USC Football Riding 10-Game Win Streak Hosts Hawaii For First Time Since 1930
Sept. 8, 2003
USC (2-0 overall) vs. Hawaii (1-0), Saturday, Sept. 13, 1 p.m. PDT, Los Angeles Coliseum
No. 4 USC welcomes Hawaii to the Coliseum for the first time since 1930. It's only the fifth time the teams have played. The Trojans are riding a 10-game winning streak (and have won their last 10 in the Coliseum), including last week's hard-fought victory over BYU. Western Athletic Conference favorite Hawaii is 1-0 and coming off a bye. This will be the 2003 debut of heralded Warriors QB Timmy Chang. The Trojans will counter with a highly-ranked defense (led by the 'Wild Bunch II') and fabulous WR Mike Williams, who is off to a hot start. The game will be shown live nationally on FOX Sports Net cable.
USC is ranked fourth by both AP and USA Today/ESPN. Hawaii is not ranked.
USC has beaten Hawaii in all 4 meetings, outscoring the Rainbow Warriors 173-18. The Trojans won in 1930, 52-0, in the Coliseum, then defeated the Rainbows in Honolulu in the 1935 season (the game actually was played on New Year's Day of 1936 in what was the first Poi Bowl, later called the Pineapple Bowl), 38-6, again in 1978, 21-5 (en route to USC's last national championship), and most recently in the 1999 season opener, 62-7, in Honolulu.
In 1999, No. 21 USC dominated before a sold-out Aloha Stadium crowd of 50,000. Not only was it was USC's biggest margin of victory in a season opener since 1929, but it was Troy's largest ever in a road opener and biggest in any game since 1994. It was also the most points USC had scored since 1989 and the most it had tallied on the road since 1970. It was Hawaii's worst defeat and most points allowed in 21 games and its worst home loss and most points surrendered since 1976. The loss also extended the Rainbow Warrior's nation-long losing streak to 19 games. USC scored on its first 6 possessions and 8 of its first 9. Troy led 41-0 at halftime and it wasn't until late in the first half that the Trojans had to punt or allowed Hawaii past midfield. In the game, USC amassed 529 total yards, including 279 rushing yards, and 29 first downs while running off 86 plays (including 60 rushing attempts). USC averaged 6.2 yard per play. Six of USC's 8 touchdowns were on the ground. The Trojan defense limited Hawaiiin coach June Jones' debutto 221 total yards, with only 27 of those rushing. USC posted 7 sacks, recovered 5 turnovers and allowed Hawaii just 1-of-13 conversions on third down. PK David Newbury began USC's scoring, hitting a 48-yard field goal. QB Carson Palmer who was 14-of-16 for 167 yards in just over 2 quarters of actionthen hit WR Windrell Hayes for a 32-yard TD (Hayes had a game-best 6 catches for 80 yards). Palmer then ran for a 9-yard TD on a bootleg, TB Malaefou MacKenzie then scored on a pair of short runs (3- and 1-yarders), TB Chad Mortonwho had a game-best 95 yards on 19 carriesfollowed with a 17-yard scoring run and Newbury added a 34-yard field goal at the first half gun. MacKenzie scored his third TD of the game (another 1-yard run) on USC's first possession of the second half. USC's other TDs came on a 46-yard run with a recovered fumble by LB Markus Steele late in the third quarter and a 5-yard run by TB Sultan McCullough late in the game (McCullough rushed for 83 yards on 17 carries overall). USC's defense didn't give up any points, as Hawaii's only score came on CB Quincy LeJay's 21-yard interception in the third quarter.
That 1978 contest, played before the first sellout (48,767) in Aloha Stadium, was closer than the final score (USC led just 7-5 midway through the fourth quarter). Trojan starting quarterback Paul McDonald (now USC's radio analyst) was sidelined with an ankle injury for the game (he sat in the press box and did radio commentary), so reserve Rob Preston filled in and hit 13-of-21 passes for 154 yards and a fourth-quarter TD to TE Vic Rakhshani with 7:41 to play. On Hawaii's next play from scrimmage, LB Riki Gray sealed the win with a 25-yard interception return. TB Charles White, who scored on an 18-yard run in the first quarter, ran for a game-high 152 yards on 31 carries and also had a game-best 5 catches for 29 yards. The game is remembered for some controversial penalty calls by the mixed crew of officials from the Pac-10 and the Hawaiian Islands. USC was penalized a frustrating 14 times for 157 yards, including a personal foul that wiped out a 50-yard scoring interception by S Ronnie Lott and then a 15-yard 'non-contact foul' in the fourth quarter that negated a USC fumble recovery because, according to the Los Angeles Times account, 'a spectator, wearing a USC button, reportedly called an official a name.'
VERSUS WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
USC is 19-4-1 against teams from the Western Athletic Conference: 5-0 versus Nevada, 4-0 versus Hawaii, 3-0 versus San Jose State, 2-0 versus SMU, 1-0 versus Louisiana Tech, 2-0-1 versus Rice, 2-3 versus TCU and 0-1 versus Fresno State. USC's last meeting with a WAC school was in 2001, a 21-10 home win over San Jose State. On the other hand, Hawaii is 11-26 versus the Pac-10 and it last faced a Pac-10 school in 1999 (losing to Washington State, 22-14).
The last time USC was ranked as high as fourth by AP going into its third game of the season was 1988. USC has been ranked in the Top 10 for its past 8 games, the longest string since 1988.
USC is riding a 10-game winning streak, its longest since capturing 10 in a row in 1988 (Troy last won 11 in a row over the 1979 and 1980 seasons). That's the third longest current streak in the nation, behind Ohio State (16) and Boise State (12). The Trojans also have captured their last 10 home games (with 2 shutouts in their past 8 home outings). That's USC's longest Coliseum win streak since getting 10 in a row during the 1987 and 1988 seasons (the Trojans last won 11 in a row at home over the 1977 through 1979 campaigns).
NEARING 700 WINS
USC is 3 victories shy of becoming the 10th Division I team to collect 700 victories. USC's all-time record is 697-296-54 (69.1%).
