USC Hosts Washington State In A Conference Showdown On Homecoming Weekend
Oct. 26, 2003
USC (7-1 overall, 3-1 Pac-10) vs. Washington State (7-1, 4-0), Saturday, Nov. 1, 4 p.m. PDT, Los Angeles Coliseum.
USC enters its all-important stretch run of November--a month when Pete Carroll is undefeated at Troy--trying to knock off Pac-10 co-leader Washington State in a match-up of Top 10-ranked teams. In fact, it's not often that both teams are ranked when they meet. Both squads have grand post-season aspirations. Although USC owns a huge lead in its series with WSU, the Cougars have won 3 of the last 5 games (and the past 2 meetings in L.A.). It's Homecoming at USC. The Trojans--who play 3 of their final 4 regular season games in the Coliseum--are trying to protect a 12-game home winning streak, their longest since the 1930s. Both teams are riding modest winning streaks (6 games by WSU and 4 by USC). And both squads feature potent offenses and stingy defenses that show up all over the national stat rankings. USC, winner of 15 of its past 16 games, has scored at least 20 points in its past 21 games (and at least 30 in 15 of the last 16), including a convincing win at Washington last weekend. WSU is coming off a comeback home win over Oregon State. The Trojan offense, led by the hot hand of QB Matt Leinart, features dangerous receivers like Mike Williams and Keary Colbert and productive runners like Hershel Dennis, Reggie Bush and LenDale White. USC's defense features dominating DE Kenechi Udeze, who leads the Wild Bunch II line, and shut-down CB Will Poole. Then there's the nation's best punter in Tom Malone. WSU counters with talented QB Matt Kegel and a defense that leads the Pac-10 in every statistical category. After WSU, USC has a bye the following week. The game--in front of what could be the largest crowd ever to see a USC-WSU contest--will be shown live regionally on ABC-TV.
USC is ranked third by AP and USA Today/ESPN. Washington State is sixth in both polls.
USC leads its series with Washington State, which dates back to 1921, 50-8-4. The Trojans have won 27 of the last 31 meetings (and 33 of the past 38), but the Cougars have captured 3 of the last 5, including the past 2. USC is 35-5-2 versus WSU in Los Angeles. The Cougars have lost 24 of the last 27 in L.A, but have won the last 2 L.A. games.Last year in Pullman (after a year's hiatus in the series), PK Drew Dunning hit a 35-yard field goal with 1:50 to play to tie the game and then hit another 35-yarder in the first overtime to give No. 17 Washington State a wild 30-27 win over No. 18 USC. The loss snapped USC's 6-game Pac-10 winning streak and was only Troy's third loss ever in Pullman. Dunning's final field goal--his third of the contest--came after USC PK Ryan Killeen missed a 52-yarder in overtime. USC had battled back from a 24-14 deficit midway through the fourth quarter to take a 27-24 lead as QB Carson Palmer scored on a 3-yard scramble with 7:54 to go and then, after S Jason Leach's interception, Palmer hit WR Mike Williams on a 55-yard scoring bomb with 4:10 left (however, Killen's PAT kick was wide). WSU, using its spread offense, picked up 516 total yards (315 passing) against a Trojan defense that was ranked first nationally in total defense (205.0) and passing defense (101.0). WSU averaged 7.1 yards per play. Troy was productive, too, getting 453 total yards (5.5 yards per play), including 381 through the air, plus 28 first downs while holding the ball 33:58. Palmer hit 32-of-50 passes (both career highs) for 381 yards and 2 TDs (but he was sacked 4 times), with WR Kareem Kelly catching 8 passes for 66 yards and Williams getting 6 for 112 yards. USC drove 80 yards on the game's opening series, with TB Sultan McCullough (who ran for a team-best 62 yards on 13 carries overall) scoring on a 6-yard run. But WSU responded with a 48-yard Dunning field goal on its first possession and then a 3-yard TD pass from QB Jason Gesser to SE Mike Bush on its next series. Neither team scored again until the third quarter when WSU fumbled away the opening kickoff and USC capitalized with a 15-yard Palmer TD pass to TB Malaefou MacKenzie. However, on WSU's next play from scrimmage, RB Jermaine Green raced 75 yards for a touchdown to give the lead back to the Cougars. A 2-yard Gesser scoring pass to FL Devard Darling early in the final quarter upped WSU's lead to 24-14. Both teams squandered scoring opportunities earlier in the game (Palmer threw an interception in the end zone from 9 yards out and Killeen had a field goal try bounce off an upright, while WSU couldn't convert a fourth-and goal at the 1 and also missed a field goal). Gesser was 23-of-44 for 315 yards and the 2 TDs, while Green had a game-best 92 yards on 6 carries and RB John Tippins added 79 yards on 12 rushes. WR Jerome Riley caught 5 passes for 54 yards, while Bush (50 yards) and Darling (37 yards) each had 4 grabs. LB Matt Grootegoed led USC with 9 tackles and S DeShaun Hill added 8 (S Troy Polamalu sprained his ankle on WSU's first possession and only saw brief action late in the second half).
