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USC FOOTBALL

Aaron Corp will get the start at quarterback

With Matt Barkley banged up, sophomore will make his first start since high school.

September 19, 2009|Gary Klein

SEATTLE — It took more than two years, but Aaron Corp is finally going to start at quarterback for USC.

The third-year sophomore, who lost an opportunity going into the season because of a leg injury, will be in the lineup today against Washington because of a shoulder injury suffered by freshman Matt Barkley.

Coach Pete Carroll continued Friday to maintain that the choice between Corp and Barkley could be a game-time decision, but chalk that up to gamesmanship with Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian and Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt, both former USC assistants.

Corp was told by coaches that he would be under center for the Trojans, who are trying to win an eighth consecutive Pacific 10 Conference title.

While Corp threw passes to receivers during the Trojans' stadium walk-through Friday, Carroll played catch with Barkley, who is recovering from a bone bruise in his throwing shoulder.

"Aaron's ready to go, we made it so during the week in preparation," Carroll said. "He took charge and took over and did like he'd done before [in spring practice]. He's excited about it and it will be exciting to watch him play if he's the guy going out there."

Corp has not started a game since leading Orange Lutheran High to a 42-28 victory over Palo Alto in the 2006 state Division II title game at the Home Depot Center.

He rushed for 136 yards in 11 carries and scored on runs of 31 and 52 yards. Corp also passed for 208 yards and four touchdowns, all to Austin Pettis, who now plays for Boise State.

McKnight to start

Tailback Joe McKnight sat out two days of practice because of migraine headaches and flu, but he participated in a short workout before the Trojans departed Los Angeles and will start against the Huskies, Carroll said.

"I don't know that he's 100% feeling great, but he was fine to work out," Carroll said.

If McKnight is limited or ineffective, it could mean a larger role for senior Stafon Johnson.

Johnson had one of the best games of his career two years ago at Husky Stadium, rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown in the Trojans' 27-24 victory.

But he also suffered a foot injury that plagued him the rest of the season. "I'm trying not to think about that one," Johnson said this week.

A determination about All-American safety Taylor Mays (knee) will be a game-time decision, Carroll said.

Family affair

While Carroll will match wits against Sarkisian and Holt, there could be an even closer family battle fought on the field.

USC fullback Adam Goodman and Washington linebacker Josh Gage are brothers-in-law as well as former Huntington Beach Edison High teammates.

Goodman is married to the former Jessica Boyer, the daughter of former USC and NFL tight end Mark Boyer.

Gage is married to Jessica's younger sister, Lauren.

Goodman and Gage, both reserves, did not collide in last season's game, but they could today.

"I hope so," Goodman said. "It could happen on special teams or clean-up time. We're both fifth-year seniors, so it would be a fun way to finish it off."

Weather watch

There is a 70% chance of showers today, according to the National Weather Service.

USC has not played in the rain since Nov. 10, 2007 when the Trojans defeated California, 24-17, at Berkeley.

The Trojans are 1-3-1 in the rain at Washington, the last game an 8-7 loss in 1975, according to USC's sports information office.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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