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USC REPORT

Trojans Step Up in Weight Class to Prepare for Stanford

November 07, 2002|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC's defense continued to prepare Wednesday for a Stanford rushing attack that ranks third in the Pacific 10 Conference at 149.4 yards a game.

The Cardinal features 6-foot-2, 235-pound running back Kerry Carter, who scored four touchdowns against the Trojans last season, and 6-2, 250-pound fullback Casey Moore.

To simulate the running style of the burly backs, Trojan freshman Brandon Hancock and redshirt sophomore Lee Webb were moved down to the scout team this week.

Hancock is 6-1, 235 pounds, Webb, 5-11, 240. Middle linebacker Mike Pollard described the two as punishing stand-ins.

"Both of those guys are physical and pretty fast," Pollard said. "They bring it."

Fullbacks Malaefou MacKenzie, Chad Pierson and Sunny Byrd are in their final years of eligibility, so Hancock and Webb will compete for a starting position next season.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday November 11, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 58 words Type of Material: Correction
College football -- Saturday's USC-Stanford game was not the homecoming game for Stanford, as reported in a Sports story Thursday. The same story also reported that Stanford quarterback Kerry Carter had scored four touchdowns against the Trojans last season. Carter scored those touchdowns two seasons ago when Stanford defeated USC, 32-30.

"It's great to have the ball in my hands -- it reminds me of high school," said Hancock, who gained 1,280 yards last year at Fresno Clovis West High, but has only three carries for eight yards this season. "To go against the [first-string defense] play after play after play is great experience."

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Saturday's game marks the third time this season that USC is the visiting opponent for homecoming.

The Trojans almost ruined Washington State's festivities before losing in overtime, and spoiled Oregon's celebration by routing the Ducks.

USC has lost to Stanford three times in a row and last won in Palo Alto in 1998.

"They might have scheduled us for homecoming because of the previous games, but we're a whole different team," sophomore defensive end Kenechi Udeze said. "If they think it's going to be a cakewalk, they're going to have some problems."

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Freshman punter Tom Malone leads the Pac-10 and ranks 17th in the nation with an average of 42.6 yards per kick.

Malone said his poor performance in a Sept. 21 loss at Kansas State motivated him to "not let anything like that happen again."

Malone averaged 40 yards for three punts against Oregon on Oct. 26.

"There is no substitute for game experience, and the last couple of weeks I've felt a lot more comfortable," Malone said. "I'm sure there's things that can happen that you don't even think of, but for the most part, I think I've been in pretty much every situation."

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