2008 USC Trojans football team

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
2008 USC Trojans football
Interlocking USC Logo.svg
Pac-10 Conference Champions
Rose Bowl Champions
Rose Bowl vs. Penn State, W 38–24
Conference Pacific-10 Conference
Ranking
Coaches #2
AP #3
2008 record 12–1 (8–1 Pac-10)
Head coach Pete Carroll
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian
Offensive scheme Multiple
Defensive coordinator Nick Holt
Base defense 4-3
Home stadium Los Angeles Coliseum
(Capacity: 93,607, grass)
Seasons
« 2007 2009 »
2008 Pacific-10 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#3 USC   8 1         12 1  
#10 Oregon   7 2         10 3  
#19 Oregon State   7 2         9 4  
California   6 3         9 4  
Arizona   5 4         8 5  
Arizona State   4 5         5 7  
Stanford   4 5         5 7  
UCLA   3 6         4 8  
Washington State   1 8         2 11  
Washington   0 9         0 12  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2008 USC Trojans football team (variously "Trojans" or "USC") represented the University of Southern California during the 2008 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Pete Carroll and played their home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Before the season[edit]

Pre-season outlook[edit]

The Trojans finished the 2007 season with a decisive Rose Bowl victory, #2 ranking in the Coaches Poll and #3 ranking (with one first-place vote) in the AP Poll.[1][2] In January 2008, immediately after the bowl season, USC was ranked at #4 by Sports Illustrated online and #5 by ESPN.com; the general opinion was that while the Trojans were facing key player departures, the losses were mitigated by the overall talent level of the program. Georgia was ranked as the early pre-season #1 team.[3][4] Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com soon revised their rankings to #3 and #4, respectively, after nearly all draft-eligible juniors decided to remain with the program instead of entering the NFL Draft.[5] Going into the spring, USC ranked as the premier team in the Pac-10 Conference, taking advantage of a deep talent pool, including a number of talented running backs holding over from the previous season.[6]

The Trojans' biggest question entering spring practices was who would take over the starting quarterback position from John David Booty.[7][8] Junior Mark Sanchez entered spring practice as the acknowledged leader, having started three games the previous season due to an injury to Booty, winning two; however, Arkansas-transfer and former Razorback starter Mitch Mustain had the most college game experience, having started and won eight games for the 2006 Razorbacks team his freshman year while putting on an impressive performance on the scout team in the 2007 season during the NCAA-mandated waiting period.[9] Both Sanchez (2005) and Mustain (2006) were considered the top quarterback in the nation coming out of their respective high school classes.[10] The Trojans entered spring with a number of qualified running backs, but not quite as many as in 2007. Battling for the starting position were top returners Junior Stafon Johnson (673 yards) and sophomore Joe McKnight (540 yards); but challenging them would be redshirt sophomore C.J. Gable, who started five games as a freshman in 2006 and the first two of 2007 before a season-ending injury, junior Allen Bradford, as well as previously injured redshirt freshman Broderick Green and Marc Tyler.[11] All six running backs earned Parade or USA Today All-American honors in high school, four earned both.[12] Questions remained around the wide receivers, who had struggled with consistency the previous season; all starters returned, with special attention focused on Arkansas transfer Damian Williams, who caught 19 passes for the Razorbacks in 2006 but sat out 2007 along with fellow Arkansas teammate Mustain.[13] The offensive line was hit hard by graduation, returning only one starter. The defense lost several important players to graduation, but the linebacker corp returned key players such as Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga.[11]

By the end of spring practice, the USC coaching staff announced that Sanchez would be the designated starting quarterback going into fall camp.[14][15][16] A crowd of 22,000 watched the Trojan Huddle, USC's spring game that ends spring practices, where Sanchez, Mustain and redshirt freshman Aaron Corp all performed well against Trojan defenses; the White team defeated Cardinal, 39–36, in double overtime.[17] With a number of talented linebackers, the Carroll and defensive coordinator Nick Holt began experimenting with using a 3-4 defense variation implementing the "Elephant Position", which features a hybrid end/linebacker position.[18] The Trojans had used Cushing in the Elephant position during the 2006 season before returning to their traditional 4-3 during the 2007 season. In the 2008 variation, the position was filled by senior Clay Matthews, a former walk-on.[19] After spring practices finished across the nation, Sports Illustrated revised its rankings and placed USC as the #3 team, behind Georgia and Ohio State; while ESPN ranked the Trojans #4, behind Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma.[20][21] The running back tandem of Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight was compared to the "Thunder and Lightning" combination of LenDale White and Reggie Bush, with McKnight mentioned as a top ten Heisman Trophy contender going into the fall.[15]

