 tackles and 2 deflections, Pollard added 5 stops while forcing a fumble which USC recovered and deflecting a pass which Troy intercepted, Grootegoed had 2 tackles and Webb added a stop.

  • Grootegoed had 9 tackles (1 for a loss) against Kansas State, Pollard and Cousins added 6 stops and Webb had 5 (Strong sat out with knee sprain).

  • Pollard had a game-best 11 tackles (1 for a loss) at Oregon, Strong added 6 stops and recovered a fumble, Cousins had 5 tackles (1 for a loss) and Prosser had 3 (1 for a loss), while Grootegoed sat out with a shoulder sprain.

  • Pollard had 9 tackles and 3 deflections versus Stanford, Prosser added 8 stops (with a sack) and a deflection, and Strong had 4 tackles, forced a fumble which USC recovered and deflected a pass.

  • Pollard had 7 tackles (2 for losses) at Washington, Cousins added 6 stops, Strong had 5, Prosser had a tackle for a loss before sitting out the second half with a mild concussion and Otani had a tackle.

  • Against Arizona State, Grootegoed had 7 tackles (3 for losses), Strong had 6 tackles and returned an interception 24 yards to set up a field goal, Pollard had 5 stops, recovered a fumble and deflected a pass, and Cousins had a tackle.

  • Pollard had a game-high 11 tackles (1 for a loss) and forced a fumble (which USC recovered to set up a TD) at Notre Dame, Grootegoed had 7 stops (2 for losses) and recovered a fumble (to set up a field goal), Strong had 4 tackles, forced a fumble (which USC recovered to set up a field goal) and deflected a pass, and Cousins had 2 tackles.

  • At Arizona, Pollard had 7 tackles and deflected a pass which USC intercepted, Graham (with a sack) and Strong (with a tackle for a loss) each had 3 stops, and Grootegoed and Cousins each had 2 tackles.

  • Pollard had a game-high 11 tackles (with a team-best 3 for losses) against Oregon State, Strong added 8 stops (1 for a loss), a deflection, a fumble recovery and a 23-yard kickoff return, Grootegoed had 5 tackles (with a sack) and a deflection, Cousins had 2 stops and Graham 1.

  • At California, Pollard had a team-best 6 tackles with a deflection, Graham added 3 stops, Prosser had 2 (with a sack) and Cousins had a tackle and returned a fumble 89 yards for a TD to go along with a tackle, while Strong saw action on defense (1 stop), offense (6 yards on 5 carries at tailback) and special teams (as a kickoff returner, although he did not have a runback), Grootegoed suffered a season-ending broken leg.

    There is an embarrassment of riches in the USC secondary in 2001 in terms of experience and depth. Seven players have started there in their careers. Junior Troy Polamalu (team-high 96 tac, 10 for loss, 1 sack, 5 dfl, 2 int which were returned for a TD, 2 FF, 1 FR, 2 blk P in 2001, plus 2 PR, 10.0 avg) was the team's No. 2 tackler last fall (83) while starting all season at strong safety. He currently is second in the Pac-10 in tackles (9.6). He has blocked 3 punts in his career (2 in 2001) and has returned 3 of his 4 career interceptions for TDs (2 in 2001). Senior Antuan Simmons (28 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 1 int, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2001), a 3-year starter at cornerback (he was moved to safety this fall) who sat out the 2000 campaign while battling a life-threatening illness (a benign abdominal tumor that left him hospitalized for 6 weeks), emerged as the starter at free safety. He slowly worked his way back into shape, was impressive in last spring's practice and won the free safety job this fall. He is an impact player, with 203 tackles, 8 interceptions and 6 blocked kicks in his career. Behind Simmons is junior DeShaun Hill (27 tac, 1 for loss, 2 dfl, 2 int, 1 FR in 2001), who shared the starting free safety duty last season with Frank Strong, while redshirt freshman Jason Leach (5 tac in 2001) backs up Polamalu.

    When Simmons started at cornerback at California because of injury, Hill got the start at free safety. The corners are equally stacked. Senior Chris Cash (47 tac, 3 for loss, 2 int, 1 dfl, 1 blk FG in 2001) starts on one side and is backed by the player he shared the spot with in 2000, junior Darrell Rideaux (7 tac in 2001, plus 17 KOR, 19.4 avg), who also is a sprinter for USC's track team with a best of 10.27 in the 100 meters. Cash missed the California game because of a knee injury, while Rideaux sprained an ankle at Arizona and missed the Oregon State and California games. On the other side, there's senior 3-year starter Kris Richard (40 tac, 4 for loss, 2 sack, 1 FF, 5 dfl, 2 int with a 58-yard TD return, 1 TD on a blk FG in 2001), who also was Troy's top punt returner last season (7.5 avg on 13 runbacks). He has 8 career picks. Backing him up and serving as the nickel back is junior Kevin Arbet (22 tac, 3 for loss, 2 sack, 5 dfl, 2 int with a 70-yard TD return, 1 FR in 2001, plus 20 PR, 9.3 avg and 3 KOR, 17.7 avg), a 4-game starter last year and the stepson of ex-USC receiver Jeff Simmons. Arbet sprained an ankle at Arizona and missed the Oregon State game.

  • In the San Jose State opener, Polamalu had 7 tackles (1 for a loss) and a deflection, Hill and Simmons added 4 stops each (Hill also recovered a fumble), Cash had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and an interception, Richard had 3 stops, Arbet had 2 tackles and Rideaux made a tackle and returned a kickoff 15 yards.

  • Against Kansas State, Polamalu had a game-high 13 tackles (2.5 for losses) and forced a fumble, Richard had 8 stops and broke up a pass, Cash had 3 tackles and Simmons had 2 tackles and intercepted the eighth pass of his career.

