|Tight end Fred Davis emerges as outstanding receiver for Trojans|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 23 September 2007 10:17|
But like most everyone playing his position, Davis would love to be used more as a receiver. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior from Toledo, Ohio, finally got his wish Saturday night.
Davis caught nine passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns - all single-game career bests - and No. 1 USC kicked off its Pac-10 schedule with a 47-14 victory over Washington State.
The 124 receiving yards were the most ever in a game for a USC tight end, and the nine receptions were one shy of the school record for a tight end. John Allred had 10 in 1996 against Houston.
The Trojans (3-0, 1-0 Pac-10), winners of 35 straight home games, are attempting to win at least a share of the conference championship for an unprecedented sixth straight season.
``It's been a long time coming,'' Davis said of his new role. ``I felt like a wide receiver tonight. I was just glad to do anything I could to help us win, whether it was blocking, catching or whatever.''
John David Booty completed 28 of 35 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns with one interception, and the USC defense shut down the Cougars after their first possession.
Davis was overshadowed by wide receivers Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett last season, when he caught 38 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns in his first full season as USC's starting tight end. He had five receptions for 87 yards and no TDs in the first two games this season.
``That's what I always thought Fred was capable of,'' Booty said. ``He's been around Dwayne and Steve and in their shadows. He's the veteran now, and we are looking to him to do those things on a week-to-week basis.
``It was fun to watch him with the ball tonight. He was the guy that was getting open and I had to get him the ball. Once you see how a guy is playing in a game and the plays he is making, you try and call plays to get him the ball.''
Booty threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Davis on fourth-and-2 to cap an 83-yard drive following the opening kickoff. The two also teamed up on a 14-yard scoring play in the second quarter.
Davis' previous career single-game bests were six catches for 68 yards and one touchdown.
``It'd be wrong if I didn't acknowledge what Freddie did. Freddie had a heck of a game tonight,'' USC coach Pete Carroll said. ``He's just played three beautiful football games and done consistently everything throughout those games and tonight we had a chance to go to him.
``He's had a really steady career, and he's always been there for us in a lot of places. Freddie's one of the best tight ends in America, he's really, really a terrific football player for us. Obviously we don't mind to go to him in tough situations and when we get the good pass play opportunities and all of that.''
Davis certainly made an impression on Washington State tight end Jed Collins.
``He is a stud. He does everything they need him to do and a little more,'' Collins said. ``He has hustle, heart and the size. He deserves all the awards that come his way.''
The Cougars (2-2, 0-1) didn't get a first down for six straight possessions after moving 84 yards for a touchdown the first time they had the ball.
``This Washington State offense is a good offense,'' Carroll said. ``I think this is the best we've played them in the years we've had the chance to go against them. We've had a lot of hard times against them in years past.''
The Cougars gave USC all it could handle last year before losing 28-22 in Pullman, Wash. The game ended with Taylor Mays intercepting Alex Brink's desperation pass at the USC 4.
It was a different story in this game.
``We moved the ball well at times, but shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers, penalties or not making third-and-shorts,'' Brink said after completing 17 of 33 for 165 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.