Two More Game-Breakers

R. Jay Soward and Chad Morton have company.

They aren't USC's only big-play men anymore.

Not that anyone expects tight end Antoine Harris to turn another short pass into a 66-yard gain the way he did against Washington State, or tailback Petros Papadakis to break a 53-yard scoring run every game.

"I hadn't had a play like that since my senior year in high school," said Harris, a sophomore. "I got caught on the 1-yard line that time. This time I got to the 6. But the biggest thing I was thinking about was not fumbling. I basically held the ball with both hands running down the sideline."

Harris' big play couldn't make up for his costly fumble in the loss to California, but it gave USC a reason to throw to the tight end again.

As for Papadakis, the short-yardage back until a couple of weeks ago, he had his second touchdown run of more than 50 yards--not including a third one that got away against Cal.

"I was as surprised as you were to see it happen again," Papadakis said. "I may have bought myself three more minutes of fame. I was down to my last tick."


Unfortunately for USC, the Pacific 10 Conference record for penalties in a season is very much within range.

With 74 after seven games, USC is on pace to break the record of 121 penalties set by Arizona State in 1992 and tied by California last season. USC will play 12 games compared to 11 for those teams.

Coach Paul Hackett is more concerned about the effect penalties can have on games.

"We're now going into a couple of games where every little inch makes a difference," he said. "We can't beat ourselves, with turnovers first or penalties second. That can change a game dramatically."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World