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TICKETS-Tickets for the USC-Utah game, priced at $50 are available at the USC Ticket Office (213-740-GO SC).
RADIO-TV-Live national TV: 12:30 p.m. (PST), ABC-TV, Brent Musberger, Gary Danielson, Jack Arute.
Live national radio: 12:30 p.m. (PST), Pacific West Radio, Larry Kahn, Bruce Snyder.
Live local radio: 11:30 a.m. (PST), KMPC-AM (1540), Pete Arbogast, Paul McDonald, Tim Ryan, Petros Papadakis (includes 1-hour pre-game and 2-hour post-game shows). Nine other stations are included on the USC radio network: KPLS-AM 830 in Orange, KFMB-AM 760 in San Diego, KMXN-AM 1510 in Rancho Cucamonga, KXPS-AM 1010 in Palm Springs, KGEO-AM 1230 in Bakersfield, KCBL-AM 1340 in Fresno, KVBL-AM 1400 in Visalia, KRLV-AM 1340 in Las Vegas, Nev., and KAOI-AM 1110 in Wailuku, Hi. Fans also can hear the live KMPC broadcast on the Internet as a "cybercast" on www.usctrojans.com or can pay to listen to it live by dialing 1-800-846-4675 ext. 5933.
Live Spanish-language radio: 12:30 p.m. (PST), XPRS-AM (1090), Jorge Villanueva, Efren Dominguez, Victor Duarte.
USC Sports Magazine Show: 7 p.m. (PST), Thursday (Dec. 13), and noon (PST), Saturday, (Dec. 15), and 11:30 p.m. (PST), Saturday (Nov. 15), and 7 p.m. (PST), Thursday (Dec. 20), and 6 p.m. (PST), Tuesday (Dec. 25), all on FOX Sports Net 2, and 7 p.m. (PST), Wednesday (Dec. 12), and 7 p.m. (PST), Wednesday (Dec. 19), and 7 p.m. (PST), Saturday (Dec. 22), all on FOX Sports Net, Tom Kelly.
USC Insider Show: 7 p.m. (PST), Tuesdays during football season, KMPC-AM (1540) and KPLS-AM (830), Pete Arbogast, Rory Markas.
USC Trojan Talk: 7 p.m. (PST), Sundays during football season, KDWN-AM (720), Harvey Hyde, Chuck Hayes.
USC HOTLINE--Dial (213) 743-2989 for a brief taped interview with USC coach Pete Carroll.
USC ONLINE--The USC athletic department has an official "home page" on the World Wide Web, featuring current and historical information about Trojan sports. For access, type http://www.usctrojans.com.
IT'S NOT SOUTHERN CAL--Note to the media: In editorial references to athletic teams of the University of Southern California, the following are preferred: USC, Southern California, So. California, Troy, Trojans and (for women's teams) Women of Troy. PLEASE do not use Southern Cal.
PAC-10 ONLINE--Pac-10 information, press releases, statistics and links to all league schools are available online at http://www.pac-10.org.
USC (6-5 overall, 5-3 in Pac-10 for fifth place) vs. Utah (7-4, 4-3 in Mountain West Conference for third place tie), Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl X, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 12:30 p.m. (PST), Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.
After a 2-year absence, USC returns to post-season action by celebrating Christmas in Las Vegas. Troy, one of the nation's premier bowl teams, will be making its 40th post-season appearance. This will be Utah's ninth bowl game, but its sixth in the last 10 years. The Trojans are hot, riding a 4-game winning streak (and with victories in 5 of their last 6) after starting off the 2001 season 1-4. First-year USC head coach Pete Carroll's troops feature a diversified offense coordinated by Utah graduate Norm Chow along with Carroll's stingy, attacking defense led by All-American S Troy Polamalu. Utah, the No. 2 bowl selection from the Mountain West Conference, has lost its last 2 (including a 1-point loss at Air Force to end the regular season) and 3 of its last 5. The Utes possess one of the nation's better offenses, with a productive ground attack led by 1,000-yard HB Dameon Hunter, to go along with a dominating defense, which is among the best in every NCAA statistical ranking. Utah head coach Ron McBride, in his 12th year in Salt Lake City, is a Southern California native. It could be a low-scoring game, as both teams are nationally ranked in scoring defense. This will be the ninth meeting between the schools and the second in the post-season. USC has never played in Nevada, while Utah will be making its second appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl. The game in 40,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium will be shown live nationally on ABC-TV.
USC and Utah not ranked.
USC holds a 6-2 record over Utah. After dropping the first 2 games in the series (in 1915 and 1916), Troy has won the last 6 meetings with the Utes, allowing only 30 points in those wins (with 3 shutouts).
The teams last met in the 1993 Freedom Bowl (the only post-season game between the schools and the first meeting between the teams in 45 years), with USC posting a 28-21 win. The Trojans scored 28 points in the first 17 minutes and then held off a furious Utah second-half rally. USC, a 17-point favorite, scored easily on its first 4 possessions. In the first quarter, QB Rob Johnson hit All-American WR Johnnie Morton on TD throws of 31 and 9 yards, and TB David Dotson dove over from 2 yards out. Then, Johnson connected with TE Johnny McWilliams on a 5-yard scoring toss just 1:26 into the second quarter. But after that, USC's offense--hampered by an ineffective running game (the Trojans ran for just 91 yards)--stalled. Utah, playing in just its fourth bowl game, came alive after halftime, scoring on 3 of its first 5 possessions: a 59-yard TD pass from QB Mike McCoy to SB Henry Lusk, a 34-yard run by FB Jamal Anderson and a 1-yard run by TB Keith Williams. But USC got the ball with 3:19 to play and held it until just 8 seconds remained, when McCoy's desperation pass was intercepted by CB John Herpin (his second pick of the game). Morton was named the game's MVP as he caught a Freedom Bowl-record 10 passes for 147 yards and the 2 scores (to tie a Freedom Bowl TD catch mark) despite playing weakened with the flu (7 of his catches for 121 yards and both TDs were in the first half). Johnson, who also had come down with a slight case of the flu, completed a Freedom Bowl-record 30 passes in 44 attempts for 345 yards and the 3 TD aerials (in the first half, he was 17-of-25 for 255 with the 3 TDs). Morton became the Pac-10's No. 2 career receiver with 201 grabs, while Johnson set USC's season pass completion percentage mark (68.6%). USC TB Shawn Walters ran for a game-high 70 yards on 19 carries, while FB Deon Strother added 50 rushing yards on 9 attempts and caught 6 passes for 63 yards. USC WR Ken Grace, who had 4 catches for 48 yards, returned a punt 31 yards, a Freedom Bowl mark. USC generated 436 yards of total offense on 82 plays and held the ball 32:14. Utah threatened 3 times inside the USC 30-yard line in the opening half, but USC's defense held each time, including an impressive goal line stand and an interception in the end zone by CB Jason Sehorn. Utah came into the game averaging 484.6 total yards (fifth in the U.S.), 324.3 passing yards (seventh in the U.S.) and 30.8 points, but was limited to 350 total yards (286 through the air). McCoy, who was second nationally in total offense (330.8), was 23-of-40 for 286 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions (at the half, he was 10-of-20 for 81 yards with 2 picks). Lusk had 6 catches for 140 yards and the TD, while Anderson ran for 67 yards and the TD on 16 carries and caught 7 passes for 61 yards. OLB Brian Williams and S Mike Salmon topped USC in tackles with 9 each (both had 2 for losses).
USC VS. MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
USC is 10-2-1 against teams from the Mountain West Conference: 6-2 versus Utah, 1-0 against both UNLV and Wyoming, and 2-0-1 against San Diego State. The Trojans have gone unbeaten in their last 11 meetings against MWC foes, last losing in 1916 to Utah (Troy tied San Diego State in 1992). USC last played a MWC team in 1999 (the year the conference was formed), beating San Diego State, 24-21. On the other hand, Utah is 44-86-3 versus the Pac-10. The Utes lost to Oregon earlier this season, 24-10.
USC VS. UTAH SCHOOLS
Besides its 6-2 mark versus Utah, USC also is 4-0 against Utah State. The Trojans have never played BYU (they'll meet for the first time in 2002 and 2003).
USC IN NEVADA
USC has played football in 31 of this country's 50 states (as well as in Japan), but the Trojans have never played in the state of Nevada. Troy has played 2 schools from the state of Nevada-UNLV in 1997 (going 1-0) and Nevada in the 1920s (going 5-0), but those contests were played in Los Angeles.
USC has played 5 games on Christmas Day: in 1897 (an 18-0 loss at San Diego YMCA), 1907 (a 16-6 loss to Los Angeles High School), 1918 (a 10-0 win over Redlands), 1924 (a 20-7 post-season win over Missouri in the Christmas Festival) and 1934 (a 33-7 win at Kamehameha High School Alumni).
USC is 58-39-11 (.588) in all season finales.
USC and Utah played one common opponent in 2001: both lost at Oregon, as the Trojans fell 24-22 on a Duck field goal with 12 seconds to play and the Utes lost 24-10.
This will be the third time that an unranked USC team has played an unranked opponent in a bowl game (the others were the 1993 Freedom Bowl, a 28-21 Trojan win over Utah, and the 1998 Sun Bowl, a 28-19 loss to TCU). This is also the eighth time an unranked USC team has played in a bowl (the others were the 1944 Rose, 1967 Rose, 1975 Liberty, 1985 Aloha, 1987 Citrus, 1993 Freedom and 1998 Sun), going 3-4. Troy has a 2-2 bowl record when playing an unranked foe (besides the 1993 Freedom Bowl win and 1998 Sun Bowl loss, USC beat Texas Tech in the 1995 Cotton Bowl and lost to Fresno State in the 1992 Freedom Bowl).
USC IN BOWLS
USC has a remarkable record in bowl games. The Trojans have the nation's fourth highest bowl winning percentage (.641) among the 59 schools that have made at least 10 bowl appearances (behind only Oklahoma State's .692, Penn State's .667 and Georgia Tech's .655). USC is just 3 wins behind Alabama for most bowl victories, 28 to 25. Troy's 39 bowl appearances rank behind only Alabama (50), Tennessee (41) and Texas (40), and is tied with Nebraska. USC once won 9 consecutive bowl games (USC did it in the 1923?30?32?33?39?40?44?45 Rose Bowls and 1924 Christmas Festival), only Florida State has won more in a row (11). USC's overall post?season record is 25?14. The Trojans were a bowl participant each year they were eligible from 1972 to 1990. Troy has appeared in an unprecedented 28 Rose Bowls, where it has a 20?8 mark. That's not only the most Rose Bowl wins of any team, but also the most wins by a school in a single bowl. USC has won 7 of its last 9 Rose Bowls. USC has also appeared in 9 other bowls??the Christmas Festival, Liberty Bowl, Bluebonnet Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Aloha Bowl, Florida Citrus Bowl, Sun (John Hancock) Bowl (twice), Freedom Bowl (twice) and Cotton Bowl. Troy's last bowl appearance was in the 1998 Sun Bowl, a 28-19 loss to TCU.
USC's Rose Bowl Record
1923--USC 14, Penn State 3
1930--USC 47, Pittsburgh 14
1932--USC 21, Tulane 12
1933--USC 35, Pittsburgh 0
1939--USC 7, Duke 3
1940--USC 14, Tennessee 0
1944--USC 29, Washington 0
1945--USC 25, Tennessee 0
1946--Alabama 34, USC 14
1948--Michigan 49, USC 0
1953--USC 7, Wisconsin 0
1955--Ohio State 20, USC 7
1963--USC 42, Wisconsin 37
1967--Purdue 14, USC 13
1968--USC 14, Indiana 3
1969--Ohio State 27, USC 16
1970--USC 10, Michigan 3
1973--USC 42, Ohio State 17
1974--Ohio State 42, USC 21
1975--USC 18, Ohio State 17
1977--USC 14, Michigan 6
1979--USC 17, Michigan 10
1980--USC 17, Ohio State 16
1985--USC 20, Ohio State 17
1988--Michigan State 20, USC 17
1989--Michigan 22, USC 14
1990--USC 17, Michigan 10
1996--USC 41, Northwestern 32
USC's Record in Other Bowls
1924--USC 20, Missouri 7 (Christmas Festival)
1975--USC 20, Texas A&M 0 (Liberty Bowl)
1977--USC 47, Texas A&M 28 (Bluebonnet Bowl)
1982--Penn State 26, USC 10 (Fiesta Bowl)
1985--Alabama 24, USC 3 (Aloha Bowl)
1987--Auburn 16, USC 7 (Florida Citrus Bowl)
1990--Michigan State 17, USC 16 (John Hancock Bowl)
1992--Fresno State 24, USC 7 (Freedom Bowl)
1993--USC 28, Utah 21 (Freedom Bowl)
1995--USC 55, Texas Tech 14 (Cotton Bowl)
1998--TCU 28, USC 19 (Sun Bowl)
No Trojan players are from Utah, but 23 Utes claim California as their home state...USC offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Norm Chow was a 2-year starter and 3-year letterman at offensive guard for Utah (1965-67), earning All-Western Athletic Conference first team and All-American honorable mention honors in 1967 (he was selected to Utah's All-Century Team) and receiving bachelor's (1968) and master's (1970) degrees from the school, he then went on to be an assistant coach at in-state rival BYU for 27 years (1973-99)...USC offensive line coach Keith Uperesa was the head coach at Snow J.C. in Ephraim, Ut., for 4 years (1995-98) after serving 7 years (1987-94) there as an assistant, he played at BYU for 4 seasons (1974-77), where he was an All-WAC offensive tackle in 1977, and then was a graduate assistant coach with the Cougars in 1985 and 1986...USC secondary coach DeWayne Walker held a similar position at Utah State in 1993 and at BYU in 1994...USC linebackers coach Nick Holt was an assistant at UNLV for 3 seasons (1987-89), his wife, Julie, was the head women's basketball coach at Nevada Reno...USC TE-SNP Joe Boskovich's cousin, Martin Boskovich, was a placekicker-punter on the 1993 Trojan squad which faced Utah in the Freedom Bowl...USC WR Frank Candela played minor league baseball with the Ogden (Ut.) Raptors in 1997 and 1998...Utah offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Craig Ver Steeg was a graduate assistant coach at USC in 1984 and 1985, he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from USC...Utah head coach Ron McBride prepped at South Gate High (1954-57), not far from the USC campus (he was an assistant at UC Riverside in 1972 and 1973 and at Long Beach State from 1974 to 1976 and then coached against the Trojans while an assistant at Arizona from 1987 to 1990, going 0-3, and as Utah's head coach, losing in the 1993 Freedom Bowl)...Harvey Holmes was the head coach at both Utah (1900-03) and USC (1904-07)...UNLV head coach John Robinson was USC's head coach during 2 stints, 1976-82 (winning the 1978 national championship) and 1993-97, posting a 104-35-4 overall record, he coached the Trojans in their last meeting against Utah, the 28-21 win in the 1993 Freedom Bowl...Also on the UNLV staff are former USC football staffers John Jackson (1976-81), DelVaughn Alexander (1996-97) and Joe Hubbard (1993-97), plus ex-Trojan C Jonathan Himebauch (1994-97)...Current UNLV QBs Jason Thomas and Matt Harris transferred from USC, while Rebel LB Ryan Claridge's brother, Travis, starred at offensive guard (1996-99) for the Trojans.
