|USC Legends News|
When USC takes the field against Washington today, the Trojans will face an entirely different team than the one they met in Seattle a year ago.
But there is one element of the 2005 season lurking in the Huskies that prompts a tinge of foreboding.
Quarterback Isaiah Stanback is fast, so he can run the ball. And he can throw.
"It might have some resemblance,'' USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson said. "They do the same types of things.''
No one's lumping Stanback, a senior, into the same category as Vince Young, who trampled through the Trojans in the Rose Bowl.
But the week of preparation for No. 2 USC (4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Pacific-10 Conference) did bring back a few flashes of December drills, when the Trojans used different scout team quarterbacks to emulate Stanback.
The thrower was Michael McDonald, the runner was freshman cornerback Vincent Joseph.
"Any time you've got a fast, athletic quarterback running a take play, I think you have to prepare very similar every time,'' USC defensive end Brian Cushing said. "He's a good athlete; he plays kind of a similar style to Vince Young, but I think Stanback's his own individual player. I think he's going to be a good player and it's going to be a good matchup.''
Stanback, who is completing 56.7 percent of his passes, has thrown for 951 yards and eight touchdowns against three interceptions. He's the Huskies' second-leading ground gainer with 306 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
A senior who has survived seasons of one and two victories, Stanback has matured into a leader, as UCLA found out when he rallied his team to a victory.
He's the glue of a team that is off to a 4-1 start, including a 2-0 Pac-10 record, and brings a certain amount of confidence into today's game.
Stanback has USC coach Pete Carroll's attention.
"When he gets his chance, even in traffic, he'll take off and go. He's very courageous and bold about the way he runs with the football. It leads him into some great situations and big plays and he gets banged a little, too, at times.
"He doesn't have the mind-set of a quarterback. He's beyond that.''
It's a different type of test for the USC defense, which was sent reeling a bit last week in a 28-22 win over Washington State. The Trojans spent a lot of time adjusting their secondary this week, and they're still waiting for their running game to gel.
The Trojans also don't know if they'll have the services of All-America junior receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who missed last week's game with a sprained left shoulder. Jarrett said he will dress for the game.
But they continue to be a confident group, particularly at the Coliseum, where they are out to extend their school-record 28-game win streak. USC also has won a conference-record 25 straight games.
Despite facing a team the Trojans have outscored, 165-68, in the last four seasons, they aren't taking the new-look Huskies lightly.
Just by watching film, the Trojans see a different attitude.
"You can see it in the whole team,'' Cushing said. "They're a team on the rise and they're playing very well. ... They've got some good wins, they're very confident right now and nothing would make their season more than beating us and we know that.''
at Daily Breeze ]
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