No. 1-Ranked USC Football Hosts Another Ranked And Undefeated Team, No. 15 Arizona State
Oct. 10, 2004
For the second week in a row, top-ranked and defending national champion USC hosts anundefeated, highly-ranked team when No. 15 Arizona State comes to town for an importantPac-10 battle. USC has won the last 4 games in this young series (the Trojans have played theSun Devils less than any other league foe). But Troy has never beaten a ranked Sun Devil team.It's been 13 years since USC has played consecutive Top 15 Pac-10 teams. The Trojans arecoming off a heart-stopping home win over then-No. 7 California, while ASU had a bye lastweekend following its win at Oregon. USC--victorious in 25 of its past 26 outings--has somelengthy winning streaks on the line: 14 consecutive games, as well as 17 straight Coliseumgames and 9 Pac-10 games in a row. Trojan Heisman Trophy candidate QB Matt Leinart lost hisfavorite receiver (WR Steve Smith) to a broken leg last week, so young WR Dwayne Jarrett andthe 'Thunder and Lightning' tailback duo of LenDale White and Reggie Bush must step up,among others. The Trojan defense--including such honors candidates as DTs Shaun Cody andMike Patterson and LBs Matt Grootegoed and Lofa Tatupu --ranks statistically among the country'sbest in most rankings, but the secondary in particular will be tested this week by ASU's pass-happyoffense. ASU features imposing QB Andrew Walter, who has thrown a school-record 70touchdowns in his career, and a defense that is in the Top 25 in every national stat category.Former Trojan 2-time All-American safety Mark Carrier is in his first year on the ASU coachingstaff. The Coliseum could be a sellout for the second consecutive week, which would be justthe second time that's happened in Trojan history (the other was in 1947 for UCLA and NotreDame). The 50,00,000 th fan to ever see a USC football game (home and away) will be inattendance and honored. The family of ex-Sun Devil and Arizona Cardinal star Pat Tillman willbe presented with an honorary Lott Trophy. The game will be shown live regionally on ABC-TV.
USC is ranked first by AP and USA Today/ESPN. Arizona State is ranked 15 th by AP and 19 th USA Today.
USC has an 11-9 edge in its series with ArizonaState and the Trojans have won the last 4meetings (the longest streak in the series). ASUis USC's newest and least played Pac-10 rival.In Los Angeles contests, USC is 5-4 (withthe wins in 1980-85-98-2001-02 and the lossesin 1983-86-91-99).
Last year at Arizona State, TB LenDaleWhite rushed for more yards than any truefreshman in USC history, QB Matt Leinart shookoff mid-game knee and ankle injuries and PKRyan Killeen hit 3 field goals to lead No. 10USC to a 37-17 win. White came off the benchto run for 140 yards (becoming only the seventhUSC first-year freshman to rush for 100yards) on 21 carries, scoring twice. Leinart,who missed most of the second quarter afterinjuring his knee and ankle, returned in thesecond half and ended up hitting 13-of-23passes for 289 yards and 2 TDs. The gamewas tied at 10-10 at halftime: first, Leinart hitwide-open WR Keary Colbert on a 57-yardscoring bomb on USC's first possession to capa 95-yard drive, then ASU responded on itsensuing series (QB Andrew Walter found WRSkyler Fulton for a 12-yard TD) before theteams traded second quarter field goals (a25-yarder by ASU PK Jesse Ainsworth at thetop of the quarter and a 45-yarder by Killeenwith 3 seconds to go in the half). The SunDevils scored again on their opening seriesof the second half on a 1-yard run by TB LorenWade, but the Trojans then scored the game'sfinal 27 points. First, White bounced outsidefor a 33-yard TD run on the following seriesand then, on fourth-and-1 late in the thirdquarter, Leinart hit FB Brandon Hancock on ashort pass and Hancock raced 33 yards for ascore. Killeen then nailed a pair of fourthquarter field goals (28 and 38 yards) on USC'snext 2 possessions-he was named Pac-10Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance-before White ran 6 yards on theTrojans' subsequent drive to finish the scor-ing.USC piled up 529 yards of total offense(including 198 rushing) and limited ASU to 366total yards (only 61 rushing, including just 3 inthe second half). Colbert (100 yards) and WRMike Williams (108 yards) each had 5 grabsto eclipse the century mark in receiving yards.QB Matt Cassel was 4-of-10 for 42 yards in reliefof Leinart in the second quarter. For ASU,which operated out of the no-huddle offensemost of the game, Walter completed 19-of-38passes for 305 yards, while WR Derek Hagancaught 8 aerials for 170 yards and TB HakimHill rushed for 74 yards on 27 carries. USC LBDaniel Urquhart got his first career start inplace on injured LB Lofa Tatupu and respondedwith a team-best 10 tackles, whileLB Matt Grootegoed had 9 stops (2 for losses)and S Jason Leach (who had an interception)and CB Will Poole each added 8 tackles. CBRonald Nunn recovered a fumble. USCposted 5 sacks, including 2.5 by DT ShaunCody.