UTAH BOWL HISTORY
Utah sports a 4-4 bowl record, with 5 of those appearances coming in the 1990s. The Utes' last bowl trip was to the 1999 Las Vegas Bowl, a 17-16 win over Fresno State. Utah lost to USC in the 1993 Freedom Bowl, 28-21.
1938-Utah 26, New Mexico 0 (Sun)
1946-Hawaii 19, Utah 16 (Pineapple)
1964-Utah 32, West Virginia 6 (Liberty)
1992-Washington State 31, Utah 28 (Copper)
1993-USC 28, Utah 21 (Freedom)
1994-Utah 16, Arizona 13 (Freedom)
1996-Wisconsin 38, Utah 10 (Copper)
1999-Utah 17, Fresno State 16 (Las Vegas)
LAS VEGAS BOWL HISTORY
This will be the 10th version of the Las Vegas Bowl, held in 40,000-seat, natural grass Sam Boyd Stadium (home of UNLV). From 1992 to 1998, it was called the Las Vegas Bowl, then in 1999 it was named the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl and this year it's the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl (sponsored by the sports video gaming company). Five of the games have been decided by 7 points or less. This will be the first time the December game has been played on Christmas. USC will be the second Pac-10 team to appear in the Las Vegas Bowl, following Oregon's 41-13 victory over Air Force in 1997. Utah will be making its second Las Vegas Bowl visit (it beat Fresno State, 17-16, in 1999). The game is played against the backdrop of Las Vegas, the world-renowned event and resort destination known as "The Entertainment Capital of the World" that attracted more than 200 million visitors in 2000 staying at 13 of the 20 largest hotels in the world.
1992 (1)-Bowling Green 35, Nevada 34
1993 (II)-Utah State 42, Ball State 33
1994 (III)-UNLV 52, Central Michigan 24
1995 (IV)-Toldeo 40, Nevada 37 (OT)
1996 (V)-Nevada 18, Ball State 15
1997 (VI)-Oregon 41, Air Force 13
1998 (VII)-North Carolina 20, San Diego State 13
1999 (VIII)-Utah 17, Fresno State 16
2000 (IX)-UNLV 31, Arkansas 14
S Troy Polamalu made the 2001 Football Writers All-American first team (the 122nd time a Trojan has won All-American first team honors), The Sporting News All-American third team, Football News All-American third team and All-Pac-10 first team. CB Kevin Arbet was the special teams player (non-kicker) on the 2001 All-Pac-10 first team. DE Lonnie Ford and CB Chris Cash made the All-Pac-10 second team, while 6 Trojans-DT Shaun Cody, PK David Davis, FB Charlie Landrigan, LB Mike Pollard, CB Kris Richard and OT Jacob Rogers-were All-Pac-10 honorable mention picks. Cody made The Sporting News Freshman All-American first team, while DE Kenechi Udeze was a second teamer and LB Matt Grootegoed was a third team pick. DE Bobby DeMars and P Mike MacGillivray won 2001 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention notice. Trojans won Pac-10 Player of the Week honors 3 times in 2001: Polamalu twice (versus Oregon State for special teams and UCLA for defense) and Richard once (at Arizona for defense).
LOOKING TO 2002
On USC's current 48-man 2-deep (including the punter and kicker), 33 players (18 offense, 13 defense, 2 specialists) are non-seniors, including 16 starters (9 offense, 6 defense, 1 kicker). And that does not include 4 usual starters who are on the injured list. Those returnees will be faced with the following challenging schedule in 2002:
In a thoroughly dominating performance, USC blanked No. 20 UCLA, 27-0, before 88,588 fans in the Coliseum and a national FOX Sports Net cable audience. It was USC's first shutout in the crosstown series since 1947 (and its first of any team since 1998) and just the eighth overall whitewash in the 71-game rivalry. It was also the biggest margin of victory in the series since 1979. The Trojans, who became bowl eligible with the victory, posted their third consecutive win over the Bruins. It was also USC's fourth straight win in 2001 (and fifth in 6 games) after beginning the season at 1-4 and UCLA's fourth loss in a row after starting off 6-0. The victory was so complete that the Trojans held UCLA to USC-opponent season lows in first downs (10), rushing yards (28), total yards (114, USC's lowest allowed since holding Oregon to 112 in 1988) and plays (55). UCLA's 28 rushing yards were its fewest against USC since gaining 23 in 1956 and its 86 passing yards were its fewest versus Troy since getting 86 in 1975 (the ground and air yardage was also UCLA's lowest in 2001). UCLA averaged just 2.1 yards per play, converted only 2-of-11 third downs and held the ball just 27:01. The Bruins penetrated USC territory on just 3 of their 12 drives and got no closer than the 22-yard line (that fourth quarter drive ended on CB Kevin Arbet's interception at the 2). USC set the tone early, driving 80 yards in 8 plays on the game's opening possession for a touchdown, a 4-yard pass from QB Carson Palmer to WR Keary Colbert (it was set up by TE Kori Dickerson's career-long 66-yard reception of a Palmer third down aerial). Then, as the first quarter ended, CB Antuan Simmons made an amazing through-the-legs interception of a QB Cory Paus pass that bounced off WR Brian Poli-Dixon and returned it 36 yards for a TD (the third scoring pick of his career). After S Troy Polamalu blocked P Nate Fikse's punt on UCLA's ensuing series (it was Polamalu's third blocked punt of 2001 and fourth of his career), PK David Davis made it 17-0 with a 20-yard field goal. TB Chris Howard raced a career-long 34 yards for a TD late in the third quarter (the first offensive touchdown UCLA had allowed in the third quarter in 2001) and then, after Polamalu intercepted Paus 2 plays later, Davis hit another 20-yard field goal early in the final quarter to close out the scoring. Palmer completed 14-of-23 passes for 180 yards (he was intercepted once, a short pass at the goal line late in the first half), with 3 throws each to Dickerson (for a career-best and game-high 92 yards), TE Alex Holmes (37 yards) and Colbert (26 yards). Howard had a game-best 49 yards on 8 carries, while FB Sunny Byrd added 40 yards on 20 carries out of the tailback spot. USC DT Shaun Cody made a game-high 8 tackles (3 for losses, with 2 sacks) and recovered a fumble. Polamalu was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Paus was 7-of-15 for 45 yards with 2 interceptions and was sacked 5 times before being replaced after the third quarter by QB Scott McEwan (3-of-8 for 29 yards and a pick) and QB Ryan McCann (3-of-4 for 12 yards). Bruin WR Craig Bragg had a game-leading 6 receptions, but for just 29 yards, while TB Manuel White (subbing for ineligible TB DeShaun Foster, the Pac-10's leading rusher and scorer) had only 23 yards on 9 attempts.
USC might be the unluckiest team in America, as its 5 losses have been by a combined 25 points (5.0 average). Four of the defeats were by 5 points or less (2, 3, 4 and 5 points) and the fifth was by 11 points. Troy has never had a season in which it lost 4 games by 5 points or less. Two of the losses have come when foes have kicked field goals in the final 12 seconds, including once at the gun, the first time the Trojans have lost twice in a season in the final 12 seconds. Three of the losses were to teams ranked in the Top 12 at the time of the game and the 5 teams that beat USC have been ranked in the AP Top 25 at some point this season. Here's how close those losses have been:
After suffering the 5 close losses mentioned above, perhaps the tide turned for USC. Its next 2 game were nailbiter wins, as Troy beat Arizona, 41-34, when CB Kris Richard returned an interception 58-yard for a TD with 1:50 to play and then defeated Oregon State in overtime, 16-13, on QB Carson Palmer's 4-yard run.
USC's 12-game schedule is challenging, featuring 7 teams that played in bowls last season and 5 that were ranked in AP's final Top 15. Three opponents are ranked in the current AP Top 25. The current USA Today/Sagarin rankings say USC is playing the nation's 14th toughest schedule. Three of USC's opponents were ranked in the AP Top 12 at the time of the game and the first 5 foes were undefeated at game time (the sixth had just 1 loss). At the start of the season, Sports Illustrated said USC had the nation's toughest schedule, Phil Steele's magazine ranked it sixth toughest nationally and The Sporting News said USC played the toughest schedule among TSN's pre-season Top 25 teams.
FUN FACT I
Between them, USC's staff has coached in 58 bowl games at the major college level.
FUN FACT II
S Troy Polamalu is USC's first All-American first teamer to wear jersey No. 43. He also is just the fifth Trojan letterman with the appropriate first name of Troy (along with Troy Garner, Troy Richardson, Troy West and Troy Winslow), but the first to be an All-American.
Pete Carroll brought big doses of experience, enthusiasm and leadership in his quest to revive the USC football program when he was named the Trojans' head football coach on Dec. 15, 2000 (he signed a 5-year contract). After Troy started off his opening 2001 season slowly at 1-4, Carroll stayed the course and got his troops to rally by winning 5 of their last 6 games (including the final 4) to finish at 6-5 overall. USC, which won its last 5 Pac-10 games after beginning league play at 0-3, placed fifth in the conference at 5-3 and earned a berth into the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl. Putting an exclamation point on the regular season was a 27-0 blanking of No. 20 UCLA, USC's first shutout in the crosstown rivalry since 1947 and the series' biggest margin of victory since 1979. The 50-year-old Carroll has 27 years of NFL and college experience, including 11 on the college level. He is 6-5 as a college head coach. He was the head coach of the NFL's New England Patriots for 3 seasons (1997-99) and New York Jets for 1 year (1994). He guided the Patriots into the playoffs in his first 2 seasons, winning the AFC Eastern Division title at 10-6 in 1997 and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, then posting a 9-7 regular season mark in 1998. His overall record in New England was 27-21 in the regular season (including 8-8 in 1999) and 1-2 in the playoffs. He owns the franchise's second-best winning percentage (54.9%). After serving as the Jets' defensive coordinator for 4 seasons (1990-93), he became the team's head coach the following season. His 1994 Jets went 6-10. Only 3 other Jets head coaches won more games in their rookie campaign. He spent the next 2 years (1995-96) as the defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC Western Division title both seasons. The 49ers were 11-5 in the 1995 regular season when they had the NFL's top-ranked defense and then went 12-4 in 1996. Carroll began his coaching career at the college level, serving as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Pacific, for 3 years (1974-76), working with the wide receivers and secondary. He then spent a season each as an assistant in charge of the secondary at Arkansas (1977) under Lou Holtz as the Razorbacks won the 1978 Orange Bowl, at Iowa State (1978) under Earle Bruce (the Cyclones played in the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl) and at Ohio State (1979) under Bruce. That Buckeye squad lost to USC in the 1980 Rose Bowl. He next spent 3 seasons (1980-82) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at North Carolina State, then returned to Pacific in 1983 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He entered the NFL in 1984 as the defensive backs coach of the Buffalo Bills, then held a similar position with the Minnesota Vikings for 5 seasons (1985-89). The Vikings advanced to the playoffs his last 3 years there, getting to the NFC Championship game in 1987. The 1988 team was 11-5 in the regular season and the 1989 squad won the NFC Central Division crown with a 10-6 mark. His secondary averaged 25 interceptions a season and led the NFL in passing defense in 1989. Carroll spent the 2000 season as a consultant for pro and college teams, doing charitable work for the NFL and writing a column about pro football for CNNSI.com. Carroll was a 2-time (1971-72) All-Pacific Coast Conference free safety at Pacific and earned his bachelor's degree in 1973 in business administration. He received his secondary teaching credential and a master's degree in physical education from Pacific in 1976. He was a 3-sport (football, basketball and baseball) standout at Redwood High in Larkspur, Calif., earning the school's Athlete of the Year award as a senior. He played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. He then played football at Marin Junior College in Kentfield, Calif., in 1970. He was born on Sept. 15, 1951 in San Francisco. He and his wife, Glena, who played volleyball at Pacific, have 3 children: sons Brennan, 22, a senior tight end at Pittsburgh (he previously played at Delaware), and Nathan, 14, and daughter Jaime, 19, a sophomore on the USC women's highly-ranked volleyball team which competed in the 2000 NCAA Final Four. His late father-in-law, Dean Goranson, received his master's degree from USC.
