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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / WEEK 5 | NOTES

Hackett Not Pleased With Effort

September 24, 2000|DAVID WHARTON and VALERIE GUTIERREZ | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

How badly did USC's special teams play in Saturday's 34-24 victory over San Jose State at the Coliseum? Count the ways:

* The Trojans' Kevin Arbet fumbled the opening kickoff.

* Mike MacGillivray had his first-quarter punt blocked by San Jose State's Casey LeBlanc and returned 10 yards for a touchdown by Jarmar Julien.

* USC missed an extra point on a botched snap at the start of the second quarter.

* The Trojans missed another extra point a few minutes later when David Newbury's kick bounced off an upright.

There were other missteps, including costly penalties for clipping and running into the kicker.

"The whole thing was awful," Coach Paul Hackett said. "We're going to spend a lot of time on that."

*

Spartan defensive tackle John Hammer thought they should have won the game.

"I think our defense played our best game," he said. "Their offense is terrible. They're offensive line is ridiculous.

"All they could do is hold. I couldn't do anything else.

"Stanford's got their number. I guess I'm a little bitter."

*

Two weeks ago, Antoine Harris dropped a critical fourth-down pass in USC's last-second victory over Colorado. On Saturday, the senior tight end got a chance to make up for it.

With his team losing, 24-12, in the fourth quarter, Harris caught a 13-yard pass for a first down. Eight plays later, he caught an eight-yard touchdown pass to make the score 24-18.

Those were his only two receptions of the game, but they did not escape the notice of his coach.

"Antoine Harris bounced back from that drop last [game]," Hackett said. "He had some beautiful catches."

*

San Jose State tailback Deonce Whitaker, who rushed for 50 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, rushed for minus-one yard in the second.

In his first carry of the second half, he knocked helmets with a USC player and began to feel tingling and tenderness in his feet. He was more worried than usual because he had neck surgery in late March.

After the game, Spartan Coach Dave Baldwin said Whitaker might have turf toe, but his neck was fine.

*

Whitaker, from Rancho Cucamonga, said it was a disappointing homecoming.

"Mistakes in the second half killed us. It was frustrating just to watch," he said.

"This was our game we kind of blew it."

*

Offensive tackle Tim Provost, from Perris, had 70 family members at the game, including his uncle, Mark Boyer, who played tight end for USC from 1983 to 1987.

Twenty-nine Spartan players, including fifteen starters, are from the Southern California area.

"A lot of us weren't recruited so it was definitely a motivator to win the game," Provost said.

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