IN THE COLISEUM
USC has a 369-122-27 (.738) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923.
USC's only player from Hawaii is walk-on S Chris Bocage (St. Louis High)...Hawaii's roster features 25 players from California...USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow prepped at Punahou High in Honolulu and then began his coaching career at Waialua (Hi.) High for 3 seasons (1970-72)...USC walk-on LB Marco Chavez spent the early part of the 2002 season on the Hawaii team...USC LB Salo Faraimo's brother, Preston, was a linebacker at Hawaii in 2000 and 2001... USC CB John Walker was born in Wahiawa, Hi...Hawaii LB Anipati Mailo is the brother of former USC offensive lineman Faaesea Mailo (1996, 1999-2001)...Hawaii DB Chad Kapanui is the cousin of ex-USC TE Kolomona Kapanui...Hawaii OL Dane Uperesa is the nephew of former USC assistant coach Keith Uperesa (2001-02).
In terms of difficulty, it might be hard to match USC's 2002 schedule, which was ranked by the NCAA, USA Today/Sagarin and BCS as the nation's toughest it featured 11 bowl-bound team, including 9 ranked by AP (and only 1 with a losing record) at the time of the game. But Troy's 2003 slate might not be far behind. USCwhich has 3 byes in 2003faces 8 teams that played in bowls last season, including 3 ranked in the final AP Top 20. Three USC foes are ranked in this week's AP poll. The Trojans opened at SEC power Auburn, ranked No. 6 at the time. Then, after hosting BYU and Hawaii, USC ventures into the always-difficult Pac-10 campaign, with 4 of its next 5 games on the road (including its annual tilt with non-conference rival Notre Dame). The Trojans play at California, Arizona State, Washington and Arizona, and host Stanford, Washington State and crosstown foe UCLA. The Pac-10 finale is a home contest against Oregon State on 'Championship Saturday' (Dec. 6, the latest USC regular season game since 1980).
No. 4 USC opened up a big early lead in its first-ever meeting against BYU, but the Cougars nearly caught up in the fourth quarter before the Trojans pulled away to win, 35-18, before 75,315 Coliseum fans and a regional ABC-TV audience. The victory was USC's 10th in a row and the 10th consecutive in the Coliseum, as well as USC's sixth straight home opening win (and the attendance was the most for a USC home opener since 1988). USC went up 21-0 in the first quarter on QB Matt Leinart's touchdown tosses of 1 yard to WR Mike Williams and 48 yards to WR Keary Colbert on a nice catch-and-run, and then 9 seconds after Colbert's score, DE Omar Nazel returned a point-blank interception 16 yards for a TD. But USC's offense then stalled and BYU picked up some momentum late in the first half by getting a safety when Leinart was called for intentionally grounding in the end zone while being sacked by MLB K.C. Bills (extending BYU's NCAA record scoring streak to 352 games) and then a 53-yard field goal by PK Matt Payne at the gun (2 plays after a Leinart interception). The Cougars continued their unanswered scoring run in the second half on a 14-yard TD pass from QB Matt Berry to TE Daniel Coats and a pair of fourth quarter Payne field goals (26 and 52 yards) to pull to 21-18. But USC finally responded on its ensuing series as Leinart found a wide-open Williams for an 18-yard score with 4:11 to play and then, 1 play after BYU lost a fumble, TB Hershel Dennis ran 11 yards for a TD. Williams had another huge game, catching 10 passes for 124 yards (his seventh career 100-yard game) and the 2 TDs (giving him 17 in his brief career). Leinart was 19-of-34 for 235 yards with the 3 TDs, while Dennis ran for 40 yards on 16 carries. The Trojan offense was hampered by BYU's unique 3-3-5 defense, which limited USC to just 71 rushing yards and picked off Leinart 3 times while sacking him 4 times. But USC's defense was staunch, limiting BYU to just 46 rushing yards while posting 6 sacks and getting 5 turnovers. The Cougars converted just 4-of-14 third downs. Berry was 27-of-39 for 297 yards, but was picked off 3 times. Coats caught 8 passes for 114 yards and RB Reynaldo Brathwaite ran for 51 yards on 8 tries. USC LB Lofa Tatupu had a game-high 11 tackles (2 for losses, with a sack), while LB Matt Grootegoed added 9 stops and a fumble recovery. CBs Marcell Allmond and Will Poole had interceptions in addition to Nazel (who also had 5 tackles, including 2 for losses, with a sack). P Tom Malone averaged 52.0 yards on his 6 punts, with 5 traveling at least 50 yards.
25th ANNIVERSARY OF LAST NATIONAL TITLE
The 2003 season marks the 25th anniversary of USC's last national football championship. The 1978 Trojans, coached by John Robinson and led by such players as TB Charles White, QB Paul McDonald, OT Pat Howell, OG Brad Budde, OT Anthony Munoz, S Ronnie Lott, S Dennis Smith and LB Riki Gray, went 12-1 and beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Troy took the top spot in the UPI (coaches) poll, but finished second in the AP (writers) poll to Alabama despite beating the Crimson Tide earlier in the season. It was USC's eighth national championship.
1969 Dï¿½Jï¿½ VU?
There are some interesting similarities between the 1969 USC team (which went 10-0-1 and beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl) and the 2003 Trojans. Entering 1969, Troy lost a Heisman Trophy winner who was the first pick in the NFL draft (O.J. Simpson), had a new quarterback with no experience (Jimmy Jones), debuted a new tailback (Clarence Davis), featured a top incoming recruiting class (the 1972 seniors, who ended up helping USC to the national title), had a great defensive line (Wild Bunch I), had an offensive line featuring a returning all-conference tackle who was an All-American candidate and wore No. 77 (Sid Smith), faced a tough non-conference foe in its opener (Nebraska)...and the year prior saw Ohio State win the national title. The 2003 Trojans entered this season having lost a Heisman winner who was the NFL's first draft pick (Carson Palmer), had a new quarterback with no experience (Matt Leinart), debuted a new tailback (Hershel Dennis), had a top incoming recruiting class (ranked No. 1 by some), have a great defensive line (Wild Bunch II), have an offensive line featuring a returning All-Pac-10 tackle who is an All-American candidate and wears No. 77 (Jacob Rogers), met a challenging non-conference opponent in its opener (Auburn)...and saw Ohio State win last year's national title.
