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Trojans take No. 1 spot

September 03, 2008|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC jumped to No. 1 in the polls Tuesday, but most Trojans did not leap at the chance to proclaim themselves the best team in the land after only one game.

USC's 52-7 rout at Virginia vaulted the Trojans from third to first in the Associated Press poll and from second to first in the coaches' poll. Georgia and Ohio State are second and third, respectively, in both polls.

"It's cool now, but it's got to be No. 1 at the end of the season," quarterback Mark Sanchez said.

USC's dynamic road victory over a BCS conference member apparently trumped Georgia's and Ohio State's home wins over teams previously classified as I-AA.

"They liked the show," offensive lineman Charles Brown said of pollsters.

Times reporters do not vote in polls.

Coach Pete Carroll said he addressed the No. 1 issue with his players before practice, telling them, "It doesn't mean anything until we do something, and it takes a long time to do something in college football."

But the Trojans, who have an open date this week, could quickly solidify their status when they play host to Ohio State on Sept. 13.

"This is a big test for us and it will answer so many questions," Sanchez said.

The big question in Columbus, Ohio, of course, is whether running back Chris "Beanie" Wells will recover in time to play against the Trojans.

Wells suffered an apparent foot injury Saturday against Youngstown State. On Tuesday, Buckeyes Coach Jim Tressel would not rule him out for Saturday's game against Ohio.

Will he be healed for the Trojans?

"I can't even think if I've even heard some fancy word for it," Tressel said. "I'm still back in the 'foot hurts' era."


Digital problem

Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga said X-rays Tuesday revealed that a fracture in his right ring finger had lengthened. He practiced with his hand heavily padded and will play against Ohio State.

Maualuga, who had only two tackles against Virginia, said he felt woozy before the game because he took two Vicodin that caused him to vomit when he drank water. When the Trojans arrived at the Charlottesville airport for their departure, Maualuga said his body cramped and he collapsed outside the team bus.

"I almost started crying a little bit," he said.

Maualuga said he felt better after he was given several packs of intravenous fluids.


Monopoly mediation

Carroll described UCLA's victory over Tennessee as "awesome, a great win."

Sanchez felt for Bruins quarterback Kevin Craft, who had four passes intercepted in the first two quarters.

"That's tough," Sanchez said. "But the way he came back and battled. . . . Hopefully, he's just on the up and up from here."


Quick kicks

Freshman offensive lineman Matt Kalil suffered a hyper-extended knee near the end of practice, Carroll said. . . . Freshman offensive lineman Matt Meyer had foot surgery last week. . . . Junior receiver Vidal Hazelton had his right foot in a boot and probably will not practice this week because of an ankle injury suffered against Virginia. Averell Spicer (illness) and running back Marc Tyler (rib soreness) also did not practice.


Times staff writer David Wharton contributed to this report.

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