  • Cash had 8 tackles (1 for loss) at Oregon, Polamalu added 7 stops and a deflection, Simmons had 5 tackles, Richard had 3 tackles and 2 deflections, Rideaux had 3 stops and returned 4 kickoffs for 97 yards, Arbet had 2 tackles (with a sack) and a deflection, plus returned a punt 10 yards and a kickoff 13 yards, and Hill had a stop and a deflection.

  • Against Stanford, Polamalu had a game-high 10 tackles (1 for a loss) and also blocked a punt, Hill made 7 stops (1 for a loss) and an interception, Cash added 4 tackles and blocked a field goal, Richard had 3 stops, 1 deflection and returned Cash's blocked field goal 65 yards for a TD, Arbet had 2 tackles, a deflection, a fumble recovery (which led to a Trojan field goal), and returned 5 punts for 70 yards (including a career-best 47-yarder to set up a TD) and a kickoff 14 yards, Simmons added 2 tackles and Rideaux had a tackle and returned 2 kickoffs for 38 yards.

  • Polamalu had a team-best 13 tackles (2 for a loss) and returned an interception 22 yards for a TD (the second scoring pick of his career) at Washington, while Cash added 8 stops and a deflection, Richard had 7 tackles (1 for a loss), Arbet had 6 stops and returned 3 punts for 22 yards, Simmons had 2 tackles, Leach and Hill each had a stop and Rideaux had 3 kickoff returns for 45 yards.

  • Polamalu had a game-high 8 tackles versus Arizona State, Cash added 4, Arbet had 3 stops (1 for a loss), returned an interception 20 yards to set up a field goal, plus ran back 3 punts for 35 yards and a kickoff for 26 yards, Richard also had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and returned an interception 36 yards to set up a field goal, Leach had 2 stops, Simmons had 2 stops (with a sack) and forced a fumble, and Hill had 2 tackles.

  • Polamalu had a game-high 11 tackles and recovered a fumble (which set up a TD) at Notre Dame, Cash had 7 stops (1 for a loss), Arbet had 3 tackles and returned 2 punts for 8 yards, Richard and Simmons each had 3 stops, and Hill and Rideaux each had 1 tackles (Rideaux also returned 2 kickoffs for 33 yards).

  • At Arizona, Richard returned an interception 58 yards for the game-winning TD with 1:50 to play (to go along with his 5 tackles, including a sack, 2 deflections and a forced fumble) to win Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors, Arbet also had a scoring interception return (70 yards) and returned 2 punts for 18 yards, Polamalu had a game-best 12 tackles (with a sack), Cash made 8 tackles, Hill had 4 stops, Rideaux had a tackle and returned 3 kickoffs for 55 yards and Simmons had a tackle.

  • Polamalu had a game-best 11 tackles (2 for losses), deflected 2 passes, forced a fumble and blocked a punt which USC recovered for a TD against Oregon State (he was named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week), Richard added 5 tackles (with a sack), Simmons had 4 stops and a deflection, Cash intercepted a pass to go along with his 2 tackles and deflection, and Hill had a tackle.

  • At California, Hill had 6 tackles and returned an interception 10 yards, Arbet had 4 stops (with a sack), 2 deflections and returned 3 punts for 22 yards, Polamalu had 4 tackles and ran an interception 58 yards for an interception (his second scoring pick return of 2001 and third of his career), Simmons had 3 tackles and Leach had 2.

    Senior Mike MacGillivray (39.1 avg in 2001), who owns a 39.3 career punting average while punting for the fourth year, is a battle-tested veteran but has struggled with his consistency. An effective placement punter, more than a third (98) of his career punts have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line (including 24 of his 66 boots in 2001) and 29 have traveled 50-plus yards. He owns the USC career record for punts (285) and punt yardage (11,197). USC's placekicking was an adventure in 2000 and 2 of the 3 kickers are back, but a newcomer has won the job: junior David Davis (28-of-30 PAT, 13-of-15 FG in 2001), a junior college transfer who had an impressive fall camp and has continued that way throughout this season. Davis, who has hit his last 10 field goal attempts and 13 of his last 14, is the Pac-10's most accurate field goal kicker (86.7%). He is tied for 24th nationally in field goals (1.3, third in Pac-10).

    Senior David Newbury (4-of-9 FG, 9-of-12 PAT in 2000) began 2000 as the kicker, but he was inconsistent (he is handling the kickoffs this fall, with 8 of his 54 kickoffs pinning opponents within the 20, with 1 touchback and 2 on-side recoveries). Because he doesn't have the leg to consistently knock his kickoffs into the end zone and because of USC's mediocre kickoff return coverage, in the Arizona, Oregon State and California games Newbury resorted to pooch kicks at times (resulting in 12 fair catches on 20 kickoffs). Newbury was replaced midway through last season's fifth game by sophomore John Wall (5-of-5 FG, 9-of-14 PAT in 2000), whose field goals were all within 27 yards and his 5 missed extra points were all blocked. When Wall was sidelined by a groin injury and then a knee injury in the final 3 contests of 2000 (he's still coming around from that knee injury), the now-graduated David Bell took over. Primarily USC's effective kickoff man the past 4 years (nearly 50% of his 243 career kickoffs were not returned past the 20-yard line, with 62 touchbacks), Bell long will be remembered for his game-winning field goal with 9 seconds to go at UCLA last fall (it was only the second three-pointer of his career and the first after 3 misses in 2000).

  • Davis hit all 3 of his PAT tries in his debut in the San Jose State opener, while 2 of Newbury's 4 kickoffs pinned SJSU within the 20-yard line.

  • MacGillivray averaged 41.6 yards on 9 punts against Kansas State and 7 of them pinned the Wildcats within the 20-yard line (2 of his boots were 50-plus yards), while Davis came up short on a 42-yard field goal try and had his PAT kick blocked.

