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USC FYI

Harris makes his first start count

November 02, 2008|Gary Klein and Mark Medina | Klein and Medina are Times staff writers.

With senior safety Kevin Ellison sidelined because of a knee injury, junior Will Harris made his first start a memorable one in USC's 56-0 victory over Washington on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Harris tied for the team lead with six tackles, including 2 1/2 for losses.

"Kevin helped me prepare for the game," Harris said. "Every week in the film room I'm with him, following in his footsteps to see how he does things."

Coach Pete Carroll praised Harris for his work filling in for Ellison, who will have surgery this week and is expected to be out two to four weeks.

"It's classic for us -- losing your captain and one of your best players . . . and the next guy has a chance to step up and he did it and answered the call," Carroll said.

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Penalty problems

For the second consecutive game, the Trojans amassed 10 penalties.

"It's disappointing, that's something that we have to deal with after as much emphasis as we've put on it," Carroll said.

Carroll said he thought running back C.J. Gable had been penalized for making a "Lambeau Leap" into the crowd after scoring a touchdown, but Carroll said he later learned that Gable had slapped hands with a child.

"Some of the stuff I'm not worried about," Carroll said. "The area of concern for me is guys that continue to get penalties -- the same guys."

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Best wishes

Washington Coach Tyrone Willingham shook hands with Carroll after the game and then drifted back toward the Huskies sideline, where he was eventually greeted by Trojans tailback Stafon Johnson.

Willingham, who will step down at the end of the season, had recruited Johnson out of Dorsey High. Two years ago, after Johnson did not play against the Huskies, Willingham had offered the then-freshman encouragement, telling him, "It will work out for you -- I know it. I believe in you."

Johnson returned the favor Saturday.

"It was good to see him again," Johnson said. "He said, 'Good luck in the season, do what you do and say hi to your mom.' "

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Tyler shines

Redshirt freshman Marc Tyler got his first extended playing time and rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries.

"It felt good," said Tyler, who redshirted last season while recovering from a broken leg suffered during his senior year at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High. "It just felt good to be out there to take hits and give hits. It was all fun."

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Big picks

Linebacker Chris Galippo and safety Drew McAllister preserved the Trojans' shutout with fourth-quarter interceptions.

Galippo, a redshirt freshman, made his grab at the one-yard line and returned it 50 yards. "Those are the plays that you kind of just imagine days before, weeks before," he said.

McAllister, who had six tackles, said he read quarterback Ronnie Fouch's eyes, then picked off his pass at the USC 12 and returned it 35 yards.

"We're trying to play for the starters to get the goose eggs," said McAllister, who has two interceptions.

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Injury update

USC tailback Joe McKnight was not in uniform after aggravating a toe injury during practice this week.

Tight end Blake Ayles played but suffered a bruised kneecap, and linebacker Michael Morgan suffered a foot injury, Carroll said.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

mark.medina@latimes.com

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UP NEXT

USC

(7-1, 5-1)

vs. California

(6-2, 4-1)

Saturday, 5 p.m., Coliseum TV: Channel 7

The Golden Bears, who have lost to Maryland and Arizona, are coming off a 26-16 rain-soaked victory over Oregon at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. Quarterback Nate Longshore came on for an injured Kevin Riley and completed 13 of 27 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. The Golden Bears also feature Jahvid Best, who rushed for 93 yards in 16 carries but fumbled twice. Cal has not won at the Coliseum since 2000.

-- Gary Klein

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