USC has one of the nation's better signalcallers in 2001 in junior Carson Palmer (206-of-351, 58.7%, 2,567 yds, 13 TD, 12 int in 2001, plus 82 tcb, 85 yds, 1.0 avg, 1 TD). He was on the "Watch List" for the 2001 Davey O'Brien Award, given to the top collegiate quarterback. His 58.7% completion rate in 2001 is tops among Pac-10 starting quarterbacks. His 206 completions in 2001 is fifth on the USC season chart and his 2,652 yards of total offense in 2001 is fifth on Troy's season list. He already ranks third on Troy's career passing list (603 completions). He is also third on USC's all-time total offense chart (7,702 yards), 12th on the Pac-10 career list. His 7,726 career passing yards are third-most in USC history and 13th in Pac-10 annals. His 39 career TD tosses are fourth most at USC and tied for 30th on the Pac-10 ladder. He owns the USC single game total offense record (419 yards at Oregon in 2001) and his 411 passing yards in that game were 4 shy of tying another school mark. He is on pace to break Rob Johnson's school career records for completions (676) and passing yardage (8,472), plus Rodney Peete's USC career total offense yardage mark (8,640). He also is within range of Peete's career records for interceptions (42). He had a span this season where he threw 87 consecutive passes without an interception before getting picked off at Notre Dame. He and Peete are the only Trojans to throw for 2,500-plus yards in 2 different seasons. With 31 career starts under his belt, he has completed at least 60.0% of his passes 15 times (including 6 contests at 70.0%-plus) and thrown for at least 200 yards 19 times. After missing the last 9 games of 1999 with an injury, in 2000 he showed signs of brilliance (his 228 completions and 2,914 passing yards were the second most in USC history) and rustiness (he tied the school interception mark with 18). His 5,159 career passing yards through the 2000 season were the most by a Trojan at the end of his sophomore year.
--He was 21-of-28 for 213 yards (with an interception) and hit his first 9 aerials in the San Jose State opener.
--Against Kansas State, he ran for a team-best and career-high 60 yards on 12 carries (the most rushing yards by a Trojan quarterback since Reggie Perry's 60 versus Memphis State in 1991) and hit 16-of-36 passes for 197 yards.
--He set the USC single game total offense record with 419 yards at Oregon and his career-high 411 passing yards were 4 yards shy of another school mark, he completed 25-of-40 aerials, including TDs of 93 and 75 yards (the 2 longest passes of his career), but he was intercepted 3 times and sacked 5 times.
--He was 22-of-42 for 240 yards against Stanford, but he threw 2 interceptions.
--He was 8-of-14 for 152 yards and 2 TDs at Washington, including a perfect 7-of-7 for 94 yards and a score in the first half, it was his fewest completions since the 1998 Washington State game and his fewest attempts since the 1999 Oregon game.
--Against Arizona State, he was 18-of-26 for 295 yards and 3 TDs (the second most of his career) and also ran for 28 yards on 8 tries.
--He was 19-of-30 for 230 yards with 2 TDs at Notre Dame, but was intercepted twice and sacked 5 times.
--He was 24-of-49 for 248 yards with 2 TDs at Arizona, but was intercepted twice.
--He scored the game-winning TD in overtime against Oregon State on a 4-yard naked bootleg run in which he broke one tackle and dove to the flag while getting slammed by another Beaver, passing, he was 21-of-28 for 171 yards and an interception (including 13-of-15 for 80 yards in the first half while connecting on his first 9 aerials) despite getting sacked 6 times.
--At California, he hit 18-of-35 passes for 230 yards and a TD (with no interceptions) and also ran for 45 yards (with a career-long 54-yard scramble) on 8 carries.
--He was 14-of-23 for 180 yards and a TD (with an interception) against UCLA.
Besides Carson Palmer, the other quarterbacks on the Trojan roster have thrown a combined 2 passes in college. Redshirt freshman Matt Cassel (1-of-2, 50.0%, 5 yds in 2001, plus 3 tcb, 22 yds, 7.3 avg and 1 rec, 12.0 avg and 1 tac) and 2000 prep All-American freshman Matt Leinart are competing to be Palmer's backup in 2001. Cassel has appeared in 6 games in 2001 (Washington, Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State, California and UCLA) as a wide receiver and on special teams, he also played quarterback briefly at California
--Cassel gained 4 yards on a reverse at Notre Dame.
--Cassel did a little bit of everything at California, catching a 12-yard pass as a wide receiver, making a tackle on special teams and, in his first career action at quarterback, hitting 1-of-2 passes for 5 yards and gaining 20 yards on a run.
Troy returned a 1,000-yard runner in 2001 and he's a good one: speedy junior tailback Sultan McCullough (115 tcb, 410 yds, 3.6 avg, 5 TD in 2001, plus 6 rec, 16.7 avg, 1 TD). He was listed as a candidate for the 2001 Doak Walker Award. He is 14th on USC's prestigious career rushing chart with 1,986 yards and has run for at least 100 yards in 9 games at Troy (twice in 2001). But he sat out most of the Arizona State contest and all of the Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State, California and UCLA games with a strained abdominal muscle. His rushing total of 1,163 yards last fall was the most at USC since 1990. He hit the 100-yard rushing barrier 7 times in 2000 (the most by a Trojan since 1989), including 4 games in a row. That was good enough to earn him All-Pac-10 second team acclaim in 2000. The 1999 Pac-10 champion in the 100-meter dash, he is the fastest player ever to wear a Trojan football uniform (10.17 in the 100 meters).
--He rushed for 167 yards with 3 TDs (14, 35 and 7 yards) on 25 carries (all game highs) in the San Jose State opener (it was the most rushing yards by a Trojan in a season opener since Marcus Allen had 210 yards versus Tennessee in 1981, as well as his eighth 100-yard outing in his career and his first multi-TD game).
--He scored USC's only touchdown (a 7-yard run) versus Kansas State and ran for 40 yards on 18 carries.
--At Oregon, he ran 20 times for just 31 yards, but caught 3 passes for 84 yards, including a 75-yard TD (the longest reception of his career and the first career TD catch).
--He had just 32 yards on 16 carries against Stanford and caught 3 passes for 16 yards.
--At Washington, he had his second 100-yard outing of 2001 (ninth of his career) with a game-best 132 yards on a career-high 32 carries (the most by a Trojan since Chad Morton had 36 versus UCLA in 1999).
--He suffered a strained abdominal muscle late in the first quarter against Arizona State and had only 8 yards on 4 carries.
--He missed the Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State, California and UCLA contests with the abdominal injury.
OTHER RUNNING BACKS
Coming into 2001, it looked like the Trojans would have a 1-2 punch at tailback with Sultan McCullough joined by powerful and experienced senior Malaefou MacKenzie (41 tcb, 284 yds, 6.9 avg in 2000, plus 27 rec, 9.2 avg), a threat running and receiving. But MacKenzie left the team this midseason without seeing action in 2001: he missed USC's first 2 games with a knee sprain, the third while attending his father's funeral in Western Samoa and the next 2 after re-spraining his knee. He then decided to go back to Western Samoa for the rest of the season. He was second on the Trojans in rushing last season (284 yards) and his 27 receptions were the most by a USC running back since 1996. In his career (which includes 4 starts), he has 765 rushing yards and 37 receptions. When McCullough was injured, USC turned to a fullback to fill its primary tailback role: junior Sunny Byrd (113 tcb, 305 yds, 2.7 avg, 3 TD in 2001, plus 10 rec, 7.3 avg and 5 tac), who redshirted last fall after transferring from a junior college. Byrd has all of his 2001 carries while running out of the tailback spot (against Arizona State, Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State, California and UCLA), he even started versus Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State, California and UCLA. He had at least 20 carries in all of the games (except California) that he appeared at tailback and led Troy in rushing in the first 4 of those games. Besides McCullough and MacKenzie, Troy's other true tailbacks have carried the ball only 38 times in their careers. Redshirt freshman Chris Howard (27 tcb, 122 yds, 4.5 avg, 3 TD in 2001, plus 2 rec, 6.5 avg), who came off 2000 knee surgery, and freshmen Darryl Poston (5 tcb, 4 yds, 0.8 avg, 1 TD in 2001, plus 1 rec, 10.0 avg), a 2000 prep All-American, are angling for backup tailback duty. However, Poston sprained his knee at Notre Dame and missed the Arizona, Oregon State, California and UCLA games. Howard has come on late in the season, leading USC in rushing against California and UCLA. Also available at tailback are seniors Eric Reese (6 tcb, 25 yds, 4.2 avg, 1 TD in 2001, plus 2 tac), who was a reserve cornerback the past 3 years after redshirting as a 1997 freshman at tailback, and in an emergency Frank Strong (5 tcb, 6 yds, 1.2 avg in 2001, plus 48 tac, 2 for loss, 5 dfl, 1 int, 1 FR, 2 FF and 1 KOR, 23.0 avg), a rare 2-way player who has started 10 games in 2001 at weakside linebacker (he spent his first year-and-a-half at USC as a reserve tailback and then the next year-and-a-half as a part-time starting free safety). At fullback, senior Charlie Landrigan (8 tcb, 12 yds, 1.5 avg in 2001, plus 29 rec, 12.1 avg, 2 TD and 3 tac), an outstanding blocker and receiver, returned as the starter. A team captain, he made the 2001 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad. Behind him are juniors Chad Pierson (4 tcb, 11 yds, 2.8 avg in 2001, plus 3 rec, 20.3 avg, 1 TD in 2001), who missed the first 6 games of 2001 after having surgery for a herniated disk in his back, and Scott Huber, a converted tight end who had 1 start last fall but no receptions. Byrd could also rotate back to fullback, if needed.
--Landrigan caught a then-career-best 4 passes for 45 yards in the San Jose State opener.
--Against Kansas State, Landrigan grabbed 5 passes for 58 yards, both career highs.
--Landrigan caught a pair of passes for 24 yards at Oregon and Poston got his first career action, getting 1 yard on 2 carries.
--Landrigan had 3 catches for 77 yards (with a career-best 63-yarder) and a 4-yard rush versus Stanford, Byrd had a 9-yard catch and Howard got his first career carries (2 for 0 yards).
--At Washington, Landrigan caught a 21-yard TD pass (the first score of his career).
--Against Arizona State, Byrd had a game-best 63 yards on 20 carries with 2 short TDs (he scored on his first career carry) while running from the tailback spot for injured starter Sultan McCullough (Byrd was handed the ball on all but the last of USC's final 17 rushes, including on 8 consecutive plays), Howard added 10 yards on 6 carries and 13 yards on 2 catches, Landrigan caught a TD pass (20 yards on his only reception) for the second week in a row and ran for 7 yards on 2 tries, and Poston had 3 yards on 2 carries (including a 7-yard TD, the first of his career).
--Byrd started at tailback at Notre Dame and ran for 62 yards on 22 carries (he also caught 3 passes for 10 yards), Landrigan caught a game-best 6 passes for 46 yards, Pierson caught a 54-yard TD pass the first time he touched the ball in 2001 (he had been sidelined with a back injury) and Poston had a 10-yard catch.
--Byrd had a team-best 67 yards on 22 carries, with a 1-yard TD, and caught a 21-yard pass as the starting tailback at Arizona, while Landrigan had 3 grabs for 24 yards and Pierson caught a 5-yard pass.
--Against Oregon State, Byrd ran for a team-best 54 yards on a game-high 20 carries and caught 3 passes for 14 yards, Landrigan had 2 grabs for 16 yards, Howard had 2 yards on 3 carries and Pierson caught a 2-yard pass.
--Howard came off the bench at California to run for a team-high 61 yards on 8 carries and scored the first 2 TDs of his career (25 and 15 yards) the first 2 times he touched the ball in the game, while Reese saw his first-ever action at tailback and responded with 25 yards on 6 tries (with a 15-yard TD, the first score of his career), Byrd added 19 yards on 9 attempts, Pierson had 11 rushing yards on 4 tries (his first carries of 2001), Landrigan caught 2 passes for 10 yards and Strong saw action on both defense (1 tackle while starting at linbacker) and offense (6 yards on 5 carries from tailback).
--For the second week in a row, Howard came off the bench to lead USC in rushing as he had a game-high 49 yards on 8 tries against UCLA, with a career-long 34-yard TD run, while Byrd added 40 yards on 20 carries and 19 yards on 2 receptions.