LB Daniel Urquhart is only the sixth Trojan letterman ever whose last name begins with the letter 'U.' The others are DE Kenechi Udeze (2001-02), NT Jason Uhl (1990-91, 1993), DT Walt Underwood (1975-77), HB Mickey Upton (1965) and DT Charles Ussery (1980-81).
Pete Carroll brought big doses of experience, enthusiasm and leadership in his quest to revive the USC football program when he was named the Trojans' head football coach on Dec. 15, 2000 (he signed a 5-year contract). He is 19-8 as a college head coach (all at USC); his losses were by a total of 39 points (4.9 average) and only 1 was by more than a touchdown (it was by 11 points). After starting off his Trojan career 2-5, he has gone 17-3. He is 7-0 in November. His teams already have posted 3 shutouts. In 2002, just his second season at USC, his Trojans thrived despite playing what was ranked by the NCAA, Sagarin and the BCS as the nation's most difficult schedule (facing 9 AP-ranked teams and 11 bowl squads). USCwhich beat Iowa in the Orange Bowlposted an 11-2 overall record and a No. 4 ranking in the final polls, and won the Pac-10 championship while going 7-1. The Trojans also won their last 9 home games. It was USC's first 11-win season since 1979 and its highest ranking since 1988. Troy won its final 8 games (scoring at least 30 points in each), including blowouts of traditional rivals UCLA and Notre Dame (the first time USC beat both in the same season since 1981 and the first time in back-to-back games since 1978). USC led the Pac-10 in total offense (449.3) and total defense (284.9), as well as scoring offense (35.8) and scoring defense (18.5), and was in the NCAA's Top 25 in nearly every team statistical category on both sides of the ball. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Carson Palmer and safety Troy Polamalu were first team All-Americans. Carroll was 1 of 8 finalists for the 2002 Paul 'Bear' Bryant Coach of the Year Award and was 1 of 4 runners-up for the 2002 American Football Monthly Schutt Sports Division I-A Coach of the Year Award. After USC started off his opening 2001 season slowly at 1-4, Carroll stayed the course and got his troops to rally by winning 5 of their last 7 games (including the final 4 regular season contests) to finish at 6-6 overall. USC, which won its last 5 Pac-10 games after beginning league play at 0-3, placed fifth in the conference at 5-3 and earned a berth into the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl. Putting an exclamation point on the regular season was a 27-0 blanking of No. 20 UCLA, USC's first shutout in the crosstown rivalry since 1947 and the series' biggest margin of victory since 1979. The 51-year-old Carroll has 28 years of NFL and college experience, including 12 on the college level. 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 as a graduate assistant working with the secondary at Arkansas (1977) under Lou Holtz as the Razorbacks won the 1978 Orange Bowl, and then a season each as an assistant in charge of the secondary 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 CNNSI.com. 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, who played tight end at Pittsburgh (he previously played at Delaware) and is now an assistant at USC, and Nathan, 14, and daughter Jaime, 19, a junior at USC who played on the Women of Troy'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's No. 1 concern in 2003 was finding a replacement for quarterback Carson Palmer, the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner whose Pac-10 record 11,818 career passing yards and 11,621 yards of total offense were among the 33 Pac-10 and USC marks he set. The All-American first teamer completed 63.2% of his passes (309-of-489) in 2002 for 3,942 yards, 33 TDs and just 10 interceptions. Four players got a shot at the job in 2003 spring practice and the competition remained nearly even throughout the spring, but left-handed sophomore Matt Leinart (36-of-64, 56.2%, 427 yds, 4 TD, 3 int in 2003) emerged with an ever-so-slight edgedespite never having thrown a pass at USC while seeing brief action in 3 games in 2002and he extended his hold on the job in this fall's practice (in Troy's 3 fall intrasquad scrimmages, he was 43-of-57, 75.4%, for 608 yards, 6 TDs and no interceptions). Backing him is junior Matt Cassel, Palmer's backup the past 2 seasons who has thrown just 6 passes in his career. Also available are junior Brandon Hance, who sat out last season after transferring from Purdue (he started 9 games there in 2001) and saw limited reps in 2002 practice after having surgery on his throwing shoulder, and sophomore Billy Hart, whose only action was briefly in 2002 but he didn't throw a pass (he also plays on the Trojan baseball team). And don't count out heralded freshman John David Booty, believed to be the first football player to graduate a full year early from high school and enroll at a major Division I-A university. Also able to take snaps is walk-on freshman Michael McDonald, the son of ex-USC All-American Paul McDonald.
- In his first career start, Leinart was an efficient 17-of-30 for 192 yards with a touchdown (on his first career pass) at Auburn.
- Leinart threw 3 touchdown passes against BYU while hitting 19-of-34 passes (but he had 3 interceptions).
Last year, USC relied on 3 effective senior tailbacks to carry the load: Justin Fargas (who started 5 late-season games and rushed for 715 yards and 7 TDs), Sultan McCullough (a 5-game starter who led the Trojans with 814 yards and 8 TDs, and finished eighth on the school's career rushing list with 2,800 yards) and Malaefou MacKenzie (a 3-game starter at tailback and 7-game starter at fullback who ran for 939 yards and caught 76 passes in his career). In 2003, the only experienced tailback entering the season was promising sophomore Hershel Dennis (37 tcb, 125 yds, 3.4 avg, 2 TD in 2003). He was USC's No. 3-leading rusher (198 yards) and its top kickoff returner (151 yards) in 2002. Joining him this fall as freshmen is a terrific trio of prep All-Americans in Reggie Bush (11 tcb, 28 yds, 2.5 avg in 2003, plus 1 rec, -6 yds, -6.0 yds and 1 KOR, 30 yds, 30.0 avg), Chauncey Washington (6 tcb, 32 yds, 5.3 avg in 2003, plus 3 tac) and LenDale White (5 tcb, 6 yds, 1.2 avg in 2003), plus frosh Jody Adewale. Dennis and Bush are speedy, darting runners, while Washington and White are known as the 'The Bruise Brothers.' Also available are 3 walk-ons: sophomore converted safety Andre Woodert and freshmen John Griffin and Sean Kelly.
