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Morning Briefing

Eight Is USC's Point of No Return

November 29, 1986

Gary Branch of La Mesa, a USC alumnus, says that if the Trojans fall behind Notre Dame by more than seven points today, forget it. He's going to turn off the TV, just as he turned off the radio last Saturday when UCLA scored its second touchdown.

"In nearly four full seasons under Ted Tollner, 1983 through 1986," Branch says, "USC has never come back to win after trailing by more than seven points."

He's right. The Trojans have rallied from 7-0 and 14-7 deficits a few times, but that's it.

Don't-get-mad-get-even Dept.: Curt Warner, failing to win the Heisman Trophy at Penn State, contents himself with upstaging the ones who did.

As a junior, he outgained USC's Marcus Allen in the Fiesta Bowl, and as a senior, he outgained Georgia's Herschel Walker in the Sugar Bowl.

On Thanksgiving Day, he pulled off a daily double. While Walker and Tony Dorsett were combining for 96 yards in 22 carries for the Dallas Cowboys, Warner was gaining 122 yards in 22 carries for the Seattle Seahawks.

Trivia Time: Of the active NBA players who have played at least 100 games, who is the only one who has made more free throws than field goals? (Answer below.)

Alabama Coach Ray Perkins, on Auburn running back Brent Fullwood, who is averaging 8.5 yards a carry: "He's the best running back that we'll have faced since we've been here, no question about that."

Last year, the Auburn tailback was Bo Jackson.

Said the Green Bay Packers' Charles Martin, after slam-dunking Chicago's Jim McMahon: "I just took him down. I wasn't thinking of a shoulder injury or knee injury or anything. We just go for live meat."

Funny? Not to reserve Chicago quarterback Doug Flutie, who said: "Football isn't an easy game. It's tough enough when it's played fair. We don't need some idiot to come up and end our career because they feel like it."

Flutie said that once in a law class at Boston College, "I brought up the hypothetical point that someone could commit premeditated murder on the football field and get away with it.

"Nothing could be done. How could you prove it?"

From Washington Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley, crediting his improvement this year to an extended summer vacation while holding out: "You don't go to training camp to get in shape, you go to learn technique, and I already know what I've got to know. I won't be coming to training camp anymore. I'll just pay the fine."

Would-you-believe-it Dept.: The University of Washington never has been known as a quarterback factory, but the school's last six starters at that position are playing professionally.

In the NFL, Warren Moon of Houston, Steve Pelluer of Dallas and Tom Flick of San Diego have been starters, and Hugh Millen of the Rams is on injured reserve. In the Canadian Football League, Tim Cowan plays for Toronto and Tom Porras for Hamilton.

Trivia Answer: Cedric Maxwell of the Clippers.

Quotebook

Jeff Ruland of the Philadelphia 76ers, on missing more than 100 games the last two seasons despite committing himself to weightlifting, reducing his alcoholic intake and improving his eating habits: "I never had these problems when I drank a lot and stuffed my face with Polish sausages."

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