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USC's Chris Galippo gets to talk about his big day

After an interception and five tackles, the linebacker has plenty to discuss with relatives in the Midwest after Trojans' 18-15 win over Ohio State.

September 13, 2009|Gary Klein

COLUMBUS, OHIO — USC linebacker Chris Galippo planned to stay in Ohio through the weekend to visit with relatives from the Midwest.

The sophomore will have plenty to talk about after intercepting a pass and helping third-ranked USC defeat eighth-ranked Ohio State, 18-15, in front of an Ohio Stadium-record crowd of 106,033 on Saturday night.

Galippo picked off Terrelle Pryor's second pass and returned it 51 yards to set up USC's first touchdown. It was reminiscent of last season when Trojans middle linebacker Rey Maualuga intercepted a pass against Ohio State and returned it for a touchdown.

"I knew where he was going to go with the ball,' Galippo said. "I just stepped up and made the pick."

Galippo finished with five tackles.

Safety Taylor Mays had a team-best eight tackles, linebacker Michael Morgan had seven and defensive end Everson Griffen had six, including a sack.

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Tough to watch

USC receiver Ronald Johnson stood on the sideline during warmups wondering what might have been.

Johnson, a junior from Michigan, had looked forward to playing at Ohio Stadium since the day he signed a national letter of intent with the Trojans in February 2007.

However, Johnson suffered a broken collarbone in the Trojans' final scrimmage of training camp and is not expected to return for a few more weeks. The absence of Johnson, USC's No. 2 receiver, takes the Trojans' best deep threat away from freshman quarterback Matt Barkley.

"This is hard," Johnson said as teammates went through pregame drills. "I remember seeing Ohio State on the schedule here when I was getting recruited.

"You work so hard and then you can't play. It's tough."

Johnson is scheduled to have an X-ray in the coming week.

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Getting his kicks

USC punter Billy O'Malley struggled in his return to his home state.

O'Malley, the only Ohio native on USC's roster, grew up near Cleveland but never attended an Ohio State game in Columbus.

O'Malley, who averaged only 34.7 yards per kick in the opener against San Jose State, averaged 37.6 yards for his five punts against the Buckeyes.

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O'Dowd solid

When USC center Kristofer O'Dowd suffered a dislocated kneecap in the Trojans' first training camp scrimmage, he vowed he would return in time for the Ohio State game.

O'Dowd made good on his promise, starting against the Buckeyes and allowing sixth-year senior Jeff Byers to move to left guard.

With O'Dowd calling the line signals, the Trojans rushed for 118 yards -- and, most important, dominated on the final, game-winning drive.

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Quick hits

USC is 13-9-1 against Ohio State and has won the last seven games between the teams. . . . Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel is now 51-7 at Ohio Stadium.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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