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USC FOOTBALL FYI

USC hopes Halloween eve fans will howl

A boisterous Coliseum crowd would make the Oregon Ducks' job more difficult Saturday.

October 29, 2010|By Gary Klein

USC, spooked by Oregon's home crowd on Halloween night at Autzen Stadium last season, is hoping that Trojans fans will make the top-ranked Ducks feel similarly uncomfortable Saturday night at the Coliseum.

The combination of homecoming, the presence of ESPN's "College GameDay" and a social network-driven "Red Out the Coli" campaign, urging fans to wear Cardinal-colored clothing, could be the right combination, junior linebacker Chris Galippo suggested.

"Hopefully, that ignites our fans a little bit," Galippo said. "I don't know how many of them travel [to away games], but if they did they would just see what some of these other crowds are like and know it's really hard to play in a hostile environment, especially when [Oregon has] an offense like they do when they have to communicate a lot."

Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley said sound in the Coliseum tends to dissipate, whereas in Autzen Stadium it seems to push down onto the field.

"The last couple of games at home, Washington especially, I noticed on third downs it was the loudest it's been, and I've been going to games for a while," Barkley said. "So hopefully, given the hype around this game, it will be even more."

Shared skill

T.J. McDonald and Cliff Harris once patrolled the secondary together for Fresno Edison High, where former USC All-American Tim McDonald, T.J.'s father, was the head coach.

Now the sophomores lead their respective college teams in interceptions.

McDonald, a Trojans safety, has intercepted three passes, including one two weeks ago in the Trojans' 48-14 victory over California.

Harris, an Oregon cornerback, has four interceptions and has returned three punts for touchdowns.

"There's certain times you have to take chances — you can't always play it safe," McDonald said. "My dad always says you're going to have at least one or two opportunities every game to make a play, so that's what I try to do."

Oregon, which leads the nation in turnovers, has intercepted 13 passes. But Barkley said many resulted from poor throws by quarterbacks.

"If I'm smart with the ball and not try to force a ball and not try to make it all happen, then I think we'll be fine," he said.

Quick hits

USC is 37-17-2 against Oregon in a series that dates to 1915. … The Trojans are 7-11 against opponents ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press media poll. USC's last game against a No. 1 team was in 1992, a 17-10 loss to Washington at Seattle. … USC has no players on its roster from Oregon. The Ducks have 54 Californians.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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