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THE SCOUTING REPORT | USC NOTES

He's Good Man in a Tight Spot

November 16, 2002|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC tight end Alex Holmes does not recall all the specifics of the play, but he remembers the aftermath.

Last year against Arizona State, Holmes scored the first touchdown of his Trojan career when he caught a four-yard pass from Carson Palmer in the third quarter of USC's 48-17 victory.

"I stood up and kind of lost it, putting my hands in the air," said Holmes, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound junior. "Everyone made fun of me, but I was waiting for it for a while. It was pretty exciting."

After a slow start this season, Holmes is providing the Trojan receiving corps with a valuable weapon.

Wide receivers Mike Williams and Kareem Kelly and flanker Keary Colbert are spreading defenses, allowing Holmes to get open over the middle.

Last week against Stanford, Holmes caught three passes for 57 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season by bulling through a defender to complete a 22-yard play.

"Any time I get the opportunity to get some momentum going, it makes it more difficult to tackle me," said Holmes, who has 17 receptions for 199 yards. "I just want to keep getting open and give Carson another option."

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Shaun McDonald, Arizona State's 5-9, 172-pound junior wide receiver, leads the Pacific 10 Conference with 109.7 receiving yards per game and is second in receptions (71).

McDonald has 2,669 career receiving yards and needs 324 to pass John Jefferson as the Sun Devils' all-time leader.

"This is going to be a change for us because we've become accustomed to playing against bigger receivers in the Pac-10," USC cornerback Darrell Rideaux said. "It's going to be a track meet."

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Arizona State, celebrating its 25th year as a member of the Pac-10, is the only conference member that does not have a losing record against USC.

USC and the Sun Devils are tied in their all-time series, 9-9.

Arizona State has not defeated the Trojans at the Coliseum since 1996.

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USC's seven-game winning streak at the Coliseum is still a long way off from the school record for consecutive victories at home. The Trojans won 20 consecutive home games in 1919-23 and 1927-29.

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USC safety Jason Leach is the cousin of Arizona State safety Alfred Williams.... USC is 50-24-4 in homecoming games since 1924.

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