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USC REPORT

Auburn Win Pays Off in Poll

September 02, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC's season-opening shutout of Auburn apparently reverberated across the nation.

The Trojans on Monday moved up four spots to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, the same spot they finished last season after routing Iowa in the Orange Bowl.

USC, which plays Brigham Young on Saturday at the Coliseum, has not been ranked as high going into its second game since 1985, when the Trojans were ranked third before losing to Baylor.

USC's 23-0 victory at Auburn earned the Trojans six first-place votes in the AP poll, the first time since the 1989 preseason that USC received first-place votes.

The Times does not vote in the poll.

Coach Pete Carroll said he did not talk about the rankings during Monday's team meeting.

"It just doesn't matter very much right now," he said.

Cornerback Marcell Allmond, a fifth-year senior, said he learned from experience. In 2000, the Trojans were ranked No. 8 going into their fourth game, then lost five in a row and finished 5-7.

"It's not important now," he said. "It's all about the last man standing."

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Freshman strong safety Darnell Bing's status for Saturday's game against Brigham Young is questionable because of an ankle or foot injury suffered during the Auburn game, Carroll said.

Bing, who intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, wore a protective boot and did not practice Monday. He could have precautionary X-rays today.

Senior left guard Lenny Vandermade (ankle) jogged during the light workout and will be evaluated daily, Carroll said.

Sophomore fullback Brandon Hancock, who missed the opener because of a high ankle sprain, might return to practice late this week but probably will not play against BYU.

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USC's defense faces a formidable challenge if it hopes to post a second consecutive shutout.

Brigham Young has not been blanked in 351 games, an NCAA record. The Cougars lost, 20-0, at Arizona State on Sept. 27, 1975.

USC has not posted consecutive shutouts since 1971 when it defeated Rice, 24-0, and Illinois, 28-0.

Saturday's game will be the first between USC and BYU.

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Freshman fullback Jody Adewale returned to practice after receiving certification from the NCAA Clearinghouse.... USC's victory over Auburn was its third in a row against an opponent ranked in the top seven in the AP poll. The Trojans ended last season with victories over seventh-ranked Notre Dame and third-ranked Iowa.

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