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THE SCOUTING REPORT

No. 18 USC (3-1) at No. 17 Washington St. (4-1)

October 05, 2002

Today, 4 p.m.,

Martin Stadium, Pullman

TV--TBS. Radio--KMPC (1540)

WHEN USC HAS THE BALL

The Trojans are last in the Pacific 10 Conference in total offense at 354.3 yards a game, an inadequacy overshadowed by the top-ranked defense in the nation. Flanker Keary Colbert and wide receiver Mike Williams were quarterback Carson Palmer's favorite targets the last two games, but senior Kareem Kelly could become the go-to receiver against the Cougars.

Washington State is surrendering 22.4 points and 357.4 yards a game.

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WHEN WASHINGTON ST. HAS THE BALL

Senior quarterback Jason Gesser is wearing a flak jacket because of a rib injury and fully expects Trojan defenders to take their shots at him. Gesser has thrown for 1,282 yards and 11 touchdowns. Sophomore flanker Devard Darling has 28 receptions and six touchdowns. Gesser also passes often to slotback Scott Lunde (21 receptions) and split end Mike Bush (19 catches). USC's secondary, No. 1 in the nation in pass defense, gets another test against the 6-foot-3 Darling and 6-6 Bush.

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KEYS TO USC VICTORY

1. Control Jason Gesser and neutralize tall receivers. Gesser passed for 431 yards and four touchdowns last week against California, despite a rib injury. USC's cornerbacks are 6-foot-3 William Buchanon and 5-9 Darrell Rideaux.

2. Establish a running game. Neither Sultan McCullough nor Justin Fargas has been a consistent threat. The offensive line's pass blocking is fine, but it needs a bigger push for the running game to shine.

3. Maintain special teams. Ryan Killeen kicked three field goals in four tries against Oregon State. Today is his first test in a hostile environment. Freshman punter Tom Malone struggled before a similar crowd in Manhattan, Kan., but kicked well last week.

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HOW THEY COMPARE

*--* USC WSU 26.5 Scoring 36.0 11.8 Points Allowed 22.4 240.8 Passing Offense 308.4 113.5 Rushing Offense 121.4 354.3 Total Offense 429.8 101.0 Passing Defense 234.6 104.0 Rushing Defense 122.8 205.0 Total Defense 357.4

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