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Auburn (0-0)

September 02, 2002

at USC (0-0)

Tonight, 5

TV--Channel 7.

Radio--KMPC (1540).

WHEN USC HAS THE BALL

Quarterback Carson Palmer is at the controls of a spread offense and will throw often to running back Malaefou MacKenzie and receivers Kareem Kelly and Keary Colbert. Tailback Sultan McCullough, who suffered an abdominal injury last season, rushed for 1,163 yards two years ago and is a breakaway threat. Auburn has plenty of speed on defense. Tackle DeMarco McNeil anchors the line and Karlos Dansby and Dontarrious Thomas are outstanding linebackers.

WHEN AUBURN HAS THE BALL

Sophomore Carnell Williams is regarded as one of the top young running backs in the nation. Last year, he set a school record by carrying 41 times against Georgia. Sixth-year senior Daniel Cobb will start at quarterback with sophomore Jason Campbell ready to step in. USC sophomore end Kenechi Udeze and sophomore tackle Shaun Cody lead a young but experienced defensive line. Darrell Rideaux and Ronald Nunn are untested at cornerback. Safety Troy Polamalu anchors the secondary.

KEYS TO USC VICTORY

1. Trojans must establish running game: USC averaged 87.7 yards a game in 2001. The line needs to open holes that will subsequently open the passing game.

2. Contain Auburn running back: Carnell Williams averaged 5.1 yards a carry in 2001 and is primed for a big year.

3. USC's corners must prove they are not liabilities: Darrell Rideaux and Ronald Nunn are likely targets for Auburn offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino.

HOW THEY COMPARE

*--* USC Auburn 27.1 Scoring 22.2 18.8 Points Allowed 24.1 226.8 Passing Offense 207.5 87.7 Rushing Offense 151.4 314.5 Total offense 358.8 175.6 Passing Defense 215.4 155.2 Rushing Defense 133.3 330.8 Total Defense 348.6

*--*

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