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Davis Is Having a Great Run

USC: Kicker, 13 for 15 on field goals, outscores Cal by himself with 19 points, including touchdown on a fake.


BERKELEY — USC had a field day against California on Saturday. So did kicker David Davis.

Davis not only kicked two field goals and seven extra points in the Trojans' 55-14 victory, he also ran for a touchdown on a fake field-goal attempt in the third quarter.

"I hadn't scored a touchdown since high school," said the transfer from El Camino College who was a wide receiver and kicker at Bishop Montgomery High in Torrance. "That was pretty neat."

Davis is having a pretty neat season. He is now 28 for 30 on extra-point tries and 13 for 15 on field-goal tries for a Pacific 10-leading 86.7%. He has made his last 10 tries and 13 of his last 14.

Not bad for someone who wasn't even supposed to be USC's kicker this season.

Davis had a great sophomore year at El Camino, making 11 of 15 field-goal attempts and 29 of 31 PAT tries. But USC wasn't interested until Trevor Lancaster, a junior college transfer from Bakersfield, quit the team before spring practice.

USC came calling, and Davis answered the call--eventually.

USC had to wait because Davis, who is studying to become a fireman, had to take a full load of general education classes through the spring and summer before his fire science classes were transferable.

Special teams coach Kennedy Pola said, "I kept calling, making sure he was doing his schoolwork. I even called when I was on vacation in Hawaii."

Pola's persistence paid off.

"He has worked out great," Coach Pete Carroll said after Saturday's game. "He has had a terrific year.

"He is a good athlete, and you saw he had some speed on that fake field goal."

Davis said the fake field goal is something the team has been working on all season. This was the first time it was called.

"I think the coaches saw something," he said.

That indeed was the case, according to Carroll, who credited Pola for the call.

The Trojans had an impressive drive going on their first possession of the second half and a pass-interference penalty on Cal gave them a first and goal at the two. But Sunny Byrd was stopped for a one-yard loss on first down and Carson Palmer threw two incomplete passes.

The field goal would have been the easy call. But the USC coaches were aware their team has struggled in the third quarter all year. The team needed a spark. The fake field-goal call provided it, especially because it worked so well.

Holder Mike MacGillivray pitched the ball to Davis, who at 5 feet 11 and 160 pounds looked like a running back going around the left side and into the end zone from the three.

The touchdown is a capper on an improbable year for Davis, who credits his personal coach, Joe Furlow, for much of his success.

Furlow, a former San Jose State kicker, met Davis two years ago.

Besides working on Davis' technique, Furlow has helped him with his mental approach.

"It was kind of tough at first, getting used to the crowd noise and all that," Davis said. "But I've been getting more comfortable with each game."

Davis conceded this was his best game so far.

"Yeah, it's my highlight," he said.

He believes he can top this one, though. There's this little meeting with UCLA next Saturday. Davis and his teammates are well aware they can salvage the season with a victory.

Davis is also aware the game could come down to a field goal, as did USC's victory over the Bruins last year.

"If we need a field goal, I'll be ready," Davis said.

And if the Trojans need a fake field goal at some point, Davis should be ready for that too.

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