In 2000, in the teams' last meeting in the Coliseum, USC--hampered by turnovers, miscues, penalties, big plays and sacks--was eliminated from post-season bowl consideration as it dropped a 33-27 decision to Washington State. The loss guaranteed USC its first-ever last-place conference finish and gave the Cougars consecutive Coliseum wins over Troy for the first time ever. The Trojans fell behind 12-0 at halftime as FL Milton Wynn ran 25 yards for a touchdown on a reverse and then RB Jeremy Thielbahr pounced on a punt in the end zone that was blocked by MLB James Price, both in the second quarter. USC changed quarterbacks in the second half, as Mike Van Raaphorst--in his first action in 13 games--replaced an ineffective Carson Palmer, who was 12-of-26 for 145 yards and an interception. Van Raaphorst seemingly energized the Trojans and led them to a score (a 34-yard TD pass to WR Kareem Kelly) on the opening drive of the second half. He then drove USC to the Cougar 11 on Troy's next possession, but the Trojans couldn't convert on fourth-and-1. On WSU's ensuing play, QB Matt Kegel--making his first-ever start--hit WR Marcus Williams for an 88-yard TD (it was the longest pass against USC since 1992 and the second longest in Cougar history). Then, early in the fourth quarter, Van Raaphorst lost the ball as he was sacked and DE D.D. Acholonu raced 35 yards with the fumble for a TD. But USC closed to within 26-20, first when LB Zeke Moreno raced 56 yards for a TD with a fumble with 9:05 to go and then when Troy drove 95 yards on 14 plays, capped by Van Raaphorst's 30-yard scoring pass to WR Steve Stevenson with 4:28 left. USC forced a WSU punt on the next series, but turned the ball over on downs deep in its territory, leading to TB Dave Minnich's 2-yard TD run at 1:42. USC finished the scoring on Van Raaphorst's 21-yard TD pass to WR Keary Colbert at the gun. USC had the statistical edge, getting more total yards (470-372), first downs (29-18), total plays (95-70; USC's most plays in a game since getting 96 against Arizona State in 1988) and possession time (32:15-27:45). But the Trojans had 3 turnovers (2 led to WSU touchdowns and the other was a fumble out of the end zone as Kelly was tackled just short of the goal line in the first quarter), were penalized 13 times for 123 yards (same as WSU) and gave up 6 sacks. Van Raaphorst was 17-of-28 for 234 yards with the 3 TDs (tying a career best) and Kelly caught a game-high 7 passes for a team-best 114 yards. For WSU, Kegel was 12-of-32 for 242 yards, Minnich ran for a game-best 88 yards on 20 carries and Williams had 4 grabs for a game-leading 126 yards.
USC has a 51-24-4 record in its Homecoming games, dating back to the first such event in 1924.
USC has a 216-121-20 (.633) all-time record while playing in the month of November. USC head coach Pete Carroll is 7-0 in November while at Troy.
VERSUS RANKED WSU
This is just the seventh time that USC has played a Washington State team ranked by AP. On the first 5 occasions (1942, 1981, 1989, 1992 and 1994), the Trojans were victorious. But USC lost to a ranked Cougar squad last year.
