September 13, 2006

Breaking down the USC Trojan defense

Who: Southern California Trojans
School Location: Los Angeles, California
School Colors: Cardinal and Gold
2006 Record: 1-0
National Ranking: 3
Conference: Pacific 10

Head Coach: Pete Carroll (Pacific 1973): In sixth season at USC (54-10 overall, 0-0 vs. Nebraska)
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Holt

When: Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006, 7 p.m. (CDT)
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Radio: Pinnacle Sports Network.
Series Record: USC leads 1-0-1.

Returning Letter Winners On Defense: 26
Returning Starters On Defense: 3
Base Defensive Formation: 4-3

On The Line: Junior defensive end Lawrence Jackson (6-5, 265) is a force to be reckoned with. The All-America candidate recorded 10 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, six pass break-ups, four forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries in 2005. Junior nose tackle Sedrick Ellis (6-1, 285) clogs things up in the middle for USC. He had three tackles and forced a fumble against Arkansas.

Linebackers: Junior weakside linebacker Keith Rivers (6-3, 220) was named the Pacific 10 Conference defensive player of the week for his performance Sept. 2 against Arkansas after recording eight tackles and recovering a fumble. Sophomore middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (6-3, 250) got the start against the Razorbacks and responded with six tackles.

In the Secondary: The Trojans have only one starter from last season back in the secondary - junior free safety Josh Pinkard (6-1, 200). Sophomore Cary Harris (6-1, 180) and junior Terrell Thomas (6-1, 195) give the Trojans talent at the cornerback position. True freshman Taylor Mays will actually get the start in Pinkard's place this week. Pinkard went down with an injury and Mays will step into his place.

Punting the ball: Junior punter Greg Woidneck punted three times against Arkansas, averaging 37.5 yards per kick.

Trojan Quick Hits

***USC's home field, the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, has a seating capacity of 92,000. The venue has served as host to several teams over the years, including USC, UCLA, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Dodgers. Olympic Games took place in the coliseum in 1932 and 1984.

***The only two previous meetings between USC and Nebraska took place in 1969 and 1970. The Trojans prevailed 31-21 at Memorial Stadium in '69 and the two teams played to a 21-21 tie at the LA Coliseum in 1970. The Huskers would win out after the tie in '70 and go on to win the program's first of five national championships with a victory over Louisiana State in the Orange Bowl.

***The Huskers have lost their last two games played in the state of California - the 2002 Rose Bowl against Miami and the 1998 Holiday Bowl against Arizona. NU's last victory in California came at Cal early in the '98 season.

Southern California Schedule
Sept. 2 - @ Arkansas (W 50-14)
Sept. 16 - Nebraska
Sept. 23 - Arizona
Sept. 30 - @ Washington State
Oct. 7 - Washington
Oct. 14 - Arizona State
Oct. 28 - @ Oregon State
Nov. 4 - @ Stanford
Nov. 11 - Oregon
Nov. 18 - California
Nov. 25 - Notre Dame
Dec. 2 - @ UCLA

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