Kareem Kelly (team-best 46 rec, 16.7 avg, 3 TD in 2001, plus 6 tcb, 38 yds, 6.3 avg and 8 PR, 6.4 avg), an acrobatic, fleet junior, headlines USC's receiving corps. He was on the "Watch List" for the 2001 Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top receiver. He already is fifth on Troy's all-time pass catching chart with 155 grabs, 21st on the Pac-10 career list. His 2,466 career yards is 18th on the Pac-10 career ladder. He is within sight of Johnnie Morton's school record for receptions (201) and receiving yardage (3,201). He has a reception in all 34 games he has played as a Trojan, within range of John Jackson's USC record of 37. He has had 100-yard receiving games 9 times in his career (twice in 2001). Last fall, he topped the Trojans in receptions (55) and receiving yardage (796), in 1999, he set Pac-10 freshman records for most catches (54) and receiving yards (902). He also sprints for USC's track squad (his 5.67 clocking in the 50-meter dash is an American collegiate and world junior record).
--He had 3 catches for 18 yards in the San Jose State opener and returned a punt 10 yards.
--He had 7 catches for 75 yards (both game bests) against Kansas State.
--He had 4 catches for a game-high 165 yards at Oregon, including a 93-yard TD (the longest catch of his career).
--He had a game-high 6 catches for 46 yards against Stanford.
--At Washington, he caught 3 passes for 93 yards, including a 58-yard TD.
--He had 5 receptions for 127 yards (both game highs) versus Arizona State.
--He had 2 catches for 16 yards at Notre Dame.
--He had 5 catches for 64 yards (both team bests) at Arizona.
--He caught 5 passes for 73 yards (both team highs) against Oregon State.
--At California, he caught a team-best 4 passes for a game-high 88 yards, including a 5-yard TD, and also ran 2 reverses for 23 yards.
--He caught 2 passes for 3 yards against UCLA and ran 2 reverses for 6 yards.
OTHER WIDE RECEIVERS
In addition to Kareem Kelly, USC's wide receiver corps in 2001 has a nice blend of experienced, speedy veterans and talented newcomers. Last year's co-starters at the other wideout spot also returned in sophomore Keary Colbert (32 rec, 12.6 avg, 2 TD in 2001, plus 1 tcb, 9 yds, 9.0 avg and 1 KOR, 22.0 avg and 2 tac) and junior Marcell Allmond (16 rec, 15.2 avg in 2000). However, Allmond-who doubles as a hurdler and decathlete on the Trojan track team-has missed USC's 2001 games while suspended for a student conduct violation. He was off to a good start in 2000 before breaking his leg in the fifth game and sitting out the rest of the way. Colbert took over for him then and ended up second on the team in receptions with 33 (the second most ever by a USC freshman). Also in the mix is a pair of junior college transfers-sophomore Devin Pitts (15 rec, 6.4 avg in 2001) and 2000 J.C. All-American Grant Mattos (10 rec, 10.4 avg in 2001, plus 2 tac), a junior-plus junior Steve Stevenson (1 rec, 0.0 avg in 2001, plus 1 TD on blk P and 1 tac), who has 22 catches, 3 starts and 2 TDs on recoveries of blocked punts in his career, and sophs Sandy Fletcher (2 rec, 5.5 avg in 2001, plus 2 tac) and D. Hale (6 rec, 15.5 avg in 2001, plus 1 tcb, 6 yds, 6.0 avg), a walk-on who even started at Arizona. Mattos missed the Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State and California contests with a knee sprain.
--In the San Jose State opener, Mattos had a team-best 5 catches for a game-high 75 yards in his USC debut, Pitts added 2 grabs for 12 yards in his Trojan debut and Colbert had a 7-yard catch.
--Besides Kelly, no other wide receivers had catches versus Kansas State.
--At Oregon, Colbert had a game-best 6 catches for 67 yards, Mattos added 3 grabs for 9 yards and Pitts had 2 for 18 yards.
--Colbert had 4 catches for 48 yards versus Stanford, while Mattos (8 yards), Pitts (7 yards) and Stevenson (0 yards) each added a grab.
--Colbert caught 2 passes for 14 yards at Washington.
--Colbert had a game-high 5 catches for 85 yards against Arizona State and Mattos added a 12-yard grab.
--Colbert had 5 catches for a game-high 88 yards, including a 20-yard TD, at Notre Dame, while Fletcher had his first career reception (6 yards).
--At Arizona, Colbert had 4 receptions for 51 yards, Pitts had 3 for 20 yards and Hale-who started for Kelly-made his first career grab (a 15-yarder).
--Hale (17 yards) and Pitts (4 yards) had 2 grabs each against Oregon State, Colbert added a 7 yard reception and Stevenson recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a TD.
--At California, Pitts had 4 catches for 32 yards and Hale added 3 for 61 yards, while Colbert (11 yards) and Fletcher (5 yards) each had a reception (Colbert also returned a kickoff 22 yards).
--Colbert had 3 catches for 26 yards against UCLA, including a 4-yard TD, while Hale ran 6 yards on a reverse and Pitts had a 3-yard reception.
USC had quite a challenge in finding a replacement in 2001 for dependable 4-year starting tight end Antoine Harris, who had 61 catches and 7 scores in his career. Going into the 2001 season, the tight ends had just 11 catches and limited offensive playing time to their names. The starter came from an unlikely spot: defense. Rangy senior Kori Dickerson (23 rec, 14.2 avg, 2 TD in 2001, plus 1 tcb, 2.0 avg) was last season's starting strongside linebacker, where he notched 32 tackles. He was moved to tight end this past spring and has been impressive. He doubles as a 6-8 high jumper for the USC track team. Behind him are sophomore Alex Holmes (20 rec, 7.5 avg, 2 TD in 2001), a Freshman All-American second teamer last year, and junior Doyal Butler (4 rec, 13.0 avg in 2000).
--In the San Jose State opener, Dickerson-in his first game as a tight end-caught 3 passes for 41 yards and Holmes had another 3 receptions for 15 yards.
--Dickerson (51 yards) and Holmes (13 yards) each had 2 catches against Kansas State.
--At Oregon, Dickerson caught 4 passes for 32 yards, while Holmes added a 12-yard grab.
--Dickerson had 2 catches for 29 yards versus Stanford.
--Holmes caught 2 passes for 24 yards at Washington.
--Against Arizona State, Dickerson (21 yards) and Holmes (4 yards) each had their first career TD receptions, overall, both had 2 receptions (Dickerson for 27 yards and Holmes for 11 yards).
--No tight ends caught a pass at Notre Dame.
--Dickerson (24 yards) and Holmes (14 yards) each had 3 receptions at Arizona and both caught a TD (Dickerson's was 17 yards and Holmes' was 1 yard).
--Against Oregon State, Holmes caught 3 passes for 17 yards (including a difficult 9-yarder on third-and-8 from the Beaver 12-yard line to set up USC's winning TD in overtime) and Dickerson had 2 grabs for 21 yards.
--Dickerson caught 2 passes for 9 yards and had a 2-yard run at California, while Holmes had a 7-yard reception.
--Dickerson (for a career- and game-high 92 yards, including a career-long 66-yarder) and Holmes (for 37 yards) each had 3 receptions against UCLA.
Three-fifths of USC's starters on the offensive line were back in 2001 and each is a solid player. But the rest of the unit is relatively inexperienced, which is a concern since Troy starts new tackles and must develop some reliable depth along the line. Usually manning the guard spots are senior Faaesea Mailo, who started at tackle last season but had 6 starts earlier in his career at left guard, and junior Zach Wilson, a 3-year starter on the right side. Both tip the scales at more than 300 pounds. Wilson did not start at Arizona because of an elbow injury, but he did play. Mailo, the only senior lineman, fills the left guard spot held by Trevor Roberts last fall. A twisted knee slowed him in fall camp, so sophomore Norm Katnik started there in the San Jose State opener and then again (because of better showings in practice) versus Stanford, Oregon State and UCLA (Mailo came in off the bench in all those games). Katnik can play any line position: he worked mainly at center in 2000, was moved to tackle last spring, went back to center this fall and now is also working at guard. In 2001, he has appeared at all 3 line spots, even starting at center versus Oregon, Washington, Arizona State and Notre Dame, at guard against San Jose State (left), Stanford (left), Arizona (right), Oregon State (left) and UCLA (left) and at left tackle (California). Sophomore Lenny Vandermade returned as the center after earning Freshman All-American first team honors last year (he also started some at guard in 2000). He was on the "Watch List" for the 2001 Dave Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center. He didn't start (but played off the bench) versus Oregon, Arizona State and Notre Dame and he did not see action at Washington this season. Vandermade also has played some at guard in 2001. Sophomores Jacob Rogers (he missed last spring's practice while recovering from shoulder surgery) and Eric Torres (he saw limited time in 2000) won the starting tackle jobs vacated by 3-year starter Brent McCaffrey on the left and Mailo on the right, respectively (Rogers did not start at California, but did see action). Rogers made the 2001 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad.
The situation on the USC defensive line coming into 2001 was not as dire as it might have appeared. Although starters were gone at 3 positions-tackle Ennis Davis (who had 146 tackles, including 36 for losses with 15 sacks, as a 3-year starter) and ends Sultan Abdul-Malik (a 3-year starter who had 22.5 career sacks) and Matt Childers (a 2-year starter)-USC had plenty of quality bodies to fill in. Last year, senior Ryan Nielsen (28 tac, 3 for loss, 3 sack, 1 dfl, 1 FR in 2001) and junior Bernard Riley (26 tac, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 1 FR, 1 dfl, 1 int in 2001) shared a tackle spot. This season, Nielsen-a 3-year starter-and Riley started off side by side at tackle. However, Nielsen sprained his shoulder against Stanford and missed the Washington game, so 2000 prep All-American freshman Shaun Cody (35 tac, 7 for loss, 5 sack, 1 FR in 2001, plus 1 KOR, 22.0 avg), who was USA Today's national Defensive Player of the Year last season, has started there since the Washington contest (Cody began the year as a backup end, but moved to tackle after the second contest). Cody made the 2001 The Sporting News Freshman All-American first team and All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad. And then when Riley tore ligaments in his knee at Washington and was lost for the season, Nielsen returned for the Arizona State contest and has started since at Riley's nose tackle spot. Another first-year freshman, Mike Patterson (7 tac, 4 for loss, 3 sack, 2 FF, 2 FR in 2001), also has been pressed into action at nose tackle. Patterson is tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in fumble recoveries (2) and forced fumbles (2). One end spot is a pseudo-linebacker, giving USC's 4-3 look a 3-4 feel. Senior Lonnie Ford (35 tac, team-high 14 for loss, team-best 7 sack, 2 dfl, team-high 4 FF in 2001), who has 27 tackles for losses and 23 starts in his career, is the ideal man for that job, with soph Omar Nazel (15 tac, 4 for loss, 3 sack, 1 int, 1 dfl in 2001), who saw brief action in 5 games last season without making a stop, backing him up. Ford, who made the 2001 All-Pac-10 second team, currently is tied for the Pac-10 lead in forced fumbles (4) and is tied for sixth in sacks (7) and tied for seventh in tackles for a loss (14). The other end has been manned mainly by redshirt freshman Kenechi Udeze (29 tac, 8 for loss, 3 sack, 1 FR, 3 FF, 1 dfl in 2001) and some by senior Bobby DeMars (5 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 3 dfl, 1 int, 1 blk FG in 2001), who had seen limited action entering the 2001 season. Udeze-who has seen action in every game in 2001-has started every game except Oregon and Stanford, which DeMars started (but DeMars suffered a neck sprain versus Stanford and missed the Washington and Arizona State contests). Udeze currently is tied for third in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (3). He made the 2001 The Sporting News Freshman All-American second team. True freshman Jason Wardlow (3 tac in 2001) also has seen some action at end, although a hamstring pull sidelined him for the Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State, California and UCLA games.
--In the San Jose State opener, Udeze had 4 tackles (1 for a loss), Riley had 4 stops and made a nice 1-handed interception of a deflected pass, Nielsen had 4 tackles, Ford and Nazel each had 2 stops and a deflection and Cody had a tackle.
--Against Kansas State, Riley had 10 tackles, recovered a fumble (to set up a USC TD) and deflected a pass, Udeze and Ford both had 7 stops (both had a sack and Ford forced the fumble which Riley recovered) and Nielsen added 4 tackles.
--Ford had 5 tackles (1.5 for losses) at Oregon, Riley added 4 stops (0.5 for a loss), Nielsen had 3 tackles and a deflection, Nazel had a 7-yard sack and DeMars-in his first career start-had a tackle, deflection and blocked field goal.
--Riley had 4 tackles (2 for losses) versus Stanford, Cody, Udeze and Nazel added 3 stops each (Udeze also recovered a fumble and Nazel had a sack), Ford had 2 stops (with a sack) and forced a fumble that USC recovered, and Nielsen had a tackle before spraining his shoulder.
--Cody had 5 tackles (1 for a loss) at Washington, Riley added 4 stops with a sack (he played most of the game after tearing ligaments in his knee), Udeze had 3 tackles (1 for a loss), Patterson had 2 stops and a fumble recovery and Ford had a tackle and deflection.
