Defense has held its own
USC’s defensive line intends to make another stand tonight when the 12th-ranked Trojans play Washington State in a Pacific 10 Conference game at the Coliseum.
Despite a foot injury that has sidelined end Armond Armstead since training camp, the unit has played well through three games.
The Trojans rank fifth nationally in rushing defense.
“I’m not surprised, but it is kind of a shocker to some people that we’ve come out and been a big help to the defense, because there’s a lot of new players and underclassmen,” sophomore tackle Jurrell Casey said.
Casey has three of the Trojans’ 30 tackles for loss.
Redshirt freshman Nick Perry, rotating in at one end spot, is tied for the Pac-10 lead with four sacks.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Perry had a Michigan state-record 36 sacks during his senior season at Detroit King High in 2007.
He redshirted last season after his arrival was delayed because of NCAA Clearinghouse certification issues.
“It took me awhile, just getting accustomed to the college level -- that there’s no time to slack off or take plays off,” Perry said. “You have to put everything into it, 100% every play. That’s what I had to learn.”
Washington State running back Dwight Tardy is looking forward to playing the Trojans.
“Those guys are kind of arrogant,” the senior from Walnut told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “But when you win so many games, I guess in this day and age, you can walk around like that.”
Tardy, who played at Santa Fe Springs St. Paul High, does not expect a repeat of last season’s 69-0 loss at Pullman, Wash.
“Last year I definitely felt some players laid down,” Tardy told the newspaper. “You know, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. If you’ve got one guy talking about ‘here we go again,’ it gets in other people’s heads.
“It was just like a disease. Airborne. Killed our whole morale of the team. But this year, we’re not like that. We’re fighters. We’re going to fight every second on the clock.”
USC leads the series against Washington State, 56-8-4. The Cougars last won at the Coliseum in 2000, 33-27. . . . USC safety Taylor Mays is the only player from Washington on the Trojans’ roster. Washington State has 41 players from California.
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*--* DATE OPPONENT RESULT Sept. 5 San Jose State W, 56-3 Sept. 12 at Ohio State W, 18-15 Sept. 19 at Washington L, 16-13 Sat. Washington St. 7:15 p.m. Oct. 3 at California 5 p.m. Oct. 17 at Notre Dame 12:30 p.m. Oct. 24 Oregon State 5 p.m. Oct. 31 at Oregon 5 p.m. Nov. 7 at Arizona St. 5 p.m. Nov. 14 Stanford TBA Nov. 28 UCLA 7 p.m. Dec. 5 Arizona 12:30 p.m. *--*