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Danelo Preparing for Last-Second Kick

January 04, 2006|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Mario Danelo has not been called upon to make a game-winning kick for top-ranked USC, but the sophomore said he would be prepared for all scenarios today when the Trojans play second-ranked Texas in the Rose Bowl.

In last year's Rose Bowl game, Texas' Dusty Mangum kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give the Longhorns a 38-37 victory over Michigan.

"It's something I've dreamed of ever since I was little," said Danelo, who has made 10 of 11 field-goal attempts. "If I get that chance, that would be a great place to be. And if I don't then so be it.

"I hope our offense does really great so it doesn't have to come down to that, but if it does I'm ready for the opportunity."

Danelo, the son of former NFL kicker Joe Danelo, has not made a field goal from farther than 36 yards.

He has made 78 of 81 extra-point attempts, setting NCAA records in each category.

Danelo, a former walk-on from San Pedro, replaced Ryan Killeen, who kicked two field goals in last year's Orange Bowl.

"It was a big question mark for us," Carroll said. "We had no idea how he'd do under the pressure of the game."

Danelo kicked three field goals in USC's 50-42 victory over Fresno State and two against Washington State.

Senior David Pino has made 12 of 15 field-goal attempts and 68 of 73 extra-point attempts for the Longhorns.

His longest field goal was 45 yards.


Matt Leinart struggled with emotions in his final game at the Coliseum against UCLA, but Carroll said he did not anticipate a repeat from the fifth-year senior quarterback.

"I hope it was the most emotional game Matt will play and one he'll leave behind, also," Carroll said.

"This is not the same kind of feeling at all. It's a championship game. This is different than that."

Carroll said he was looking forward to watching the Trojans' seniors play for the final time.

Several players, such as Leinart, signed letters of intent with USC less than two months after Carroll was hired in December 2000.

"It's hard to describe and hard to define the impact that these guys have had on the program," Carroll said. "They've been through the whole thing. ... It's really going to be fun to see them go out one more time and to know that they're ready to go."


USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is still scheduled to play for the Trojans, a school spokesman said. Maualuga's father died Monday. ... Offensive tackle Kyle Williams is the Trojans' only player from Texas. The Longhorns have one player from Southern California, senior defensive end Kaelen Jakes, who played at Valencia High.

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