- In his first career start, Dennis ran for a career-best 85 yards on 21 carries at Auburn, including a second-effort 14-yard TD, while Washington added 24 yards on 3 attempts, Bush 9 yards on 5 carries and White 6 yards on 5 tries.
- Dennis ran for 40 yards on 16 carries, with an 11-yard TD, against BYU, while Bush had 19 yards on 6 tries (he also returned a kickoff 30 yards) and Washington gained 8 yards on 3 attempts (he also made 2 tackles on special teams).
With Malaefou MacKenzie gone, a new fullback must emerge. Sophomore Brandon Hancock, who started twice last fall, was slated to be the starter, but an ankle sprain in fall camp has slowed him. So junior Lee Webb, who also has played linebacker at USC, assumed the starting job, backed by sophomore David Kirtman. Prep All-American Whitney Lewis (1 rec, 2 yds, 2.0 avg in 2003) came to USC as a wide receiver, but so far in 2003 he has mainly played as a fullback. Walk-on redshirt freshmen Mike Brittingham, a converted safety, and Morgan Craig, a one-time quarterback, also are in the mix.
- Lewis caught a 2-yard pass against BYU.
COLBERT AND WILLIAMS
Even though USC career reception leader Kareem Kellyhe had 204 catches, including 46 last fall, and set an NCAA record by catching a pass in 47 consecutive gamesis gone, the Trojans are in good shape in the wide receivers corps as a pair of 1,000-yard receivers (a first at Troy) are back. Both are playmakers who could win 2003 post-season honors and they form the top receiving duo in the country. Underrated, yet consistent, senior Keary Colbert (5 rec, 81 yds, 16.2 avg, 1 TD in 2002) starts for his fourth season. He has caught a pass in 25 consecutive outings. He is sixth on USC's career receptions ladder with 143 grabs (tied for 36th on the all-time Pac-10 chart) and a repeat of last season's 71-catch output (for 1,029 yards) will push him past Kelly as the school's all-time leading pass catcher. His 2,032 career receiving yards is 53rd on the all-time Pac-10 list. Even if Colbert breaks Kelly's reception mark, Keyshawn-esque sophomore Mike Williams (18 rec, 228 yds, 12.7 avg, 3 TD in 2003) is poised to shatter the standard before his career concludes. He already is 14th on USC's career receptions list (99) and has 7 100-yard receiving games in his young career (twice in 2003). He has caught 17 touchdowns in his 15-game career. He currently is tied for fourth nationally in receptions (9.0, second in the Pac-10) and 17th in receiving yards (114.0, third in the Pac-10). The 2003 pre-season All-American won Freshman All-American first team status last fall and was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year when he set NCAA frosh records for receiving yards (1,265) and receiving touchdowns (14) and the Pac-10 frosh mark for receptions (81). He was 16th nationally in receiving yards (97.3) and 20th in receptions (6.2) while starting twice in 2002. Last year, he caught a TD pass in 7 consecutive games (including 3 against Washington to tie a USC game record) and his 14 TD catches not only were the second most in the nation, but tied the USC season mark. He also had 5 100-yard receiving games, including 4 in a row, in 2002. He caught 13 passes at Oregon in 2002, a USC frosh record.
- At Auburn, Williams had a game-best 8 catches for 104 yards (his sixth career 100-yard receiving game) with a 5-yard TD, while Colbert added 2 receptions for 13 yards.
- Williams grabbed a game-high 10 passes for 124 yards, including a pair of touchdowns (a 1-yarder to open USC's scoring and then an 18-yarder in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach) against BYU, while Colbert had 3 catches for 68 yards, including a nifty 48-yard catch-and-run for a TD.
OTHER WIDE RECEIVERS
Dependable backup receivers have emerged behind Keary Colbert and Mike Williams (even though no other wide receiver on the roster caught a ball last year). The cast includes such veterans as seniors Sandy Fletcher and D. Hale, a walk-on-turned-scholarship winner who has started once in his career (an ankle injury could sideline him this year), junior Jason Mitchell, sophomores Greig Carlson and converted cornerback Justin Wyatt (3 rec, 20 yds, 6.7 avg in 2003), and sure-handed redshirt freshman Chris McFoy. Carlson, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship this spring, was USC's top punt returner in 2002 (177 yards). Wyatt was the surprise of 2003 spring drills after his switch to offense. Two walk-ons also figure in junior Steve Levario Jr. and redshirt freshman John Zilka. Adding to all of this, one of the nation's most highly sought-after high school pass catchers enrolled at USC this fall as a freshman: prep All-American Steve Smith (1 rec, 7 yds, 7.0 avg in 2003, plus 1 tcb, 8 yds, 8.0 avg).
- Smith (7 yards) and Wyatt (5 yards) each had a catch at Auburn, the first of their careers.
- Wyatt had 2 catches for 15 yards versus BYU, while Smith had an 8-yard run on a backwards pass.
'If this isn't the best defensive line in America, 'The Wild Bunch II' is No. 1A.'
USC is well-stocked at tight end, with a returning starter and a pair of experienced backups. But the returning startersenior Alex Holmes, who has caught 58 passes in his career (including 29 in 2002, the most by a Trojan tight end since 1993)has been bothered in 2003 by a back injury and might redshirt. In his place, sophomore Dominique Byrd (5 rec, 82 yds, 16.4 avg in 2003) has taken over. Playing often behind (or with) Byrd is junior Gregg Guenther Jr. (2 rec, 13 yds, 6.5 avg in 2003), who started once last fall. USC's tallest player at 6-8, he also stars on the Trojans men's basketball squad. Then there are redshirt freshmen Kurt Katnik, a converted center (and the younger brother of starting center Norm Katnik) and walk-on Nick Vanderboom, a converted quarterback, plus walk-on junior Owen Hanson, who also is on the Trojan men's volleyball team.