At the Pacific-10 Conference media day, the Trojans were the near-unanimous pre-season pick to win the conference. USC took 38 of 39 first-place votes; California, which were picked to finish fourth in the overall standings, received the other vote.[22] This was USC's sixth year in a row as the favorite to win the conference title, the longest streak since the Trojans 18-year run from 1965–1982.[23]

On the release of the preseason Coaches' Poll, USC was ranked #2 in the nation, behind the 2008 Georgia team: Georgia received 1438 points with 22 first-place votes while USC received 1430 points with 14 first-place votes. Meanwhile, the 2008 Ohio State team was ranked third with 1392 points but an equal number of first-place votes with 14.[23][24] The preseason Associated Press (AP) Poll ranked USC #3 in the nation, behind Georgia and Ohio State. USC received 12 first-place votes and 1490 points, compared to Georgia's 22 first-place votes and 1528 points and Ohio State's 21 first-place votes and 1506 points.[25] Both polls added to the interest in the OSU-USC game on September 13.

A major concern arose in the first week of fall camp, when Sanchez suffered a dislocated left kneecap while warming up for practice. Trainers were able to immediately put the kneecap back into place, but the injury sidelined Sanchez and threw his availability for the season opener at Virginia (and beyond) into question. As a result, Mustain and redshirt freshman Aaron Corp began alternating repetitions with the first team offense and competing for the possible starting spot.[12][26][27] After missing nearly three weeks, Sanchez was cleared to play in the opener on the final day of fall camp; Corp was selected as his back-up.[28][29]

The biggest issue facing the team entering the season was how the rebuilt offensive line would perform, though it had improved over the course of fall camp.[30][31] Sanchez, Cushing, offensive lineman Jeff Byers, and senior safety Kevin Ellison were elected team captains by their teammates.[32]

In the week preceding the regular season, all twelve experts polled by ESPN picked USC to win the Pac-10 conference, and three expected them to make it to the BCS National Championship Game with two expecting them to prevail.[33] All seven experts polled by Sports Illustrated picked USC to win their conference, with three forecasting them in the Championship Game with one selecting them to prevail.[34] Rivals.com's panel of four experts unanimously picked USC to play in the title game.[35]

Recruiting class[edit]

USC brought in a top-10 recruiting class in 2008.[36][37][38]

Transfers[edit]

Shane Horton, the brother of 2008 recruit Wes Horton, transferred from UNLV and would be required to sit out one season by NCAA rules.

Junior transfer Steve Gatena, former United States Air Force Academy Class of 2008 Cadet, transferred in from UC Davis as an offensive left tackle.[39] Gatena was required to sit out one season by NCAA rules. However, due to his academic standing as a graduate student, Gatena was granted a one time transfer exception for pursuing his academic career and played as the second string left tackle in the season opener against Virginia.[40]

Jordan Cameron, the uncle of Matt Leinart's son with USC basketball player Brynn Cameron, transferred in from Ventura College.[41][42] A former freshman basketball player from Brigham Young University, Cameron attempted to transfer before the 2007 season to also play football as a wide receiver.[43] However, when some of Cameron's units from Brigham Young did not transfer to USC, he needed to withdraw and attend Ventura College, missing the season but with the option to try to rejoin the team in 2008 (regardless, he would have been ineligible to play in 2007 due to NCAA transfer rules).[44]

Departures[edit]

In addition to graduating starting senior 2007 All-Americans Sam Baker (offensive tackle), John Mackey Award-winner Fred Davis (tight end), Sedrick Ellis (nose tackle), and Keith Rivers (linebacker), as well as first team all-conference defensive end Lawrence Jackson, 2006 first team all-conference quarterback John David Booty and second team all-conference defensive back Terrell Thomas, the Trojans also lost junior All-Conference offensive guard Chilo Rachal to the 2008 NFL Draft. Pac-10 conference honorable mention offensive linemen Drew Radovich and Matt Spanos, tailback Chauncey Washington, and linebacker Thomas Williams also departed.[45]

Offseason news[edit]

On the Monday after the 2007 UCLA-USC rivalry game, a 24–7 Trojans victory, embattled Bruins head coach Karl Dorrell was fired.[46] His replacement was former UCLA quarterback Rick Neuheisel, who held previous head coach positions at both Colorado and Washington where he led teams to overall successful records but his departures coincided with NCAA investigations at both universities.[47] Within a month on the job, Neuheisel attracted attention by hiring former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow as his offensive coordinator. While with Trojans from 2001–2004, Chow led the offense to the 2003 and 2004 national championships and saw quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart win the Heisman Trophy.[48] The hire of Chow injected a new level of drama to the rivalry that had somewhat stagnated under Dorrell.[49][50]

