USC Football Hosts Nebraska In 2006 Home Opener|
Sept. 10, 2006
No. 4/2 USC and No. 19 Nebraska, two of the nation's traditional football powers, are meeting for the first time since 1970. Between them, the schools have won 16 national championships, appeared in 87 bowl games and produced 10 Heisman Trophy winners. It's the home opener for USC, which is riding a Pac-10 record 27-game winning streak in the Coliseum. The 92,000-seat stadium is sold out for an unprecedented fifth consecutive contest...and it's Troy's eighth consecutive sellout, home and away. The Trojans have won 46 of their last 48 games. It will be a matchup between teams guided by former NFL head coaches, USC's Pete Carroll (Jets, Patriots) and Nebraska's Bill Callahan (Raiders). Carroll's 84.8% winning percentage is the best of any active coach with at least 5 years experience. Under Carroll, the Trojans have had an AP Top 4 finish (including national championships in 2003 and 2004), a BCS bowl appearance and a Pac-10 championship in each of the previous 4 seasons. And Troy has scored at least 20 points in its last 53 games, a national record. USC is coming off a bye following an impressive 36-point win at hostile Arkansas, while Nebraska has a pair of home wins under its belt, including last week against Division I-AA Nicholls State. The Trojans have been encouraged by the early play of new starting QB John David Booty, who throws to the likes of 2005 Biletnikoff Award finalist and All-American first team WR Dwayne Jarrett (he's within 3 touchdown catches of the Pac-10 career record) and fellow WR Steve Smith, who is in the USC career receptions Top 10. Blocking for Troy's stable of running backs are 2005 All-American OT Sam Baker and Rimington Award candidate C Ryan Kalil. USC's defense, which is already a national-best +5.0 in turnover margin, is linebacker-heavy with the likes of Keith Rivers, Dallas Sartz, Oscar Lua, Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing and also is getting good play out of DLs Lawrence Jackson and Sedrick Ellis. Nebraska, riding a 5-game winning streak, features a balanced offense behind QB Zac Taylor and IB Marlon Lucky and a defense led by pre-season All-American DE Adam Carriker that returned many of the starters from a unit that led the nation in sacks and tackles for a loss in 2005. The Cornhuskers, like USC, are averaging more than 50 points and 450 yards of total offense. The game will be shown live nationally on ABC-TV, with ESPN's College GameDay pre-game show setting up at the Coliseum.