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The Locals

October 27, 2000|DAVID WHARTON

California (2-5, 1-3)

at USC (3-4, 0-4)

* Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Coliseum, Channel 9.

* Story line: With each loss, USC's prospects grow dimmer and dimmer. At this point, the Trojans need to win four of five remaining games to finish with a winning record and qualify for a bowl invitation. California is trying to sweep the L.A. schools for a second season.

* USC update: Once again, the most pressing concerns are special teams, which failed to convert on three extra-point attempts last week, and a patchwork secondary. The Trojans must rely on a group of defensive backs who are either injured or inexperienced.

* California update: The Golden Bears lost several key players from a defense that stifled USC in a 17-7 victory last season. But offense is of greater concern--California ranks near the bottom of the conference in total yards and sophomore quarterback Kyle Boller has played inconsistently.

* Edge to USC: The Trojans have shown signs of a spark in the last two losses, running the ball well and cutting down on turnovers. If those trends continue, and the defense can limit the number of big plays, USC will end its losing streak.

* Line: USC by 8.

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