38 days to USC football: Alex Stadthaus and the unheralded No. 38

RoT Countdown / Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
RoT Countdown / Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /

The countdown to USC football’s 2019 season continues with a look at the No. 38 jersey, which has featured offensive, defensive and special teams contributors.

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USC football is now 38 days away.

The Trojans will take on Fresno State at the Coliseum on August 31, with Fall Camp beginning in just over week.

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The season is fast approaching, but we’re still taking the time to examine each jersey number in USC lore, including today’s No. 38:

Who wore it best?

The No. 38 hasn’t been a particular prolific number in Trojan history, but that doesn’t mean it is without its standouts, even if none reached All-American or all-conference status.

Quarterback George Bozanic was a member of USC’s 1952 squad which won 10 games and won the Rose Bowl. He went on to co-captain the 1953 team. His passing ability gave the Trojans an added element on offense as they started 6-0-1, though injuries didn’t help with a 1-3 finish.

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Decades later, Louis Brock Jr., the son of baseball Hall of Famer Louis Brock, wore the No. 38 at cornerback. He led USC in interceptions in 1986 and blocked a punt in the 1987 Citrus Bowl.

Special teams is also well represented in the history of No. 38.

Punter Mike MacGillivray was a four-year starter from 1998 to 2001, setting season records for punts and yards as a freshman.

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Later, kicker Jordon Congdon led the Trojans in points, kicking through 12-of-16 field goals and 41 point after attempts. He was a semifinalist for the Groza Award.

UPDATE: A Reign of Troy reader called attention to their grandfather, John Stonebraker, who wore the No. 38 for the Trojans as an end on the 1938 and 1939 teams. It’s a good thing they did, because it would be a shame for Stonebraker’s critical contribution to USC’s 1939 national title to be forgotten.

While trailing in a 7-2 battle with Washington, who had the better of the Trojans with wins in their last five meetings, quarterback Grenny Landsdell took the field with less than two minutes to go. He heaved a 16-yard pass to Stonebraker, who had gotten behind his defender in the right corner of the endzone before cutting left and snagging the ball. The touchdown put USC up 9-7 and moved them one step closer to the Rose Bowl.

All-conference back Bob Hoffman had words with the man of the hour in the locker room after the game.

“Why, you big bum, you,” Hoffman joked, according to Bob Ray of the Los Angeles Times. “Just when I was all set to catch that pass and become a hero you barged up in front of me and took the ball out of my hands.”

In a moment of decisiveness, Stonebraker earned the headlines and his hero status in No. 38.

Who wears it now?

Kicker Alex Stadthaus joined the Trojans in 2018 and promptly picked up the No. 38 jersey. A walk-on, he still won the job as USC’s primary kickoff specialist, hitting 41 of his 61 kickoffs for touchbacks. He is expected to retain that role in 2019.

Along with Stadthaus, the No. 38 is represented by walk-on running back Chris Edmondson. The junior tailback has spent the last three seasons supporting USC on the practice field.

Stats to know: 38

  • End Hal Bedsole was USC’s 38th ever All-American in 1962.
  • In 1953, USC kicker Sam Tasagalakis kicked a game-winning 38-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to beat Stanford. His holder on that play was the aforementioned George Bozanic.
  • In 1977, Frank Jordan bested UCLA with a 38-yard field goal with two seconds left.
  • Matt Leinart set a Pac-10 record with 38 touchdown passes in 2003.
  • Dwayne Jarrett caught a pass in all 38 games he played for USC.
  • USC beat Iowa 38-17 in the 2003 Orange Bowl and Penn State 38-24 in the 2009 Rose Bowl.
  • When the Trojans beat Oklahoma 55-19 in the 2005 Orange Bowl, they scored 38 points off of Sooner turnovers.
  • Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote had 38 tackles as a true freshman in 2018 and will be looking to increase that total greatly as a sophomore starter.

39 Days to Kickoff. Next