- Byrd caught 3 passes for 63 yards at Auburn, including a 42-yarder, while Guenther added a 6-yard grab.
- Against BYU, Byrd caught 2 balls for 19 yards and Guenther added a 7-yard grab.
The 2003 version of USC's offensive line might be Troy's best in years. Players returned at 4 positionsonly 4-year starting right guard Zach Wilson is goneand there are some big-potential younger players angling for time. Both tackles returned and they're good ones: senior Jacob Rogers, a 2-year starter who earned All-Pac-10 first team laurels in 2002, and sophomore Winston Justice, a 2002 Freshman All-American first teamer. Both are in line for 2003 post-season honors. They make up the nation's best bookend tackles (Rogers on the left and Justice on the right). Senior Lenny Vandermade, a 3-year starter, returned at left guard (he also has started at center in his career), while reliable center Norm Katnik, another 2-year starter, also returned (he also has started at guard and tackle in his USC tenure). Redshirt freshman Fred Matua, a guard who was set to start the 2002 opener before a knee sprain sidelined him, has captured the starting job at Wilson's right guard spot. Versatile senior Eric Torres, who started 7 times in 2002 at every line spot except center (Torres started all of 2001 at right tackle), is not yet ready to contribute in 2003. He broke his left ankle in the Orange Bowl and missed spring drills (he was slowed in fall camp, too). Returning squadmen looking to work into the rotation are senior tackle Nate Steinbacher, who worked some at defensive tackle last fall, junior guard Travis Watkins, and redshirt freshman guard-tackle Kyle Williams, plus walk-on junior center Spencer Torgan, a converted defensive tackle, and walk-on redshirt freshman center-guard John Lanza. Coming aboard this fall were tackle John Drake, a junior college transfer who is a junior, plus a trio of freshmen who were prep All-Americans: Sam Baker and Drew Radovich at guard (Radovich can also play tackle) and Ryan Kalil at center. There's also freshman Matt Spanos , a converted defensive end.
- Rogers, Vandermade, Katnik, Matua and Justice started at Auburn, with Drake and Watkins seeing significant action as backups.
- Rogers, Vandermade, Katnik, Matua and Justice started versus BYU, with Drake getting some time.
Simply put, USC's defensive line is the best in the nation. Nicknamed the 'Wild Bunch II' in honor of USC's famous 1969 defensive front (Al Cowlings, Jimmy Gunn, Willard Scott, Tody Smith, Charlie Weaver and Tony Terry), 4 key veteranseach could win 2003 post-season honorsreturn from a unit that was sixth in the country last fall versus the rush (allowing just 83.2 yards per game) and let only 4 of 13 offenses run for more than 100 yards (no individual ever rushed for 100 yards). More than half of USC's 43 sacks last season were by defensive linemen. Both ends returned: senior Omar Nazel (5 tac, 3 for loss, 2 sack, 1 FR, 1 int for a TD in 2003) and junior Kenechi Udeze (6 tac, 2 for loss, 1.5 sack in 2003). Udeze, a 2-year starter, set a USC record with his Pac-10 leading 6 forced fumbles in 2002. Also back is junior Mike Patterson (14 tac, 2.5 for loss, 1.5 sack in 2003), who started 10 times at nose tackle (where he is in 2003) and 3 at defensive tackle last fall. His 4 fumble recoveries topped the Pac-10 in 2002. Although tackle Bernard Rileyhe had 19 career starts, including the last 7 games of 2002, when he posted 25 tacklesis gone, a familiar face has re-assumed that defensive tackle spot. Junior Shaun Cody (3 tac, 1.5 for loss, 1 sack, 1 dfl in 2003), a 2001 Freshman All-American first teamer, started the first 6 games of 2002 before tearing knee ligaments. He missed spring drills, but is fully recovered this fall. Among the returning squadmen pushing for time at end are junior Van Brown and sophomore converted linebacker Frostee Rucker (8 tac, 1.5 for loss, 0.5 sack, 1 dfl in 2003), who sat out last year after transferring from Colorado State, and at tackle are soph LaJuan Ramsey (4 tac, 2.5 for loss, 1.5 sack, 1 FF in 2003) and redshirt freshman Travis Tofi. Then there's junior walk-on Jay Bottom at end. Six new players enrolled at USC this fall as freshmen. The ends are prep All-Americans Chris Barrett, Lawrence Jackson and Alex Morrow, while the tackles are prep All-Americans Sedrick Ellis and Manuel Wright, plus Ryan Watson.
- The 'Wild Bunch II' was dominant at Auburn, as Patterson had 7 tackles (1 for a loss) to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors, Cody had 3 stops (1.5 for a loss, with a sack) and a deflection, Ramsey had 2 tackles for a loss (with a sack) and a forced fumble, Rucker had 2 tackles and a deflection, Udeze had 2 tackles (0.5 for a loss) and Nazel had a sack and fumble recovery.
- Against BYU, Patterson had 7 tackles (with 1.5 sacks), Rucker added 6 stops (including 1.5 for loss, with 0.5 sack), Nazel had 5 tackles (2 for a loss, with a sack) and returned a point-blank interception 16 yards for a TD, Udeze had 4 stops (1.5 sacks) and Ramsey had 2 stops (0.5 sacks).
*Includes 1 TD
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT THE 'WILD BUNCH II'
Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville: '(Quarterback Jason Campbell) didn't have a chance. He was running around for his life. We just couldn't get any rhythm going. You could just feel our offensive line didn't feel good about being able to block those guys.'
