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A Green Ghost Materializes to Haunt USC

October 18, 2003|Gary Klein

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — USC Coach Pete Carroll was intent on keeping intimidating signs, distractions and potential bad omens to a minimum during his second trip to Notre Dame.

So, as is the case for all road games, fifth-ranked USC went through its usual day-before walk-through at Notre Dame Stadium on Friday in preparation for today's game against the Fighting Irish.

This being Notre Dame, though, there was nothing usual about it.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, who played offensive tackle for the Trojans from 1976 to '79, walked through the famous field-level tunnel and onto the turf where he watched Trojan linemen -- and Carroll -- play their customary game of touch football.

Munoz told offensive line coach Tim Davis that he'd played for Trojan teams that went 3-1 against Notre Dame. The defeat? That happened in 1977, when the fifth-ranked Trojans lost here, 49-19, to quarterback Joe Montana and the Fighting Irish, who wore green jerseys. Notre Dame's media guide lists that game as the fifth-greatest moment in the football program's history.

As the Trojans wrapped up and prepared to leave the stadium, who should emerge from a tunnel in the stands?

Montana and his family.

"Wasn't that something?" said Carroll, who visited with both Munoz and Montana as several USC players approached for handshakes and pictures.

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