  • Davis hit all 3 of his field goal tries (the first of his career)-32, 43 and 39 yards-and his PAT at Oregon, while MacGillivray averaged 39.2 yards on his 6 punts.

  • MacGillivray averaged 39.7 yards on his 6 punts against Stanford, with 2 pinning the Cardinal within the 20-yard line (the second one stopped at the 2), while Davis hit a 41-yard field goal (he missed a 26-yarder) and his only PAT try.

  • Davis hit his only field goal try (a 40-yarder) and all 3 of his PATs at Washington, while MacGillivray averaged 36.0 on 6 punts, including a 55-yarder (it was 1 of 2 that pinned UW within the 20) and 2 of Newbury's 5 kickoffs pinned the Huskies within the 20.

  • Against Arizona State, Davis nailed both of his field goal attempts (36 and 29 yards), plus all 6 of his PATs, while 2 of Newbury's 9 kickoffs and 3 of MacGillivray's 5 punts pinned the Sun Devils within the 20.

  • MacGillivray averaged 41.9 yards on 7 punts (including a 55-yarder) at Notre Dame, with 2 pinning the Irish within the 20, while Davis hit an 18-yard field goal and made 1 of his 2 PATs (his miss was wide left).

  • Davis nailed 2 field goals (32 yards and a career-long 47-yarder) and all 5 PATs at Arizona, while 2 of MacGillivray's 8 punts and 2 of Newbury's 8 kickoffs pinned the Wildcats within the 20.

  • Against Oregon State, MacGillivray averaged 41.2 yards on his 10 punts (4 pinned the Beavers within the 20) and Davis hit his only field goal try (30 yards) and his PAT attempt.

  • At California, Davis not only hit both of his field goals (33 and 26 yards) and all 7 PATs, but he had a 3-yard TD run on a fake field goal (on a flip from MacGillivray), while Cal called fair catches on 5 of Newbury's 9 kickoffs (another was recovered by USC to set up a field goal) and MacGillivray averaged 31.0 yards on his 4 punts.


  • USC's 5 losses this year-3 were to AP Top 12 teams at the time and all 5 were in the AP Top 25 at some point in 2001-have been by a total of just 25 points (5.0 avg).

  • 2 of USC's wins this year were the result of late game-winning touchdowns (with 1:50 to go at Arizona and in overtime versus Oregon State).

  • USC has 29 takeaways after getting only 17 all of last year.

  • The Trojans have 16 interceptions this year after getting only 7 all of 2000 (that's third most in the Pac-10 in 2001).

  • USC's 13 fumble recoveries leads the Pac-10 (and Troy's 7 lost fumbles is second fewest in the league).

  • USC has turned the ball over just 18 times this season after having a nation-leading 36 turnovers in 2000.

  • USC is currently tied for ninth nationally in turnover margin (+1.1, third in Pac-10).

  • USC has surrendered 52 points on drives immediately following a turnover in 2001, for 26.4% of the total points (197) Troy has given up, on the other hand, the Trojans have scored 80 points on drives right after getting a turnover, for 30.2% of their total points scored (265).

  • After being penalized 113 times for 977 yards in 2000, USC has been flagged only 67 times for 561 yards this season (its 56.1-yard average is second best in the Pac-10).

  • Opponents have scored first in 8 games in 2001 (all but San Jose State and Oregon State).

  • USC's offense is 28-of-31 (90.3%) this season when in the red zone (18 touchdowns, 10 field goals, 1 missed field goal, 1 failed fourth down, 1 lost fumble), while the Trojan defense is limiting foes to just 69.2% (27-of-39) in the red zone.

  • USC is the only Pac-10 team not allowing opponents to convert a fourth down (0-of-9) in 2001.

  • USC has held the ball an average of 2:14 less a game than its opponents in 2001 (the Oregon, Arizona State and California games were the only ones in which Troy held the ball for at least 30 minutes).

  • USC's defense has 31 sacks in 2001 (second most in the Pac-10), while QB Carson Palmer has been sacked a Pac-10 high 31 times.

  • USC tops the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (86.7%) and pass defense (188.5) and is second in scoring defense (19.7, 23rd nationally).

  • USC is second in the Pac-10 in total defense (349.8), but last in total offense (334.7).

  • USC has had less than 300 yards in total offense in 5 games in 2001 (Kansas State, Stanford, Washington, Notre Dame and Oregon State), including 4 of the past 7.

  • USC has rushed for 100 yards or less 6 times in 2001 (Kansas State, Oregon, Stanford, Notre Dame, Arizona and Oregon State), including 3 of the past 4.

  • USC is averaging just 95.5 rushing yards per game (last in the Pac-10 and 106th out of 115 teams nationally) and Troy is on pace to run for just 1,051 yards in 2001, which would be its fewest ever since records were kept in 1948.

    USC's 2001 captains, by vote of the players, are FB Charlie Landrigan, CB-S Antuan Simmons and S Troy Polamalu.

    With the head coaching change this year, there are 7 new assistant coaches on the USC staff: offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Norm Chow (who worked wonders last year at North Carolina State and before that for 27 years at BYU, where he coached such star quarterbacks as Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson, Gifford Nielsen, Ty Detmer and Robbie Bosco), associate head coach/secondary coach DeWayne Walker (he spent the past 3 years with the New England Patriots after stops at Utah State, BYU, Oklahoma State and California), running backs coach Wayne Moses (who has coached Pac-10 runners the last 11 years at Washington, California and UCLA), wide receiver coach Kirby Wilson (he was with the Washington Redskins and New England Patriots following stints at Iowa State, Southern Illinois and Wyoming), offensive line coach Keith Uperesa (he came from Idaho State after a long and successful career at Snow J.C.), linebackers coach Nick Holt (previously at Louisville and Idaho) and tight ends coach Lane Kiffin (the son of longtime NFL and college coach Monte Kiffin). They join holdovers Ed Orgeron (defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator) and Kennedy Pola (special teams coordinator). Two young coaches-offensive assistant Steve Sarkisian (a record-setting quarterback under Chow at BYU) and defensive assistant Rocky Seto (a former USC linebacker)-joined the staff as graduate assistants.