Schedule[edit]

The Sporting News ranked the schedule as the toughest in the Pac-10; ESPN.com ranked it as the fourth toughest in the conference.[51][52] ESPN.com ranked the nonconference schedule as the fifth most difficult in the nation, noting that if Virginia had a good year it would be the toughest.[53]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
August 30 12:30 PM at Virginia* #3 Scott StadiumCharlottesville, VA ABC W 52–7   64,947
September 13 5:00 PM #5 Ohio State* #1 Los Angeles Memorial ColiseumLos Angeles, CA ABC W 35–3   93,607
September 25 6:00 PM at Oregon State #1 Reser StadiumCorvallis, OR ESPN L 21–27   42,839
October 4 5:00 PM #23 Oregon #9 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA ABC W 44–10   82,765
October 11 12:30 PM Arizona State #8 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA ABC W 28–0   84,956
October 18 12:30 PM at Washington State #6 Martin StadiumPullman, WA FSN W 69–0   25,118
October 25 7:15 PM at Arizona #6 Arizona StadiumTucson, AZ FSN W 17–10   57,427
November 1 3:30 PM Washingtondagger #7 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA FSN W 56–0   80,216
November 8 5:00 PM #21 California #7 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA ABC W 17–3   88,523
November 15 4:00 PM at Stanford #6 Stanford StadiumStanford, CA Versus W 45–23   50,425
November 29 5:00 PM Notre Dame* #5 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA (Rivalry) ESPN W 38–3   90,689
December 6 1:30 PM at UCLA #5 Rose BowlPasadena, CA (Battle for the Victory Bell) ABC W 28–7   87,790
January 1 2:10 PM #6 Penn State* #4-T Rose BowlPasadena, CA (Rose Bowl Game) ABC W 38–24   93,293
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Pacific Time.

Roster[edit]

Wide Receiver

Center

  • 50 Abe Markowitz - Freshman
  • 61 Kristofer O'Dowd - Sophomore
  • 67 Micheal Reardon - Redshirt Freshman

Offensive Guard

  • 53 Jeff Byers - Redshirt Senior
  • 56 Alex Parsons - Junior
  • 64 Garrett Nolan - Redshirt Junior
  • 66 Matt Meyer - Freshman
  • 74 Zach Heberer - Redshirt Sophomore
  • 77 Thomas Herring - Redshirt Junior
  • 78 Khaled Holmes - Freshman

Offensive Tackle

  • 68 Butch Lewis - Redshirt Sophomore
  • 70 Tyron Smith - Freshman
  • 71 Charles Brown - Redshirt Junior
  • 72 Martin Coleman - Redshirt Freshman
  • 73 Steve Gatena - Redshirt Junior
  • 75 Matt Kalil - Freshman
  • 76 Nick Howell - Redshirt Junior

Tight End

 

Quarterback

Tailback

  • 21 Nolan "The Boi" Scelzi - senior
  • 22 Curtis McNeal - Freshman
  • 26 Marc Tyler - Redshirt Freshman
  • 29 Broderick Green - Redshirt Freshman
  • 39 Chris Fornataro - Freshman

Fullback

  • 10 D.J. Shoemate - Freshman
  • 31 Stanley Havili - Redshirt Sophomore
  • 39 Alfred Rowe - Redshirt Sophomore
  • 41 Matt Hillier - Redshirt Senior
  • 45 Adam Goodman - Redshirt Junior

Defensive Tackle

Defensive End

Punter

  • 25 Billy O'Malley - Redshirt Sophomore
  • 44 Greg Woidneck - Redshirt Senior
 

Cornerback

Linebacker

Safety

  •  2 Taylor Mays - Junior
  •  4 Kevin Ellison - Senior
  • 19 Drew McAllister - Freshman
  • 23 Shane Horton - Sophomore
  • 26 Will Harris - Redshirt Junior
  • 27 Marshall Jones - Sophomore
  • 28 Justin Hart - Redshirt Junior
  • 34 Spencer Spiegel - Redshirt Freshman
  • 36 Josh Pinkard - Redshirt Senior
  • 36 Robert Erickson - Redshirt Sophomore
  • 49 Ryan McMahon - Freshman

Long Snapper

  • 62 Chris Poussan - Freshman
  • 63 Christian Putnam - Redshirt Junior
  • 85 Cooper Stevenson - Redshirt Sophomore

Place Kicker

  • 18 David Buehler - Senior
  • 30 Joe Houston - Redshirt Sophomore
  • 38 Jordon Congdon - Redshirt Junior

Sources: 2007 USC Trojans Football Media Guide, 2008 USC Football Alphabetical Roster
‡ indicates that the player is a transfer who is ineligible to play 2008 season but is allowed to practice with scout team
Players who left the team are struck out

