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USC NOTES

Defense Ready for a Pop Quiz

September 21, 2002|Gary Klein

MANHATTAN, Kan. — USC is tied for first in the nation in pass defense, giving up 82.5 yards a game.

USC cornerbacks Darrell Rideaux and Ronald Nunn acknowledge the numbers are misleading.

Auburn displayed a subpar passing attack and Colorado's was almost nonexistent.

Rideaux and Nunn expect they will be challenged for the first time today when No. 11 USC plays No. 25 Kansas State.

"Week in and week out you prepare for a test--you never know when a pop quiz is going to come up," Rideaux said. "We've been mirroring routes in games even though the ball hasn't been thrown that much. I don't know how much better you can prepare than by going against guys like Mike Williams in practice every day."

Kansas State is averaging 242.7 rushing yards a game and 172 passing. Wildcat receivers are averaging 18.4 yards a catch.

"They're going to try to run the ball, but they have some pretty fast receivers and they like to go vertical with them," Nunn said. "We'll be ready."

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Kansas State has not lost a regular-season nonconference game in 10 years. It has been 13 years since the Wildcats lost a regular-season nonconference game at home.

USC, which beat then-No. 18 Colorado at Boulder last week, last won road games in consecutive weeks in 1994, when the Trojans defeated Oregon State and Stanford. The last time USC won consecutive road games against ranked opponents was 1986, when the Trojans beat No. 19 Stanford and No. 14 Arizona.

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Today marks only the fifth time, and the first time in 14 years, that the Wildcats will play a ranked nonconference opponent.

Kansas State is 4-14-1 against Pacific 10 Conference schools but won its last two games against Pac-10 opponents. The Wildcats beat USC last season and defeated Washington in 1999.

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A sellout crowd is expected today at 50,000-seat KSU Stadium. The forecast is sunny with temperatures in the mid-70s.

USC sold about 1,000 tickets for the game.

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USC is 0-2 against teams from Kansas. The Trojans lost to Kansas, 26-20, in 1983, and to Kansas State, 10-6, last season.

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