An 11-catch, two-touchdown performance in the 2007 Rose Bowl earned former USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett the game's offensive most-valuable-player award and helped persuade the junior to pass up his final season of eligibility and turn pro.
Jarrett's decision seemed to open the door of opportunity for Patrick Turner.
A concussion suffered during training camp, however, slowed Turner's start, and he struggled during much of this season to play consistently well over an extended period. Many of the passes that had gone to wide receivers such as Mike Williams and Jarrett in the past were redistributed this season to Fred Davis, who won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end
Turner has caught 48 passes for 569 yards and three touchdowns. He said Saturday that he would not mind finishing the season with Jarrett-type production on New Year's Day against Illinois.
"Everyone wants to go out and make a statement," said Turner, who confirmed that he would return for his final season. "You want to go out there and make all the catches in the world. It's the Rose Bowl."
Coach Pete Carroll said Turner played well down the stretch of the regular season, citing a clutch catch in the rain against California that helped preserve a victory.
Turner caught five passes against Arizona State and two against UCLA.
"He's come through well; I think he's finished on a real high note, and it would be great for him to have a solid game in this one too," Carroll said. "We're counting on him."
The Trojans will scrimmage today, then take a three-day break before practicing for three days at the Home Depot Center.
Of the scrimmage, Carroll said, "It's not so much about game plan, but it is about getting ready to play football."
Receivers Brandon Carswell and Damian Williams and tight end Rhett Ellison are among the players who will be watched closely during the scrimmage, Carroll said. It will be the final practice for Williams and quarterback Mitch Mustain, transfers who are ineligible for the Rose Bowl.
Mark Sanchez and Mustain are expected to compete for the starting quarterback job in the spring, but Aaron Corp also could figure in the competition.
Corp, a freshman who is redshirting, began the season at 6 feet 3, 185 pounds. He is expected to be heavier and stronger when the Trojans begin spring practice in March.
"He'll probably develop physically more than most guys," Carroll said. "He came in skinny as a rail."
Linebacker Keith Rivers (ankle) said he would try to practice next week and intended to play in the Rose Bowl. . . . Running back Chauncey Washington did not practice but said he was feeling better after sitting out Friday's workout because of illness. Washington, however, said he would have an MRI exam on his hip in the next few days. . . . Tailback Stafon Johnson was absent because of illness, Carroll said. "It's kind of running through us," Carroll said. . . . Offensive lineman Chilo Rachal did not practice because of a right knee problem. . . . Receiver David Ausberry said he sat out because he "tweaked" his back Friday.