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Pete Carroll Returns to USC: Top 5 Trojan Memories

Pete Carroll returns to USC this weekend, Trajuan Briggs recalls his fondest memories of Pete Carroll's time at USC.

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1) 2003 Trojans' season: Pete Carroll entering only his third season with the Trojans, leads his team to their first national championship since 1978 beating #4 Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans' 4-3 under defense haunted opponents keeping 7 teams under 20 points as the offense scored over 40 points in the last seven regular season games. USC swept traditional rivals UCLA and Notre dame in consecutive years. Pete Carroll had five players (Wide receiver Mike Williams, offensive tackle Jacob Rogers, punter Tom Malone, quarterback Matt Leinart, and defensive end Kenechi Udeze) named first team All-Americans. Carroll was Pac-10 Co-Coach of the year, National Coach of The Year, and received plenty more accolades for such a history filled season.

2) 2004 Trojans' dominating season: "Leave No Doubt" was the 2004 season motto after the 2003 controversial national title split between USC & LSU. The Trojans did exactly that going 13-0 and being ranked #1. Matt Leinart had a groundbreaking junior year at USC winning the Heisman trophy, and the Trojans went on to win their second consecutive national championship over Oklahoma (55-19) in the Orange Bowl. The Trojans defense was outstanding, keeping eleven opponents under 20 points while scoring over 30 points in nine games on offense. Pete Carroll had amazing talent such as Steve Smith, Reggie Bush, Ryan Kalil, and Keith Rivers that went off to have successful careers in the NFL. Carroll once again coached a competitive group of young men to big time victories and arguably produced some of the best players USC football has ever seen.

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3) 2005 beat down on UCLA: Heisman winner Reggie Bush ran circles around the Bruins, beating the baby cubs 66-19. Bush rushed for 260 yards and two touchdowns as the Trojans punched the #11 Bruins in the mouth. The Trojans racked up 430 yards on the ground against the 115th-ranked run defense in the country. Leinart threw for 223 with three touchdown passes in his final home game as a Trojan. Carroll coached the Trojans to their seventh consecutive victory over the Bruins. The win put USC in the BCS title game against Texas, Carroll said , "This game was an exclamation point for this 12-game run."

4) Hits of 2008: With a jaw breaking defense & an electric offense, USC put up an impressive 12-1 season. USC's 2008 defense is ranked as one of the best with a highlight reel full of players such as a dominant secondary in Taylor Mays, Kevin Ellison, Will Harris, Josh Pinkard, and Cary Harris. The Trojans possessed a relentless linebacker crew that showcased big time talents like Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga, and Kaluka Maiava who all went off to play in the NFL. The defense shut out three teams, kept three teams to a field goal, and two teams to one touchdown. Carroll also had one of the nation's best offenses with the help of a productive stable of running backs in C.J. Gable, Allen Bradford, Stafon Johnson, and Joe McKnight. Carroll and the Trojans rolled onto another Rose Bowl victory over Joe Paterno and Penn State 38-24. Carroll had eleven players invited to the combine, which were all drafted by the sixth round of the 2009 NFL draft.

5) Pete Carroll....Thank You: Now we are here in 2015 and get to witness one of the best college coaches become apart of the USC Hall of Fame and receives his honorary degree. Carroll was 97-19 in his 2001-2009 campaign with the Trojans. With Carroll's vision for competing, the Trojans made seven consecutive BCS bowl appearances and was the Associated Press No. 1 ranked team for 33 straight polls. Not only Carroll is a two-time national champion and coach of the year, but he also won 83.6% of his games. Carroll will receive his degree on Friday and be inducted into the hall of fame on Saturday.

Coach Pete Carroll, thank you for your enthusiasm, coaching, and tradition at USC. May success continue in your future and FIGHT ON!!!!

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