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Trojans Will Put Streaks on Line

September 06, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Fourth-ranked USC can equal its longest winning streak since 1988 with a victory today over Brigham Young at the Coliseum.

The Trojans (1-0), who shut out Auburn last week, have won nine consecutive games.

USC also has won nine consecutive home games, the Trojans' longest streak since they won 10 in a row during the 1987 and 1988 seasons.

A crowd of about 70,000 is expected to see USC and BYU play for the first time.

"It's going to be nice to hear our fans again," senior flanker Keary Colbert said.

The Trojans are 83-18-7 in home openers. They have not lost their first game at the Coliseum since 1997, when Florida State defeated the Trojans, 14-7.


Freshman running back LenDale White, who suffered a bruised kneecap during practice Thursday, is expected to be available for today's game.

White had five carries for six yards last week against Auburn. White and fellow freshmen Reggie Bush and Chauncey Washington will back up sophomore Hershel Dennis.


BYU has 19 players from California on its roster. USC has no players from Utah.

Steve Sarkisian, USC's quarterbacks coach, played at BYU in 1995 and 1996 and passed for 7,755 yards and 55 touchdowns.


USC is 10-3-1 against teams from the Mountain West Conference.

The Trojans' 10-6 loss to Utah in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl ended an 11-game unbeaten streak against MWC teams.

BYU is 27-49-1 against Pacific 10 Conference schools.


There will be a pregame moment of silence in memory of Drean Rucker, an incoming freshman linebacker who drowned in July.

USC players are wearing football-shaped stickers on their helmets this season emblazoned with "54," the jersey number Rucker had been assigned.


As part of an Armed Forces Day special, military personnel can purchase two tickets for the price of one.... USC schedule posters will be distributed to fans after the game.


No. 4 USC (1-0) vs.



TV -- Channel 7.

Radio -- KMPC (1540).


Offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who coached at BYU for 27 seasons, was fairly conservative against Auburn but probably will loosen up and let quarterback Matt Leinart throw deeper routes against BYU. Hershel Dennis ran tough last week against a fast defense and is an even greater breakaway threat against BYU. The same goes for freshman Reggie Bush, who could also return kicks for the first time. The offensive line is as sound as it has been since training camp began. BYU's defense is led by end Brady Poppinga, linebackers Colby Bockwoldt and Mike Tanner, and safety Aaron Francisco.


Redshirt sophomore Matt Berry will test USC's pass defense. Last week against Georgia Tech, Berry completed 31 of 46 passes for 276 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Tight end Daniel Coats and wide receiver Toby Christensen are his favorite targets. Running back Reynaldo Brathwaite ran for 61 yards against Georgia Tech. USC safety Darnell Bing suffered an ankle injury against Auburn and will probably make a game-time decision about his availability. Cornerback Kevin Arbet is nursing a sore foot, so Will Poole might play even more than last week


1. Quarterback efficiency: Leinart made no major mistakes at Auburn but will be challenged by BYU's confusing defensive alignments. Offensive linemen and running backs must pick up the blitz.

2. Berry picking: With BYU expected to throw more than 45 passes, USC's defensive line needs to pressure Berry.

3. Avoid a letdown: The Trojans maintained their intensity throughout the game in a sold-out stadium at Auburn. They need to do the same in a lower-key game.

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