--Against Arizona State, Ford had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and forced a fumble (which USC recovered), Wardlow had 2 stops, Patterson had a sack and forced fumble, Udeze had a tackle and deflection and Nielsen and Cody each had a stop.
--Ford had 8 tackles at Notre Dame, including 3 for losses (with a sack), and a forced fumble, while Cody had 6 stops (2 were sacks), Nielsen had 4 tackles and recovered a fumble and Udeze made 3 stops and forced a fumble.
--At Arizona, Cody and Udeze had 2 stops each (Cody had a sack and Udeze a tackle for a loss), with 1 tackle each going to Patterson (for a loss), DeMars (along with 2 deflections and an interception), Nielsen (a sack), Nazel (plus an interception to set up a TD) and Ford (a sack).
--Nielsen had 5 tackles (with a sack) against Oregon State, Cody added 4 stops, both of Ford's and Udeze's tackles were for losses (each with a sack), Nazel had 2 tackles, DeMars had 1 stop and Patterson recovered a fumble.
--At California, Cody had 5 tackles, Nazel had 4 (with 2 for losses, including a sack), Udeze had 3 (with a sack) and forced a fumble that USC returned for a TD, Patterson and DeMars each had 2 (with a sack) and Patterson also forced a fumble, Ford had a sack and Nielsen added a tackle.
--Cody had a game-high 8 tackles (including 3 for losses, with 2 sacks, both were game bests) and recovered a fumble against UCLA, while Nielsen had 4 stops (with a sack), Ford had 3 (with a sack), Nazel had 2, Patterson had a sack and Udeze had a tackle for a loss and forced a fumble which USC recovered.
Of any area on the USC team, the linebacking corps faced the biggest challenge in 2001. After all, Troy had to replace all 3 starters, including a pair of elite linebackers: 3-year starter Zeke Moreno, who posted 285 tackles (33 for loss), 5 picks and 4 touchdowns in his career while topping the Trojans in stops the past 2 seasons, and 2-year starter Markus Steele, who made 152 tackles (29 for loss) in his career. Last year's starter on the strong side (Kori Dickerson) moved to tight end. Filling in at middle linebacker for Moreno are juniors Mike Pollard (81 tac, 8 for loss, team-best 7 dfl, 1 FR, 2 FF in 2001) as the starter and backup Aaron Graham (7 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack in 2001), who started there for USC's final 4 games last fall when Moreno moved to the weakside for an injured Steele, and redshirt freshman backup Lee Webb (7 tac, 1 FF in 2001), a converted fullback who broke his foot against Stanford and has didn't return until the California game. Pollard, who made the 2001 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad, currently is tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (2). The outside spots manned last season by Steele on the weak side and Dickerson on the strong side were being handled by a pair of converted safeties: senior Frank Strong (48 tac, 2 for loss, 5 dfl, 1 int, 2 FR, 2 FF in 2001, plus 5 tcb, 6 yds, 1.2 avg and 1 KOR, 23.0 avg), who was a free safety the previous year-and-a-half and also was USC's top kickoff returner last year (21.6 avg on 25 runbacks), on the weak side and redshirt freshman Matt Grootegoed (32 tac, 8 for loss, 1 sack, 1 FR, 2 dfl in 2001), who sat out last year with mononucleosis, on the strong side. Strong-who is tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in fumble recoveries (2) and forced fumbles (2)-has even been forced back into duty at tailback (at California) and kickoff return (against Oregon State, California and UCLA) in 2001 because of injuries, an unusual role for a linebacker. Grootegoed broke his leg at California to end his season, but he was named to the 2001 The Sporting News Freshman All-American third team. When Strong missed the Kansas State game with a knee sprain and Grootegoed missed the Oregon and Stanford games with a shoulder sprain and the UCLA game with the broken leg (he didn't start at Washington, but saw brief duty on special teams), senior John Cousins (25 tac, 1 for loss, 1 FR for TD in 2001)-who is deaf in one ear and hearing impaired in the other-got the starts versus Kansas State and Oregon and sophomore Chris Prosser (15 tac, 4 for loss, 2 sack, 1 dfl in 2001), who missed USC's first 2 games of 2001 while ineligible, got the starts versus Stanford, Washington and UCLA (he missed the Arizona State, Notre Dame, Arizona and Oregon State games with a concussion). Also seeing backup duty on the outside was true freshman Bobby Otani (1 tac in 2001), but he has been sidelined with torn knee ligaments prior to the Arizona contest.
--In the San Jose State opener, Strong had game bests of 8 tackles and 2 deflections, Pollard added 5 stops while forcing a fumble which USC recovered and deflecting a pass which Troy intercepted, Grootegoed had 2 tackles and Webb added a stop.
--Grootegoed had 9 tackles (1 for a loss) against Kansas State, Pollard and Cousins added 6 stops and Webb had 5 (Strong sat out with knee sprain).
--Pollard had a game-best 11 tackles (1 for a loss) at Oregon, Strong added 6 stops and recovered a fumble, Cousins had 5 tackles (1 for a loss) and Prosser had 3 (1 for a loss), while Grootegoed sat out with a shoulder sprain.
--Pollard had 9 tackles and 3 deflections versus Stanford, Prosser added 8 stops (with a sack) and a deflection, and Strong had 4 tackles, forced a fumble which USC recovered and deflected a pass.
--Pollard had 7 tackles (2 for losses) at Washington, Cousins added 6 stops, Strong had 5, Prosser had a tackle for a loss before sitting out the second half with a mild concussion and Otani had a tackle.
--Against Arizona State, Grootegoed had 7 tackles (3 for losses), Strong had 6 tackles and returned an interception 24 yards to set up a field goal, Pollard had 5 stops, recovered a fumble and deflected a pass, and Cousins had a tackle.
--Pollard had a game-high 11 tackles (1 for a loss) and forced a fumble (which USC recovered to set up a TD) at Notre Dame, Grootegoed had 7 stops (2 for losses) and recovered a fumble (to set up a field goal), Strong had 4 tackles, forced a fumble (which USC recovered to set up a field goal) and deflected a pass, and Cousins had 2 tackles.
--At Arizona, Pollard had 7 tackles and deflected a pass which USC intercepted, Graham (with a sack) and Strong (with a tackle for a loss) each had 3 stops, and Grootegoed and Cousins each had 2 tackles.
--Pollard had a game-high 11 tackles (with a team-best 3 for losses) against Oregon State, Strong added 8 stops (1 for a loss), a deflection, a fumble recovery and a 23-yard kickoff return, Grootegoed had 5 tackles (with a sack) and a deflection, Cousins had 2 stops and Graham 1.
--At California, Pollard had a team-best 6 tackles with a deflection, Graham added 3 stops, Prosser had 2 (with a sack) and Cousins returned a fumble 89 yards for a TD to go along with a tackle, while Strong saw action on defense (1 stop), offense (6 yards on 5 carries at tailback) and special teams (as a kickoff returner, although he did not have a runback), Grootegoed suffered a season-ending broken leg.
--Pollard and Strong each had 3 tackles against UCLA, while Prosser and Webb added 1 each.
There is an embarrassment of riches in the USC secondary in 2001 in terms of experience and depth. Seven players have started there in their careers. Junior strong safety Troy Polamalu (team-high 98 tac, 10 for loss, 1 sack, 5 dfl, 3 int of which 2 were returned for a TD, 2 FF, 1 FR, 3 blk P in 2001, plus 3 PR, 9.0 avg) has been named to the 2001 Football Writers All-American first team, The Sporting News All-American third team, Football News All-American third team and the All-Pac-10 first team. A team captain, he is USC's first All-American safety since Mark Carrier in 1989. He currently is tied for second in the Pac-10 in tackles (8.9) and tied for fifth in forced fumbles (2). His 98 tackles are the most by a Trojan safety since Carrier had 107 in 1989. He has been USC's leading tackler in 7 games this year, including 6 in a row (and his tackles in 6 of those 7 games were also game highs). He has blocked 4 punts in his career (3 in 2001) and has returned 3 of his 5 career interceptions for TDs (2 TDs in 2001). He was the team's No. 2 tackler last fall (83) while starting all season at strong safety. Senior Antuan Simmons (30 tac, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 2 int of which 1 was returned for a TD, 3 dfl, 1 FF in 2001), a 3-year starter at cornerback (he was moved to safety this fall) who sat out the 2000 campaign while battling a life-threatening illness (a benign abdominal tumor that left him hospitalized for 6 weeks), emerged as the starter at free safety (he started at cornerback against California and UCLA because of injuries). A team captain, he slowly worked his way back into shape, was impressive in last spring's practice and won the free safety job this fall. He is an impact player, with 205 tackles, 9 interceptions (3 returned for TDs) and 6 blocked kicks in his career. Behind Simmons is junior DeShaun Hill (28 tac, 1 for loss, 1 dfl, 2 int, 1 FR in 2001), who shared the starting free safety duty last season with Frank Strong, while redshirt freshman Jason Leach (8 tac, 1 dfl in 2001) backs up Polamalu. When Simmons started at cornerback against California and UCLA because of injury, Hill got the start at free safety. The corners are equally stacked. Senior Chris Cash (47 tac, 3 for loss, 2 int, 1 dfl, 1 blk FG in 2001), who made the 2001 All-Pac-10 second team, started on one side and was backed by the player he shared the spot with in 2000, junior Darrell Rideaux (7 tac in 2001, plus 17 KOR, 19.4 avg), who also is a sprinter for USC's track team with a best of 10.27 in the 100 meters. But Cash missed the California and UCLA games because of a knee injury, while Rideaux sprained an ankle at Arizona and missed the Oregon State and California games. On the other side, there's senior 3-year starter Kris Richard (44 tac, 4 for loss, 2 sack, 1 FF, 5 dfl, 2 int with a 58-yard TD return, 1 TD on a blk FG return in 2001), who made the 2001 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad. He has 8 career picks (3 returned for TDs). He was Troy's top punt returner last season (7.5 avg on 13 runbacks). Backing him up and serving as the nickel back is junior Kevin Arbet (23 tac, 3 for loss, 2 sack, 5 dfl, 3 int with a 70-yard TD return, 1 FR in 2001, plus 23 PR, 8.6 avg and 3 KOR, 17.7 avg), a 4-game starter last year and the stepson of ex-USC receiver Jeff Simmons. Arbet sprained an ankle at Arizona and missed the Oregon State game. He made the 2001 All-Pac-10 first team as the special teams player (non-kicker).
--In the San Jose State opener, Polamalu had 7 tackles (1 for a loss) and a deflection, Hill and Simmons added 4 stops each (Hill also recovered a fumble), Cash had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and an interception, Richard had 3 stops, Arbet had 2 tackles and Rideaux made a tackle and returned a kickoff 15 yards.
--Against Kansas State, Polamalu had a game-high 13 tackles (3 for losses) and forced a fumble, Richard had 8 stops and broke up a pass, Cash had 3 tackles and Simmons had 2 tackles and intercepted the eighth pass of his career.
--Cash had 8 tackles (1 for loss) at Oregon, Polamalu added 7 stops and a deflection, Simmons had 5 tackles, Richard had 3 tackles and 2 deflections, Rideaux had 3 stops and returned 4 kickoffs for 97 yards, Arbet had 2 tackles (with a sack) and a deflection, plus returned a punt 10 yards and a kickoff 13 yards, and Hill had a stop and a deflection.
--Against Stanford, Polamalu had a game-high 10 tackles (1 for a loss) and also blocked a punt, Hill made 7 stops (1 for a loss) and an interception, Cash added 4 tackles and blocked a field goal, Richard had 3 stops, 1 deflection and returned Cash's blocked field goal 65 yards for a TD, Arbet had 2 tackles, a deflection, a fumble recovery (which led to a Trojan field goal), and returned 5 punts for 70 yards (including a career-best 47-yarder to set up a TD) and a kickoff 14 yards, Simmons added 2 tackles and Rideaux had a tackle and returned 2 kickoffs for 38 yards.
--Polamalu had a team-best 13 tackles (2 for a loss) and returned an interception 22 yards for a TD (the second scoring pick of his career) at Washington, while Cash added 8 stops and a deflection, Richard had 7 tackles (1 for a loss), Arbet had 6 stops and returned 3 punts for 22 yards, Simmons had 2 tackles, Leach and Hill each had a stop and Rideaux had 3 kickoff returns for 45 yards.
--Polamalu had a game-high 8 tackles versus Arizona State, Cash added 4, Arbet had 3 stops (1 for a loss), returned an interception 20 yards to set up a field goal, plus ran back 3 punts for 35 yards and a kickoff for 26 yards, Richard also had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and returned an interception 36 yards to set up a field goal, Leach had 2 stops, Simmons had 2 stops (with a sack) and forced a fumble, and Hill had 2 tackles.
--Polamalu had a game-high 11 tackles and recovered a fumble (which set up a TD) at Notre Dame, Cash had 7 stops (1 for a loss), Arbet had 3 tackles and returned 2 punts for 8 yards, Richard and Simmons each had 3 stops, and Hill and Rideaux each had 1 tackles (Rideaux also returned 2 kickoffs for 33 yards).
