LOS ANGELES -- Pete Carroll has a vivid memory of the first time he came through the tunnel with the Southern California Trojans and onto the field at Notre Dame.
"It's just a magnificent part of history that you know you are part of," the USC coach said. "You know that this may be one of those classic games that will be remembered because of the legacy of the matchup.
"I was blessed with a relationship that Marv Goux that really presented the whole game to me for the first time."
Goux was a two-way player for the Trojans in the early 1950s who later became an assistant at USC. Goux, who died last year at 69, was known for his inspirational speeches to the players the week leading up to the Notre Dame game.
"The USC-Notre Dame game was one of the first topics he brought up when I met him at USC," said Carroll, in his third year as coach. "I got a feel for it right off the bat from the guy that really exemplifies what this matchup is all about.
"The first time I came up the tunnel, I remembered Marv's story about the first time he took the field there, where you come up the tunnel and can see the scoreboard, see USC and Notre Dame on it."
In a way, Carroll took Goux along with him his first trip to Notre Dame two years ago.
"I had Marv on the cell phone while I was doing it," Carroll said. "I was really lucky to get a feel for this and what it's all about through Marv."
The Trojans lost that game, 27-16 in Carroll's first season. USC hasn't beaten the Irish in South Bend since 1997. Last Year, Carson Palmer threw for four touchdowns as the Trojans defeated Notre Dame 44-13 in the Los Angeles Coliseum.
The No. 5 Trojans (5-1) jumped up four notches in The Associated Press poll this week after a 44-21 win over Stanford, with Matt Leinart throwing three TD passes to Mike Williams.
Carroll said it's too early for the rankings to mean much, but he appreciates the notice.
"It's a wonderful sign of respect," he said. "At this early date, you have to kind of go with a feeling because all the information is not there yet. I'm really appreciative of the respect that other people have shown us.
"I think it certainly is a tribute to last year's team. We grabbed the attention of a lot of people last year. The consideration early in the year and our position now is definitely a result of that."
After losing 34-31 in triple overtime to California on Sept. 27, USC has bounced back with one-sided wins over Arizona State and California.
Carroll, of course, hopes they keep rolling this weekend.
"We're going to try to put together a heck of a football game and keep our season moving forward," he said.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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