  • Now that senior CB-S Antuan Simmons-a 4-year starter with 203 tackles, 8 interceptions and 6 blocked kicks in his career-has stepped onto the field in 2001, it should be regarded as the comeback of the year in college football. After all, he has recovered from a life threatening illness. Simmons was set to start for his fourth season in 2000 and was a pre-season All-American who might have been a first round draft choice this past spring. But, while getting an MRI as part of his rehab for a back injury that occurred late in the 1999 season, doctors noticed a benign abdominal tumor. He had surgery in May of 2000 to remove the tumor and was expected to be hospitalized for 4-5 days. Instead, he was hospitalized for 6 weeks, had 2 surgeries and came close to death 3 times. He lost 40 pounds. He redshirted the 2000 season while recuperating and had additional surgery in November for a hernia. He wasn't expected to participate fully in 2001 spring practice, but he was ahead of schedule, so he was allowed to go full-speed from the start and really opened some eyes. At the end of the spring, he was listed as a co-starter at cornerback, but was moved to free safety this fall and has been the starter there.

  • Speaking of comebacks, new strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle has beaten cancer. He learned he had Hodgkin's Disease in December of 2000, began radiation treatments in Tennessee (where he was the Volunteers' associate strength and conditioning coach the previous 3 years), was hired by USC in February of 2001, kept his illness a secret except to Trojan head coach Pete Carroll, continued treatments in Tennessee and at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, then doctors told him this summer that the cancer was in remission. He informed the USC players of his ordeal at the start of this fall's camp.

  • The 2001 season marks the 40th anniversary of Traveler, USC's white horse mascot.

  • This year also is the 20th anniversary of USC's most recent Heisman Trophy, won by TB Marcus Allen in 1981 (USC's fourth).

  • Pete Carroll's arrival at USC is extra special, because he gets to see his daughter, Jaime, on a daily basis now. She is a sophomore defensive specialist on USC's highly-ranked women's volleyball team which last fall reached the NCAA Final Four (and is among the favorites to win the title in 2001). However, Carroll will miss out on watching his oldest son, Brennan, a senior tight end at Pittsburgh.

  • Look for 2 slight retro changes on USC's uniform in 2001: the Trojans have gray facemasks (instead of cardinal) and wear white shoelaces (instead of black). Also, on the back of their helmets are a gold football-shaped decal reading 'McKay' in memory of legendary coach John McKay (4 national championships, 8 Rose Bowl trips, 127 victories), who died this past June 10, and an American flag in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy on the East Coast.

  • A new tradition has started at Troy's home games in 2001 as the USC team buses unload the Trojan players amid the tailgaters in front of the Coliseum peristyle about 2 hours-and-20-minutes before kickoff. The players walk through the crowd into the Coliseum before going to dress in the locker room.

  • USC's oldest living football letterman is 101-year-old James Pursell. He lettered in 1921-22-23 as a 156-pound guard and was a member of USC's first Rose Bowl team. Then there's 99-year old Hobbs Adams, a 1923-24-25 letterman as a 170-pound end (he captained the 1925 squad, also played baseball and track, then was a Trojan assistant from 1935 to 1939, his granddaughter, Tracy Lindquist, is a junior setter on the 2001 USC women's volleyball team).

  • USC's football team can field a pretty imposing track and field squad...and, in fact, Trojan track coach Ron Allice benefits from a number of footballers (many helped Troy win the 2000 Pac-10 meet). TB Sultan McCullough is the fastest Trojan football player ever, having run a 10.17 in the 100 (fifth fastest of any USC trackster in history!). He was the Pac-10 100 champ in 1999. WR Kareem Kelly, who owns the world junior record in the indoor 50, has clocked 10.28 in the 100. CB Darrell Rideaux has gone 10.27, CB Miguel Fletcher has gone 10.31 and Michigan transfer TB Justin Fargas (he's ineligible this season) is a 10.47 guy. Fargas (1997), Rideaux (1998) and Kelly (1999) all won the California state high school 100. WR Marcell Allmond is a 13.54 high hurdler (he was a 2-time California state prep champ) and national Junior Olympic record-setting decathlete. And, get this, 6-4, 235-pound TE Kori Dickerson (he started at linebacker last fall, but starts on offense this year) is a 6-8 high jumper who placed second in this past season's USC-UCLA dual meet (and third the previous 2 years). OT Nate Steinbacher and OG Travis Watkins are shot putters for Troy. And, among the freshmen, WR William Buchanon, TB Darryl Poston and S-CB John Walker are legitimate speed threats.

  • OG Faaesea Mailo, a 6-3, 325-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!). He is fluent in Japanese. In short yardage situations the past 2 seasons, he lined up at fullback a la Refrigerator Perry and proved to be a devastating blocker.

  • LB John Cousins is deaf in his left ear and impaired in the right. He wears a hearing aid in the right ear and reads lips. That handicap could present some unique challenges on the football field. Incidentally, PK John Wall knows sign language and has volunteered with deaf and hearing-impaired youth programs.

  • OT Phillip Eaves spent part of 1997 in the Army at Fort Jackson, S.C.

  • QB Matt Cassel played on the Northridge (Calif.) team that was a finalist at the 1994 Little League World Series, while LB Bobby Otani was a national champion in judo.

  • As a youngster, LB Collin Ashton was a ballboy for several years for the USC men's basketball team.

  • USC has a 23-year-old freshman in WR Frank Candela. The one-time Boston prep football sensation spent the past 4 seasons playing minor league baseball in the Brewers organization, but wanted to give football another try. Known for his speed and quickness, the 5-8, 175-pounder is nicknamed The Flash. He was born in Boston, but soon after moved with his family to the Italian island of Sicily, where he lived for 7 years before coming back to Boston (his parents returned to live in Sicily when he was 14 and Candela remained in Boston with an older brother).

