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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / WEEK 8 | NOTES

It's Hard to Pick Out Anything Special

October 15, 2000|DAVID WHARTON and BILL PLASCHKE | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

If there was one bright spot in USC's 28-17 loss to Oregon on Saturday, it was the kicking of freshman John Wall.

Normally, a 25-yard field goal and a couple of extra points--one of which barely cleared the crossbar--would not be something to brag about. But Wall's first college start translated into a rare occasion in which the Trojans did not miss a kick.

"This game we actually improved on special teams," Coach Paul Hackett said.

The improvement was not enough to overcome the team's overall shortcomings.

"This is an issue of a football team that is not playing well enough to beat a good football team," Hackett said. "We played a good football team."

*

In all the films USC watched of Oregon, there was one thing that defensive coordinator Bill Young said he never saw: the shovel pass.

That was a play the Ducks used to great advantage Saturday.

In the first quarter, tailback Maurice Morris ran it eight yards up the middle for a touchdown that tied that game at 7-7. In the third quarter, he took it 15 yards for a first down.

"They have a great offensive coordinator that puts together a great package that surprises you," USC linebacker Zeke Moreno said. "I don't know if we are thinking too much, but we just didn't react fast enough."

*

Not that Oregon acted as if this was a home game or anything, but 10 Duck starters are from Southern California. There are 21 Southland natives on the Oregon 60-man travel squad, and more California players (31) than those from Oregon (16).

To make matters worse, running back Maurice Morris, who gained 111 total yards and scored a touchdown, was a junior college standout from Fresno who chose Oregon over USC.

*

Lousy Trojan Landmarks:

* This was only Oregon's second win at the Coliseum in 29 years. It is 6-22 against the Trojans here.

* This is the first time the Ducks have defeated the Trojans in three consecutive seasons since 1956-58.

* Joey Harrington became the first quarterback to throw four touchdowns against USC since Steve Beuerlein for Notre Dame in 1986.

* USC is 0-3 in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1957.

* Beginning with the infamous loss to Texas Christian in the Sun Bowl at the end of the 1998 season, Hackett's Trojans have gone 9-10.

* This game marked the 16th time in the last 23 home games that the Trojans have failed to draw 60,000.

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