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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / 1996 | GAME REPORT / USC 46, Oregon
State 17

He Could . . . Go . . . All . . . the . . . Way

September 15, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY and LONNIE WHITE

LaVale Woods will remember his record-breaking 96-yard run as the touchdown he almost didn't complete.

"I was tired as hell," said Woods, who finished with a career-high 122 yards in 12 carries. "After I made my cutback, I used up all of my energy just to reach the 50."

On the play, Woods took the pitch from Brad Otton in the USC end zone, broke one tackle near the line of scrimmage before sprinting untouched the rest of the way. Receiver Chris Miller made two key blocks at the end of the play to help enable Woods to score.

"Once I saw Chris come up and make the block, I just tried to zig-zag my way from there," Woods said. "I didn't see the last [Oregon State defender] but I knew he was there when I made my final cut."

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Did Chad Morton earn a starting spot with his 143-yard game against Oregon State?

John Robinson said not yet, but Oregon State Coach Jerry Pettibone said he looked like one to him.

"They brought in their third back, who looks like a starter," Pettibone said.

"He's one of the most exciting runners I've seen in a long time. Those kind of runners make you look like you're not tackling well."

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Junior wide receiver Larry Parker, who has been slowed for most of his career because of injuries, may regain his starting position from sophomore Billy Miller after catching five passes for 83 yards.

"It was nice to see Larry Parker back; he didn't play a lot in our first two games," Robinson said.

Parker, who led the Trojans in punt returns last season, also had a 64-yard return nullified by a clipping penalty in the second quarter. Last season, he started 11 games but had only 25 catches for 270 yards.

Against Houston next week, Parker may return to the starting lineup after Billy Miller dropped three more passes Saturday, giving him six on the season.

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USC had a nine penalties for a season-high 105 yards. Most of them were against the young offensive line, which lost junior Chris Brymer because of a broken foot for at least four weeks.

"That's tough because he was the only one on our offensive line who shaves," Robinson said. "Now, we have no one who shaves."

Getting plenty of playing time for the Trojans were freshmen linemen Travis Claridge, Faaesea Mailo and Eric Denmon; redshirt freshmen Brett Samperi and Mark Manskar; sophomores Rome Douglas and Ken Bowen; and junior Jonathan Himebauch.

Robinson said he may consider moving Mailo, all 350 pounds of him, to Brymer's left guard spot.

Brymer said he wasn't sure how he broke his foot, on USC's conversion play after its first touchdown.

"I don't know if I rolled my foot over or whether someone stepped on me," Brymer said.

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It was Robinson's 50th Coliseum victory. . . . The loss was Oregon State's 12th in a row. . . . In the last two games, USC has had five drives of 95 or more yards. . . . The last two double-100 yard games by USC runners was the 1991 Washington State game, when Deon Strother had 122 and Mazio Royster 114. . . . Otton passed Pat Haden and has moved into seventh place on USC's all-time career pass list with 241 completions.

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