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USC FOOTBALL FYI

Trojans hope to shut down Jimmy Clausen

The Notre Dame quarterback has passed for 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions and leads the nation in passing efficiency.

October 16, 2009|Gary Klein

MICHIGAN CITY, IND. — Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen leads the nation in passing efficiency and is performing the way USC envisioned he might when they pursued him as a recruit out of Westlake Village Oaks Christian High.

Clausen, a junior, has passed for 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Receiver Michael Floyd is injured, but Clausen can still turn to receiver Golden Tate and tight end Kyle Rudolph, who have combined for 54 receptions and seven touchdowns.

So the Trojans' secondary will be on high alert going into Saturday's game against the No. 25 Fighting Irish.

"He's got a real strong arm and he can make all throws," cornerback Kevin Thomas said upon arrival at the team hotel Thursday night. "We've all got to be in position to make plays, and hopefully our athleticism takes it from there."

Thomas is one of four seniors in a secondary that hopes to shut down Clausen as the Trojans did last season at the Coliseum. Clausen completed only 11 of 22 passes for 41 yards with two interceptions, and he was sacked four times in a 38-3 loss.

"He's kind of grown up," safety Taylor Mays said, "but they have a couple more weapons."

Gable's status

Tailback C.J. Gable suffered a knee bruise during practice before the Trojans departed from Los Angeles, but he hopes to play on Saturday.

"I'll be good," he said.

Gable bumped knees with another player during a kickoff-return drill. He was on the ground for several minutes after the collision before limping off the field with team trainers by his side.

Surprise visit

Tailback Stafon Johnson, who was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, attended a team meeting before practice. "It was a good uplift for him and I'm sure for our guys as well," Coach Pete Carroll said.

Quick hits

The Trojans' charter flight arrived without incident, much to the delight of players and coaches who suffered through a harrowing flight through a lightning storm in 2007. . . . According to a report that must be filed annually as part of the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act of 1994, USC's athletic department balanced its budget, reporting total expenses and revenues of $80.2 million for the period covering July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. The football program generated $35.2 million in revenues on expenses of $21.4 million. Athletic department revenue from sources such as support groups, donations and endowment income was $39 million.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

Times staff writer Mark Medina contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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