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Fargas Prepared for Rain

November 08, 2002|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Tailback Justin Fargas did not flinch when it started raining during USC's practice on Thursday.

Fargas, who will make his second start Saturday at Stanford, enjoyed tremendous success during a rain-soaked senior season at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High in 1997 and also overcame wet weather during his freshman season at Michigan.

Before rushing for a career-best 139 yards in 27 carries against Oregon on Oct. 26, Fargas' previous high was 120 yards in 31 carries for Michigan during a water-logged game against Northwestern in 1998.

"It was more like a monsoon," Fargas said. "It was a downpour for 12 hours straight."

Showers are forecast for Palo Alto on Saturday, but Fargas is not worried.

"You just have to focus on taking care of the ball, that's the main thing," he said. "The yards will come."

USC Coach Pete Carroll said wet weather should not bother the Trojans.

"We've soaked the ball all week long," Carroll said. "The focus is there. We understand the elements could be a part of it."


The Trojans will depart for Palo Alto today with a more sound roster than when they returned from Oregon.

A bye last week allowed numerous players nursing injuries to heal, and no new injuries surfaced during practice this week.

"There's nothing like playing, but there's also nothing like getting a little rest for the guys that were leg-weary," Carroll said.

Middle linebacker Mike Pollard (bruised hip), wide receiver Kareem Kelly (ankle), receiver Sandy Fletcher (ankle), defensive lineman Omar Nazel (knee) and fullback Chad Pierson (left Achilles) displayed better mobility this week.

Safety Troy Polamalu limped through workouts early in the week because of a high ankle sprain, but he ran without noticeable discomfort Thursday.


Stanford quarterback Chris Lewis, who starred at Long Beach Poly High, missed the Cardinal's last two games because of a bruised shoulder.

USC players who attended Poly expect Lewis to play Saturday.

Pollard, Kelly, defensive back Darrell Rideaux, safety DeShaun Hill, running back Hershel Dennis and offensive lineman Winston Justice are Poly graduates.

Two years ago against USC, Lewis came off the bench and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game to give the Cardinal a 32-30 victory.

"He's going to put all injuries aside and step up and play," Rideaux said. "I talked to him during the summer and he had this game marked on his calendar."

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