Coaching staff[edit]

Pete Carroll, Head Coach

Nearly the entire USC coaching staff returned from the 2007 season, with the only change being a different Graduate Assistant working with the secondary.[54]

Name Position Year
at USC
Alma mater (Year)
Pete Carroll Head Coach 8th Pacific (1973)
Steve Sarkisian Offensive Coordinator
Quarterbacks
7th
2001–2003,
2005–2008
BYU (1997)
Nick Holt Defensive Coordinator
Defensive Line
6th
2001–2003,
2006–2008
Pacific (1986)
Todd McNair Running Backs
Special Teams Coordinator
5th Temple(1988)
Brennan Carroll Tight Ends
Recruiting Coordinator
7th Pittsburgh (2001)
John Morton Wide Receivers
Passing Game Coordinator
2nd Western Michigan (1992)
Ken Norton Jr. Linebackers 5th UCLA (1988)
Pat Ruel Offensive Line 4th Miami (1972)
Rocky Seto Secondary 10th USC (1999)
David Watson Defensive Line 3rd Western Illinois (2001)
Chris Carlisle Strength and Conditioning 8th Chadron State (1985)

Game notes[edit]

Virginia[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Trojans 21 3 14 14 52
Cavaliers 7 0 0 0 7

The Trojans opened their season by visiting the University of Virginia Cavaliers of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) under Al Groh in the first ever game between the two programs and first USC game in Virginia.[55] Virginia went 9–4 in 2007, but off-season losses to both the NFL and unexpected issues left the Cavaliers ranked fifth-out-of-six teams in the ACC's Coastal Division in the preseason.[56] Five UVA players were arrested during the off-season and five other players were dismissed from the team because of academic reasons.[57]

The game was described as possibly the biggest home opener for Virginia at Scott Stadium.[58] Groh noted that he was pleased the game opened his team's schedule due to USC's ability and the general distraction it would otherwise pose to conference play: "It's as good a time as any in that we only wanted to play it in the first game, and they only wanted to play it in the first game." Virginia entered the game having gone 3–4 in opening games under Groh.[56]Virginia will become the 34th state (plus Japan) where the Trojans have played football.[58] USC entered the game favored by 19.5 points.[59]

Scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter was all USC needed to beat up on the Cavaliers at their home field. Quarterback Mark Sanchez threw for 338 yards, CJ Gable ran for 73 yards, and Ronald Johnson had 78 yards in receiving. The No. 3 Trojans got off to a good start, thanks to the Virginia turnovers.

USC continued their undefeated streak in openers away from home under Carroll.[60]

Ohio State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ohio State 3 0 0 0 3
USC 7 14 14 0 35

After a bye week, the Trojans hosted the Ohio State Buckeyes of the Big Ten Conference under head coach Jim Tressel. USC or Ohio State had played in five of the last six BCS title games.[61] The non-conference game between two perennial powers had potential national championship implications for either program.[62][63] A historic rivalry existed between the two teams: Between 1968-84, they met six times in the Rose Bowl and determined the eventual National Champion in three of those contests.[64][65] The teams had not faced one another since September 29, 1990, when Todd Marinovich led the Trojans to a 35–26 victory in Ohio Stadium in a game that was called because of a thunderstorm with 2 minutes 36 seconds to play.[61]

By the end of the 2007-08 season, the game garnered interest as a possible early-season battle between top-10 teams.[4] By the beginning of the season it was named as the most anticipated regular-season game of 2008.[66][67] The winning team was assumed to have an inside track to the national title game, though, given recent trends in the title game, the loser also had a reasonable chance as well.[68] In naming it the top potentially season-defining game of 2008, Sports Illustrated highlighted a theme of credibility: Ohio State enters the game trying to move past the BCS title game losses of the previous two seasons and USC enters trying to show it remains highly competitive with its new starting quarterback and four of five new players on the offensive line.[66][69][70] The game was also viewed as a possible Heisman Trophy showdown, primarily between Ohio State's running back Chris "Beanie" Wells and USC's Sanchez.[71] During the preseason Pac-10 Media Day, Carroll noted that "It's games like this that make us."[72]