  • Four Trojans have Hollywood connections. As a youngster, USC freshman S-CB John Walker was a television actor who appeared in such shows as 'E.R.' and '7th Heaven' (in fact, he didn't play football until his sophomore year of high school because a clause in his acting contract prevented him from doing anything that could affect his appearance). TB Justin Fargas is the son of actor Antonio Fargas, who has appeared in television (including as Huggy Bear on 'Starsky and Hutch') and film ('Shaft,' 'Pretty Baby,' 'The Gamble' and 'Car Wash,' among others). C-OG Derek Graf's father, Allan, is a stuntman, stunt coordinator and second unit director who has been involved in many noted Hollywood films, 'On Any Given Sunday' and 'The Replacements.' USC linebackers coach Nick Holt is the grandson of Clarence 'Buster' Crabbe, USC's first All-American swimmer (1931) who was a 1931 NCAA freestyle titlist and 1932 Olympic gold medalist before starring in Hollywood as Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.

  • Four Trojans have fathers who played on national championship USC football squads: C-OG Derek Graf (father, Allan, was on the 1972 team), LB Austin Jackson (father, Melvin, was on the 1974 squad), LB-S Kyle Matthews (father, 1977 All-American Clay, was on the 1974 team) and CB Justin Tolliver (father, Kevin Williams, was on the 1978 team). Matthews' uncle, Bruce, was a 1982 All-American offensive guard at USC. Several other Trojans have relatives with USC football connections. CB-S Kevin Arbet is the stepson of ex-Trojan (1980-82) Jeff Simmons. Two Trojans had cousins who played at USC-WR Kareem Kelly (Rashard Cook, 1995-98) and TE-SNP Joe Boskovich (Martin Boskovich, 1993)-and two had uncles who were Trojan footballers: S Troy Polamalu (Kennedy Pola, 1982-85, now USC's special teams coordinator) and OT-C Norm Katnik (John Katnik, 1986-87).

  • Speaking of genes: CB-S Kevin Arbet's cousin, Lamarr Arbet, is a sophomore 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. WR William Buchanon is the son of ex-NFL star Willie Buchanon, a 1971 All-American cornerback at San Diego State who was a 3-time Pro Bowler during his 11-year (1972-82) NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers. WR Keary Colbert's cousin is Arizona State DT Tommie Townsend.

    TB Miguel Fletcher's father, Ned, was on the football and track teams at Cal State Northridge. LB Matt Grootegoed's brother, John, was an offensive guard at San Jose State in 1994 and 1995. TE Alex Holmes' father, Mike, lettered at defensive end at Michigan in 1974 and 1975. TE Kolomona Kapanui's cousin, Chad Kapanui, plays football at Hawaii. OT-C Norm Katnik's father, Norman, was a 2-year starting center at Arizona (1978-79). TB-FB David Kirtman's father, Louis, ran track at California and his uncle, Nate Kirtman, played football at Stanford in 1967. FB Charlie Landrigan's father was a quarterback at a small college in North Dakota. TB Sultan McCullough's brother, Saladin, was a tailback at Oregon in 1996 and 1997 who has played in the XFL and NFL, while his late father, Bruce, ran track at San Jose State in the 1960s and his mother, Mabel, played basketball on the 1959 Arkansas high school championship team. OG Faaesea Mailo's father, James, played football at Hawaii, while his brother, Anipati, is a junior linebacker at Hawaii and another brother, Fulutusi, was a linebacker at Montana State. PK David Newbury's father, Gerry, played professional soccer in England.

    WR Devin Pitts' mother, LaVerne, was on the basketball and track teams at Cal State Dominguez Hills, while his older brother, Chester, is a senior offensive lineman at San Diego State, his cousin is major league slugger Barry Bonds. S Troy Polamalu's brother, Kaio Aumua, played football at UTEP, an 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. DT Bernard Riley's father, Bernard Sr., was a starting offensive guard at Oregon in 1975.

    C 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. OG Travis Watkins' brother, Todd, is a freshman on the Norfolk State football team, while his father, Don, was a lineman at Pasadena City College and his uncle, Tom Watkins, played 8 seasons in the NFL inthe 1960s with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. LB coach Nick Holt's wife, Julie, was the head women's basketball at Nevada Reno, Pacific, Gonzaga and Idaho. TE coach Lane Kiffin's father, Monte, is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (he is a longtime NFL and collegiate assistant coach who also served as North Carolina State's head coach in the early 1980s).

  • How about these names: FB Sunny Byrd. Walk-on WR Forrest Mozart. OG Faaesea Mailo (his first name means 'Someone who does things differently'). 6-3, 295-pound DT-DE Kenechi Udeze (he goes by BKU, as in Big Kenechi Udeze). Walk-on WR D. Hale (it's for Donald, but he goes by D.).

    Based on several national accolades it has received recently, USC can stake its claim as one of the nation's premier schools. USC was named the 'College of the Year' by the 2000 edition of the Time/Princeton Review College Guide because of the remarkable bonds it has forged with the local community. The editors said USC has one of the most ambitious social-outreach programs of any university in the nation and cited the school's model of service learning (applying academic theory to real-life situations through public service). They also pointed out that USC's undergraduate applications have nearly doubled over the last few years and it is enrolling the most academically accomplished freshman classes in its history. Troy also was selected as one of America's nine 'hottest schools' by the 2001 edition of the Newsweek/Kaplan College Guide because it lives up to its reputation as a top-notch institution of higher education. Students quoted in the guide said that what attracted them to the university was Los Angeles' ethnic diversity, the offer of scholarships, the small classroom sizes and USC's standing in academe. Also in 2001, the Association of American Colleges and Universities picked USC as one of 16 'Leadership Institutions' for providing stimulating educational experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. USC was cited for emphasizing a campus culture featuring new learning techniques, curriculum and organizational structure and for demonstrating a strong commitment to liberal arts education relevant to the contemporary world. The organization said USC not only linked liberal arts and pre-professional study, but offered students the opportunity to learn by doing through off-campus work in community projects and internships. Also, USC was lauded for stressing critical thinking, effective communication and contributing to a diverse society.