USC has been ranked in the AP Top 10 for its past 14 games, its longest string since 34 in a row in 1978-80. The Trojans have been in the AP Top 5 in 7 of the last 11 polls.
At 7-1, USC is off to its best start since the 1988 team began at 8-0.
HOME WIN STREAK
The Trojans have captured their last 12 home games (with 2 shutouts). That's USC's longest Coliseum win streak since getting 19 in a row during the 1931 through 1933 campaigns.
IN THE COLISEUM
USC has a 371-122-27 (.739) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923.
USC has 3 players who prepped in Washington--TB David Kirtman of Mercer Island HS, P Tommy Huff of Bellevue HS and TB Sean Kelly of Bellarmine Prep--while the Cougars have 35 California natives...USC LB Melvin Simmons played linebacker at Washington State in 1999 and 2000 (he started in 2000)...USC PK Mario Danelo's father, Joe, was a placekicker at Washington State (1972-74)...USC OT Kyle Williams' uncle, Eric Williams, was a 3-year letterman defensive lineman (1981-83) at Washington State, earning All-Pac-10 first team honors in 1983...USC LB-S Dallas Sartz' grandfather, also named Dallas, was a Golden Gloves boxer at Washington State...USC secondary coach Greg Burns was a 4-year letterman (1991-93, 1995) at Washington State, where he started at defensive back for 2 seasons.
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. USC--which has 3 byes in 2003--faces 8 teams that played in bowls last season, including 3 ranked in the final AP Top 20. USC currently has the nation's 14th most difficult 2003 schedule, according to the current USA Today/Sagarin ranking. The Trojans opened at SEC power Auburn, ranked No. 6 at the time. Then, after hosting BYU and Hawaii, USC ventured 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).
QB Matt Leinart threw 4 TD passes, including a pair to TB Reggie Bush, to guide No. 4 USC to a convincing 43-23 win at Washington before a capacity crowd of 72,015 and a regional ABC-TV audience. Troy's 43 points were the third most ever in the series. It was USC's first win in Seattle since 1993. Leinart exactly duplicated his previous week's 351-yard, 4 TD, no interception performance (at Notre Dame) while hitting 19-of-29 passes. Bush had a USC freshman record 270 all-purpose yards, including 132 on 5 receptions (the most receiving yards ever by a Trojan running back), plus 81 yards on 12 carries and 57 yards on 2 kickoff returns. After TB Kenny James ran 15 yards for a TD to open the scoring midway through the first quarter, USC tallied the next 20 points on its next 3 possessions: a 20-yard Leinart pass to WR Keary Colbert, a 57-yard interception return by CB Ronald Nunn and a 21-yard run by TB LenDale White. The Huskies scored just before the half on a 10-yard pass from QB Cody Pickett to WR Reggie Williams to close to 20-14. But the Trojans opened the second half with a score (Bush raced 60 yards with a Leinart strike) on the initial drive. UW countered with a 40-yard field goal by PK Evan Knudson, but USC PK Ryan Killeen hit a 20-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Then, FB Brandon Hancock (52 yards) and Bush (37 yards) took Leinart tosses into the end zone on USC's first drives of the fourth quarter to seal the victory (Pickett ran 2 yards for a TD late in the game). USC amassed 565 total yards (getting 7.8 per play), including 214 on the ground. TB Hershel Dennis had a game-best 98 yards on 14 carries. CB Will Poole had a USC-best 9 tackles, while S Jason Leach and DE Frostee Rucker each added 8 stops. DE Kenechi Udeze had 5 tackles, of which 2.5 were for losses (including a sack, where he forced a fumble) and he added a deflection, while Nunn also recovered a fumble to go with his pick. Washington had 360 total yards (just 86 rushing) as Pickett was 22-of-42 for 274 yards. UW's Williams had 9 catches for 115 yards (all in the first half), while James rushed for 58 yards on 13 carries.
FUN FACT I
This is the first time ever that USC has played Washington and then Washington State in consecutive games. However, on 5 occasions (1957-69-71-89-96), the Trojans met WSU first and then UW in the following game.
FUN FACT II
The attendance for Saturday's USC-WSU game (expected to be 70,000-plus) could be the most to ever see a USC-WSU game (68,282 in 1946).