The Buckeyes featured a combination of quarterbacks: Fifth-year senior and All-Big-Ten quarterback Todd Boeckman continued to start for the Buckeyes, however in 2008 he was supplemented by highly regarded true-freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The combination aimed to use Boeckman's prowess as a classic drop-back passer with Pryor's speed and ability to scramble for yards.[73] The Trojans had particular concerns about Pryor, who had many of capabilities that made previous athletic scrambling quarterbacks, such as Dennis Dixon, Jake Locker and Vince Young, difficult for the defense to contain.[74][75] The Buckeyes came in with a strong defense, led by All-American and Butkus Award-winning linebacker James Laurinaitis and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins.[76] Both linebacking corps, highlighted by the Buckeyes' Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman as well as the Trojans' Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, were considered the best in the country.[77][78][79] One of the major storylines entering the game surrounded the health of Ohio State's star running back, Beanie Wells. Well injured his foot in the Buckeyes' opener, and sat out the second game of the season. Early during the week of the game he was cleared to play against the Trojans; however by the Thursday his presence assessed as doubtful after he experienced soreness in his foot one day after returning to practice.[77][80][81]

Although scheduled for the third week of the season, the game was the primary focus of fan and media attention for both programs. Ticket prices rose to levels from $100 to $5,000 apiece.[82] The game received heightened attention in national sports news when USC alumnus and starting quarterback for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, Carson Palmer told a radio show "I cannot stand the Buckeyes and having to live in Ohio and hear those people talk about their team, it drives me absolutely nuts [. . .] I just can't wait for this game to get here so they can come out to the Coliseum and experience L.A. and get an old-fashioned, Pac-10 butt-whupping." While Tressel defended Palmer's comments as those of fan, Ohio State fans were incensed.[83] In the week before the game, Buckeyes wide receiver Ray Small stated that USC lacked the "class" of Ohio State, noting that "[A]t Ohio State, they teach you to be a better man. There, it's just all about football," further nothing that he felt that USC was "not even serious about the game."[84][85] Sideline passes were in high demand, with celebrities such as Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx in attendance.[86]

USC and Ohio State opened the preseason ranked No. 2 and 3 in both the AP and Coaches Polls, swapping positions in each.[24][25] After the Trojans' strong performance against Virginia, USC rose to No. 1 and Ohio State ranked No. 3 in both polls.[87][88] However, after Ohio State struggled in their week 2 win against an unregarded Ohio team, they fell to No. 5 in both polls while USC remained No. 1.[89][90][91] By game week the Trojans were considered 10-point favorites.[92]

Ohio State at USC


Oregon State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Trojans 0 0 14 7 21
Beavers 7 14 0 6 27

The Trojans began their Pac-10 Conference schedule on the road against the Oregon State Beavers, under head coach Mike Riley, in Corvallis, Oregon. On their previous visit to Reser Stadium, during the 2006 season, the Beavers defeated the Trojans, 33–31, in a major upset; as such, the game was mentioned in the preseason as a possible upset for the Trojans.[70][93]

Freshman Jacquizz Rodgers (#1) ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns for OSU, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez (#6) passed for 227 yards, and Damian Williams (#18) caught 80 yards for the top ranked Trojans in an upset loss.[94]

Oregon State was the only Pac-10 Conference school to have beaten USC twice during the Pete Carroll era, until Oregon and Stanford equaled the feat in 2009.

Oregon[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ducks 7 3 0 0 10
Trojans 3 24 10 7 44

Before the season the game was named a game of interest and the second most interesting Pac-10 game to watch after Ohio State-USC, in part due to the potential battle for the top of the conference.[67][70]

Arizona State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Sun Devils 0 0 0 0 0
Trojans 7 14 0 7 28

Entering the season, Arizona State was named as a possible challenger to USC's dominance of the Pac-10.[70]

Washington State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Trojans 21 20 7 21 69
Cougars 0 0 0 0 0


Arizona[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Trojans 3 7 7 0 17
Wildcats 0 3 7 0 10


Washington[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Huskies 0 0 0 0 0
Trojans 21 21 7 7 56


The announced crowd of over 80,000 dissipated by midway though the fourth quarter, as the Trojans, using second and third team players, were already leading 49–0.

California[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Golden Bears 0 3 0 0 3
Trojans 3 7 0 7 17

This game was mentioned as a possible upset for the Trojans.[70]

Stanford[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Trojans 3 14 7 21 45
Cardinal 10 7 0 6 23

Before the 2007 season, Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, in his first year with the Cardinal, garnered attention by first stating that 2007 was going to be Carroll's last year at USC, then, during the Pac-10 media day, that USC "may be the best team in the history of college football."[95] The Cardinal then stunned the Trojans in a major upset, 24–23, ending the Trojans' 35-game home winning streak and causing a major obstacle to the Trojans national title hopes. During the 2008 Pac-10 media day, noted that the aftermath of the Cardinal's victory over USC was "water under the bridge."[22] Given the previous season, before the season it was named as a game to watch by ESPN.com.[70]

The game marked the first sell out of the new Stanford Stadium since its opening in 2006; a large portion of the crowd were in support of USC.[96]

Notre Dame[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Notre Dame 0 0 0 3 3
USC 7 17 7 7 38

[97]


UCLA[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
USC 14 7 7 0 28
UCLA 7 0 0 0 7
The 2008 edition of the rivalry marked a return to the tradition of both teams playing in home jerseys.