In 2002 in the last meeting in the Coliseum,QB Carson Palmer threw 2 touchdownsand ran for another, while TB Justin Fargasrushed for 125 yards with a score and the Tro-jandefense allowed only 3 second-halfpoints, to help No. 8 USC to a 34-13 victoryover Arizona State. USC opened up a 20-3lead late in the second quarter on Palmerscoring tosses to WR Mike Williams (18 yards)and TE Alex Holmes (2 yards) and field goalsby PK Ryan Killeen (20 and 41 yards). ASUclosed to 20-13 following a 24-yard scoringpass from QB Andrew Walter to WR ShaunMcDonald late in the first half and PK MikeBarth's second field goal of the game (a 27-yarder at the end of the third quarter; he hada 22-yarder at the end of the first quarter).But USC responded with a pair of fourth quar-tertouchdowns on short runs by Fargas (3yards) and Palmer (2 yards). The Trojans piledup 434 total yards to ASU's 324 and held theball 35:15. Troy ran for a season-best 201 yardsagainst an ASU defense that was allowing just107.6 rushing yards. USC, which posted 4sacks, slowed down a Sun Devil offense thatwas averaging 34.4 points. ASU ran for just 27yards and converted only 3-of-14 third downs(and 0-of-2 fourth downs). Palmer completed20-of-34 passes for 214 yards. Fargas had histhird career 100-yard outing with his 125 yardson 26 carries. WR Keary Colbert had a game-best7 catches for 98 yards and Holmescaught a career-high 6 passes for 50 yards.CB Darrell Rideaux and S DeShaun Hill eachhad 6 tackles, with Hill and LB Melvin Simmonsgetting interceptions and DE Kenechi Udezerecovering a fumble. Walter hit 24-of-49throws for 297 yards, but was picked off twice.
The Trojans have captured their last 17 homegames (with 3 shutouts). That's USC's longestColiseum win streak since getting 19 in a rowduring the 1931 through 1933 campaigns.Besides that Pac-10 leading 16-game homewinning streak, USC also has the longest cur-rentPac-10 win streaks for overall games (14),Pac-10 games (9) and road games (8). Troy's14-game winning streak is the second long-estin the nation (behind Boise State's 16) andis USC's longest since capturing 15 in a rowover the 1976 and 1977 seasons (USC's nextlongest is a school record 25 consecutive from1931 to 1933). The 9-game Pac-10 win streakis USC's longest since 19 consecutive in 1987-89. The 8-game road winning streak is theTrojans' longest since 14 in a row in 1978-80.
USC has been ranked in the AP Top 10 for itspast 24 games, its longest string since 34 in arow in 1978-80. The Trojans have been in theAP Top 5 in 20 of the last 24 polls. USC hasbeen AP's No. 1 team in the last 9 polls.
RECORD WHEN NO. 1
USC has a 41-4-2 (.894) record in games whenit is ranked No. 1 by AP. When a No. 1-rankedTrojan team faced a ranked opponent, it hasgone 15-2-1 (.861), with the losses versus Okla-homain 1963 and Alabama in 1977 and thetie with Oklahoma in 1973. When a No. 1 USCsquad played an unranked opponent, it went26-2-1 (.914), with the losses at Oregon Statein 1967 and versus Arizona in 1981 and the tiewith Stanford in 1979.
USC has a 273-104-19 (.713) all-time recordwhile playing in the month of October.
IN THE COLISEUM
USC has a 376-122-27 (.742) all-time record inthe Coliseum since the stadium opened in1923.
1979 DÉJÀ VU?
There were numerous similarities betweenlast year's national champion Trojans andthe USC team from 25 years earlier, the1978 national champs. This year, againthere are many coincidental repeats be-tweenthe 2004 Trojans and the USC teamfrom 25 years earlier, the 1979 squad thatwent 11-0-1 and finished No. 2 in the polls.As in 2004, that 1979 team was a pre-sea-sonNo. 1 coming off a controversial splitnational title shared with an SEC team(Alabama) and a Rose Bowl win over aTop 5 Michigan team, and was led by ahead coach in his fourth year at the helm(John Robinson). More similarities for bothteams: an opening win against a 'Tech'team (Texas Tech, Virginia Tech), an effi-cientleft-handed quarterback in his sec-ondyear as a starter (Paul McDonald,Matt Leinart) who set the school seasontouchdown pass record the previous year,a running back named White (Charles,who wore 12, and LenDale, who is No. 21),a player named Mike McDonald (thisyear's Mike is the son of the 1979 quarter-back,Paul), a highly-touted freshman re-ceiverfrom New Jersey (Timmy White,Dwayne Jarrett), a top Heisman candi-date(Charles White, Matt Leinart) and aNo. 1-ranked recruiting class. Also, eerily,the previous season for both squads fea-tureda Heisman winner from Oklahomawho returned for his final year (Billy Sims,Jason White).