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 24-9 (72.7%) as a college head coach (all at USC); his losses were by a total of 42 points (4.7 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 22-4 (84.6%). 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). USC--which beat Iowa in the Orange Bowl--posted 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, 24, 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 (148-of-237, 62.4%, 2,175 yds, 21 TD, 7 int in 2003) emerged with an ever-so-slight edge--despite never having thrown a pass at USC while seeing brief action in 3 games in 2002--and 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). In fact, there appears to be little--if any--dropoff from last season's passing production (see table below). In his last 4 games (Arizona State, Stanford, Notre Dame, Washington), Leinart has thrown for 1,251 yards and 13 TDs with just 1 interception on 66.4% passing (75-of-113). He has a current streak of 104 consecutive passes without an interception. He currently is eighth nationally in passing efficiency (162.9, first in Pac-10)making him the highest rated sophomore in the countryand 23rd in total offense (268.5, fourth in Pac-10). His 148 completions is 16th on the USC season list and 19th on the Trojan career ladder. His 2,148 yards of total offense is 14th on the USC season chart. He has passed for more touchdowns (21) than any sophomore in USC history, he is the first USC soph to have back-to-back 300-yard passing games and he is just the fifth USC soph to have thrown for 2,000 yards in a season (joining Palmer, Rodney Peete, Todd Marinovich and Rob Johnson). Backing him now is heralded freshman John David Booty (2-of-5, 40.0%, 18 yds in 2003), 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. Booty rose to the No. 2 role by mid-season. Also available are junior Brandon Hance (1-of-2, 50.0%, 13 yds in 2003), 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). Also able to take snaps is walk-on freshman Michael McDonald, the son of ex-USC All-American Paul McDonald.
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 (98 tcb, team-high 465 yds, 4.7 avg, 3 TD in 2003, plus 8 rec, 57 yds, 7.1 avg, 1 TD). 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 LenDale White (86 tcb, 392 yds, 4.6 avg, 8 TD in 2003, plus 2 rec, 8 yds, 4.0 avg and 2 tac), who emerged by midseason as USC's top runner, plus Reggie Bush (52 tcb, 320 yds, 6.2 avg, 3 TD in 2003, plus 8 rec, 192 yds, 24.0 yds, 2 TD and team-best 7 KOR, 168 yds, 24.0 avg) and Chauncey Washington (19 tcb, 65 yds, 3.4 avg in 2003, plus 1 rec, 6 yds, 6.0 avg and 3 tac) and, plus frosh Jody Adewale. Bush has had 11 plays of 20-plus yards in 2003 out of 67 touches (rushes of 23, 27 and 58 yards, receptions of 28, 37 and 38, and kickoff returns of 23, 25, 30, 34 and 35). Dennis and Bush are speedy, darting runners, while Washington and White are known as the 'The Bruise Brothers.' Combined in 2003, USC's 4 young tailbacks--Dennis, White, Bush and Washington--have 1,242 rushing yards (155.3 per game) and 14 rushing TDs (plus 3 receiving TDs). Prep All-American Whitney Lewis (3 tcb, 11 yds, 3.7 avg in 2003, plus 1 rec, 2 yds, 2.0 avg) came to USC as a wide receiver, but so far in 2003 he has mainly played as a running back, first at fullback (usually in motion) and then at tailback. Also available are 3 walk-ons: sophomore converted safety Andre Woodert (1 tcb, -3 yds, -3.0 avg in 2003) and freshmen John Griffin and Sean Kelly.
With Malaefou MacKenzie gone, a new fullback must emerge. Sophomore Brandon Hancock (9 rec, 141 yds, 15.7 avg, 1 TD in 2003, plus 1 tac), who started twice last fall, was slated to be the starter, but an ankle sprain in fall camp slowed him in USC's first 3 games of 2003. So junior Lee Webb (6 tac in 2003), who also has played linebacker at USC, assumed the starting job until Hancock returned to the starting lineup in the fifth game. Sophomore David Kirtman (2 rec, 8 yds, 4.0 avg in 2003) sees action as a backup. Walk-on redshirt freshmen Mike Brittingham, a converted safety, and Morgan Craig, a one-time quarterback, also are in the mix.
