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College Football | USC REPORT

Trojans Have an Outside Chance

November 13, 2001|David Wharton

Beginning preparations for UCLA with a short walk-through Monday, the USC defense did not waste much time wondering if Bruin tailback DeShaun Foster will regain his eligibility.

That's because, according to Coach Pete Carroll, Foster and his backups--Akil Harris and Manuel White--have similar size and slashing style. The reserves combined for 108 yards and two touchdowns against Oregon last weekend.

"It's a big back team," Carroll said. "They didn't change much. They're still hammering the football."

The USC offense, meanwhile, hopes it found an added element with its running game. Against California, the Trojans scored twice on outside runs by Chris Howard.

"We got the ball on the perimeter and threatened the defense," Carroll said. "It seemed to give us life again."

Of course, a similar play to Frank Strong failed, but after weeks of watching Sunny Byrd pound up the middle, linemen were excited by Howard's scoring runs of 25 and 15 yards."It was kind of weird seeing a guy hit the edge and take off," tackle Eric Torres said. "It was nice."

The sight of Carson Palmer fumbling twice was decidedly less enjoyable. The quarterback lost the ball twice at Cal, most notably at the end of a 54-yard run. That got him a Monday meeting with wide receiver coach Kirby Wilson, who Carroll calls his "ball security guru."

"It's a big issue with this team," Carroll said. "When we're on this stuff, these guys respond."

The Trojans finished last season next to last in the nation in turnover margin but now rank ninth.

Even on a slow Monday, the intensity of big game week was evident.

First, fullback Charlie Landrigan got so excited watching UCLA game films that he spilled coffee on himself three times.

Then the coaches restricted access to practice and team personnel watched for anyone lurking in nearby buildings. When someone with a video camera was spotted atop a parking structure, campus security was dispatched to the scene. An officer took the young man back to the station and viewed the tape, at which time it was determined he was a film school student shooting panoramas of the campus.

*

If USC wins this week, cornerback Chris Cash has a chance of recovering from his fractured kneecap in time for a bowl game.

The senior was injured against Oregon State and, at the time, kidded with teammates that he might be out for the season. "I thought I'd be able to play," he said. But when the fracture turned up in X-rays, it was no joke. He now faces a four-to six-week recovery.

Among other injured Trojans, receiver Keary Colbert remains sore from ankle injuries suffered at Cal and Arizona. Receiver Grant Mattos ran well on his injured knee Monday but tackle Jacob Rogers has yet to show he can return from a hyperextended elbow. Carroll challenged freshman tailback Darryl Poston, slowed by a sore knee, to return to practice. Poston, however, said he is still experiencing pain.

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Rivalry Week

UCLA and USC--who will fight for the Victory Bell, above--form just one of the storied rivalries that will take place on Saturday. A look at the games and series records:

UCLA at USC

USC leads series, 36-27-7

CALIFORNIA at STANFORD

Stanford leads series, 53-39-11

WASHINGTON ST. at WASHINGTON

Washington leads series, 60-27-6

HARVARD at YALE

Yale leads series, 64-45-8

ALABAMA at AUBURN

Alabama leads series, 37-27-1

CLEMSON at SOUTH CAROLINA

Clemson leads series, 59-35-4

TENNESSEE at KENTUCKY

Tennessee leads series, 64-23-9

VIRGINIA TECH at VIRGINIA

Virginia Tech leads series, 41-36-5

FLORIDA ST. at FLORIDA

Florida leads series, 26-17-2

UTAH at BYU

Utah leads series, 45-27-4

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