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Defense Sharp in Scrimmage

August 11, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY

USC's defense was in command throughout most of a 101-play, 2 1/2-hour scrimmage Saturday night at Cal State Fullerton.

The offense seemed ragged for the most part, committing 14 offensive penalties. Two were by starting quarterback Brad Otton, who twice ran afoul of the NCAA's new grounding-the-ball penalty. Quarterbacks can no longer "throw the ball away," but instead must throw within a reasonable distance of a receiver.

Otton and two other quarterbacks, senior Matt Koffler and freshman Mike Van Raaphorst, led the offense, which did manage to score 24 points on the defense.

Tailback LaVale Woods scored on a nine-yard pass from Koffler, Otton passed two yards to receiver Travis Hall for another score, and Van Raaphorst connected with walk-on Brennan Ochs on a 20-yard touchdown pass play.

Adam Abrams kicked two field goals, including a 20-yarder, to "win" the game in overtime. The offense worked several series in an imaginary overtime, since overtimes make their debut in college football this season.

The defense, as expected, was far ahead of the offense. Said Coach John Robinson: "The thing I liked most was that our defense contested everything. I don't see a lot of weaknesses there. There's experience at every position."

Otton was five for 11 for 34 yards, but Koffler, his backup, was 11 for 13 and 99 yards. Rodney Sermons was the leading rusher with 30 yards in nine carries.

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