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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / WEEK 7 | USC NOTES

Papadakis Back for More With 53-Yard Jaunt

October 18, 1998|ROBYN NORWOOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PULLMAN, Wash. — For anyone who thought last week was Petros Papadakis' one charmed day and he'd never do it again . . .

Papadakis did do it again Saturday, with a 53-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against Washington State.

A week ago in USC's 32-31 loss to California, Papadakis had a 65-yard touchdown run and an apparent 58-yard touchdown run that was called back because of a penalty.

This from a backup tailback who was averaging 2.2 yards a carry and little more than 14 yards a game before last week, when he rushed for 118 yards in 13 carries--both career highs--in relief of Chad Morton, who had a bruised back.

Morton returned against Washington State, but Papadakis started in his place and is clearly the No. 2 tailback now, with freshman Frank Strong's role reduced because of fumble trouble after three fumbles in 30 carries this season--and a crucial though disputed one in the fourth quarter against Cal.

Papadakis, a junior from Palos Verdes Peninsula High, is a straight-ahead runner with deceptive open-field speed.

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USC Coach Paul Hackett paid Washington State fans one of the bigger compliments they've probably received last week when he brought out loudspeakers to blare crowd noise during practice at Howard Jones Field.

That tactic is usually reserved for games at, say, Washington or Florida State.

Washington State is a difficult place to play, but it's more the conditions and the difficulty of the travel than the crowd noise--only 31,178 turned out Saturday for the USC game at Martin Stadium, which holds only 37,600.

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Speaking of the difficulty of the trip to Washington State, USC was scheduled to fly home after the game--arriving in Los Angeles at 4:30 a.m.

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The "LB" on Washington State's helmets is in memory of defensive lineman Leon Bender, a native of Santee in San Diego County who was a key member of last season's Rose Bowl team and was drafted 31st overall by the Oakland Raiders.

Bender, who left behind a wife and child, died suddenly in May, and reportedly had a seizure disorder.

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