19 days to USC football: Hal Bedsole, Matt Fink, Ralen Goforth and the No. 19

RoT Countdown / Photo by Alicia de Artola (Reign of Troy)
RoT Countdown / Photo by Alicia de Artola (Reign of Troy) /

Reign of Troy’s countdown to the 2019 USC football season continues with a look at the No. 19, including Hal Bedsole, Matt Fink and Ralen Goforth.

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There are just 19 days until the 2019 USC football season arrives.

Now in the teens of the countdown to kickoff, the Trojans’ date with Fresno State on August 31 is truly on the horizon.

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What to do until it arrives? How about explore the history and prospects for every USC jersey number? Today, that means a look at No. 19:

Who wore it best?

Hal Bedsole was a weapon ahead of his time in No. 19.

The outstanding end set USC records with 27 catches, 525 receiving yards and six touchdowns as a junior in 1961, besting all of those totals in 1962 with 33 catches for 827 yards and 11 touchdowns. His average of 20.94 yards per catch remains a Trojan record.

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“Besides being big, Bedsole combines speed with deceptive maneuvering,” wrote Don Selby of the San Francisco Examiner. “When Bedsole snares a pass he goes places.”

Indeed, both Bedsole and USC went places in the course of his career. After starting John McKay’s tenure with two four-win seasons, the Trojans stormed to the national championship with an undefeated season in 1962. Bedsole was a consensus All-American that year.

Bedsole was known for his contributions on offense, but in 1962 he proved an effective defender as well. Far from a stat hog on that side of the ball, his job on defense was a thankless task, occupying defenders, closing gaps and giving the linebackers room to bring down the ball carrier. Of course he wasn’t without his critics.

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Before the Trojans finished their regular season against Notre Dame, Sid Ziff of the Los Angeles Times published a letter from a fan who said, “Enclosed please find $5 to start a fund for that unusual press photog who can catch Hal Bedsole making an unassisted tackle in a game.”

USC went on to blast Notre Dame with an emphatic 25-0 win and, what do you know, Bedsole was praised for making a particularly impressive tackle. The future College Football Hall of Famer quipped back to Ziff, “I guess that guy who bet I never made a tackle in two years lost his bet today.”

Football stories in those days include their fair share of players sent to the hospital with faces smashed during the course of the game. But it wasn’t Bedsole who needed attention after the 1963 Rose Bowl victory, in which he caught two touchdown passes.

Wisconsin halfback Billy Smith lost six teeth and underwent two hours of surgery to repair his fractured jawbone after trying to tackle Bedsole. Newspapers were sure to point out the size difference between the 158-pound Badger and the 6-foot-5, 213-pound Trojan.

CHECK OUT: Who are the best players USC will face in 2019?

Bedsole is the only All-American to wear No. 19 at USC, but most recently the jersey was donned by a legend in his own right, Mario Danelo.

The kicker, who set NCAA, Pac-10 and USC records in 2005 for extra points and conversions, was 26-for-28 in his career on field goals. He converted two field goals as the Trojans bested Michigan in the 2007 Rose Bowl.

Sadly, those were his last kicks. He tragically died in the hours after that victory, prompting USC to mark the goal posts at the Coliseum with his oft-uttered phrase: “Livin’ the dream.”

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Who wears it now?

If Bedsole had his way, he would have been a quarterback. So it’s fitting his No. 19 is currently in the possession of quarterback Matt Fink. Like Bedsole, other bodies at the position may ultimately keep him from operating behind center.

Fink has been locked in competition for the starting quarterback job with JT Daniels, Jack Sears and Kedon Slovis. Though he is the oldest of those, he has the definite feel of a dark horse candidate, hoping to use his fiery nature and running ability to set him apart in the battle.

On defense, the Trojans have another No. 19 in linebacker Ralen Goforth. The brother of former UCLA receiver Randal Goforth, Ralen has taken to the cardinal and gold like a natural. After enrolling in the spring, Goforth has already risen up the depth chart thanks to his ability to pick up the scheme and read the game with impressive instinct, seeming to pop up in the right place at the right time.

With Jordan Iosefa injured for several weeks, Goforth has taken on his role as understudy to starter John Houston.

Stats to know: 19

  • Guard Aaron Rosenberg was USC’s 19th ever All-American in 1933.
  • All-American halfback Mort Kaer scored 19 touchdowns, his career high, in 1925.
  • Heisman-winning running back O.J. Simpson tied or set 19 NCAA, conference and USC records during his career.
  • Heisman-winning running back Charles White had 19 touchdowns in 1979.
  • Quarterback Paul McDonald tied a USC record with 19 touchdown passes during the Trojans 1978 national title run.
  • All-American quarterback Rodney Peete had 19 games with 200 yards passing in his career.
  • All-American defensive tackle Tim Ryan had 19 deflections in his career. So did All-American linebacker Uchenna Nwosu.
  • In 1996, Darrell Russell led USC with 19 tackle for loss.
  • In 1997, Brian Kelly led USC with 19 deflections. Will Poole repeated that feat in 2003.
  • In 2005, Reggie Bush averaged 31.6 yards on 19 total touchdowns.
  • In 2013, Andre Heidari’s 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play lifted USC over No. 5 Stanford.
  • All-American running back Ronald Jones II finished his junior season with 19 touchdowns on the ground.
  • Quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Sean Salisbury each tossed 19 interceptions in their careers.
  • Receivers coach Keary Colbert caught 19 touchdown passes in four years as a starter at USC.
  • Clay Helton’s 19-game home winning streak was spoiled in 2018 by Arizona State.

Next. 20 Days to Kickoff