USC Football Looks To Bounce Back Against Oregon State

Oct. 28, 2007

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It's Homecoming at USC...and it's a welcome homecoming for the No. 13/15 Trojan football team, which is taking a quick break from 4 road games in a 5-game span. Troy will try to rebound from a tough loss at Oregon last weekend and again goes after the 750th victory in program history. It's the Beavers' first visit to the Coliseum since 2003, and the stadium is sold out. Although USC holds an overwhelming lead in its series with OSU, the Beavers have won 2 of the past 6 meetings, including last year's stunner in Corvallis. But Oregon State hasn't won in the Coliseum since 1960. USC head coach Pete Carroll, the nation's winningest active coach, has never lost a game in the all-important month of November (he's 20-0). This is the 74th consecutive game that USC has been in the AP Top 25. USC's year-long injury bug appears to finally be letting up a bit and now the Trojans would like for their other 2007 bugaboos--turnover the ball over and penalties--to slow down. USC's quarterback saga continues this week: will energetic Mark Sanchez start for his fourth straight game or will the broken finger of John David Booty (who is in the school's career Top 10 in passing and total offense) be healed enough for him to return to the lineup? TE Fred Davis, a Mackey Award candidate who continues to lead the nation's tight ends in yards per catch, is in USC's career receiving Top 20. The Trojan running attack--with such tailbacks as Chauncey Washington, Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight--is much improved over a year ago, thanks in part to the blocking of such linemen as 2-time All-American OT Sam Baker (a 2007 Lombardi Award semifinalist). USC's defense has been its strength, as statistically the Trojans are in the national Top 10 in every category (including fourth in total defense). It features All-American DT Sedrick Ellis and DE Lawrence Jackson (he has 24 career sacks) on the line, the nation's premier linebacking corps led by LB Keith Rivers (a 2007 Butkus Award semifinalist) and a secondary with CB Terrell Thomas, S Taylor Mays and S Kevin Ellison. Oregon State, riding a 3-game winning streak (including over Trojan-beater Stanford last week), comes to the Coliseum under former USC assistant Mike Riley. TB Yvenson Bernard is high on the school's career rushing and all-purpose running lists and could soon enter the Pac-10's all-time Top 10 rushing chart. The Beavers' defense is in the national Top 15 in total defense, including first in rushing defense and sacks. PK/P Alexis Serna won the Groza Award in 2005. The game will be shown live nationally on ABC-TV.

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