    USC's two most recent graduation rates for football are the highest in USC history. The 2001 official NCAA graduation rate for Trojan football players was 82%, an all-time high (topping the previous USC high of 80% in 2000). That rate compared to 73% for the general USC student body...and it was about 30 percentage points higher than the national football average for Division I schools. Among the top scholars on the 2001 Trojan squad are LB Aaron Orndorff (team-high 3.89 GPA in geology), TE Chad Cook (3.22, business), TB Mark Gomez (3.22, political science), QB Matt Cassel (3.14), OG Spencer Torgan (3.03, business), DE Bobby DeMars (2.96, business administration), P Mike MacGillivray (2.95, public policy and management), C-SNP Joe Boskovich (2.92, business), TE-FB Scott Huber (2.91, communication), TE Alex Holmes (2.87, business), P Tommy Huff (2.85, history), CB Matt Lemos (2.81), TE Gregg Guenther (2.76) and DE Jay Bottom (2.75). Huber was a 1999 and 2000 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention choice. In its history, USC football has produced 22 Academic All-American first teamers (tops in the Pac-10 and sixth 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.

    The conditioning of USC's players has markedly improved under new strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle and his staff (Carlisle was hired in February of 2001). For instance, the team average in the bench press at the end of 2000 spring practice was 318 pounds (with only 4 players lifting 400-plus pounds), but it improved to 341 pounds at the end of 2001 spring drills (15 hoisted 400-plus) and entering the 2001 fall season the average was at 369 pounds (with 25 players at 400-plus). In the power clean, the spring 2000 team average was 270 pounds (with just 4 players lifting 300-plus pounds), then the spring 2001 mark improved to 283 pounds (with 18 hitting 300-plus) and going into this fall season the average was at 292 pounds (32 players are at 300-plus). Additionally, every Trojan currently has a body fat lower than 20%.

    A memorial service for legendary football coach John McKay, which was postponed because of the tragic Sept. 11 events on the East Coast, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 2:30 p.m. at USC's Bovard Auditorium, with a reception immediately following in Heritage Hall. Eulogies will be given by USC athletic director Mike Garrett, USC president Steven Sample, longtime Trojan broadcaster Tom Kelly, former USC assistant football coaches Dave Levy and Marv Goux, and ex-Trojan quarterback Pat Haden. McKay's son, J.K., and wife, Corky, will share remembrances. There will also be a video tribute to McKay. The memorial service, which was originally planned for Sept. 12, is open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis. Campus parking is available through Gates 1 (Exposition and Watt) and 6 (Vermont and 36th). The reception is co-hosted by the Trojan Football Alumni Club. McKay, who won four national championships at USC before becoming the first head coach of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, died of kidney failure due to complications from diabetes this past June 10 in Tampa, Fla.

    USC is always well-represented in the NFL. At the start of training camp this summer, there were 38 ex-Trojans on NFL rosters. Last year, there were 31 Trojans on opening day NFL rosters, including players such as LBs Junior Seau and Chris Claiborne, OLs Tony Boselli and Bruce Matthews, DLs Willie McGinest and Darrell Russell, WRs Keyshawn Johnson and Johnnie Morton, QB Rob Johnson and DBs Jason Sehorn, Sammy Knight and Daylon McCutcheon. 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, Miami's Dave Wannstedt and San Diego's Mike Riley. Eight current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: WR William Buchanon (father, Willie Buchanon), LB Austin Jackson (father, Melvin Jackson), WR Kareem Kelly (cousin, Rashard Cook), LB-S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr., father, Clay Matthews, uncle, Bruce Matthews), TB Sultan McCullough (brother, Saladin McCullough), S Troy Polamalu (cousin, Nicky Sualua), WR Justin Tolliver (father, Kevin Williams) and OG Travis Watkins (uncle, Tom Watkins). Additionally, head coach Pete Carroll was an NFL head coach and assistant coach, and assistants DeWayne Walker, Kirby Wilson and Lane Kiffin were NFL assistants. Five assistant coaches played professionally: Keith Uperesa in the NFL, Walker, Wilson, Norm Chow and Steve Sarkisian in the CFL and Walker also played in the USFL.

    ON TV
    USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 293 times, including 159 of the past 161 games. In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997 and another streak of 48 in a row from 1997 to 2001.

