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USC FYI

Trojans expect a loud reception

October 25, 2008|Gary Klein | Klein is a Times staff writer

TUCSON — Arizona Stadium was empty and quiet late Friday afternoon as USC went through its walkthrough.

Kind of like the calm before the storm.

Trojans Coach Pete Carroll and his players expect an uncommonly boisterous crowd tonight when the Trojans, No. 5 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, play Arizona in a game between teams tied for first place in the Pacific 10 Conference.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez said this week that he was readying for a "rowdy crowd" that gets "hostile and personal."

Carroll on Friday said he had spoken to his team about the atmosphere.

"They have a great student section down in that lower section that really rocks," Carroll said. "I've prepared our guys for this to be a very, very explosive night in terms of their energy and all that. . . .

"This is a big deal for [Arizona fans]. I'm sure they're not going to be short of energy and whooping and hollering."

Arizona broke from what is generally regarded as unofficial college tradition and designated the USC game as homecoming rather than one against a weaker opponent.

Carroll said he was unaware of homecoming and did not know when USC's homecoming game would be played.

"I couldn't tell you," he said. "Did we already have it?"

USC's homecoming game is next week against winless Washington.

Havili ready

Fullback Stanley Havili returned to the stadium where he suffered a season-ending broken leg as a freshman in 2006 in his first start.

"I'm really excited to get out there," Havili said this week. "They're the only team I've played two times so I'm excited."

Havili, a redshirt sophomore, started last year's game against the Wildcats at the Coliseum but served mainly as a blocker as the Trojans went ultraconservative in Sanchez's first start.

USC had a 17-13 lead with about seven minutes left when an 83-yard Arizona punt pinned the Trojans at their one-yard line. Havili, Sanchez's roommate, told an injury-ravaged offensive line, "This is the drive you need to show your heart."

Havili rushed for three yards and caught a third-down pass to move the Trojans into better field position, setting the stage for a long gain by tailback Joe McKnight and a field goal that preserved the 20-13 victory.

Havili has caught 13 passes this season.

Coming along

With defensive tackle Fili Moala nursing an ankle sprain, Armond Armstead could play a large role tonight.

Armstead, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound freshman from Sacramento, has played in five games and has seven tackles.

"We forced him to develop and made sure that he would be ready somewhere around halfway through the season -- and he's there," Carroll said. "He knows his assignments well enough, but he's still a pup out there."

Odds and ends

Snapper Chris Pousson did not make the trip because he has mononucleosis, Carroll said. . . . USC is 25-6-0 against Arizona. The Wildcats have not defeated the Trojans since 2000. . . . Center Kristofer O'Dowd and defensive end Everson Griffen are the only Trojans from Arizona. There are 46 Californians on Arizona's roster.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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