Opener to No. 18 Southern Cal
Monday, September 2, 2002
By KEN PETERS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Carson Palmer threw for 302 yards
and scored on a sneak with 1:26 remaining as the No. 18
Southern California Trojans opened their season Monday
night with a 24-17 victory over Auburn.
Palmer bulled into the end zone from 1 yard out for the
go-ahead score in the game that was only the second
football meeting between the schools.
A fifth-year senior still trying to live up to the high
expectations that greeted him at USC, Palmer completed
23-of-32, including a 14-yard touchdown pass, against the
Tigers, who also were beginning their season.
Palmer was intercepted twice, both times in the first
Tailback Malaefou MacKenzie, who often seemed
overlooked by the Auburn defense, had six catches for 117
yards and also carried 11 times for 31 yards.
Auburn's Carnell Williams ran for 94 yards on 21
carries and a TD, but the Trojans' defense held him to
minus-2 yards on seven carries in the second half.
Daniel Cobb went 10-of-21 for 132 yards for the Tigers,
with one interception.
After an Auburn drive stalled at the USC 22, the
Tigers' Damon Duval made a 39-yard field goal nine seconds
into the fourth quarter to tie it 17-17.
David Davis' 37-yard field goal midway through third
quarter had put the Trojans up by 3 points.
Auburn linebacker Karlos Dansby had an interception in
the first half and recovered a fumble by Kareem Kelly at
the Tigers' 12-yard line to turn away one USC threat in
the fourth quarter.
The Tigers got some help from a Trojans mistake, and
some luck at the goal line to even it 14-all just before
Auburn punted from on fourth-and-14 from its own 15,
but USC was called for having 12 men on the field, giving
the Tigers a first down at the 30.
Cobb marched the Tigers down the field, then tried to
score himself on a scramble with time running out in the
half, but he fumbled at the USC 1. The ball popped into
the air and into the arms of Auburn tailback Ronnie Brown,
who pushed it over the line for the score with 11 seconds
The Tigers went 91 yards in 15 plays to that tying TD,
Sultan McCullough had given the Trojans a 14-7 lead
earlier in the quarter when he scored on a 3-yard run to
cap a drive that started when Omar Nazel intercepted a
Cobb pass at the USC 25 to end an Auburn threat. Nazel
returned the interception 15 yards.
Williams tied the game 7-7 with his 23-yard scoring run
one play after Dansby made a lunging interception of
Palmer's pass in the flat.
Williams started off left tackle, sliced back up the
seam, shook off a tackle by Marcell Almond and then
stiff-armed Omar Nazel near the goal line.
The Trojans had capitalized on a Cobb fumble for a
touchdown moments earlier. Mike Pollard recovered for USC
at the Auburn 41, and Palmer hooked up with Kelly on a
14-yard scoring pass shortly later.
The Trojans were coming off a 6-6 season. Auburn was
7-5 last year, losing four of their last five.
In the previous meeting between the schools, the Tigers
beat the Trojans 16-7 in the 1987 Citrus Bowl.
The game was only Auburn's second in California. The
Tigers were beaten 12-0 at Santa Clara in 1936.