USC is solid at the outside linebacker spots, as junior Matt Grootegoed (14 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 1 dfl, 1 FR, 1 FF in 2003) returns on the strong side and senior Melvin Simmons (7 tac, 1 FR in 2003) is back on the weak side. Grootegoed, a 2-year starter and 2003 post-season honors candidate who has a knack for always being around the ball, won All-Pac-10 first team honors in 2002 when he led the Trojans in tackles (81), tackles for a loss (16.5) and sacks (8). Simmons was USC's No. 2 tackler last fall (71). But there's a new middle linebacker now that Mike Pollarda 2-year starter who had 49 stops last yearhas departed. The starter is sophomore Lofa Tatupu (team-high 23 tac, 5.5 for loss, 3 sack, 1 dfl in 2003), who sat out last season after transferring from Maine, where he started in 2001 (he is the son of ex-USC and NFL fullback Mosi Tatupu). He is currently third in the Pac-10 in tackles (11.5), tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (3). He is backed by junior Daniel Urquhart (4 tac in 2003), a converted defensive end, and sophomore Oscar Lua, who tore knee ligaments prior to the Orange Bowl and missed spring practice (he was slowed in 2003 fall camp). Other linebackers from last year's roster looking to get in the mix are junior Bobby Otani and sophomore Dallas Sartz, plus walk-on sophomore Collin Ashton (2 tac in 2003). Prep All-American Thomas Williams, along with Salo Faraimo (2 tac in 2003), joined the linebacking corps this fall as freshmen. Walk-on junior Marco Chavez, who spent part of 2002 at Hawaii, will redshirt this year after transferring.
- Tatupu had a game-best 12 tackles (3.5 for losses of 19 yards, including 2 sacks) at Auburn while making his first career start, while Grootegoed added 5 stops (with a sack) and forced a fumble, Simmons had 3 tackles, Urquhart had 2 and Faraimo and Ashton each had 1.
- Tatupu had a game-high 11 tackles (with 2 for a loss, including a sack) and a deflection against BYU, while Grootegoed added 9 stops, a fumble recovery and a deflection, Simmons had 4 tackles and a fumble recovery, Urquhart had 2 tackles and both Ashton and Faraimo had 1.
While the biggest holes to fill on USC's defense were in the secondary, the situation wasn't as dire as it might have appeared. Granted, the Trojans lost 3 quality starters in 2-time All-American strong safety Troy Polamalu (the 2002 Thorpe Award finalist was a 3-year starter who amassed 278 tackles and 6 interceptions in his career), free safety DeShaun Hill (he had 54 stops and a team-best 8 deflections last season) and cornerback Darrell Rideaux (he notched 46 tackles, 7 pass break-ups and 2 picks in 2002). Most critically, the void left from the loss of Polamalu's leadership cannot be discounted. Only senior cornerback Marcell Allmond (5 tac, 1 int, 1 dfl in 2003, plus 2 KOR, 51 yds, 25.5 avg) returned as a starter. The Trojans are 8-0 when he starts. The one-time starting wide receiver also was a top-flight hurdler on USC's track squad. There were plenty of experienced options to fill the 3 open secondary spots. In fact, 3 players had starting experience at cornerback: senior Kevin Arbet (5 tac, 1 for loss, 1 dfl, FF in 2003, plus 4 PR, 19 yds, 4.8 avg), who missed all of last season with a broken foot, junior Ronald Nunn (1 tac in 2003) and sophomore William Buchanon. Arbetwho started 4 times in 2000 and was an All-Pac-10 first teamer as a special teams player in 2001has won the job for 2003. Nunn started USC's first 3 contests in 2002 before tearing knee ligaments (he missed most of 2003 spring drills) and then Buchanon started the next 3 games (after converting from wide receiver) before giving way to Allmond. The new starting free safety is junior Jason Leach (11 tac, 0.5 for loss in 2003), who started twice at strong safety last fall for an injured Polamalu, including in the Orange Bowl. He led Troy in interceptions in 2002 with 4. Taking over Polamalu's strong safety spot is freshman Darnell Bing (7 tac, 1 FR, 1 int, 1 dfl in 2003), who originally signed with USC in 2002 after a prep All-American career at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High but did not qualify for admission then (he enrolled at Troy this past spring). Bing currently is tied for fifth nationally in interceptions (1.0, tied for second in the Pac-10). Other cornerbacks back from last year's group are sophomore John Walker and walk-on sophomore Alex Gomez. Identical twin freshmen cornerbacks Brandon Ting (1 tac in 2003) and Ryan Ting, who were 2002 prep All-Americans, graduated a semester early from high school and enrolled at USC this past spring (Brandon can also play safety). Battling for action at safety from last year's squad are sophomore Mike Ross (1 tac in 2003), plus 5 walk-ons in seniors Greg Farr and top special teams player Forrest Mozart and juniors Chris Bocage, Matt Lemos and Kyle Matthews. This fall, joining the fray were junior college transfer Will Poole (4 tac, 1 for loss, 1 int, 2 dfl in 2003), a senior safety who started at Boston College in 2000 before earning J.C. All-American laurels last fall, and 3 incoming freshmen who were prep All-Americans: safety-cornerback Desmond Reed, safety Terrell Thomas and cornerback Eric Wright (Thomas and Wright are out with injuries). Poole is USC's nickel back.
- At Auburn, Leach had 8 tackle, Bing had 4 stops, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, Arbet had 4 tackles (1 for a loss) and a deflection and also returned 2 punts for 11 yards, Poole made 3 stops and had a deflection in the nickel package, and Allmond and Nunn each made a tackle.
- Allmond had 4 tackles, an interception and a deflection against BYU and Poole also had 4 stops (1 for a loss), an interception and a deflection, while Bing had 3 tackles and a deflection, Leach also had 3 stops, and Arbet, Ross and Brandon Ting each had 1 tackle.
