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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / 1996 | GAME REPORT: Stanford 24,
USC 20

These Officials Not Measuring Up

November 10, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY

The officials appeared to lose their concentration with a minute left in the second quarter Saturday night.

On a fourth-and-10 Stanford punt at midfield, USC got a holding flag, but the 10-yard penalty wound up inches short of a Stanford first down. How could that be? The officials couldn't figure it out.

Confused, referee Jim Sprenger conferred by phone with a Pacific 10 Conference official in the press box, asking to be read the yardage of the previous three plays.

Almost 10 minutes later, a decision was reached: first down.

Why was a measurement taken? Why not automatic first down?

"That's what they're going to be asked Monday," said Verle Sorgen, Pac-10 officials coordinator.

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When the USC-Stanford game became a night game two weeks ago, Fox Sports West was obliged to pick up the considerable tab for providing illumination.

Stanford Stadium has no lights. But stadium lights are on wheels these days, and the television network leased four flat-bed trucks with lights atop cranes. The trucks were parked outside the stadium walls, two on each side.

The previous Stanford night game was in 1993 against Colorado.

Saturday's tab, including the electric bill: $50,000.

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Saturday night's attendance, 41,980, was the smallest in the series since the 1962 game at Palo Alto.

After 1962, the next smallest Palo Alto crowd for USC-Stanford was 57,000 in 1988. The smallest Coliseum crowd was 50,867 in 1983.

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An NFL scout--who wishes to remain anonymous--offers this pre-draft evaluation of some Trojan seniors:

--Tackle Matt Keneley and linebacker Sammy Knight: "Probably fourth-rounders, maybe a little higher."

--Quarterback Brad Otton: "I'd say sixth round. But I know others who like him more than that."

--Tailback Shawn Walters: "It's almost entirely going to be based on how he shows at the combines. He certainly won't be drafted on anything he's done so far this season. A lot of scouts were at that '94 SC-Stanford game [when Walters ran for 234 yards]."

--Wide receiver Chris Miller: "A low-round pick. Very good speed, a special teams guy who can block kicks. The passes he's dropped won't matter. Someone will feel they can teach him to catch."

And what about defensive tackle Darrell Russell, a junior who could declare for the next draft?

"If he comes out, he's a high pick, maybe second round. He hasn't shown yet he's a great player. But anyone that big [6-5, 305] and that fast he gets long look."

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