--At Arizona, Richard returned an interception 58 yards for the game-winning TD with 1:50 to play (to go along with his 5 tackles, including a sack, 2 deflections and a forced fumble) to win Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors, Arbet also had a scoring interception return (70 yards) and returned 2 punts for 18 yards, Polamalu had a game-best 12 tackles (with a sack), Cash made 8 tackles, Hill had 4 stops, Rideaux had a tackle and returned 3 kickoffs for 55 yards and Simmons had a tackle.
--Polamalu had a game-best 11 tackles (2 for losses), deflected 2 passes, forced a fumble and blocked a punt which USC recovered for a TD against Oregon State (he was named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week), Richard added 5 tackles (with a sack), Simmons had 4 stops and a deflection, Cash intercepted a pass to go along with his 2 tackles and deflection, and Hill had a tackle.
--At California, Hill had a team-best 6 tackles and returned an interception 10 yards, Arbet had 4 stops (with a sack), 2 deflections and returned 3 punts for 22 yards, Polamalu had 4 tackles and ran an interception 58 yards for an interception (his second scoring pick return of 2001 and third of his career), Simmons had 3 tackles and Leach had 2.
--Against UCLA, Richard had 4 tackles, Leach had 3 with a deflection, Simmons had 2 stops (1 for a loss) and made an amazing between-the-legs interception that he returned 36 yards for a TD, Polamalu had 2 stops to go along with a 36-yard interception runback and a blocked punt to set up a pair of USC field goals (he was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week), Arbet had a tackle and interception and Hill added a tackle.
Senior Mike MacGillivray (39.2 avg in 2001), who owns a 39.3 career punting average while punting for the fourth year, is a battle-tested veteran but has struggled with his consistency. An effective placement punter, more than a third (101) of his career punts have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line (including 27 of his 71 boots in 2001) and 30 have traveled 50-plus yards. He owns the USC career record for punts (290) and punt yardage (11,398). USC's placekicking was an adventure in 2000 and 2 of the 3 kickers are back, but a newcomer has won the job: junior David Davis (31-of-33 PAT, 15-of-17 FG in 2001, plus 1 tcb, 3 yds, 3.0 avg, 1 TD), a junior college transfer who had an impressive fall camp and has continued that way throughout this season. Davis, who has hit his last 12 field goal attempts and 15 of his last 16, is the Pac-10's most accurate field goal kicker (88.2 %). He is tied for 18th nationally in field goals (1.4, first in Pac-10). He made the 2001 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad. Senior David Newbury (4-of-9 FG, 9-of-12 PAT in 2000) began 2000 as the kicker, but he was inconsistent (he is handling the kickoffs this fall, with 7 of his 60 kickoffs pinning opponents within the 20, with 1 touchback and 2 on-side recoveries). Because he doesn't have the leg to consistently knock his kickoffs into the end zone and because of USC's mediocre kickoff return coverage, in the Arizona, Oregon State, California and UCLA games Newbury resorted to pooch kicks at times (resulting in 12 fair catches on 26 kickoffs). Newbury was replaced midway through last season's fifth game by sophomore John Wall (5-of-5 FG, 9-of-14 PAT in 2000), whose field goals were all within 27 yards and his 5 missed extra points were all blocked. When Wall was sidelined by a groin injury and then a knee injury in the final 3 contests of 2000 (he's still coming around from that knee injury and has yet to play in 2001), the now-graduated David Bell took over. Primarily USC's effective kickoff man the past 4 years (nearly 50% of his 243 career kickoffs were not returned past the 20-yard line, with 62 touchbacks), Bell long will be remembered for his game-winning field goal with 9 seconds to go at UCLA last fall (it was only the second three-pointer of his career and the first after 3 misses in 2000).
--Davis hit all 3 of his PAT tries in his debut in the San Jose State opener, while 2 of Newbury's 4 kickoffs pinned SJSU within the 20-yard line.
--MacGillivray averaged 41.6 yards on 9 punts against Kansas State and 7 of them pinned the Wildcats within the 20-yard line (2 of his boots were 50-plus yards), while Davis came up short on a 42-yard field goal try and had his PAT kick blocked.
--Davis hit all 3 of his field goal tries (the first of his career)-32, 43 and 39 yards-and his PAT at Oregon, while MacGillivray averaged 39.2 yards on his 6 punts.
--MacGillivray averaged 39.7 yards on his 6 punts against Stanford, with 2 pinning the Cardinal within the 20-yard line (the second one stopped at the 2), while Davis hit a 41-yard field goal (he missed a 26-yarder) and his only PAT try.
--Davis hit his only field goal try (a 40-yarder) and all 3 of his PATs at Washington, while MacGillivray averaged 36.0 on 6 punts, including a 55-yarder (it was 1 of 2 that pinned UW within the 20) and 2 of Newbury's 5 kickoffs pinned the Huskies within the 20.
--Against Arizona State, Davis nailed both of his field goal attempts (36 and 29 yards), plus all 6 of his PATs, while 2 of Newbury's 9 kickoffs and 3 of MacGillivray's 5 punts pinned the Sun Devils within the 20.
--MacGillivray averaged 41.9 yards on 7 punts (including a 55-yarder) at Notre Dame, with 2 pinning the Irish within the 20, but he was stopped short of a first down on a fake punt attempt, while Davis hit an 18-yard field goal and made 1 of his 2 PATs (his miss was wide left).
--Davis nailed 2 field goals (32 yards and a career-long 47-yarder) and all 5 PATs at Arizona, while 2 of MacGillivray's 8 punts and 2 of Newbury's 8 kickoffs pinned the Wildcats within the 20.
--Against Oregon State, MacGillivray averaged 41.2 yards on his 10 punts (4 pinned the Beavers within the 20) and Davis hit his only field goal try (30 yards) and his PAT attempt.
--At California, Davis not only hit both of his field goals (33 and 26 yards) and all 7 PATs, but he had a 3-yard TD run on a fake field goal (on a flip from MacGillivray), while Cal called fair catches on 5 of Newbury's 9 kickoffs (another was recovered by USC to set up a field goal) and MacGillivray averaged 31.0 yards on his 4 punts.
--Davis hit a pair of 20-yard field goals and all 3 of his PATs (including a 35-yarder because of penalty) against UCLA, while MacGillivray averaged 40.2 yards on his 5 punts (3 kept the Bruins within the 20, including twice pinning them at the 9-yard line), with a 54-yarder.
***USC has won 4 games in a row and 5 consecutive Pac-10 games, both current long streaks among Pac-10 teams. USC has won 5 of its last 6 games after starting off 1-4 overall and the Trojans have won their last 5 league games after beginning Pac-10 play at 0-3.
***USC's 5 losses this year-3 were to AP Top 12 teams at the time and all 5 were in the AP Top 25 at some point in 2001-have been by a total of just 25 points (5.0 avg).
***2 of USC's wins this year were the result of late game-winning touchdowns (with 1:50 to go at Arizona and in overtime versus Oregon State).
***In USC's 4-game winning streak to end the regular season, the Trojans outscored their opponents 139-61 (an average of 35-15), Troy's defense scored 5 TDs, intercepted 11 passes and posted 23 sacks in that span.
***USC has 33 takeaways (tied for 10th most nationally) after getting only 17 all of last year.
***The Trojans have 19 interceptions this year (second most in the Pac-10 and tied for seventh nationally) after getting only 7 all of 2000.
***USC's 14 fumble recoveries is tied for the Pac-10 lead (and is tied for 16th nationally), while Troy's 7 lost fumbles is second fewest in the league (tied for 19th fewest in the nation).
***USC has turned the ball over just 19 times this season (second fewest in the Pac-10) after having a nation-leading 36 turnovers in 2000.
***USC is tied for fifth nationally in turnover margin (+1.3, tied for first in Pac-10).
***USC has surrendered 52 points on drives immediately following a turnover in 2001, for 26.4% of the total points (197) Troy has given up, on the other hand, the Trojans have scored 90 points on drives right after getting a turnover, for 30.8% of their total points scored (292).
***After being penalized 113 times for 977 yards in 2000, USC has been flagged only 74 times for 627 yards this season (its 57.0-yard average is second fewest in the Pac-10).
***Opponents have scored first in 8 games in 2001 (all but San Jose State, Oregon State and UCLA).
***USC's offense is 31-of-35 (88.6%, second in the Pac-10) this season when in the red zone (19 touchdowns, 12 field goals, 1 missed field goal, 1 failed fourth down, 1 lost fumble, 1 interception), while the Trojan defense is limiting foes to just 69.2% (27-of-39) in the red zone (second in the Pac-10).
***USC has outpointed opponents in the second quarter by more than double in 2001, 103-51.
***The 197 points allowed by USC this season is its fewest since the 1989 team gave up 132.
***USC is allowing opponents to convert just 1-of-11 fourth downs in 2001 (fewest allowed in the Pac-10), while Troy's fourth down conversion rate of 69.2% (9-of-13) is tops in the Pac-10.
***USC's 173 first downs are the fewest in the Pac-10.
***USC has held the ball an average of 1:30 less a game than its opponents in 2001 (the Oregon, Arizona State, California and UCLA games were the only ones in which Troy held the ball for at least 30 minutes).
***USC's defense has 36 sacks in 2001 (tied for first in the Pac-10), while QB Carson Palmer has been sacked 32 times (only 1 Pac-10 team has allowed more).
***USC is allowing opponents just 20.2 yards on kickoff returns (second in the Pac-10).
***USC tops the Pac-10 in scoring defense (17.9, 11th nationally) and field goal percentage (88.2%), is second in pass defense (179.2, 16th nationally) and is third in pass efficiency defense (106.3, 22nd nationally).
***USC is second in the Pac-10 in total defense (328.4), but last in total offense (329.4).
***USC has had less than 300 yards in total offense in 6 games in 2001 (Kansas State, Stanford, Washington, Notre Dame, Oregon State and UCLA), including 5 of the past 8.
***USC is allowing the fewest total touchdowns (23, tied for eighth fewest nationally), TD passes (11, tied for 15th fewest nationally), rushing TDs (10, tied for 13th fewest nationally) and plays (746, 18th fewest nationally) in the Pac-10 in 2001.
***USC's passing offense leads the Pac-10 in completion percentage (58.6%).
***USC has rushed for 100 yards or less 7 times in 2001 (Kansas State, Oregon, Stanford, Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State and UCLA), including 4 of the past 5.
***USC is averaging just 95.5 rushing yards per game (last in the Pac-10 and 109th out of 115 teams nationally) and Troy is on pace to run for just 1,146 yards in 2001, which would be its fewest ever since records were kept in 1948.
***QB Carson Palmer's 54-yard run against UCLA was the longest of the year by a Trojan (it's the first time since Rodney Peete in 1986 that a quarterback has Troy's longest rush), however he fumbled away the ball at the end of the run.
***TB Sultan McCullough's 410 rushing yards is the lowest total to lead USC since Hal Tobin's 318 yards in 1960.
USC's 2001 captains, by vote of the players, are FB Charlie Landrigan, CB-S Antuan Simmons and S Troy Polamalu.
With the head coaching change this year, there are 7 new assistant coaches on the USC staff: offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Norm Chow (who worked wonders last year at North Carolina State and before that for 27 years at BYU, where he coached such star quarterbacks as Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson, Gifford Nielsen, Ty Detmer and Robbie Bosco), associate head coach/secondary coach DeWayne Walker (he spent the past 3 years with the New England Patriots after stops at Utah State, BYU, Oklahoma State and California), running backs coach Wayne Moses (who has coached Pac-10 runners the last 11 years at Washington, California and UCLA), wide receiver coach Kirby Wilson (he was with the Washington Redskins and New England Patriots following stints at Iowa State, Southern Illinois and Wyoming), offensive line coach Keith Uperesa (he came from Idaho State after a long and successful career at Snow J.C.), linebackers coach Nick Holt (previously at Louisville and Idaho) and tight ends coach Lane Kiffin (the son of longtime NFL and college coach Monte Kiffin). They join holdovers Ed Orgeron (defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator) and Kennedy Pola (special teams coordinator). Two young coaches-offensive assistant Steve Sarkisian (a record-setting quarterback under Chow at BYU) and defensive assistant Rocky Seto (a former USC linebacker)-joined the staff as graduate assistants.
***Now that senior CB-S Antuan Simmons-a 4-year starter with 205 tackles, 9 interceptions (3 returned for TDs) and 6 blocked kicks in his career-has stepped onto the field in 2001, it should be regarded as the comeback of the year in college football. After all, he has recovered from a life threatening illness. Simmons was set to start for his fourth season in 2000 and was a pre-season All-American who might have been a first round draft choice this past spring. But, while getting an MRI as part of his rehab for a back injury that occurred late in the 1999 season, doctors noticed a benign abdominal tumor. He had surgery in May of 2000 to remove the tumor and was expected to be hospitalized for 4-5 days. Instead, he was hospitalized for 6 weeks, had 2 surgeries and came close to death 3 times. He lost 40 pounds. He redshirted the 2000 season while recuperating and had additional surgery in November for a hernia. He wasn't expected to participate fully in 2001 spring practice, but he was ahead of schedule, so he was allowed to go full-speed from the start and really opened some eyes. At the end of the spring, he was listed as a co-starter at cornerback, but was moved to free safety this fall and has been the starter there.