Before the season this game garnered interest in seeing how new Bruins' coach Rick Neuheisel would do in his battle to gain supremacy in Los Angeles.[67][70]

Joe McKnight (12-yard run), Damian Williams (12-yard pass from Mark Sanchez), Stafon Johnson (2-yard run) and Patrick Turner (18-yard pass from Sanchez) scored for the Trojans. Sanchez passed for 269 yards, McKnight ran for 99 yards and Turner caught for 81 yards.

A fumble recovery turned into a pass reception touchdown by Kahlil Bell in the beginning of the game was all the scoring by the Bruins in this the latest cross-town rivalry game. UCLA Quarterback Kevin Craft completed 11 out of 28 passes for a total of 89 yards and had one pass intercepted.

Going into the game, the Trojans were set to be, at worst, co-Pac-10 Champions with Oregon State. However, after the win over UCLA and Oregon State's loss the same day, the Trojans became the Pac-10 Champions for the seventh straight year and qualified for the Rose Bowl, played on January 1, 2009. Linebacker Rey Maualuga was named Pac-10 defensive player of the year.

Rose Bowl versus Penn State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Penn State 7 0 0 17 24
USC 7 24 0 7 38
The Rose Bowl, prepared for the 95th edition of the nation's oldest bowl game.


Rankings[edit]

Ranking Movement
Poll Pre Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 13 Wk 14 Wk 15
AP 3 1 1 1 1 9 8 6 6 7 7 6 6 5 5 5
Coaches 2 1 1 1 1 9 9 4 4 6 6 6 6 5 5 4-T
Harris Not released 7 8 5 5 7 7 6 6 5 5 5
BCS Not released 5 5 7 6 6 5 5 5

After the season[edit]

Awards[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

Twelve USC players were invited to the NFL Combine. Of the twelve, Josh Pinkard applied for and was granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA and opted to stay at USC for another season. Of the eleven players who attended the Combine, all were drafted by the end of the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. USC topped the total number of draftees for the second consecutive season.[98]

References[edit]

