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Huskies Prepare for Trojans

October 30, 1997

SEATTLE (AP) _ The No. 7 Washington Huskies ran the table in October. November figures to be a lot tougher.

On Saturday, the Huskies (6-1, 4-0 Pac-10) will try to take another step toward returning to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1993 when they play Southern California (4-3, 2-2) at Husky Stadium.

The Huskies are expected to hand the Trojans their fourth loss of the season, but USC is getting all the respect in the world from Washington’s players and coaches.

After all, these are the Trojans, the team that usually signs all those high school All-Americas.

``I’m very used to losing players to them,″ Washington coach Jim Lambright said. ``I do have a great deal of admiration for their talent level.″

Added Lambright: ``They have the players that all of us were trying to recruit.″

In October, Washington went 4-0, beating defending Pac-10 champ Arizona State in Seattle before winning league games on the road against California, Arizona and Oregon State. The Huskies won 45-17 in Corvallis last Saturday after being tied at halftime.

The Trojans have victories over Notre Dame and Oregon after losing 35-7 at Arizona State. Their other losses came against Florida State and Washington State.

USC squandered an 18-point halftime lead against Oregon in Los Angeles and barely survived when Marc Matock partially deflected a 36-yard field goal attempt by Joshua Smith that fell just short with eight seconds to play.

Trojans coach John Robinson said after the Arizona State game that he would resign if his team didn’t improve this season. He didn’t sound in a resigning mood this week.

``The purpose of it was to try to get focus,″ Robinson said of his resignation comments. ``Whenever things aren’t going well, all of a sudden people start standing around and paying attention to what the external interests are. What I was just trying to do was say, `Hey, forget about all that.‴

The Huskies can’t afford to stumble against the Trojans. They play three of their last four games in Husky Stadium, but their lone road game left _ Nov. 15 _ will be at No. 12 UCLA. And their Apple Cup game in Seattle on Nov. 22 could be a gigantic one since No. 10 Washington State takes a 7-0 record into this weekend.

Washington will be going after its 12th consecutive Pac-10 victory, the league’s longest winning streak since the Huskies won 14 straight Pac-10 games from 1990 to 1992.

The Huskies beat the Trojans 21-10 in Los Angeles last season in a game in which their defense limited the Trojans to minus 14 rushing yards, the lowest total in USC history. And the Trojans managed only 124 yards of total offense on 29 plays.

Washington’s Rashaan Shehee is averaging 120.9 rushing yards a game, but the Huskies will be facing a USC team that leads the Pac-10 in rushing defense at 95.6 yards per game.

So the Huskies may rely more on their passing game and sophomore quarterback Brock Huard, who has 16 touchdown passes and only two interceptions this season. In seven games, Jerome Pathon is averaging 115.4 receiving yards with 41 catches for 808 yards and five touchdowns.

The Trojans might change quarterbacks _ to 6-foot-5, 220-pound redshirt freshman Mike Van Raaphorst _ for the Washington game.

The USC coaches were unhappy with season-long starter John Fox for throwing an interception that Rashad Bauman returned for a touchdown in the second half last week. Van Raaphorst is the son of Dick Van Raaphorst, who was the San Diego Chargers’ kicker in the 1960s. Older brother Jeff Van Raaphorst quarterbacked Arizona State and was the most valuable player in the 1987 Rose Bowl.

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