***Speaking of comebacks, new strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle has beaten cancer. He learned he had Hodgkin's Disease in December of 2000, began radiation treatments in Tennessee (where he was the Volunteers' associate strength and conditioning coach the previous 3 years), was hired by USC in February of 2001, kept his illness a secret except to Trojan head coach Pete Carroll, continued treatments in Tennessee and at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, then doctors told him this summer that the cancer was in remission. He informed the USC players of his ordeal at the start of this fall's camp.
***The 2001 season marks the 40th anniversary of Traveler, USC's white horse mascot.
***This year also is the 20th anniversary of USC's most recent Heisman Trophy, won by TB Marcus Allen in 1981 (USC's fourth).
***Pete Carroll's arrival at USC is extra special, because he gets to see his daughter, Jaime, on a daily basis now. She is a sophomore defensive specialist on USC's highly-ranked women's volleyball team which last fall reached the NCAA Final Four (and advanced to the Pacific regional final in 2001). However, Carroll will miss out on watching his oldest son, Brennan, a senior tight end at Pittsburgh.
***Look for 2 slight retro changes on USC's uniform in 2001: the Trojans have gray facemasks (instead of cardinal) and wear white shoelaces (instead of black). Also, on the back of their helmets are a gold football-shaped decal reading "McKay" in memory of legendary coach John McKay (4 national championships, 8 Rose Bowl trips, 127 victories), who died this past June 10, and an American flag in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy on the East Coast.
***A new tradition has started at Troy's home games in 2001 as the USC team buses unload the Trojan players amid the tailgaters in front of the Coliseum peristyle about 2 hours-and-20-minutes before kickoff. The players walk through the crowd into the Coliseum before going to dress in the locker room.
***USC's oldest living football letterman is 101-year-old James Pursell. He lettered in 1921-22-23 as a 156-pound guard and was a member of USC's first Rose Bowl team. Then there's 99-year old Hobbs Adams, a 1923-24-25 letterman as a 170-pound end (he captained the 1925 squad, also played baseball and track, then was a Trojan assistant from 1935 to 1939, his granddaughter, Tracy Lindquist, is a junior setter on the 2001 USC women's volleyball team).
***USC's football team can field a pretty imposing track and field squad...and, in fact, Trojan track coach Ron Allice benefits from a number of footballers (many helped Troy win the 2000 Pac-10 meet). TB Sultan McCullough is the fastest Trojan football player ever, having run a 10.17 in the 100 (fifth fastest of any USC trackster in history!). He was the Pac-10 100 champ in 1999. WR Kareem Kelly, who owns the world junior record in the indoor 50, has clocked 10.28 in the 100. CB Darrell Rideaux has gone 10.27, CB-TB Miguel Fletcher has gone 10.31 and Michigan transfer TB Justin Fargas (he's ineligible this season) is a 10.47 guy. Fargas (1997), Rideaux (1998) and Kelly (1999) all won the California state high school 100. WR Marcell Allmond is a 13.54 high hurdler (he was a 2-time California state prep champ) and national Junior Olympic record-setting decathlete. And, get this, 6-4, 235-pound TE Kori Dickerson (he started at linebacker last fall, but starts on offense this year) is a 6-8 high jumper who placed second in this past season's USC-UCLA dual meet (and third the previous 2 years). OT Nate Steinbacher and OG Travis Watkins are shot putters for Troy. And, among the freshmen, WR William Buchanon, TB Darryl Poston and S-CB John Walker are legitimate speed threats.
***OG Faaesea Mailo, a 6-3, 325-pound Hawaiian, participated in the sumo club in high school, where he won the Hawaii state championship. He even went to Japan in 1996 to train with pro sumo wrestlers, who tried unsuccessfully to convince him to take up the sport as a profession. He missed the 1997 and 1998 USC seasons while on a Mormon mission in Sapporo, Japan (imagine opening your door and seeing him!). He is fluent in Japanese. In short yardage situations the past 2 seasons, he lined up at fullback a la Refrigerator Perry and proved to be a devastating blocker.
***LB John Cousins is deaf in his left ear and impaired in the right. He wears a hearing aid in the right ear and reads lips. That handicap could present some unique challenges on the football field. Incidentally, PK John Wall knows sign language and has volunteered with deaf and hearing-impaired youth programs.
***OT Phillip Eaves spent part of 1997 in the Army at Fort Jackson, S.C.
***QB Matt Cassel played on the Northridge (Calif.) team that was a finalist at the 1994 Little League World Series, while LB Bobby Otani was a national champion in judo.
***As a youngster, LB Collin Ashton was a ballboy for several years for the USC men's basketball team.
***USC has a 23-year-old freshman in WR Frank Candela. The one-time Boston prep football sensation spent the past 4 seasons playing minor league baseball in the Brewers organization, but wanted to give football another try. Known for his speed and quickness, the 5-8, 175-pounder is nicknamed The Flash. He was born in Boston, but soon after moved with his family to the Italian island of Sicily, where he lived for 7 years before coming back to Boston (his parents returned to live in Sicily when he was 14 and Candela remained in Boston with an older brother).
***Four Trojans have Hollywood connections. As a youngster, USC freshman S-CB John Walker was a television actor who appeared in such shows as "E.R." and "7th Heaven" (in fact, he didn't play football until his sophomore year of high school because a clause in his acting contract prevented him from doing anything that could affect his appearance). TB Justin Fargas is the son of actor Antonio Fargas, who has appeared in television (including as Huggy Bear on "Starsky and Hutch") and film ("Shaft," "Pretty Baby," "The Gamble" and "Car Wash," among others). C-OG Derek Graf's father, Allan, is a stuntman, stunt coordinator and second unit director who has been involved in many noted Hollywood films, "On Any Given Sunday" and "The Replacements." USC linebackers coach Nick Holt is the grandson of Clarence "Buster" Crabbe, USC's first All-American swimmer (1931) who was a 1931 NCAA freestyle titlist and 1932 Olympic gold medalist before starring in Hollywood as Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.
***Four Trojans have fathers who played on national championship USC football squads: C-OG Derek Graf (father, Allan, was on the 1972 team), LB Austin Jackson (father, Melvin, was on the 1974 squad), LB-S Kyle Matthews (father, 1977 All-American Clay, was on the 1974 team) and CB Justin Tolliver (father, Kevin Williams, was on the 1978 team). Matthews' uncle, Bruce, was a 1982 All-American offensive guard at USC. Several other Trojans have relatives with USC football connections. CB-S Kevin Arbet is the stepson of ex-Trojan (1980-82) Jeff Simmons. Two Trojans had cousins who played at USC-WR Kareem Kelly (Rashard Cook, 1995-98) and TE-SNP Joe Boskovich (Martin Boskovich, 1993)-and two had uncles who were Trojan footballers: S Troy Polamalu (Kennedy Pola, 1982-85, now USC's special teams coordinator) and OT-C Norm Katnik (John Katnik, 1986-87).
***Speaking of genes: CB-S Kevin Arbet's cousin, Lamarr Arbet, is a sophomore defensive lineman at San Jose State and his uncle, Darren Arbet, is the head coach of the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. WR William Buchanon is the son of ex-NFL star Willie Buchanon, a 1971 All-American cornerback at San Diego State who was a 3-time Pro Bowler during his 11-year (1972-82) NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers. WR Keary Colbert's cousin is Arizona State DT Tommie Townsend. CB-TB Miguel Fletcher's father, Ned, was on the football and track teams at Cal State Northridge. LB Matt Grootegoed's brother, John, was an offensive guard at San Jose State in 1994 and 1995. TE Alex Holmes' father, Mike, lettered at defensive end at Michigan in 1974 and 1975. TE Kolomona Kapanui's cousin, Chad Kapanui, is a redshirt freshman defensive back at Hawaii. OT-C Norm Katnik's father, Norman, was a 2-year starting center at Arizona (1978-79). TB-FB David Kirtman's father, Louis, ran track at California and his uncle, Nate Kirtman, played football at Stanford in 1967. FB Charlie Landrigan's father was a quarterback at a small college in North Dakota. TB Sultan McCullough's brother, Saladin, was a tailback at Oregon in 1996 and 1997 who has played in the XFL and NFL, while his late father, Bruce, ran track at San Jose State in the 1960s and his mother, Mabel, played basketball on the 1959 Arkansas high school championship team. OG Faaesea Mailo's father, James, played football at Hawaii, while his brother, Anipati, is a junior linebacker at Hawaii and another brother, Fulutusi, was a linebacker at Montana State. PK David Newbury's father, Gerry, played professional soccer in England. WR Devin Pitts' mother, LaVerne, was on the basketball and track teams at Cal State Dominguez Hills, while his older brother, Chester, is a senior offensive lineman at San Diego State and his sister, Julia, will be on the basketball and track teams at UCLA beginning next fall, his cousin is major league slugger Barry Bonds. S Troy Polamalu's brother, Kaio Aumua, played football at UTEP, an uncle, Al Pola, played football at Penn State, a cousin, Nicky Sualua, was a running back with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys who attended Ohio State, another cousin, Leie Sualua, was a defensive lineman at Oregon, and another cousin, Joe Polamalu, played for Oregon State in 1987 and 1988. DT Bernard Riley's father, Bernard Sr., was a starting offensive guard at Oregon in 1975. C A.J. Single's father, Doug, played at Stanford, then was the Cardinal's offensive line coach before serving as athletic director at Northwestern and SMU. OG Travis Watkins' brother, Todd, is a freshman on the Norfolk State football team, while his father, Don, was a lineman at Pasadena City College and his uncle, Tom Watkins, played 8 seasons in the NFL in the 1960s with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. LB coach Nick Holt's wife, Julie, was the head women's basketball at Nevada Reno, Pacific, Gonzaga and Idaho. TE coach Lane Kiffin's father, Monte, is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (he is a longtime NFL and collegiate assistant coach who also served as North Carolina State's head coach in the early 1980s).
***How about these names: FB Sunny Byrd. Walk-on WR Forrest Mozart. OG Faaesea Mailo (his first name means "Someone who does things differently"). 6-3, 295-pound DT-DE Kenechi Udeze (he goes by BKU, as in Big Kenechi Udeze). Walk-on WR D. Hale (it's for Donald, but he goes by D.).
USC IS THE PLACE TO BE
Based on several national accolades it has received recently, USC can stake its claim as one of the nation's premier schools. USC was named the "College of the Year" by the 2000 edition of the Time/Princeton Review College Guide because of the remarkable bonds it has forged with the local community. The editors said USC has one of the most ambitious social-outreach programs of any university in the nation and cited the school's model of service learning (applying academic theory to real-life situations through public service). They also pointed out that USC's undergraduate applications have nearly doubled over the last few years and it is enrolling the most academically accomplished freshman classes in its history. Troy also was selected as one of America's nine "hottest schools" by the 2001 edition of the Newsweek/Kaplan College Guide because it lives up to its reputation as a top-notch institution of higher education. Students quoted in the guide said that what attracted them to the university was Los Angeles' ethnic diversity, the offer of scholarships, the small classroom sizes and USC's standing in academe. Also in 2001, the Association of American Colleges and Universities picked USC as one of 16 "Leadership Institutions" for providing stimulating educational experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. USC was cited for emphasizing a campus culture featuring new learning techniques, curriculum and organizational structure and for demonstrating a strong commitment to liberal arts education relevant to the contemporary world. The organization said USC not only linked liberal arts and pre-professional study, but offered students the opportunity to learn by doing through off-campus work in community projects and internships. Also, USC was lauded for stressing critical thinking, effective communication and contributing to a diverse society.
USC's two most recent graduation rates for football are the highest in USC history. The 2001 official NCAA graduation rate for Trojan football players was 82%, an all-time high (topping the previous USC high of 80% in 2000). That rate compared to 73% for the general USC student body...and it was about 30 percentage points higher than the national football average for Division I schools. Among the top scholars on the 2001 Trojan squad are LB Aaron Orndorff (team-high 3.89 GPA in geology), TE Chad Cook (3.22, business), TB Mark Gomez (3.22, political science), QB Matt Cassel (3.14), OG Spencer Torgan (3.03, business), DE Bobby DeMars (2.96, business administration), P Mike MacGillivray (2.95, public policy and management), C-SNP Joe Boskovich (2.92, business), TE-FB Scott Huber (2.91, communication), TE Alex Holmes (2.87, business), P Tommy Huff (2.85, history), CB Matt Lemos (2.81), TE Gregg Guenther (2.76) and DE Jay Bottom (2.75). DeMars and MacGillivray made 2001 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention, while Huber was a 1999 and 2000 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention choice. In its history, USC football has produced 22 Academic All-American first teamers (tops in the Pac-10 and sixth in the nation), 20 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners, 12 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes, 4 NCAA Today's Top Six winners, 1 Rhodes Scholar and 1 Academic All-American Hall of Famer.
The conditioning of USC's players has markedly improved under new strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle and his staff (Carlisle was hired in February of 2001). For instance, the team average in the bench press at the end of 2000 spring practice was 318 pounds (with only 4 players lifting 400-plus pounds), but it improved to 341 pounds at the end of 2001 spring drills (15 hoisted 400-plus) and entering the 2001 fall season the average was at 369 pounds (with 25 players at 400-plus). In the power clean, the spring 2000 team average was 270 pounds (with just 4 players lifting 300-plus pounds), then the spring 2001 mark improved to 283 pounds (with 18 hitting 300-plus) and going into this fall season the average was at 292 pounds (32 players are at 300-plus). Additionally, every Trojan currently has a body fat lower than 20%.
