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USC REPORT

Officially, Two Calls Were Wrong

September 20, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Verle Sorgen, the Pacific 10 Conference's director of football officiating, reviewed game tapes from USC's 61-32 rout of Hawaii last Saturday and determined that officials erred on two key plays in the first half.

Officials failed to call offsetting fouls on a first-quarter fake punt by Hawaii, Sorgen said. USC got the ball with good field position and eventually kicked a field goal for a 3-0 lead.

A second-quarter ruling that a Hawaii receiver caught a pass before fumbling also was incorrect, Sorgen said. USC cornerback Ronald Nunn returned the fumble 38 yards for a touchdown that put the Trojans ahead, 10-3.

"It was not even close to a catch," Sorgen said. "It should have been ruled an incomplete pass."

Hawaii Coach June Jones cited the plays as turning points for the Warriors. Hawaii kicked a field goal on the ensuing possession after Nunn's touchdown return to make the score, 10-6. The Warriors then gave up 42 unanswered points before scoring touchdowns against Trojan reserves.

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USC is off today because of a bye. The fourth-ranked Trojans play their Pac-10 opener next Saturday at California. Cal (1-3) plays Illinois today.

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Coach Pete Carroll said the play of junior Travis Watkins and junior college transfer John Drake will probably allow freshman offensive linemen Drew Radovich and Sam Baker to redshirt. The Trojans will lose three starting offensive linemen after this season -- center Norm Katnik, left guard Lenny Vandermade and left tackle Jacob Rogers.

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