Sophomore Tom Malone (48.3 avg in 2003) has proven to be one of the nation's top young punters. He currently is second nationally in punting (48.3, first in the Pac-10). His 48.3 punting average is way above Jim Wren's USC season record of 45.6, set in 1996. He earned Freshman All-American second team notice last fall when nearly half of his 62 punts pinned opponents within the 20-yard line and 12 traveled at least 50 yards (including a 72-yarder). He is backed by a pair of walk-ons, senior Tommy Huff and sophomore Zach Sherwood. Junior Ryan Killeen (3-of-4 FG, 7-of-7 PAT in 2003) is in his second year as the placekicker. He currently is tied for 22nd nationally in field goals (1.5, second in the Pac-10). So far in 2003, 3 of his 13 kickoffs have been touchbacks. He was only supposed to handle the kickoff duty last year, but took over the placekicking job during the third game of 2002 and was impressive. His 16 field goals were 3 shy of the USC season record, he hit his last 30 PATs (and missed just 2 out of 49 all year), he led Troy in scoring (95 points) and 27 of his 89 kickoffs were touchbacks. Walk-on freshman Mario Danelo pushed him throughout 2003 fall camp. Both of USC's snappersseniors Joe Boskovich (placekicks) and Matt Hayward (punts)are back. It's the fourth season in that role for Boskovich, a one-time walk-on who earned a scholarship this spring, and the third year for Hayward. Both have been near flawless in their careers. Walk-on freshman Will Collins can also snap. Sophomore punter Tom Malone returns as the holder on all placekicks, with junior quarterback Matt Cassel the backup. USC's top punt returnersophomore wide receiver Greig Carlsonand kickoff returnersoph tailback Hershel Dennisfrom last season are back (Carlson had 177 yards and Dennis had 151 in 2002). But in 2003, senior cornerback Kevin Arbet (4 PR, 19 yds, 4.8 avg in 2003)who led USC in punt returns in 2001 (225 yards)will handle the chore, with Carlson serving as his backup. Arbet and senior cornerback Marcell Allmond (2 KOR, 51 yds, 25.5 avg in 2003) are the kickoff returners in 2003. Other possible returners are sophomore cornerback Justin Wyatt and freshman tailback Reggie Bush (1 KOR, 30 yds, 30.0 avg in 2003).
- At Auburn, Malone boomed 7 punts for a 45.1 average (including 5 within the 20-yard line and 3 that went 50-plus yards, with a 70-yarder and then nailing his last one out of bounds at the Auburn 2), while Killeen was perfect on his field goals (28, 42 and 35 yards) and both PATs, as well as having 2 touchbacks on 6 kickoffs.
- Malone rocketed 5 of his 6 punts over 50 yards (including a 59-yarder) against BYU and 5 pinned the Cougars within the 20-yard line, while Killeen hit all 5 of his PATs.
USC's assistant coaching staff stayed relatively intact from 2002, with some slight positional changes. Tim Davis, who last year handled the offensive guards and centers, took over the entire line. Rocky Seto, a Trojan graduate assistant last fall, is now a full-time coach in charge of the safeties. Ed Orgeron, USC's defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, this year added the title of assistant head coach. Dennis Slutak is the only newcomer on the staff; the one-time Florida State punter and North Carolina State graduate assistant is a graduate assistant working with the special teams.
STATS OF NOTE
USC has been effective in the takeaway department during head coach Pete Carroll's 3 seasons. In 2003, USC is +2.5 in turnover margin (third in the U.S., first in the Pac-10) by getting 4 fumbles and 4 interceptions. USC's +1.33 turnover margin over Carroll's first 2 regular seasons (2001 and 2002) was the best in the nation and its +69 takeaways during that span were third most (slightly behind Virginia Tech's +71 and Tulane's +70). In 2002, the Trojans had 36 takeaways (19 fumbles and 17 interceptions) and ranked fifth nationally in turnover margin (+1.4). In 2001 (including the bowl), Troy had 35 takeaways (20 picks, 15 fumbles) and ranked fifth in the nation in turnover margin at +1.3. USC's ball security was impressive, too, those first 2 seasons: only 19 turnovers in 2001 and just 18 in 2002.
IN THE NFL
USC is always well-represented in the NFL. At the start of training camp this summer, there were 39 ex-Trojans on NFL rosters. Last year, there were 29 Trojans on opening day NFL rosters, including players such as LBs Junior Seau and Chris Claiborne, OL Tony Boselli, DL Willie McGinest, WRs Keyshawn Johnson, Johnnie Morton and Curtis Conway, QB Rob Johnson and DBs Jason Sehorn, Sammy Knight, Rashard Cook 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 Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio. Twelve current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: QB John David Booty (brother, Josh Booty), DE Van Brown (brother, Chad Brown), CB William Buchanon (father, Willie Buchanon), PK Mario Danelo (father, Joe Danelo), OG Fred Matua (cousin, Manu Tuiasosopo), S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr.; father, Clay Matthews; uncle, Bruce Matthews), QB Michael McDonald (father, Paul McDonald), LB Lofa Tatupu (father, Mosi Tatupu), CB Justin Tolliver (father, Kevin Williams), OG Travis Watkins (uncle, Tom Watkins), TB LenDale White (cousin, Darcey Levy) and OG-OT Kyle Williams (uncle, Eric Williams; grandfather, Roy Williams). OG Sam Baker's father, David, is the commissioner of the Arena Football League. And C Ryan Kalil's father, Frank, played in the USFL. Additionally, head coach Pete Carroll was an NFL head coach and assistant coach, and assistant Lane Kiffin was an NFL assistant. Three assistant coaches played professionally: Norm Chow, Steve Sarkisian and Tim Davis in the CFL (Davis also played in the USFL).
USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 310 times, including 176 of the past 178 games. In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997 (snapped against Oregon State) and another streak of 48 in a row from 1997 to 2001 (broken against California).
Incoming scholarship freshman linebacker Drean Rucker, a 2002 prep All-American from Canyon Springs High in Moreno Valley (Calif.), drowned in the ocean off of Huntington Beach (Calif.) on July 21, just 2 weeks before he was to report to USC for fall practice. He was 18. His body was found on July 26. 'This is an extraordinary tragedy for Drean's family and for the Trojan Family,' said USC head coach Pete Carroll. 'Drean was a wonderful young man with a great spirit. He would light up a room with his smile. He was a highly-competitive and talented football player who was going to make an impact at USC on and off the field. It's just a terrible loss. The hearts and prayers of the Trojan Family go out to his family.' In his memory, the 2003 Trojans will wear a football-shaped sticker on their helmets with '54' inside in gold lettering (that was the number he was assigned at USC); also, that jersey number will not be worn this season.
There are a number of updates from the roster in the 2003 USC football media guide.