IN THE NFL
USC is always well-represented in the NFL. At the start of training camp this summer, there were 38 ex-Trojans on NFL rosters. Last year, there were 31 Trojans on opening day NFL rosters, including players such as LBs Junior Seau and Chris Claiborne, OLs Tony Boselli and Bruce Matthews, DLs Willie McGinest and Darrell Russell, WRs Keyshawn Johnson and Johnnie Morton, QB Rob Johnson and DBs Jason Sehorn, Sammy Knight and Daylon McCutcheon. Six NFL head coaches have USC ties (either as former players or assistants): New York Giants' Jim Fassel, Tennessee's Jeff Fisher, Seattle's Mike Holmgren, San Francisco's Steve Mariucci, Miami's Dave Wannstedt and San Diego's Mike Riley. Eight current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: WR William Buchanon (father, Willie Buchanon), LB Austin Jackson (father, Melvin Jackson), WR Kareem Kelly (cousin, Rashard Cook), LB-S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr., father, Clay Matthews, uncle, Bruce Matthews), TB Sultan McCullough (brother, Saladin McCullough), S Troy Polamalu (cousin, Nicky Sualua), WR Justin Tolliver (father, Kevin Williams) and OG Travis Watkins (uncle, Tom Watkins). Additionally, head coach Pete Carroll was an NFL head coach and assistant coach, and assistants DeWayne Walker, Kirby Wilson and Lane Kiffin were NFL assistants. Five assistant coaches played professionally: Keith Uperesa in the NFL, Walker, Wilson, Norm Chow and Steve Sarkisian in the CFL and Walker also played in the USFL.
USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 294 times, including 160 of the past 162 games. In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997 (snapped against Oregon State) and another streak of 48 in a row from 1997 to 2001 (broken against California).
There are a number of updates from the roster in the 2001 USC football media guide. There are 4 new scholarship players who have transferred this fall from junior colleges or colleges (their complete bios are below): #17 Devin Pitts (WR, 6-4, 190, So*./Jr., Carson, El Camino JC/North Torrance HS), #48 David Davis (PK, 5-11, 160, Jr./Jr., Hawthorne, El Camino JC/Bishop Montgomery HS), #51 Melvin Simmons (LB, 6-1, 210, Jr./Jr., Compton, Washington State/Dominguez HS) and #87 Grant Mattos (WR, 6-2, 220, Jr./Jr., Mountain View, Foothill JC/St. Francis HS, pronounced MAT-toaz). Six other players have joined the squad as freshmen walk-ons: #8 Jarrod Scuglik (S, 6-0, 185, Fr./Fr., Reedsburg, WI, Reedsburg Area HS), #14 Greig Carlson (WR, 5-10, 190, Fr./Fr., Woodland Hills, Pacific Palisades HS), #15 Zach Sherwood (P, 6-3, 190, Fr./Fr., Irvine, University HS), #27 Andre Woodert (WR, 6-0, 195, Fr./Fr., Los Angeles, Agoura HS), #38 Justin Tolliver (CB, 5-8, 150, Fr./Fr., New Orleans, La., De La Salle HS) and #60 Collin Ashton (LB, 6-1, 205, Fr./Fr., Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo HS). Four returning walk-ons have changed jersey numbers: P Tommy Huff is now #16, CB Matt Lemos is now #41, TE-SNP Alex Bottom is now #46 and WR Forrest Mozart is now #47. Also, delete LB Henry Wallace and walk-ons PK Anthony Boscarini and CB Brien McMullen, who have quit, walk-on QB Matt Harris, who transferred to UNLV, and LB Marvin Simmons, DE Raymond Tago and DE Daniel Pryor, who each did not qualify for admission. Several players have switched positions: Frank Strong and Matt Grootegoed are now at LB, Antuan Simmons and Kevin Arbet are at CB-S, Shaun Cody is a DT-DE, Eric Reese is a TB, Scott Huber is a TE-FB, Norm Katnik is an OT-C, Joe McGuire is an OT-OG, Kenechi Udeze is a DT-DE, Miguel Fletcher is a CB-TB, John Walker is a S-CB, David Kirtman is a TB-FB and Kyle Matthews is a LB-S. Finally, Sunny Byrd's eligibility should be changed to Jr.*/Sr.
BIOS OF NEW SCHOLARSHIP TROJANS
DEVIN PITTS-He was a 2000 J.C. Grid-Wire All-American honorable mention and Super Prep JUCO 100 pick as a redshirt freshman at El Camino Junior College in Torrance (Calif.)...He caught 68 passes for 1,156 yards (17.0 avg.) and 8 TDs in 2000, and was ranked 10th in the California juco ranks in receptions per game (6.3)...He attended El Camino in 1999, but did not play football because of an injury...Current Trojans Sunny Byrd and David Davis also attended El Camino...He won 1998 All-CIF Division X, South Bay Daily Breeze All-South Bay second team and All-Ocean League honors as a senior at North Torrance (Calif.) High...He had 48 receptions for 861 yards (17.9 avg.) and 9 TDs in 1998...He also ran track at North Torrance, with a best of 10.8 in the 100 meters...His mother, LaVerne, was on the basketball and track teams at Cal State Dominguez Hills, while his older brother, Chester, is a senior offensive lineman at San Diego State and his sister, Julia, will be on the basketball and track teams at UCLA beginning next fall...His cousin is major league slugger Barry Bonds.
DAVID DAVIS-He was a 2000 J.C. Grid-Wire All-American second team and J.C. Athletic Bureau All-State Region IV first team pick as a sophomore placekicker at El Camino Junior College in Torrance (Calif.)...He hit 11-of-15 field goals and 29-of-31 PATs for 62 points in 2000...As a 1999 redshirt freshman at El Camino, he made 6-of-11 field goals and all 47 of his PATs for 65 points...He also played soccer in 1998 as a freshman at El Camino...Current Trojans Sunny Byrd and Devin Pitts also attended El Camino...He prepped at Bishop Montgomery High in Torrance (Calif.), where he played football (placekicker and wide receiver as a 1997 senior), soccer and baseball...Current Trojan Eric Torres also prepped at Bishop Montgomery...He is a left-footed kicker.
MELVIN SIMMONS-He must sit out the 2001 season after transferring from Washington State (a year was waived from the 2-year in-conference transfer rule, making him eligible in 2002 instead of 2003)...He started 10 games at both middle and weakside linebacker as a 2000 sophomore at Washington State, getting 59 tackles (fourth on WSU), including 7 for losses of 24 yards (with 4 sacks for minus 19 yards), plus a deflection...Posted 9 stops against Stanford, 7 versus Washington and Utah and 6 (with 2 sacks) against Arizona State in 2001...Missed the 2000 California game with a shoulder injury...Saw action in 12 games as a first-year freshman in 1999, as a reserve linebacker and on special teams...Had 6 tackles in 1999...Received Blue Chip All-American, Super Prep All-Far West, All-CIF and All-League MVP honors as a 1998 senior at Dominguez High in Compton (Calif.)...Made 142 tackles with 5 sacks in 1998...As a 1997 junior, he made All-League first team while notching 138 tackles (with 6 sacks)...Was on the All-State Sophomore and All-League second team as a 1996 sophomore as Dominguez won the CIF title...Also was on the track and baseball teams at Dominguez...Is nicknamed "Champ."
GRANT MATTOS-He was a 2000 J.C. Athletic Bureau All-American first team, J.C. Grid-Wire All-American honorable mention, Super Prep JUCO 100, J.C. Athletic Bureau All-State Region II Offensive MVP and All-League MVP choice as a sophomore wide receiver at Foothill Junior College in Los Altos Hills (Calif.)...He had 76 receptions for 1,200 yards (15.8 avg.) and 14 TDs in 2000, plus returned 5 punts for 17 yards (3.4 avg.)...He was sixth in the California juco ranks in receptions per game (6.8) and 18th in scoring (7.8)...Foothill went 8-3 and won the Silicon Valley Bowl in 2000...As a 1999 freshman at Foothill, he had 46 catches for 509 yards (11.1 avg.) with 6 TDs...Foothill was 10-1 and won the Silicon Valley Bowl in 1999...He was named a Scholar-Athlete at Foothill...He was a 3-year (1996-98) starter at St. Francis High in Mountain View (Calif.), playing wide receiver, defensive back and defensive line...St. Francis won the CIF Central Coast Section Division I championship in 1996 and 1998 and was the runnerup in 1997...He was injured for most of his 1998 senior season...He caught 56 passes for 826 yards (14.8 avg.) with 4 scores, plus had 8 interceptions, as a 1997 junior while earning All-Area and All-West Coast Athletic League first team honors...He also competed in track at St. Francis...Current Trojans Matt Lemos and Forrest Mozart also prepped at St. Francis...His sister, Adrienne, is a senior All-American freestyler on California's swim team and set several school records.
Utah, which finished tied for third in the Mountain West Conference in 2001, has lost its last 2 games (24-21 at BYU and then 38-37 at Air Force) and 3 of its past 5. Its 4 defeats were by a total of just 20 points (5.0 avg.). Head coach Ron McBride, whose 82 wins in his 12 years in Salt Lake City are the second most in school history, now has taken the Utes to 6 bowls. Utah is 24th nationally in total offense (428.7) and its ground attack is 12th nationally in rushing offense (218.9), led by 223-pound senior HB Dameon Hunter (257 tcb, 1,396 yds, 5.4 avg, 9 TD in 2001, plus 6 rec, 11.7 avg). He is ninth in the nation in rushing (126.9) and his 1,396 rushing yards are the second most in Ute history. He has posted 8 100-yard outings this season, including a 226-yard performance at Air Force. He also is 21st nationally in all-purpose running (133.3). His backup, 230-pound senior HB Adam Tate (160 yds, 819 yds, 5.1 avg, 12 TD in 2001, plus 11 rec, 14.4 avg, 1 TD), has been equally effective (he has hit the 100-yard rushing mark 3 times this year, including 140 at Air Force). Sophomore QB Lance Rice (169-of-302, 56.0%, 2,086 yds, 16 TD, 11 int in 2001) directs the offense. Top pass catchers are senior WR Cliff Russell (53 rec, 14.0 avg, 4 TD in 2001) and junior WR Josh Lyman (36 rec, 16.2 avg, 5 TD in 2001), with senior TE Michael Richardson (20 rec, 13.1 avg, 2 TD in 2001) also a threat. The Ute offensive line-led by 6-6, 300 pound senior LT Doug Kaufusi, a 2-time All-Mountain West Conference first teamer-has allowed just 5 sacks all season (second fewest nationally). Utah boasts the MWC's best defense, as well as one of the best units in the nation. The Utes are ranked in the Top 25 nationally in all 4 defensive categories: 13th in scoring defense (18.6), 17th in pass efficiency defense (105.0), 17th in total defense (308.2) and 24th in rushing defense (117.8). All-MWC first team junior ROV Sheldon Deckart (team-high 86 tac, team-best 14 for loss, team-high 5 sack, 6 dfl, 2 FF in 2001), sophomore FS Antwoine Sanders (78 tac, team-high 4 int, 4 dfl), soph FS Arnold Parker (55 tac, 6 for loss, 1 sack, 1 int, 3 dfl, 1 FR, 2 FF in 2001), All-MWC first team junior DT Garrett Smith (53 tac, 13 for loss, 2 sack, 2 dfl in 2001) and All-MWC first team soph DE Jason Kaufusi (30 tac, 11 for loss, team-high 5 sack, 4 dfl in 2001), who is the fourth Kaufusi brother (including teammate Doug) to play for the Utes, spearhead a defense that has 18 takeaways. Handling the kicking chores are senior PK Ryan Kaneshiro (39-of-41 PAT, 8-of-14 FG in 2001) and junior P Brian Lewis (40.2 avg in 2001), who also kicks off.
"We are delighted to have earned the right to play in the Las Vegas Bowl. It's a great opportunity for our players and it should be an enjoyable trip for our fans. Although our season didn't start off as we had hoped, our players really rallied to turn things around and we finished strong. I've been impressed with the focus and work ethic our players have had in preparation for the Las Vegas Bowl. Not only do they want to keep alive the momentum and positive energy from the way we finished our regular season, but they realize that Utah is a formidable opponent...We'll be facing a very good football team in Utah, which had some big wins this year and came within a couple of points of upsetting BYU and Colorado State on the road. Utah has one of the nation's better offenses, with an effective ground game, and it has a dominating defense, which is ranked high in every NCAA statistical category. We're looking forward to the bowl experience, but we know we'll have to be at our best to win the game."
OUT: LB Matt Grootegoed (leg), TB Sultan McCullough (abdomen), DE Nathan Goodson (shoulder), LB Bobby Otani (knee), DT Bernard Riley (knee), TB Malaefou MacKenzie (knee), WR William Buchanon (back), TB Mark Gomez (foot), DE Jamaal Williams (leg), WR Marcell Allmond (suspension).
POSSIBLE: CB Chris Cash (knee), DE Anthony Daye (foot).
PROBABLE: DT-DE Shaun Cody (knee), OT-C Norm Katnik (knee), TB Darryl Poston (knee), DE Jason Wardlow (hamstring), OT Justin Brown (knee).