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USC NOTES

Kansas State Does a Number on Kelly

September 22, 2002|BILL PLASCHKE and GARY KLEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kareem Kelly, USC's senior receiver, caught only three passes for 42 yards Saturday.

And even though one of those catches resulted in a fumble that led to Kansas State's first touchdown, Kelly seemed surprised by the lack of work.

"It was just me and Newman all night long," he said, referring to the one-on-one coverage of Wildcat cornerback Terence Newman. "If I was taken out of the game, it was nothing they did to me. I was just playing within our system. I did what I was asked. My number was just not called today."

Kelly's fumble occurred on a catch that gave him a USC record for consecutive games with a catch (38).

Keary Colbert led the team with a career-high 11 catches for 125 yards.

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Sultan McCullough, who entered the game averaging 4.8 yards a carry, continued to play as if he wants more action, as he averaged 6.6 yards a carry with one touchdown.

He carried the ball only 11 times, and is averaging about 15 carries per game.

""We gave it a fight," McCullough said. "We were one play away."

McCullough, a senior, was unafraid to cite the six dropped passes that led to the loss.

"There were mental mistakes," he said. "You've got to win your individual battle. A lot of people were dropping the ball and stuff like that. They were easy catches and they weren't catching them.

"You can't just drop it, especially when you really need it to be able to keep the momentum going."

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The number and victims on Carson Palmer's record-setting night:

* With 8,608 passing yards, he passes Rob Johnson to become USC's leader.

* With 681 completions, he passes Johnson to become USC's leader.

* With 1,404 combined runs and passes, he passes Rodney Peete to become USC's leader.

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Junior cornerback Ronald Nunn left the game because of a knee injury with 6:45 left in the first half.

Redshirt sophomore William Buchanon replaced Nunn, who will undergo an MRI exam on Monday.

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USC shuffled its offensive line several times throughout the game.

Zach Wilson started at right guard and freshman Winston Justice started at right tackle, but they were replaced in the second quarter by freshman guard Fred Matua and junior tackle Eric Torres.

Torres replaced Jacob Rogers at left tackle for the first series of the second half, but Rogers went the rest of the way.

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Sophomore nose tackle Mike Patterson scored the Trojans' first touchdown after safety Troy Polamalu stripped the ball from Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson at the Wildcats' three-yard line.

Patterson picked up the ball on a bounce and rambled into the end zone to make the score 10-6.

"I saw the ball and there were so many things going through my mind, I didn't know what to do at first," Patterson said. "I was going to fall on it, but then instinct just kind of took over and I ran it in."

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Kansas State is 1-4 against ranked nonconference opponents. The Wildcats are 5-14-1 against Pacific 10 Conference schools, but they have defeated three Pac-10 opponents in a row--Washington in 1999 and USC the last two years.

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After getting one carry against Colorado last week, tailback Justin Fargas rushed for 24 yards in six carries.... In one of the more unusual pregame ceremonies, riders of 118 Harley Davidson motorcycles rode their bikes around the field before the teams came out of their locker rooms.

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