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Keys To The Game

October 14, 2006

1Establish the run. Quarterbacks John David Booty and Rudy Carpenter are looking to rebound from their worst performances of the season, and each will need a strong rushing attack to help him do it. Tailback Chauncey Washington has led the Trojans in carries and yardage the last two games and seems to be on the brink of a breakout game. Arizona State's Ryan Torain is fifth in the conference in rushing, averaging 93.4 yards a game and 6.3 yards a carry.

2Tight ends. If Carpenter breaks out of his slump, All-American Zach Miller will no doubt help him do it. Miller leads the Sun Devils with 17 receptions and also is a key blocker for a rushing attack that ranks second in the Pac-10. With several receivers nursing injuries, USC tight end Fred Davis has become one of Booty's favorite targets as a primary and secondary receiver. He is fourth on the team with 19 catches and could play a larger role against Arizona State if Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett remain slowed.

3Turnovers. It only seems like an eternity since USC recovered a fumble or gave the ball back to its offense with an interception. It has actually been only two games. Still, the topic dominated conversation in meetings and on the practice field this week, so expect an even greater emphasis on ball-hawking today. Arizona State has been plagued by turnovers. If the Sun Devils take care of the ball, they could pull off what Washington State and Washington fell just short of accomplishing: an upset win at the end.

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-- Gary Klein

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