COLBERT AND WILLIAMS
Even though USC career reception leader Kareem Kelly--he had 204 catches, including 46 last fall, and set an NCAA record by catching a pass in 47 consecutive games--is 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 (40 rec, 649 yds, 16.2 avg, 6 TD in 2002, plus 2 tcb, 17 yds, 8.5 avg) starts for his fourth season. He has caught a pass in 31 consecutive outings. He is third on USC's career receptions ladder with 178 grabs (12th 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 2,600 career receiving yards is 16th on the all-time Pac-10 list. He has 5 100-yard receiving games in his career (2 in 2003). Even if Colbert breaks Kelly's reception mark, Keyshawn-esque sophomore Mike Williams (54 rec, 786 yds, 14.6 avg, 8 TD in 2003, plus 1 tcb, 17 yds, 17.0 avg and 1 tac) is poised to shatter the standard before his career concludes. He already is seventh on USC's career receptions list (135) and has 10 100-yard receiving games in his young career (5 times in 2003). He has caught 22 touchdowns in his 21-game career (and he has had multiple TD games 6 times, including twice getting a USC game record-tying 3 TDs). Only Kevin Williams (25), Johnnie Morton and R. Jay Soward (23 each) have more career TD catches at USC. He is averaging a touchdown every 6.3 times he touches the ball (22 TDs on 139 touches, including his 3 rushes and 1 pass attempt). He currently is 10th nationally in receiving yards (98.3, second in Pac-10 and is tied for 14th nationally in receptions (6.8, second in the Pac-10). His 8 TD catches is most in the Pac-10 in 2003. His 54 catches in 2003 is tied for 14th on the USC season ladder. His 135 career catches puts him 51st on the Pac-10 list and his 2,040 career receiving yards is 53rd on the Pac-10 chart. 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.
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 (1 tac in 2003) 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 (1 rec, 6 yds, 6.0 avg in 2003, plus 2 KOR, 24 yds, 12.0 avg), sophomores Greig Carlson (team-best 13 PR, 128 yds, 9.8 avg in 2003) and William Buchanon (3 tac, 1 dfl, 1 int in 2003), who came to USC as a receiver before moving to cornerback in 2002 (he switched back to receiver by this mid-season), and sure-handed redshirt freshman Chris McFoy (1 rec, 15 yds, 15.0 avg in 2003). Carlson, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship this spring, was USC's top punt returner in 2002 (177 yards). 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 (3 rec, 33 yds, 11.0 avg in 2003, plus 1 tcb, 8 yds, 8.0 avg).
USC began 2003 well-stocked at tight end, with a returning starter and a pair of experienced backups. But that returning starter--senior 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 is redshirting. In his place, sophomore Dominique Byrd (14 rec, 268 yds, 19.1 avg in 2003) took over and was impressive, but he is out for the season with a mid-season knee injury. Playing often behind (or with) Byrd was junior Gregg Guenther Jr. (9 rec, 65 yds, 7.2 avg, 1 TD in 2003, plus 1 blk FG), who started once last fall and now has assumed the starting role this season. USC's tallest player at 6-8, he also stars on the Trojans men's basketball squad. Then there are redshirt freshmen Kurt Katnik (1 rec, 13 yds, 13.0 avg in 2003, plus 1 tac), 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. Junior Matt Cassel (6-of-13, 46.2%, 63 yds in 2003), Carson Palmer's backup at quarterback the past 2 seasons who had thrown just 6 passes in his career before this year, moved over to tight end this mid-season (he made a similar mid-season move to wide receiver in 2001).
The 2003 version of USC's offensive line might be Troy's best in years. Players returned at 4 positions--only 4-year starting right guard Zach Wilson is gone--and there are some big-potential younger players angling for time. Both tackles returned and they're good ones: senior Jacob Rogers, a 3-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 4-year starter, returned at left guard (he also has started at center in his career), while reliable center Norm Katnik, another 3-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, captured the starting job at Wilson's right guard spot for the first half of 2003. 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 finally contributing in 2003 after missing the first 4 games of the season. 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 (he has seen considerable action in 2003 at tackle and guard, even now emerging as a starter the second half of this season), 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.
