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The Scouting Report

November 19, 2005|Gary Klein

WHEN USC HAS THE BALL

Running back Reggie Bush has not broken off a big play in several weeks and quarterback Matt Leinart did not throw a touchdown pass last week against Cal. So look for play-calling that puts both players in position to do those things tonight. Running back LenDale White has scored 17 touchdowns and is averaging 100 yards rushing a game. Flanker Steve Smith is within 142 receiving yards of 1,000. Linebackers Marcus Riley and Dwayne Andrews, safety Tyron Culver and cornerback Richard Marshall are key players for Fresno State, which ranks 17th nationally in total defense.

WHEN FRESNO STATE HAS THE BALL

Paul Pinegar has passed for 18 touchdowns with five interceptions and ranks 10th nationally in pass efficiency. His favorite receivers are Jermaine Johnson and Paul Williams, who have 26 and 25 receptions. Senior Wendell Mathis is 68 rushing yards shy of 1,000 and is averaging nearly six yards a carry. USC middle linebacker Oscar Lua is back after missing the Cal game because of a knee injury. Sophomore Josh Pinkard remains a starter at cornerback despite the return of senior John Walker.

KEYS TO A USC VICTORY

1. Protect Leinart: The offensive line needs to shield the Heisman Trophy winner from a Bulldog defense that has 27 sacks.

2. Pressure Pinegar: Fresno State quarterbacks have been sacked only 12 times. USC's front seven must control the run and force passing-game mistakes.

3. Stop the Fresno special: Fresno State's Adam Jennings is among the national leaders in punt and kick returns. USC can't afford to give up big plays.

HOW THEY COMPARE

*--* USC Fresno State 48.4 Scoring 40.2 19.5 Points allowed 14.8 334.3 Passing offense 232.3 243.3 Rushing offense 178.1 577.6 Total offense 410.4 226.5 Passing defense 189.4 116.9 Rushing defense 116.1 343.4 Total defense 305.6

*--*

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