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The Scouting Report

September 18, 2004|Gary Klein

No. 1 USC (2-0) at

Brigham Young (1-1)

Tonight, 7

LaVell Edwards Stadium

TV -- ESPN.

Radio -- KMPC (1540).

WHEN USC HAS THE BALL

Tailback Hershel Dennis has been reinstated, but LenDale White and Reggie Bush will still carry the load for USC, which ran for 322 yards last week against Colorado State. Matt Leinart had one start under his belt last season when BYU intercepted three of his passes. He has had only six picked off in 13 games since. End Brady Poppinga and safety Aaron Francisco lead a BYU defense that is giving up 322.5 yards a game.

WHEN BYU HAS THE BALL

The Cougars have been hit by injuries at quarterback for the second year in a row. Starter John Beck was hurt in the opener against Notre Dame and is not 100%. Todd Watkins, younger brother of USC offensive lineman Travis Watkins, leads BYU with 11 receptions for 204 yards. USC is expected to feature a new look on the defensive line with sophomore Manuel Wright starting at tackle and Shaun Cody moving to end.

KEYS TO A USC VICTORY

1. Establish the run: Another 300-yard effort is probably too much to ask against the nation's No. 7 run defense, but if White gets going again USC is probably on its way to victory.

2. Take care of the ball: USC lost two fumbles against Colorado State but did not have to pay for its mistakes. The Cougars showed last season that they are not as forgiving.

3. Finish what you start: USC led, 21-0, last year and let BYU back in it before securing victory late in the game. That scenario could play out differently in front of a Provo crowd.

HOW THEY COMPARE

*--* USC BYU 36.5 Scoring 15 6.5 Points allowed 27 251.5 Passing offense 275.5 211.5 Rushing offense 31.5 463 Total offense 307 193 Passing defense 281 94.5 Rushing defense 41.5 287.5 Total defense 322.5

*--*

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