    There are a number of updates from the roster in the 2001 USC football media guide. There are 4 new scholarship players who have transferred this fall from junior colleges or colleges (their complete bios are below): #17 Devin Pitts (WR, 6-4, 190, So*./Jr., Carson, El Camino JC/North Torrance HS), #48 David Davis (PK, 5-11, 160, Jr./Jr., Hawthorne, El Camino JC/Bishop Montgomery HS), #51 Melvin Simmons (LB, 6-1, 210, Jr./Jr., Compton, Washington State/Dominguez HS) and #87 Grant Mattos (WR, 6-2, 220, Jr./Jr., Mountain View, Foothill JC/St. Francis HS, pronounced MAT-toaz). Five other players have joined the squad as freshmen walk-ons: #14 Greig Carlson (WR, 5-10, 190, Fr./Fr., Woodland Hills, Pacific Palisades HS), #15 Zach Sherwood (P, 6-3, 190, Fr./Fr., Irvine, University HS), #27 Andre Woodert (WR, 6-0, 195, Fr./Fr., Los Angeles, Agoura HS), #38 Justin Tolliver (CB, 5-8, 150, Fr./Fr., New Orleans, La., De La Salle HS) and #60 Collin Ashton (LB, 6-1, 205, Fr./Fr., Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo HS). Three returning walk-ons have changed jersey numbers: P Tommy Huff is now #16, TE-SNP Alex Bottom is now #46 and WR Forrest Mozart is now #47. Also, delete LB Henry Wallace and walk-ons PK Anthony Boscarini and CB Brien McMullen, who have quit, walk-on QB Matt Harris, who transferred to UNLV, and LB Marvin Simmons, DE Raymond Tago and DE Daniel Pryor, who each did not qualify for admission. Several players have switched positions: Frank Strong and Matt Grootegoed are now at LB, Antuan Simmons and Kevin Arbet are at CB-S, Eric Reese is a TB, Scott Huber is a TE-FB, Norm Katnik is an OT-C, Joe McGuire is an OT-OG, Kenechi Udeze is a DT-DE, John Walker is a S-CB, David Kirtman is a TB-FB and Kyle Matthews is a LB-S. Finally, Sunny Byrd's eligibility should be changed to Jr.*/Sr.


    He was a 2000 J.C. Grid-Wire All-American honorable mention and Super Prep JUCO 100 pick as a redshirt freshman at El Camino Junior College in Torrance (Calif.)...He caught 68 passes for 1,156 yards (17.0 avg.) and 8 TDs in 2000, and was ranked 10th in the California juco ranks in receptions per game (6.3)...He attended El Camino in 1999, but did not play football because of an injury...Current Trojans Sunny Byrd and David Davis also attended El Camino...He won 1998 All-CIF Division X, South Bay Daily Breeze All-South Bay second team and All-Ocean League honors as a senior at North Torrance (Calif.) High...He had 48 receptions for 861 yards (17.9 avg.) and 9 TDs in 1998...He also ran track at North Torrance, with a best of 10.8 in the 100 meters...His mother, LaVerne, was on the basketball and track teams at Cal State Dominguez Hills, while his older brother, Chester, is a senior offensive lineman at San Diego State...His cousin is major league slugger Barry Bonds.

    He was a 2000 J.C. Grid-Wire All-American second team and J.C. Athletic Bureau All-State Region IV first team pick as a sophomore placekicker at El Camino Junior College in Torrance (Calif.)...He hit 11-of-15 field goals and 29-of-31 PATs for 62 points in 2000...As a 1999 redshirt freshman at El Camino, he made 6-of-11 field goals and all 47 of his PATs for 65 points...He also played soccer in 1998 as a freshman at El Camino...Current Trojans Sunny Byrd and Devin Pitts also attended El Camino...He prepped at Bishop Montgomery High in Torrance (Calif.), where he played football (placekicker and wide receiver as a 1997 senior), soccer and baseball...Current Trojan Eric Torres also prepped at Bishop Montgomery...He is a left-footed kicker.

    He must sit out the 2001 season after transferring from Washington State (a year was waived from the 2-year in-conference transfer rule, making him eligible in 2002 instead of 2003)...He started 10 games at both middle and weakside linebacker as a 2000 sophomore at Washington State, getting 59 tackles (fourth on WSU), including 7 for losses of 24 yards (with 4 sacks for minus 19 yards), plus a deflection...Posted 9 stops against Stanford, 7 versus Washington and Utah and 6 (with 2 sacks) against Arizona State in 2001...Missed the 2000 California game with a shoulder injury...Saw action in 12 games as a first-year freshman in 1999, as a reserve linebacker and on special teams...Had 6 tackles in 1999...Received Blue Chip All-American, Super Prep All-Far West, All-CIF and All-League MVP honors as a 1998 senior at Dominguez High in Compton (Calif.)...Made 142 tackles with 5 sacks in 1998...As a 1997 junior, he made All-League first team while notching 138 tackles (with 6 sacks)...Was on the All-State Sophomore and All-League second team as a 1996 sophomore as Dominguez won the CIF title...Also was on the track and baseball teams at Dominguez...Is nicknamed 'Champ.'

    He was a 2000 J.C. Athletic Bureau All-American first team, J.C. Grid-Wire All-American honorable mention, Super Prep JUCO 100, J.C. Athletic Bureau All-State Region II Offensive MVP and All-League MVP choice as a sophomore wide receiver at Foothill Junior College in Los Altos Hills (Calif.)...He had 76 receptions for 1,200 yards (15.8 avg.) and 14 TDs in 2000, plus returned 5 punts for 17 yards (3.4 avg.)...He was sixth in the California juco ranks in receptions per game (6.8) and 18th in scoring (7.8)...Foothill went 8-3 and won the Silicon Valley Bowl in 2000...As a 1999 freshman at Foothill, he had 46 catches for 509 yards (11.1 avg.) with 6 TDs...Foothill was 10-1 and won the Silicon Valley Bowl in 1999...He was named a Scholar-Athlete at Foothill...He was a 3-year (1996-98) starter at St. Francis High in Mountain View (Calif.), playing wide receiver, defensive back and defensive line...St. Francis won the CIF Central Coast Section Division I championship in 1996 and 1998 and was the runnerup in 1997...He was injured for most of his 1998 senior season...He caught 56 passes for 826 yards (14.8 avg.) with 4 scores, plus had 8 interceptions, as a 1997 junior while earning All-Area and All-West Coast Athletic League first team honors...He also competed in track at St. Francis...Current Trojans Matt Lemos and Forrest Mozart also prepped at St. Francis...His sister, Adrienne, is a senior All-American freestyler on California's swim team and set several school records.

