36 days to USC football: Mosi Tatupu was a fan favorite in No. 36

RoT Countdown / Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
RoT Countdown / Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images /

USC football’s No. 36 jersey has a versatile past, being worn by Mosi Tatupu, Lindon Crow and Josh Pinkard. All of whom led their teams.

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We’re just under five weeks until the 2019 USC Football season kicks off at the Coliseum against Fresno State. Make it 36 days.

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That means it’s time to look back at the No. 36 jersey at USC, which has been worn by both runners and defenders.

Who wore it best?

Sam ‘Bam’ Cunningham is the best USC fullback in school history. But No. 36 Mosi Tatupu might’ve been the Trojan Family’s favorite.

At his funeral in 2010, former head coach John Robinson raved about Tatupu’s wits and toughness, the two pillars of being a successful fullback.

So it should go without saying the father of All-American Lofa Tatupu didn’t let being a lead blocker for Ricky Bell and Charles White go unnoticed. He did it on his way to winning three awards at USC, including the 1977 Brice Taylor Memorial Award, given to the offensive player of the year.

In four seasons, Tatupu gained 1,424 yards from scrimmage and scored nine touchdowns.

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Other notables to wear No. 36 include 1954 team captain Lindon Crow, who was twice an All-PCC first-teamer. To this day, his 11 interceptions sit him 13th on USC’s all-time interceptions list.

Then there’s the most memorable No. 36 of recent memory, Josh Pinkard. He played for what felt like a decade at USC, excelling as both a corner and safety under Pete Carroll.

As a true freshman, Pinkard recovered a back-breaking botched Oklahoma punt at the 6-yard line early in the 2005 Orange Bowl to set up LenDale White’s go-ahead touchdown run. He also served as a team captain five years later as a sixth-year senior.

Who wears it now?

Freshman walk-on punter Will Rose was given the No. 36 ahead of the 2019 season. He’ll be looking to backup Australian punter extraordinaire Ben Griffiths.

Stats to know: 36

  • USC’s 36th All-American was Mike McKeever in 1959. His twin brother Marlin was also an All-American that season.
  • Both Mike Garrett and O.J. Simpson caught 36 passes in their USC careers. Both Mort Kaer and Simpson rushed for 36 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Matt Leinart ran for 36 yards in 2005 alone. He also set a Pac-10 record with 36 games of at least 200 passing yards.
  • Thirty-six of USC’s 93 season-opening victories have come via a shutout. The most recent? 23-0 at No. 6 Auburn in 2003.
  • USC has scored exactly 36 points on just five occasions, including the famed Marqise Lee In A Losing Effort Game at Arizona in 2012.
  • There are 36 Trojan heads of the Jeweled Shillelagh, each representing one of USC’s non-vacated wins over Notre Dame.

Next. 37 Days to Kickoff