  1. ^ AP Top 25 - Final (Dec. 16), ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  2. ^ USA Today Coaches Poll - Final (Dec. 16), ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  3. ^ Mandel, Stewart (January 8, 2008). "Georgia Rule". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Schlabach, Mark (January 8, 2008). "Georgia takes top spot in early look at 2008's Top 25". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  5. ^ Stewart Mandel, Early look at '08, SI.com, January 17, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  6. ^ Griffin, Tim (February 27, 2008). "Trojans loaded but searching for QB replacement". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  7. ^ Griffin, Tim (February 27, 2008). "Quarterback battles, defensive replacements key to Pac-10 spring practices". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  8. ^ Mandel, Stewart (March 5, 2008). "Spring primer". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  9. ^ Klein, Gary (March 26, 2008). "USC plans to have starting quarterback in place by summer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  10. ^ Mandel, Stewart (April 18, 2008). "Sanchez expected to continue USC's long line of excellence at QB". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Klein, Gary (March 25, 2008). "USC spring football practice primer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  12. ^ a b Miller, Ted (August 18, 2008). "Carroll sees no problem with wealth of RB talent". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 18, 2008. 
  13. ^ Miller, Ted (July 23, 2008). "Q&A with USC's Steve Sarkisian". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 28, 2008. 
  14. ^ Klein, Gary (April 16, 2008). "Sanchez gets the nod at USC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b McCartney, Cory (May 1, 2008). "Spring's biggest winners and losers". SI.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  16. ^ Miller, Ted (July 24, 2008). "Once anointed as USC QB, Sanchez asserted himself". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 28, 2008. 
  17. ^ Feldman, Bruce (April 21, 2008). "Grade A(-) Performance". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  18. ^ Miller, Ted (May 2, 2008). "Griffen ready to leave his mark on Pac-10 QBs". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  19. ^ Cirminiello, Richard (May 2, 2008). "Pac 10 Spring Football - What's Happening?". Scout.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  20. ^ Mandel, Stewart (May 1, 2008). "Georgia exits spring as No. 1". SI.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  21. ^ Mark Schlabach, Buckeyes rise to No. 1 in updated Top 25, ESPN, May 9, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  22. ^ a b Klein, Gary; Wharton, David (July 24, 2008). "USC near-unanimous choice to win Pac-10 football title". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  23. ^ a b Rose, Adam (July 24, 2008). "Blogging from Pac-10 Media Day". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  24. ^ a b 2008 NCAA Football Rankings - Preseason (Aug. 17), ESPN.com. Retrieved August 1, 2008.
  25. ^ a b 2008 NCAA Football Rankings - Preseason (Aug. 17), ESPN.com. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  26. ^ Klein, Gary (August 9, 2008). "Mark Sanchez's knee injury muddies waters at USC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2008. 
  27. ^ Klein, Gary (August 10, 2008). "Mitch Mustain, Aaron Corp battle for starting spot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2008. 
  28. ^ Klein, Gary (August 27, 2008). "USC quarterback Mark Sanchez has uneven practice, is cleared to play". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2008. 
  29. ^ Klein, Gary (August 28, 2008). "Aaron Corp set to back up quarterback Mark Sanchez at USC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 29, 2008. 
  30. ^ Miller, Ted (August 22, 2008). "One big issue for each Pac-10 team". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 23, 2008. 
  31. ^ Klein, Gary (August 23, 2008). "USC football season at a glance". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2008. 
  32. ^ Klein, Gary (August 23, 2008). "Mark Sanchez is elected captain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2008. 
  33. ^ Sooners, Buckeyes favored to reach '08 title game, ESPN.com, August 25, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
  34. ^ SI.com's team of experts make their picks for the 2008 campaign, SI.com, August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  35. ^ Roundtable: Time to pick a BCS title game matchup, Rivals.com, August 23, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
  36. ^ Luginbill, Tom; Haubert, Craig; Tucker, Billy; Conley, Bill (March 19, 2008). "Miami claims top 2008 recruiting class". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 5, 2009. 
  37. ^ Rivals.com 2008 Top 25 class rankings, Rivals.com, February 5, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  38. ^ Team Rankings, Scout.com, March 24, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  39. ^ "Steve Gatena - Walk-on Profile - Rivals.com Video". Rivals.yahoo.com. July 14, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  40. ^ "USC Annenberg | Communication Management students team up to launch entrepreneurial online video business". Annenberg.usc.edu. August 4, 2010. Archived from the original on August 26, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  41. ^ Men's Basketball Athlete Profile - Jordan Cameron, BYUCougars.com, Retrieved March 26, 2008.
  42. ^ Klein, Gary (April 19, 2008). "USC's Tupou has a nose in front". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 19, 2008. 
  43. ^ 2007 USC Trojan Football Media Guide (Section 3), USC Athletic Department, July 2007.
  44. ^ Wolf, Scott (July 26, 2007). "Trojans busy counting scholarships". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved July 26, 2007. 
  45. ^ Middlehurst-Schwartz, Michael (January 18, 2008). "Don't rush judgment on Rachal's decision". Daily Trojan. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  46. ^ Foster, Chris (December 4, 2007). "Bruins ready for next step". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  47. ^ Foster, Chris (December 30, 2008). "Neuheisel goes back to school". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  48. ^ Foster, Chris (January 21, 2008). "UCLA hires Norm Chow as offensive coordinator". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  49. ^ Bill Plaschke, UCLA gives USC reasons to worry, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  50. ^ Plaschke, Bill (July 25, 2008). "Some summer sizzle for USC-UCLA football rivalry". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  51. ^ Hayes, Matt (June 20, 2008). "Ranking the nonconference schedules: Pac-10". The Sporting News. Retrieved June 25, 2008. 