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 veterans--each could win 2003 post-season honors--return 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 (19 tac, 5.5 for loss, 3 sack, 2 FR, 1 int for a TD in 2003) and junior Kenechi Udeze (34 tac, team-high 13 for loss, team-best 8.5 sack, 4 FF, 2 dfl, 1 blk FG in 2003). Udeze, a 3-year starter, set a USC record with his Pac-10 leading 6 forced fumbles in 2002 (he has 13 forced fumbled fumbles in his career). He currently is ninth nationally in sacks (1.1, second in Pac-10), tied for 10th in forced fumbles (0.4, second in Pac-10) and tied for 20th in tackles for loss (1.5, tied for fourth in Pac-10). In the past 3 games, Udeze has 6 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Also back is junior Mike Patterson (36 tac, 10 for loss, 5 sack, 2 FR 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 (14 tac, 6.5 for loss, 5 sack, 1 dfl, 1 blk FG 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 (2 tac in 2003) and sophomore converted linebacker Frostee Rucker (20 tac, 2.5 for loss, 0.5 sack, 1 int, 1 dfl, 1 FF, 1 FR in 2003), who sat out last year after transferring from Colorado State, and at tackle are soph LaJuan Ramsey (5 tac, 2.5 for loss, 1.5 sack, 1 FF in 2003) and redshirt freshman Travis Tofi (3 tac, 1 for loss, 1 dfl, 1 sack for a safety in 2003). Then there's junior walk-on Jay Bottom (2 tac in 2003) at end. Six new players enrolled at USC this fall as freshmen. The ends are prep All-Americans Chris Barrett (he's out with a shoulder injury), Lawrence Jackson and Alex Morrow, while the tackles are prep All-Americans Sedrick Ellis (he's sidelined with a foot injury) and Manuel Wright (2 tac, 1 for loss in 2003), plus Ryan Watson.
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.' Collegefootballnews.com: 'If this isn't the best defensive line in America, 'The Wild Bunch II' is No. 1A...Omar Nazel, Kenechi Udeze, Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody should be a brick wall.' Tom Dienhart, The Sporting News: 'Southern California has the nation's best defense. No doubt, Oklahoma's defense is formidable, but the Trojans' unit is better. It starts with the best line in the nation, aptly named the 'Wild Bunch II.'Pat Haden, NBC-TV: 'Mike Patterson is like hair in the sink. He just kind of clogs things up.'
USC is solid at the outside linebacker spots, as junior Matt Grootegoed (40 tac, 4.5 for loss, 1.5 sack, 1 dfl, 1 FR, 2 FF in 2003) returns on the strong side and senior Melvin Simmons (42 tac, 8 for loss, 2 FR, 1 dfl in 2003) is back on the weak side. Grootegoed, a 3-year starter and 2003 post-season honors candidate who has a knack for always being around the ball, is 1 of 11 semifinalists for the 2003 Butkus Award (the only Pac-10 selection). He 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 Pollard--a 2-year starter who had 49 stops last year--has departed. The starter is sophomore Lofa Tatupu (team-high 53 tac, 8.5 for loss, 3 sack, 6 dfl, 1 int for a TD 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 currently is tied for 20th nationally in tackles for loss (1.5, tied for fourth in Pac-10). He is backed by junior Daniel Urquhart (20 tac in 2003), a converted defensive end (he's been sidelined with a neck nerve injury). Then there's sophomore Oscar Lua, who tore knee ligaments prior to the Orange Bowl and missed spring practice (he had surgery on his other knee early this fall and is sidelined). Other linebackers from last year's roster looking to get in the mix are junior Bobby Otani (5 tac in 2003) and sophomore Dallas Sartz (23 tac, 1.5 for loss in 2003), who can also play safety, plus walk-on sophomore Collin Ashton (10 tac in 2003). Prep All-American Thomas Williams, along with Salo Faraimo (8 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.
