Sept. 6, 1997
USC’s record in openers is now 74-23-8, with 35 shutout victories. In season openers at home, the Trojans are now 54-15-7. The last time the Trojans lost a season opener at home was in 1991, when USC fell to Memphis State, 24-10.
Florida State’s victory is its first over a California school. The Seminoles lost at San Diego State twice (41-16 in 1977 and 38-17 in 1973) in their only other games vs. a California school. Tonight’s game was just the fourth time that FSU has played in California (in addition to the two games at SDSU, the Seminoles beat BYU, 44-28, in the 1991 Pigskin Classic in Anaheim.
Florida State has won eight straight season openers and the Seminoles are now 19-3 on opening day under Coach Bobby Bowden. With tonight’s victory, Bowden moves one step closer to 200 victories at FSU, where he is 198-50-4.
USC’s Antoine Harris is the first freshman to start at tight end for the Trojans in the post-World War II era (records before then are incomplete). He went on to catch two passes for 28 yards and a pair of first downs.
USC sophomore quarterback John Fox, who ran for a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter, completed passes to 6 different receivers.
Trojan linebacker Chris Claiborne recorded his first career sack in the first quarter. The sophomore, who added another sack in the second quarter (for a total of minus-18 yards) and had another tackle for a loss of 13 yards, finished with 8 total tackles.
USC sophomore free safety Chad Morton made his first career interception in the second quarter. He also returned 3 punts for 27 yards.
USC’s 25 yards rushing is its fewest since netting minus-14 yards on the gournd at home against Washington last season (Nov. 2 1996).
USC’s 184 yards of total offense is its fewest since getting 124 total yards vs. Wash. last season (Nov. 2 1996).
Receiver Billy Miller posted a career high with 8 receptions for 56 yards.
Tonight’s crowd of 72,783 is USC’s largest in a season-opener at home since Sept. 15, 1973, when the No. 1-ranked Trojans defeated Arkansas 17-0, before 73,231. It is also USC’s largest crowd for a home opener since Sept. 24, 1988, when the No. 4-ranked Trojans defeated the No. 3 Oklahoma, 23-7, before 86,124 (after beginning the season with 2 road games).
Trojan linebacker Mark Cusano forced 2 fumbles in tonight’s game to go along with 7 tackles.
Tonight’s game was the first ever between USC and Florida State. The Trojans play the Seminoles next season in Tallahassee on Sept. 26, 1998.