BIOS OF NEW SCHOLARSHIP TROJANS
He was named a 2002 Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West honorable mention, Tom Lemming All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best of the Rest, All-L.A. City second team and Los Angeles Times All-Central City first team (as a defensive back) selection as a senior at Roosevelt High in Los Angeles (Calif.)...He ran for 1,400-plus yards and 26 TDs as a running back and made 27 tackles with an interception as a defensive back...As a junior in 2001, he made All-L.A. City, Los Angeles Times All-Central City first team and All-League first team while running for 1,660 yards and 25 TDs and posting 144 tackles and an interception at linebacker...He also competed in basketball and track at Roosevelt...His last name is pronounced 'add-uh-WALL-lee.'
He was a 2002 Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best of the Rest, Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team, All-CIF San Diego Section Defensive MVP, San Diego Union-Tribune All-San Diego first team and All-Palomar League (as a running back and linebacker) pick as a senior at Vista (Calif.) High...He ran for 1,039 yards on 179 carries (5.8 avg.) with 21 TDs and had 128 tackles (69 solo) with 3 sacks in 2002...His brother, Preston, was a linebacker at Hawaii in 2000 and 2001...His name is pronounced 'SAL-low fuh-RAY-moe.'
MANUEL WRIGHTHe actually signed with USC in 2002, but did not qualify for admission, so he attended Long Beach (Calif.) City College that season as a part-time student (he didn't play football there)...He earned 2001 Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Tom Lemming All-American, Max Emfinger All-American, Student Sports All-American second team, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Dream Team, Super Prep All-Far West, Prep Star All-Western Region, Student Sports All-West first team, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Orange County Register Fab 15 first team, Las Vegas Sun Super 11 first team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF Division I Defensive MVP, Los Angeles Times All-Southeast/South Coast first team and Long Beach Press-Telegram Dream Team first team Defensive MVP honors as a senior defensive lineman at Poly High in Long Beach (Calif.)...He had 142 tackles (60 solo), including 16 sacks, plus 4 fumble recoveries, 3 forced fumbles, 20 deflections and an interception...As a junior in 2000, he made Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass first team, All-CIF Division I first team and Long Beach Press-Telegram Dream Team first team while recording 95 tackles (57 solo), with 25 sacks...He was a 3-year starter as Poly went 39-1-1 and won 3 CIF Division I titles...Current Trojans Darnell Bing, Hershel Dennis and Winston Justice also prepped at Poly...His cousin is Arizona State senior tailback Mike Williams...Wright's first name is pronounced 'MAN-you-ull.'
USC IS THE PLACE TO BE
Based on several national accolades it has received in recent years, 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.
Two of USC's most recent graduation rates for football were 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 2003 Trojan squad are: CB-S Brandon Ting (4.00 GPA), CB Ryan Ting (4.00), FB Brandon Hancock (3.82, business major), WR John Zilka (3.48), TB-S Andre Woodert (3.37, kinesiology), TE Nick Vanderboom (3.32, business), QB Matt Cassel (3.28, communication), QB Billy Hart (3.22, business), QB Brandon Hance (3.09, music industry), FB Mike Brittingham (3.01), SNP Matt Hayward (2.93, business), C Spencer Torgan (2.89, business), OT Winston Justice (2.78) and WR Chris McFoy (2.75). Hayward and LB Melvin Simmons were 2002 Pac-10 All-Academic second team picks. 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.
Hawaii is coming off a bye after defeating Division I-AA Appalachian State, 40-17, at home in its Aug. 30 opener. The USC game is the first of a school-record 6 road games for the Warriors in 2003. Fifth-year head coach June Jones, whose team has been picked by several publications to win the Western Athletic Conference crown this year, employs the run-and-shoot offense. Junior QB Timmy Chang (349-of-624, 55.9%, 4,474 yds, 25 TD, 22 int in 2002), who sat out the 2003 opener for academic reasons, is Hawaii's career passing leader (8,615 yards) and owns 20 school passing records. He was fourth nationally in total offense (318.4) in 2002. Senior QB Jason Whieldon (21-of-35, 60.0%, 359 yds, 3 TD, 2 int in2003) filled in for him versus Appalachian State; he is currently sixth nationally in total offense (353.0) and 19th in passing efficiency (163.0). Hawaii currently ranks seventh nationally in passing offense (359.0) and 19th in scoring offense (40.0). Leading receivers are senior Jeremiah Cockheran (7 rec, 154 yds, 22.0 avg, 3 TD in 2003), who is currently second nationally in scoring (18.0), third in receiving yards (154.0) and 16th in receptions (7.0), plus junior Chad Owens (5 rec, 77 yds, 15.4 avg in 2003), who is currently 10th nationally in all-purpose yards (177.0), junior Britton Komine (2 rec, 10 yds, 5.0 avg in 2003), senior Clifton Herbert and sophomore Nate Ilaoa (2 rec, 51 yds, 25.5 avg in 2003). Senior John West (6 tcb, 27 yds, 4.5 avg, 1 TD in 2003) topped Hawaii in rushing last season (451 yards) and he is joined by junior Mike Bass (5 tcb, 23 yds, 4.6 avg in 2003). Senior DT Isaac Sopoaga (6 tac in 2003) leads the defense from up front, while all 4 starters return in the secondary, led by senior S Hyrum Peters (9 tac, 1 int in 2003), a 2002 All-WAC first teamer, and senior CB Kevin Millhouse (3 tack, 1 for loss, 1 FF in 2003). Hawaii currently is 20th nationally in total defense (259.0).
It's USC Staff Appreciation Day, with USC hosting staff members to an on-campus pre-game picnic and tickets to the game...There will be a pre-game moment of silence for Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mal Florence and sports statistician Dennis Minishian, popular members of the Southern California sporting scene who both died this past year...The top-ranked USC women's volleyball team will be recognized at halftime during the Team Trojan Spotlight...Sophomore fullback Brandon Hancock, a business major with a 3.82 GPA, will be honored during the Verizon Academic Salute...About 2,600 local disadvantaged youths will be in attendance as past of the 'Touchdown For Youth' program conducted by USC and the Los Angeles Sports Council Foundation.
PROBABLE: LB Lofa Tatupu (concussion), S Darnell Bing (ankle).
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