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Southern Cal makes good on its trip East

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 28, 2000


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sultan McCullough proved he's more than a track star playing football.

The sophomore tailback had a career-high 128 yards rushing as No. 15 Southern Cal beat No. 22 Penn State 29-5 Sunday in the Kickoff Classic.

The Trojans, playing Penn State's style of smash-mouth football, outrushed the Nittany Lions 164 yards to 6, the lowest total for any Penn State team under Joe Paterno.

"People say I'm just a track star. They say, "Oh, he's fast, but all he can do is run track,' " said McCullough, a sprinter on USC's track team. "I want to show everybody I can do it all."

McCullough, who emerged as the starter in training camp, had 413 yards last season and never carried more than 21 times before getting 29 carries against Penn State.

"I said we had three runners and one would establish himself as the tailback and Sultan took a big step," USC coach Paul Hackett said. "He's one of the fastest guys around, but he made some tough runs."

Quarterback Carson Palmer also showed some toughness. Palmer, playing his first game since breaking a collarbone in the third game last season, was 10-for-20 for 87 yards.

"He handled the football team the way I wanted him to," Hackett said. "He handled the offense the way the leader has to. That was more important than how much passing he did."

It was the worst season-opening loss for Penn State since a 44-6 defeat against Nebraska in the 1983 Kickoff Classic.

The loss spoiled a homecoming for Penn State's Rashard Casey. The senior quarterback, who grew up in nearby Hoboken, played his first game since being charged with assaulting an off-duty police officer in May.

Casey was 7-for-24 for 106 yards. He was replaced by Matt Senneca in the fourth quarter.

"This was a tough outing for him for a lot of reasons," said Paterno, who is starting his 35th season. "He had a tough preseason. Now that he has this out of his craw, he can come home and have some fun."

GEORGIA TECH-VIRGINIA TECH, PPD.: The game in Blacksburg, Va., was postponed by game and school officials after severe thunderstorms and lightning rolled into the area just as the teams were lined up for the opening kickoff.

After waiting about an hour as thunder rumbled in, lightning bolts lit up the sky and heavy rain pelted Lane Stadium.

No announcement was made concerning a makeup date or if there would be one.

ARKANSAS: The school suspended a defensive end for one game and banned a booster for five years because of allegations he paid athletes for work they didn't do.

The results of a university and Southeastern Conference investigation have been forwarded to the NCAA, coach Houston Nutt said.

The university's action is in response to allegations that Dallas-area businessman Ted Harrod paid athletes for work they didn't do or overpaid them for minimal work.

The involvement of defensive end Randy Garner came to light Saturday when he was withheld from practice. Nutt said Garner, a senior starter, accepted $100 for only a few hours of work and has repaid the money.

OBIT: Cal Stoll, the former Minnesota coach who had a heart transplant 13 years ago, died at 76 after a long illness.

Late Saturday

TECH 63, MISS. VALLEY ST. 10: Brian Stallworth threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns for the host Delta Devils.

TEXAS TECH 24, NEW MEXICO 3: Kliff Kingsbury threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns and the host Red Raiders won in pass-happy coach Mike Leach's first game.

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