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Tyler gets an edge over ex-teammate Clausen

November 30, 2008|Gary Klein and Kevin Baxter | Klein and Baxter are Times staff writers.

USC's 38-3 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday was a reunion of sorts for former Westlake Village Oaks Christian High teammates Jimmy Clausen and Marc Tyler.

Tyler, surprisingly, had the better night, rushing for more yards (58) than Clausen passed for (41).

"That's crazy," said Tyler, a redshirt freshman who sat out last season while recovering from a broken leg suffered in high school.

Tyler averaged 8.3 yards for his seven carries and had a 24-yard run.

Clausen was on the run most of the night, trying to elude Trojans defenders who sacked him four times.

He finished 11 for 22 with two interceptions.

"Our defense got after [Clausen] tonight and it was hard for him to do what he's used to doing," Tyler said.

Tyler, who is fourth string at tailback, showed some of the flash that made him one of the nation's top recruits.

"I've got a lot of family here and a lot of friends here and everybody is watching," Tyler said. "So I just wanted to get in there and do my best."

Final hurrah?

Trojans seniors played their final game at the Coliseum and junior safety Taylor Mays, regarded as a possible first-round pick in the NFL draft, also is thought by many to have played his last home game.

What about quarterback Mark Sanchez?

The junior is regarded as a potential high pick and his father and brother met earlier this season with a former NFL executive contracted by USC to educate college players about the draft.

"I haven't entertained the thought yet of even thinking about leaving, so there's really nothing to say right now," Sanchez said.

"It's so much fun being here, you know, I love every part of it. So it's obviously going to affect any kind of decision."

Sparring partners

The Trojans and Fighting Irish didn't wait until the opening kickoff to mix it up, a brawl erupting shortly after USC took the field for pregame warmups.

Notre Dame came out of its locker room first and most of the team was still milling around at about the 10-yard line when the Trojans charged up the tunnel and the pushing, shoving and trash-talking started.

There were scuffles during this game too, and in the final minute USC defensive end Malik Jackson and Notre Dame running back Robert Hughes were ejected after a tussle.

Green to Arkansas

Tailback Broderick Green, who announced a few weeks ago that he would transfer from USC, said in a phone interview Saturday that he would enroll at Arkansas in January and play for the Razorbacks in 2010.

Green, a redshirt freshman, cited family issues when he decided to leave the Trojans. He said that proximity to home in Little Rock, Ark., made Arkansas an easy choice.

"I knew all along I was going to Arkansas," said Green, who was home for the Thanksgiving holiday. "I just wanted to wait and talk to my family."

Backfield in motion

So much for alternating running backs every series.

Coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said this week that the Trojans would mainly stick with a philosophy of alternating tailbacks every series rather than every few plays to help them find a rhythm.

But on the Trojans' first scoring drive, Joe McKnight, C.J. Gable and Stafon Johnson all had carries during the 79-yard, 12-play march.

Johnson, who was replaced after gaining 12 yards on his first carry on the fourth play of the drive, did not have another carry until his two-yard touchdown run eight plays later.


Times staff writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report.


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