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USC FOOTBALL FYI

Finally functional, USC's Ronald Johnson is back in form

Trojans wide receiver, who missed the first five games because of a broken collarbone, catches six passes for 99 yards in 42-36 win over Oregon State, scoring one TD and setting up another.

October 25, 2009|Gary Klein

USC receiver Ronald Johnson appears to be back.

Johnson, a junior who suffered a broken collarbone during training camp, made a diving catch for a touchdown in the Trojans' 42-36 Pacific 10 Conference victory over Oregon State on Saturday night at the Coliseum.

Johnson missed the first five games of the season before returning last week against Notre Dame.

He had one catch against the Fighting Irish on a pass that tipped off the hands of fellow receiver Damian Williams, but otherwise struggled to play at his regular game speed.

Last Tuesday, Johnson remained sore and said he was still struggling to regain his pre-injury form.

But on Saturday night, Johnson looked like he was at full strength early in the second quarter when he dived to grab a Matt Barkley pass for a 22-yard touchdown and 14-6 lead.

Johnson also caught a 13-yard pass in the first half, and his 38-yard catch in the third quarter set up a touchdown that gave USC a 28-16 lead.

Johnson finished with six receptions for 99 yards.

Happy returns

Williams' punt return for a touchdown was his second of the season.

He returned a kick 66 yards for a touchdown in the Trojans' 30-3 victory over California on Oct. 3. His runback Saturday covered 63 yards.

It is the first season in which USC has had two punt-return touchdowns since 2004, when Reggie Bush achieved the feat.

McCoy injured

Tight end Anthony McCoy was helped off the field with 11 minutes 20 seconds remaining in the game after colliding with an Oregon State defender.

Pass interference was called on the play, but four plays later a pass thrown by Barkley was intercepted, setting up a Beavers touchdown.

The early diagnosis was that McCoy suffered a sprained right ankle.

Crowd pleaser

Injured tailback Stafon Johnson watched the game from USC's radio booth in the press box and was given a loud cheer when he was shown on the video board before the first play of the second quarter.

Johnson, who is recovering from throat surgery after a weightlifting accident, pumped his fist to the crowd.

Johnson, a senior, is expected to petition the NCAA to receive another year of athletic eligibility.

Recovery mode

After forcing four fumbles and recovering none last week against Notre Dame, USC did extra work in practice locating the ball and falling on it.

The work paid off in the first quarter when cornerback Josh Pinkard stripped the ball from receiver James Rodgers on a running play.

Defensive end Everson Griffen recovered the ball and returned it nine yards, which set up USC's first touchdown.

Havili out

Sophomore fullback D.J. Shoemate started for the first time in place of Stanley Havili, who suffered a shoulder injury last week against Notre Dame.

Quick hits

USC improved its record against Oregon State to 59-10-4.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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