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USC's Williams goes out smiling

January 02, 2007|From Times Staff Reports

For the USC offensive line, and especially tackle Kyle Williams, a little redemption.

Much was made before Monday's Rose Bowl game about Michigan's pass rush being similar to, and perhaps superior than, the pressure with which UCLA swarmed USC in the Bruins' 13-9 upset Dec. 2.

But for the most part it didn't materialize.

USC quarterback John David Booty was sacked only once, although he was also hurried and fumbled in the first half on a play that was ruled a run.

"I had a lot of double teams on me all game," said LaMarr Woodley, Michigan's All-American end and pass-rush specialist. "I would have to go through a couple of guys on the way to the quarterback. They did a good job of mixing things up."

Williams, a senior who was so distraught after his performance against UCLA that he sat out a practice, had his college career end on a positive note.

"I'm so happy right now," Williams said. "Woodley is one of the best players that I've gone up against and the fact that he really didn't have any sacks, that feels great. That was one of my personal goals. I wanted to prove to myself that I could get it done."

Said Woodley: "[Williams] is a real good guy and a real good pass protector. But he did get plenty of help."


Chris McFoy had only one career touchdown catch -- and it came in the same game, against Washington State on Sept. 30, when he suffered a broken shoulder.

But with the score tied, 3-3, in the third quarter, Booty faked a handoff into the line, the Wolverines secondary bit, and McFoy was left alone in the end zone.

"I was calling for the ball, but my voice got so high and squeaky I didn't know if anybody heard me," McFoy said.

Booty might not have heard McFoy but he saw him, and the fifth-year senior from Chino hauled in a two-yard toss for his second scoring catch.

"When I broke my shoulder, I never imagined this moment," McFoy said. "In my mind, all I wanted to do was make it back and play again at least once. This was more than I could have hoped for."


Amid a continuing NCAA investigation, USC running backs coach Todd McNair said he told officials he had no knowledge of alleged wrongdoing by former tailback Reggie Bush or his parents.

The NCAA wants to know if Bush or his parents received improper benefits from sports marketers while Bush was still playing for USC.

If it can be proved that Bush broke NCAA rules and USC knew about it, the program could face sanctions.

McNair said he and others with the team spoke to officials.

"I was asked questions and I couldn't give them answers," he said. "I didn't know anything."


Typically, USC defers taking possession to the start of the second half when it wins the coin toss, but it was taking a bigger chance than most when it chose to kick off to Michigan.

The Wolverines had touchdowns on eight opening drives this season, but they didn't score against USC until a field goal on their third possession, and didn't get a touchdown until early in the fourth quarter.


With Chad Henne sacked six times for 44 yards in losses, Michigan netted a season-low 12 yards in 27 carries.

The Wolverines were averaging 189.17 yards rushing per game and had run for more than 200 yards in three of their previous four games.

Mike Hart was the only running back in the nation to rush for more than 90 yards in every regular-season game, but the Trojans held him to 47 yards in 17 carries.

USC's ground game didn't add up to much, either. The Trojans had 48 yards rushing as Michigan finished the season as the national leader in run defense at 43.4 yards per game.


Times staff writers Gary Klein, Lonnie White, Diane Pucin and Mike Hiserman contributed to this report.

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