THE ONE AND ONLY: USC is the only Pac-10 team ranked in the AP
Top 25 and is just one of two Pac-10 teams, the other being Oregon, ranked in
the USA Today Poll.
TWO FOR TWO: QB Mark Sanchez, the Pac-10's most efficient
passer, has been named the Pac-10's Offensive Player of the Week after each of
his two starts. In the season opener against Virginia he completed 26 of
35 (74%) passes for 338 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Against Ohio State he completed 17 of 28 (61%) passes for 172 yards, four
touchdowns and one interception.
STREAKS: Among the Pac-10 the Trojans own the longest overall
winning streak (7 games), the longest conference winning streak (4 games), the
longest home winning streak (4 games) and the longest road winning streak (3
BEST IN THE NATION?: When pursuing the running back statistics, none
of the numbers are eye popping, but that's because USC uses a four man rotation
consisting of junior Stafon Johnson (13 tcb, 51 yds, 3.9 avg, 1
TD), sophomore Joe McKnight (18 tcb,165 yds, 9.2 avg, plus 4 rec, 24 yds,
6.0 avg, 1 TD), soph C.J. Gable (13 tcb, 91 yds, 7.0 avg, 1 TD,
plus 3 rec, 13 yds), and junior Allen Bradford (14 tcb, 57 yds, 4.1
avg, 1 TD, plus 4 rec, 44 yds, 11.0 avg). McKnight is the most explosive
of the bunch as he lines up in the backfield or as a receiver while also
DOMINATING DEFENSE: The SC defense has not allowed a touchdown
in its last seven quarters and has surrendered only one in its first two games.
They rank in the national Top 10 in every statistical category.
MORE SANCHEZ: Playing behind one of the best offensive lines in
the country has helped Sanchez put up some great numbers during his career.
Currently he is is ranked 13th nationally in passing efficiency (166.6, first in
Pac-10). In his career, Sanchez had thrown 14 touchdowns, with at least 2
TD passes in 4 consecutive starts, plus he has at least 3 TD passes in a game 3
times and at least 1 TD pass in all 5 of his career starts.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: The offense has scored 20 points in 80 of
its past 83 contests while the defense has held 12 of its last 22 opponents to
14 points or less.
SECURE THAT BALL: OLB Clay Matthews has forced a fumble
in each of the first two games and is ninth nationally and tied for second in
the Pac-10 as he is averaging one sack a game.
YOUNG, BUT TALENTED: Left guard Jeff Byers is the only
senior and the only starter from last year on the offensive line. He
joined by sophomores Butch Lewis (right tackle), Zack Heberer
(right guard), and Krsistofer O'Dowd (center) and junior Charles Brown
QUICK STRIKE: Of USC’s 12 offensive scoring drives in 2008, 7 have
taken 3 minutes or less (including 3 under 2 minutes), while 3 have gone 80-plus
yards and 4 have taken 5 plays or less.
LINEBACKER U: To say the USC is loaded at lineabacker is an
understatement. The unit is led by Rey Maualuga, who was
named the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Week after the Ohio State game,
(8 tac,1 int with a TD) in the middle and Brian Cushing (12 tac, 1.5 for
loss, 1 dfl) on the strong side. Both seniors have been honored as Rose Bowl
Defensive MVPs (Maualuga last season and Cushing the previous year) and both are
All-American and Butkus Award candidates in 2008.
THURSDAY GAMES: The Men of Troy have played on a Thursday 31
times sporting a 19-9-3 record. Twenty of those Thursday games have been
on Thanksgiving while nine have been bowl games. This week's game is just
the third time that USC has played on a Thursday when the game in not either on
Thanksgiving or a bowl.
ON TARGET: Place kicker David Buehler has made 18-of-21
field goals in his career, including 4-of-6 of 40-plus yards. This year, 6 of
his 15 kickoffs were touchbacks and 10 pinned foes within the 20-yard line.