  52. ^ Miller, Ted (August 25, 2008). "Pac-10's toughest schedules". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 25, 2008. 
  53. ^ Feldman, Bruce (June 30, 2008). "Return of the weekly Top 10 list". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 2, 2008. 
  54. ^ Miller, Ted (August 20, 2008). "Catching up with Pete Carroll, Part I". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 22, 2008. 
  55. ^ USC Football Opens 2008 Season At Virginia, USCTrojans.com, August 23, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  56. ^ a b Doughty, Doug (July 23, 2008). "Groh glad to have Trojans as the opener". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved July 28, 2008. 
  57. ^ UVA Football Players Arrested, NBC29 Sports, July 28, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
  58. ^ a b Jerry Ratcliffe, 30 things to know about USC, Charlottesville Daily Progress, August 23, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
  59. ^ Wharton, David (August 25, 2008). "Virginia's football team needs some magic for opener with USC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 25, 2008. 
  60. ^ Yes, Virginia, there is an opener for USC football team, Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2008. Retrieved September 3, 2008.
  61. ^ a b Crowe, Jerry (January 10, 2008). "Text messages from press row". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2008. 
  62. ^ Mandel, Stewart (May 7, 2008). "Why a 'plus-one' was shot down; post-Perrilloux LSU and more". SI.com. Retrieved May 9, 2008. 
  63. ^ Walters, John (June 2008). "Top 10 impact games". NBC Sports. Retrieved June 9, 2008. 
  64. ^ Oller, Rob (September 9, 2008). "Trojan Wars". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved September 9, 2008. 
  65. ^ The rivalry, The Columbus Dispatch, September 9, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
  66. ^ a b Feldman, Bruce (July 21, 2008). "Ohio State-USC tops must-see games of 2008". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 30, 2008. 
  67. ^ a b c Miller, Ted (August 25, 2008). "2008 Pac-10 games to watch". ESPN.com. 
  68. ^ Dufresne, Chris (July 29, 2008). "College football: Looking ahead because there's no going back". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 31, 2008. 
  69. ^ Mandel, Stewart (July 1, 2008). "Ten season-defining games in '08". SI.com. Retrieved July 2, 2008. 
  70. ^ a b c d e f g Schlabach, Mark (August 25, 2008). "Keep up-to-date on the best the 2008 season has to offer". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 25, 2008. 
  71. ^ Menez, Gene (September 8, 2008). "Ohio State-USC showdown will have big impact on Heisman race". SI.com. Retrieved September 8, 2008. 
  72. ^ Miller, Ted (July 24, 2008). "On stage: USC's Pete Carroll". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  73. ^ Wharton, David (September 5, 2008). "USC will watch Ohio State-Ohio game for quarterback clues". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2008. 
  74. ^ Miller, Ted (September 8, 2008). "Should USC's defense be on Pryor notice?". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 9, 2008. 
  75. ^ Wharton, David (September 10, 2008). "Ohio State's forgotten quarterback". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 10, 2008. 
  76. ^ Schlabach, Mark (September 8, 2008). "Spotlights on quarterbacks in Ohio State-USC showdown". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 9, 2008. 
  77. ^ a b McCartney, Cory (September 11, 2008). "Game of the Week: Ohio State at USC". SI.com. Retrieved September 11, 2008. 
  78. ^ Rittenberg, Adam (September 11, 2008). "Buckeyes' linebackers a tag-team effort". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 11, 2008. 
  79. ^ Miller, Ted (September 11, 2008). "USC-Ohio State: LB matchup is scary-good". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 11, 2008. 
  80. ^ Klein, Gary (September 10, 2008). "USC not surprised that Ohio State's Wells will play". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 10, 2008. 
  81. ^ Wells sore after Wednesday workout; Tressel not optimistic, ESPN.com, September 11, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  82. ^ Klein, Gary; Wharton, David (September 9, 2008). "Tickets to USC-Ohio State game are hard to find". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2008. 
  83. ^ Wharton, David (September 6, 2008). "The script in Ohio features a Vested interest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 7, 2008. 
  84. ^ Klein, Gary; Wharton, David (September 7, 2008). "Ohio State receiver calls out USC football program on issue of class". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 7, 2008. 
  85. ^ Plaschke, Bill (September 10, 2008). "Buckeyes can't play man-to-man". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 10, 2008. 
  86. ^ Klein, Gary (September 11, 2008). "Sideline pass to USC football game is the hottest ticket in town". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 11, 2008. 
  87. ^ 2008 NCAA Football Rankings - Week 1 (Aug. 31), ESPN.com. Retrieved September 8, 2008.
  88. ^ 2008 NCAA Football Rankings - Week 1 (Aug. 31), ESPN.com. Retrieved September 8, 2008.
  89. ^ 2008 NCAA Football Rankings - Week 2 (Sept. 7), ESPN.com. Retrieved September 8, 2008.
  90. ^ 2008 NCAA Football Rankings - Week 2 (Sept. 7), ESPN.com. Retrieved September 8, 2008.
  91. ^ Wharton, David (September 8, 2008). "Ohio State searches for upside after long weekend". Los Angeles Times. 
  92. ^ Miller, Ted (September 11, 2008). "OSU's Chris Wells 'doubtful': possible outcomes". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 11, 2008. 
  93. ^ Three and out: Beavers stun USC; BCS race wide open, Associated Press, October 28, 2006. Retrieved October 15, 2008.
  94. ^ Peterson, Anne M. (September 26, 2008). "AP Report". Rivals.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  95. ^ Dufresne, Chris (July 25, 2008). "Trojans already off to 38-1 start at media day". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  96. ^ Wilner, Jon (November 16, 2008). "USC 45, Stanford 23: The tactics, the turnovers and that strange final sequence". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 18, 2008. 
  97. ^ [1]
  98. ^ Klein, Gary (April 27, 2009). "USC's NFL pipeline stays open on second day". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 27, 2009.