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 (29 tac, 1 int, 3 dfl, 2 FF in 2003, plus 6 KOR, 136 yds, 22.7 avg) returned as a starter. The Trojans are 13-1 when he starts in the secondary. 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 (20 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 1 int for a TD, 2 dfl, team-high 3 FR with 1 for a TD in 2003) and sophomore William Buchanon (3 tac, 1 dfl, 1 int in 2003). Arbet--who started 4 times in 2000 and was an All-Pac-10 first teamer as a special teams player in 2001--won the job going into 2003 and started the first 2 games, but his foot injury flared up and has sidelined him the rest of this year. So Will Poole (48 tac, 2.5 for loss, 1 FF, team-best 3 int, team-high 10 dfl in 2003), a senior who started at Boston College in 2000 before earning J.C. All-American laurels last fall and then enrolling at USC this fall, has taken his place. Poole currently is tied for 11th nationally in deflections (1.7, first in Pac-10). He is backed by Nunn, while Buchanon moved back over to wide receiver by this mid-season. 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 (48 tac, 1 for loss, 3 dfl, 2 int with 1 for a TD 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 (43 tac, 2 for loss, 1 FR, 1 int, 3 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). Other cornerbacks back from last year's group are sophomores John Walker (3 tac, 1 dfl in 2003) and Justin Wyatt (2 tac in 2003, plus 3 rec, 20 yds, 6.7 avg and 2 KOR, 38 yds, 19.0 avg), who began his career as a corner but moved to wide receiver in 2003 spring drills (he switched back to cornerback this mid-season), and walk-on sophomore Alex Gomez. Identical twin freshmen cornerbacks Brandon Ting (1 tac in 2003) and Ryan Ting (1 tac in 2003), 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 (9 tac in 2003), plus 5 walk-ons in seniors Greg Farr (2 tac in 2003) and top special teams player Forrest Mozart and juniors Chris Bocage (1 tac in 2003), who is out with a knee injury, Matt Lemos and Kyle Matthews. This fall, joining the fray were 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).
Sophomore Tom Malone (49.1 avg in 2003) has proven to be one of the nation's top punters. He currently leads the nation in punting (49.1, first in Pac-10)--for the fifth consecutive week--and is aiming to become only the second Trojan to lead the country in punting (Des Koch did so in 1952 with a 43.5 average). However, because of the efficiency of USC's offense, unless he punts 4 times against WSU this week, he will fall out of the national rankings because he will not have the required 3.6 punts per game minimum. His 49.1 punting average is way above Jim Wren's USC season record of 45.6, set in 1996 (and close to the Pac-10 season record of 49.3 set by UCLA's Kirk Wilson in 1956). So far in 2003, 19 of his 29 punts have gone at least 50 yards and 17 have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line. 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 (13-of-17 FG, 38-of-39 PAT in 2003, plus 2 tac) is in his second year as the placekicker. He currently is tied for 13th nationally in scoring (9.6, second in Pac-10) and is 15th in field goals (1.6, third in Pac-10). So far in 2003, 19 of his 60 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 snappers--seniors 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 tight end-quarterback Matt Cassel the backup. USC's top punt returner--sophomore wide receiver Greig Carlson (team-best 13 PR, 128 yds, 9.8 avg in 2003)--and kickoff returner--soph tailback Hershel Dennis--from 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)handled the chore before being sidelined with an injury, so Carlson and sophomore cornerback-wide receiver Justin Wyatt (1 PR, 0 yds, 0.0 avg in 2003) have taken over. Arbet and senior cornerback Marcell Allmond (6 KOR, 136 yds, 22.7 avg in 2003) were the kickoff returners in 2003 before Arbet's injury. So joining Allmond now are freshman tailback Reggie Bush (team-best 7 KOR, 168 yds, 24.0 avg in 2003) and Wyatt (2 KOR, 38 yds, 19.0 avg in 2003).
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 +1.1 in turnover margin (tied for ninth in the U.S., second in the Pac-10) by getting 12 interceptions and 12 fumbles. 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.
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.
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), WR-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 316 times, including 182 of the past 184 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
JODY ADEWALE--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.'
