Palmer Steps Up To Tame Tiger Defense

Comments from USC are featured from the Los Angeles Coliseum following the Trojans football victory over Auburn.

Los Angeles, Calif.--Tommy Tuberville said that Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer might have been the biggest difference on opening night as Auburn lost a 24-17 football game to the Trojans.

Tuberville said the veteran quarterback came up with big plays when the Trojans needed them. He passed for 302 yards and scored the winning touchdown on a QB sneak with 1:26 left to give the home team a victory.

Palmer didn't say he was the difference, but was pleased with his performance. "It's my fifth year," he says. "I expect to be perfect. I felt like there was a ton of guys out there on our team with experience--a ton of seniors. We just have a bunch of guys who love to play football.

"We did a good job of picking up the blitz. Our receivers did a great job of exploding to their routes."

Because of that, and a failure by the Tigers to get enough pressure on the USC quarterback in the second half, Auburn headed home to Alabama with an 0-1 record.

USC head coach Pete Carroll said he liked just about everything he saw from his senior QB other than a pair of interceptions by Karlos Dansby and Junior Rosegreen.

"It's unfortunate that he got a couple picks, but I thought he played beautifully. He was on time and in command. It was really good to see him in control and taking charge."

Carson Palmer is hit by Carlos Rogers on a blitz play. Karlos Dansby intercepted the pass to set up Auburn's first touchdown.

USC running back Maleafou Mackenzie said, "Auburn has an awesome defense, but we exploited some weaknesses in the second half." Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said the Tigers will be busy this week getting those problems corrected.

USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody was impressed with Tiger tailback Carnell Williams, who burned the Trojans in the first half before being slowed to virtual no yardage when he lost a step after suffering a knee problem which AU officials said was not serious. Williams finished the game with 94 yards and one touchdownn on 21 carries.

"He was moving around," Cody said. "He has got real strong legs. Auburn was running well in the first half."

Cody said his team won the battle of wills in the fourth quarter. "We have a big heart," he said. "We wanted this game more than they did."

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