    UCLA, under sixth-year head coach Bob Toledo, started off the 2001 season by winning its first 6 games and rising to No. 4 in the AP poll, but the Bruins have lost their last 3, including last week at home to Oregon, 21-20. Senior TB DeShaun Foster (216 tcb, 1,109 yds, 5.1 avg, 12 TD in 2001, plus 9 rec, 14.3 avg, 1 TD), the Bruins' No. 3 career rusher (3,194 yards) and No. 5 scorer (266 points), is fifth nationally in rushing (138.6, first in Pac-10), tied for 10th in scoring (9.8, first in Pac-10) and 12th in all-purpose running (154.8, first in Pac-10). He missed last week's game against Oregon while ineligible. Sophomore TB Akil Harris (48 tcb, 223 yds, 4.6 avg, 2 TD in 2001, plus 5 KOR, 22.8 avg) and redshirt freshman Manuel White (37 tcb, 182 yds, 4.9 avg, 1 TD in 2001) played in his place. Junior QB Cory Paus (94-of-179, 52.5%, 1,695 yds, 8 TD, 6 int in 2001) has directed the offense (he's 25th nationally and fourth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency at 140.1), with senior QB Scott McEwan (21-of-32, 65.6%, 283 yds, 2 TD, 1 int in 2001) and junior QB Ryan McCann (4-of-14, 28.6%, 36 yds, 2 int in 2001) also having seen some action. Paus is fifth on UCLA's all-time ladder for passing yardage (5,185) and sixth both in completions (323) and TD passes (32). Top pass catchers are senior SE Brian Poli-Dixon (20 rec, 19.1 avg, 2 TD in 2001)-who is fifth on UCLA's career chart for receptions (135) and receiving yards (2,095)-soph SE Ryan Smith (17 rec, 14.6 avg, 2 TD in 2001), redshirt frosh FL Craig Bragg (16 rec, 15.1 avg in 2001, plus 14 PR, 8.4 avg and 8 KOR, 18.6 avg) and junior TE Mike Seidman (10 rec, 22.7 avg, 1 TD in 2001), but leading receiver Tab Perry (21 rec, 19.8 avg, 2 TD) is sidelined with an injury. UCLA's defense has been impressive, ranking high nationally in all 4 team categories: ninth in pass efficiency defense (96.5, first in Pac-10), 14th in scoring defense (17.3, first in Pac-10), tied for 22nd in total defense (315.7, first in Pac-10) and 23rd in rushing defense (117.7, second in Pac-10). Defensive leaders include senior LBs Robert Thomas (99 tac, 22 for loss, 5.5 sack, 5 dfl in 2001) and Ryan Nece (47 tac, 5 for loss, 1 int, 2 FR in 2001), both semifinalists for the Butkus Award (Thomas, the Pac-10's tackle leader at 11.0 and in tackles for loss at 22, also is a Lombardi Award semifinalist), plus senior FS Marques Anderson (58 tac, 4 for loss, 2 int, 9 dfl, 1 FR in 2001), senior DE Kenyon Coleman (36 tac, 10 for loss, 5.5 sack, 3 dfl, 1 FR in 2001), 2000 All-Pac-10 first team junior CB Ricky Manning (27 tac, 3 int, 6 dfl, 1 FR in 2001, plus 11 PR, 3.4 avg) and freshman CB Matt Ware (27 tac, 5 int, 4 dfl, 2 FR in 2001), who is tied for 10th nationally in interceptions (0.6, third in Pac-10). Junior P Nate Fikse (44.4 avg in 2001) is fifth in the nation (first in Pac-10) in punting, while junior PK Chris Griffith (9-of-12 FG, 34-of-34 PAT in 2001) has been accurate with his kicks.

    'The win at Cal was a very big day for our team. To have so many guys contribute in so many ways, to have a big explosion on offense and a great day on defense and a solid showing on special teams was important for our confidence. To put together 3 wins in a row heading into the UCLA game is really meaningful and will set us up for a good week of preparation...The UCLA game is a great opportunity for us at the end of the season to finish on a high note. We'll be really excited because of the rivalry and the matchup. We'll try to take advantage of all we've been gaining the last month of the season. UCLA has had a fine year. They're a very good team with excellent players. I know they'll be hungry for a win, too. We'll throw everything we have into it.'

    USC's senior football players will be introduced before the game and will enter the field through a tunnel formed by approximately 150 former Trojan players...Four Navy F-18 jets, based out of Lemoore Naval Air Station, will fly over the Coliseum (from east to west) at the conclusion of the national anthem in tribute to the troops protecting America's freedom...There will be a pre-game presentation introducing the Lexus Gauntlet competition between USC and UCLA (see below)...At halftime, a student from both USC and UCLA will have 30 seconds to throw a designated number of footballs through a target to win $30,000 tuition, in a promotion sponsored by Lexus...At the end of the third quarter, a contestant will get one chance to throw a football through a target for a $500,000 prize, in a promotion sponsored by Con Agra/Ralphs...USC senior swimmer Ahmad Al-Kudmani, a member of Saudi Arabia's 2000 Olympic team and a mechanical/petroleum engineering major with a 3.27 GPA, will be recognized during the Verizon Academic Salute...The USC women's basketball team, picked to challenge for the Pac-10 title this season, will be saluted during the Team Trojan Spotlight.

    The winner of the USC-UCLA football game scores 10 points toward the Lexus Gauntlet, a trophy which will be awarded annually to the school with the most successful athletic year against the other. Points will be awarded to the winner of each Trojan-Bruin head-to-head contest and the Lexus Gauntlet will be awarded to the school with the most points at year's end (56 points is the magic number). The Southern California Lexus Dealer Association will be the title sponsor of every USC-UCLA athletic competition. This is the first time the two universities have partnered with a corporate entity for complete rivalry sponsorship. This fall, the schools signed a 4-year contract of undisclosed terms with Lexus, America's best-selling luxury automotive manufacturer. Currently, UCLA leads the Lexus Gauntlet competition, 15-10.

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