SALO FARAIMO--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 WRIGHT--He 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), TE-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.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE
Washington State, under rookie coach Bill Doba, has won its last 6 games (including a 36-30 comeback victory versus Oregon State last Saturday), with its only loss coming in overtime at Notre Dame. WSU has won 10 of its last 11 Pac-10 road contests. The Cougars have an explosive offense and a staunch defense, plus a potent kicking game. WSU is 15th nationally in passing offense (295.0, first in Pac-10) and 22nd in scoring offense (33.3, second in Pac-10). Senior QB Matt Kegel (158-of-287, 55.1%, 2,231 yds, 16 TD, 9 int in 2003)20th nationally in total offense (275.9, second in Pac-10)directs the offense, throwing to the likes of junior FL Devard Darling (31 rec, 575 yds, 18.5 avg, 4 TD in 2003), redshirt freshman FL Chris Jordan (24 rec, 307 yds, 12.8 avg, 2 TD in 2003), sophomore TE Troy Bienemann (21 rec, 192 yds, 9.1 avg, 1 TD in 2003) and senior SE Sammy Moore (18 rec, 428 yds, 23.8 avg, 4 TD in 2003, and 28 PR, 232 yds, 8.3 avg and 12 KOR, 348 yds, 29.0 avg, 1 TD). Moore is sixth nationally in kickoff returns (29.0, first in Pac-10). Senior RB Jonathan Smith (121 tcb, 515 yds, 4.3 avg, 5 TD in 2003, plus 18 rec, 175 yds, 9.7 avg rec and 5 KOR, 87 yds, 17.4 avg) is dangerous as a runner and receiver. The Cougar defense--tops in the Pac-10 in every category--ranks third nationally in rushing defense (68.1), fourth in pass efficiency defense (94.1), 18th in scoring defense (16.9) and 18th in total defense (303.8). Plus, WSU is tied for third nationally in turnover margin (+1.5, first in Pac-10), getting 31 turnovers (18 interceptions and 13 fumbles). Soph ILB Will Derting (52 tac, 9 for loss, 6.5 sack, 1 dfl, 1 FR, 2 FF in 2003) headlines the defense, along with seniors such as senior FS Erik Coleman (51 tac, 1 for loss, 4 int, 2 dfl, 1 FR, 1 FF in 2003), MLB Don Jackson (50 tac, 4 for loss, 2 sack, 1 int, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2003) and CB Jason David (29 tac, 5 int, 10 dfl, 1 FF in 2003), who has 15 career interceptions. Senior PK Drew Dunning (19-of-21 FG, 23-of-26 PAT in 2003) is second nationally in field goals (2.4, first in Pac-10) and tied for ninth in scoring (10.0, first in Pac-10).
It's Homecoming at USC, with activities beginning on campus at noon...Trojan fans attending the game are urged to show their Trojan spirit by wearing cardinal to the game...The first 15,000 fans will receive a free water bottle holder in the shape of a USC jersey...The ADT National Championship Trophy, which appears on the sidelines at key national games during the season, will be displayed on the field during the game...The USC men's basketball team, finalists in the past 2 Pac-10 tournaments, will be recognized during the Team Trojan Spotlight...Senior 5-time All-American diver Nicci Fusaro, a fine arts major with a 3.71 GPA who has won a pair of Pac-10 titles, will be honored during the Verizon Academic Salute.
USC WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL
Following the USC-WSU football game, the top-ranked USC women's volleyball team will host Washington State on Saturday (Nov. 1) at 8 p.m. in the Lyon Center on campus.
OUT: TE Dominique Byrd (knee), DT Sedrick Ellis (ankle), LB Marco Chavez (foot), DE Chris Barrett (shoulder), S Chris Bocage (knee), LB Oscar Lua (knee), CB Kevin Arbet (foot), TE Alex Holmes (back), WR D. Hale (ankle), S Terrell Thomas (shoulder), CB Eric Wright (hamstring).QUESTIONABLE: CB Ronald Nunn (eye socket), TB-S Andre Woodert (shoulder), LB Daniel Urquhart (neck).PROBABLE: LB Matt Grootegoed (ankle), DE Omar Nazel (thumb), S Mike Ross (ankle), WR Chris McFoy (ankle).