We talked to former USC assistant coach Carl Smith yesterday before the game. He said he would consider coaching again next season after taking a year off, either in the NFL or college football. He also denied an Internet rumor last summer that he assisted the USC coaching staff with the offense.
Only 19 points were scored on the Trojans at the Coliseum this year. In 86 seasons at the Coliseum, only twice did USC teams gave up fewer points, both National Championship years: 1939 (14 points in six games), and 1932 (7 points in 7 games).
The 1962 National Champions allowed only 19 points in 5 Coliseum home games, and 22 in 6 Coliseum games (including the UCLA match, in which UCLA was the home team).
The 1952 PCC Champions allowed 13 points in 6 Coliseum home games, and 25 points in the 7 games they played at the Coliseum.
Most years, the Trojans give up at least 19 or more points in at least one game. In fact, since 1940, the Trojans have kept all home opponents under 19 or more points in only seven seasons: 1948, 1952, 1962, 1982, 1989, 2004, and, now, 2008.
Here’s this week’s ballot for the Associated Press poll.
USC’s defense (and Oregon’s victory) set the stage for another trip to Pasadena on New Year’s Day.
Right tackle Nick Howell suffered a high-ankle sprain and was forced to leave the game. Fullback Stanley Havili suffered a mild ankle sprain.
Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen on facing USC.
“I was frustrated a little bit,” said Clausen, who finished 11 for 22 for 41 yards and two interceptions. “They were getting pressure by rushing four and it disrupted everything else. It’s tough but that’s what football is. It was a tough day but the team will bounce back from this.”
Linebacker Brian Cushing on the scuffle: “I can’t tell you who instigated it but I can tell you nobody backed off.”
“It’s a little scuffle,” USC defensive lineman Fili Moala said. “They thought they were hyped and they weren’t as hyped as us.
“It started in the tunnel. They started talking and we were talking. We bit before they did and their bite wasn’t hard.”
Mark Sanchez on his first interception.
“I was thinking, `That’s one way to start,’ ” Sanchez said. “The coolest thing is (offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian) and Coach Carroll said, `It’s OK, let it rip.’ Sark said, `I’m still going to throw the heck out of the ball.
“We let it go. We let it rip. I felt like I was playing really relaxed.”
USC clinches a berth in the Rose Bowl with a victory next week over crosstown rival UCLA. If USC loses and finishes it a three-way tie with Oregon State and Oregon, the Trojans go to the Holiday Bowl and Oregon State goes to the Rose Bowl.