Tape It Up: USC: Hurting All Over

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USC: Hurting All Over

What a weekend for USC. Unlike five of last week's Top 10, the Trojans actually won their game, hanging on to beat Washington 27-24, but lost their No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll along with a lot of healthy bodies, as injuries hampered five of the Trojans' top players.

It was a good thing that center Matt Spanos' injured triceps had healed enough to allow him to make the trip to Washington, as center Kristofer O'Dowd hurt his kneecap in the first half of the game, taking him out of the action and calling on Spanos to step into the center of the line for the first time since 2005.

Spanos, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound fifth-year senior, was ruled academically ineligible for the 2006 season before tearing a triceps muscle in training camp as he prepared to make a comeback for 2007. Instead of having surgery right away, Spanos decided to take his chances rehabbing the muscle and reaped the rewards last week when he was cleared to play, albeit with a brace protecting his arm. When O'Dowd went down with the kneecap injury, Spanos was called upon to return to duty.

His comeback was not immaculate, as Spanos was called for a penalty on one play and and fumbled a snap on another when his knee brace got caught on his arm brace. But he did his job protecting the quarterback, as John David Booty was sacked only once, and making room for the run game, as the Trojans rushed for 224 yards.

"It was a remarkable return for him," head coach Pete Carroll said.

O'Dowd was not the only casualty on the line as guard Chilo Rachal sprained his knee and also left the game in the first half. Other key injuries included cornerback Shareece Wright's pulled a hamstring muscle, tailback Stafon Johnson's foot injury and tailback C.J. Gable's ongoing groin injury that flared up to him out of the game after the sophomore had dressed, expecting to play. Gable will be reexamined later in the week. Luckily, Wright said his hamstring was not serious enough to keep him out of next week's game.

Carroll put it best: "We really got hammered."

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