The Secret Weapon

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In his first year as a starter, sophomore punter Kris Albarado has spearheaded the Trojans defensive resurgence by pinning the opponent deep in its own end.  In fact, Albarado leads the nation with 19 punts downed inside the opponent's 20.

Here are the FBS leaders:

Albarado-AZ-McG.jpg1. Kris Albarado, USC 19
2. Mike Sadler, Michigan St. 18
3t. Sean Kelly, Fla. Atlantic 17
3t. Tom Hackett, Utah 17

Digging deeper into the stat, Albarado differentiates himself even further.  The Louisiana native has just one touchback on the season, while Sadler has 6, and Kelly and Hackett have 3 each.

Additionally, he is just small margins away from growing that already impressive number with one punt being stopped at the 20, three on the 21, one on the 22 and one on the 23.

In its history, USC has had only one All-American punter, Tom Malone.  While Malone earned his reputation as "The Bomb" by blasting the ball 49 yards per punt in a record-setting 2003 season, Albarado strikes with more precision at the request of special teams coach John Baxter. 

Thanks to Albarado, the Trojans have benefited in terms of field position, but they also do not give up anything in the punt return game.  On the season, USC has allowed the opposition only 9 punt returns for a total of 42 yards.

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