USC Preview

Both Arizona State and Southern California are pointing to this weekend's game to make a statement. Looking to rebound after two big conference losses, the Sun Devils are eager to show some fresh legs after a bye week. Meanwhile, USC has looked vulnerable in recent weeks which has fueled some doubts as the Trojans have a tough November schedule looming ahead.

Knocking off Southern California at home will not be easy however, as the Trojans have won their last 29 games in the Coliseum.

#2 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJANS
2006 Record: 5-0 (3-0, Pac-10)
Head Coach: Pete Carroll


Last Week: USC held on to down the Washington Huskies, 26-20, at home.

OFFENSE
*Projected Starters

WR Steve Smith (Sr.)
LT Sam Baker (Jr.)
LG Drew Radovich (Jr.)
C Ryan Kalil (Sr.)
RG Alatini Malu (Jr.)
RT Kyle Williams (Sr.)
TE Fred Davis (Jr.)
QB John David Booty (Jr.
) FB Mike Brittingham (Sr.)
TB Emmanuel Moody (Fr.)
WR Patrick Turner (So.)

In his first season as a starter, quarterback John David Booty's maturation has been one reason why the Trojans are undefeated. The junior is among the conference's most efficient passers with a 137.83 rating. With a banged up receiving corps and a ground game that still has some room for a little improvement, Booty has performed surprisingly well with 241.8 yard per game passing average. His 11 touchdowns to only 3 interception mark has quieted off-season chirping of redshirt freshman Mark Sanchez unseating him for now. Sanchez has played in only two games this season, completing 1 of 2 passes for 19 yards.

The Trojan receivers have been dinged up over the last few weeks. Star split end Dwayne Jarrett is making his way back from a shoulder injury and should play against the Sun Devils. The junior is a talented split end and has 3 touchdowns in his 21 receptions this year. Sophomore Patrick Turner started last week in place of Jarrett and had a career outing with 116 yards and 1 touchdown. Senior Steve Smith has always been a reliable target and has proven so once again this season. Smith has hauled in a team leading 28 catches and 4 touchdowns. The senior is expected to play this week despite injuring his ankle last Saturday against Washington. Senior Chris McFoy, brother of ASU safety Ryan McFoy, will not play due to an injury suffered at Washington State two weeks ago. Tight end Fred Davis may probably continue to be an option in the passing attack with his 19 receptions and 1 score so far this season.

USC has used a new platoon of tailbacks this season with some moderate success. Emmanuel Moody and Chauncey Washington will share a bulk of the carries. The freshman Moody leads all Trojan tailbacks with 394 yards and a 6.6 yard average per carry. Washington, a junior, has collected 292 yards on 65 carries. Both have 2 touchdowns each. Freshman C.J. Gable averages 22.6 yards per game on the ground behind the two.

DEFENSE
*Projected Starters

DE Lawrence Jackson (Jr.)
DT Chris Barrett (Jr.)
NT Sedrick Ellis (Jr.)
DE/LB Brian Cushing (So.)
WILL Keith Rivers (Jr.)
MIKE Rey Maualuga (So.)
SAM Dallas Sartz (Sr.)
FS Taylor Mays (Fr.)
SS Kevin Ellison (So.)
CB Terrell Thomas (Jr.)
CB Cary Harris (So.)

Second in the Pac-10 in total defense, the Trojans are led by a front seven that's allowing an average of 96 rushing yards per game. With no sacks yet, defensive end Lawrence Jackson has yet to hit his stride in his junior season but has notched 12 tackles. Nose tackle Sedrick Ellis is returning from a knee injury, which means Fili Moala, may continue to see playing time behind him. The sophomore has played in all 5 games and has 6 tackles. Junior defensive tackle Chris Barrett has quietly collected 10 tackles and 1 sack. With the Trojans employing a 3-4 scheme this season, reserve linebacker Brian Cushing has found his way to more playing time now and can provide a pass rush up front. Cushing is third on the team in tackles with 26 stops and 1 sack.

Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga leads the team in tackles with 36 stops. The sophomore also has an interception and a sack. Maualuga is only one part of a deep and talented group of linebackers. Senior Dallas Sartz has been overlooked by the younger talent Carroll has brought in at linebacker over the last two seasons but has been a steady performer on the strong side with 23 tackles and a forced fumble this season. Junior Keith Rivers is only 3 tackles shy of Maualuga's 36. Reserves Oscar Lua, a senior, and Kaluka Maiava, a sophomore, have combined for 12 stops this season.

The Trojan secondary is young but, for the most part, has been holding their own. Surrendering only 4 touchdowns through the air, tops in the Pac-10, the pass defense is led by Terrell Thomas. The junior cornerback leads the secondary in tackles with 22, as well as 1 sack, 1 interception, and 6 pass break ups. Sophomore Cary Harris has collected 17 stops and an interception at the other corner spot. When junior safety Josh Pinkard went down with a knee injury last month, true freshman Taylor Mays has stepped in with 22 tackles, 2 pass break ups, and an interception.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Mario Danelo (Jr.)
P Greg Woidneck (So.)
KR C.J. Gable (Fr.)
Cary Harris (So.)
PR Desmond Reed (Jr.)

Place kicker Mario Danelo was named Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday for his performance against the Huskies, hitting on all 4 field goal attempts. The junior has converted a total of 9 of his 10 field goal attempts this season, including his longest of 44 yards against Arkansas. Sophomore Greg Woidneck has handled all 15 of the Trojans' punts this season and is averaging just under 42 yards per attempt. Woidneck's longest went for 59 yards.

Freshman tailback C.J. Gable has collected most of Southern California's yardage on kick returns this season. Gable is averaging 28.1 yards per return while sophomore cornerback Cary Harris has a 15.5 yard average on 6 returns. Tailback Desmond Reed hasn't broken a long punt return yet, his longest going for 8 yards. The junior is averaging only 4.2 yards on 6 punt returns this year. ___________________________________________

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