USC Football Hosts Arizona State Looking For 400th Coliseum Win

Oct. 5, 2008

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No. 8/9 USC stays at home for the second week in a row, as it hosts Arizona State in the sold-out Coliseum. Troy has captured the last 8 meetings in this young series with ASU (the Trojans have played the Sun Devils less than any other league foe). USC is going after its 400th Coliseum victory. The Trojans scored a big bounce-back victory at home last Saturday over Oregon. USC has posted 6 consecutive seasons of AP Top 4 finishes, BCS bowl trips, Pac-10 titles and 11 wins. This is the 83rd consecutive game that USC has been in the AP Top 25. USC's Pete Carroll is college football's winningest active coach (84.0%). The Trojans are Top 20 ranked in total offense, scoring offense, passing offense and passing efficiency. QB Mark Sanchez is the Pac-10's passing efficiency leader and has already thrown 13 10 touchdown passes. USC's tailbacks corps includes Joe McKnight, C.J. Gable and Stafon Johnson, while its group of pass catchers includes WRs Damian Williams, Patrick Turner and Ronald Johnson. Veteran OG-C Jeff Byers, an Academic All-American candidate in his second year in the M.B.A. program, anchors an offensive line that has given up just 4 sacks. USC's defense, which ranks in the national Top 25 in every statistical catergory (fourth in total defense) and leads the nation in tackles for a loss, features Butkus Award candidates Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing at linebacker and Thorpe Award nominees Taylor Mays (a 2007 All-American first teamer) and Kevin Ellison at safety. ASU has dropped its past 3 games, including at California last weekend. Dennis Erickson, in his second year as ASU's head coach, has guided 3 different Pac-10 teams against USC, but is just 1-5 against the Trojans. The Sun Devils feature an offense that moves primarily through the air, relying heavily on the arm of veteran QB Rudy Carpenter. He is the Pac-10's total offense leader this season and ranks among its career leaders in touchdown passes, passing yards and total offense. He throws to a corps of talented receivers, including WRs Michael Jones, Kerry Taylor, Chris McGaha and Kyle Williams (he's also a dangerous returner), while TB Dimitri Nance gets most of the carries. Top ASU defenders include LBs Mike Nixon and Travis Goethel, plus DE Dexter Davis, who has created havoc in opponents' backfields this season. P/PK Thomas Williams, the 2007 All-Pac-10 first team placekicker as just a freshman, is a threat on special teams. The game will be shown live regionally on ABC-TV. The 2009 class of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame will be announced at halftime. The USC women's volleyball team hosts Washington in the Galen Center following the football game in a match between a pair of highly-ranked squads.

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