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Friday, November 23, 2012
Who will transform tomorrow?: ND-USC

By Matt Fortuna

My pick for who will transform tomorrow is Cierre Wood.

The running back is coming off a 150-yard performance on senior day, and he is playing near his hometown, which is Oxnard, Calif.

Wood is a win away from clinching a national title game berth on the home turf of his hometown school, USC.

The season has not gone exactly according to plan for the senior, who was suspended the first two games. He has split time in the backfield with Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III, but he has still managed 720 yards, and a repeat 1,000-yard campaign is not entirely out of the question.

He is averaging 7.1 yards per carry, too.

USC has been mediocre against the run, allowing more than 150 rushing yards per game, 49th nationally.

Stanford's Stepfan Taylor rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown against the Trojans in a win. Oregon's Kenjon Barner ran all over the Trojans for 321 yards and five touchdowns in a win, while getting support from Marcus Mariota's 96 yards on the ground.

And UCLA's Jonathan Franklin escaped for 171 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday in a win over USC.

A similar fate may await Wood, who could playing his final regular-season game in a Notre Dame uniform. His mother told the Chicago Tribune this week that her son is leaning 70-30 toward the NFL.

There are worse ways to go out than in the fashion he could Saturday, given the stakes and location.