Tape It Up: USC: Banged Up, But Unbeaten

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USC: Banged Up, But Unbeaten

USC rolled to victory, again, on Saturday, topping Washington State 47-14, but for all the glory of the victory, there was an awful lot of agony being felt in the locker room. Cornerback Cary Harris and linebacker Brian Cushing headline the latest list of casualties for the No. 1 Trojans, but the secondary can only sustain so many hits before the nation's best coaching staff will have to change up some personnel pairings and get some healthy bodies back defending passes.

Harris, a junior second-year starter at cornerback, dislocated his right shoulder in the first quarter of Saturday's game. Trainers popped the shoulder back into place, but he was unable to return to the field and will need an MRI to determine the extent of the damage. As of Sunday he is doubtful for next week's game at Washington.

If Harris cannot go, sophomore Shareece Wright will most likely take over the starting job at corner and nickelback Mozique McCurtis will move to corner to provide more help at that thinning position. Wright came in for Harris at the end of the game on Saturday, as well.

With Harris out and the number of available defensive backs dwindling, true freshman Marshall Jones was stripped of his redshirt when USC coaches called him onto the field late in the game. Jones played the final series and broke up a pass, but USC lost a redshirt player for the year by putting him in.

On the growing list of battered-up secondary players, Harris joins cornerback/safety Josh Pinkard, who is out for the season with a torn knee ligament and backup corner Vincent Joseph, who is still recovering from the bruised larynx he suffered against Nebraska.

After Washington, USC will face Stanford and Arizona, which should give the bruised Trojans sufficient time to get healthy before the real tests of the season come at Cal, Arizona State and UCLA.

Cushing, also a junior, reaggravated his sprained ankle on Saturday, an injury he suffered in the season opener, saying that "it popped." He was more optimistic than Cushing about the state of his injury, but is not certain to play in next week's game.

Six Years and Counting
Sixth-year senior running back Hershel Dennis got into a game on Saturday for the first time since 2004, as knee injuries had kept him off of the field for the last two seasons. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound tailback gained 14 yards on four carries.

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