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Coaches Expect Strong Orange Bowl Game

December 12, 2002

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) _ A matchup of conference champions has the Orange Bowl sold out, and coaches Pete Carroll of Southern California and Kirk Ferentz of Iowa aren’t surprised.

They figure there will be as much interest nationally in the matchup of top 5 teams as there is locally and from the two schools.

``You’re looking at a marquee matchup,″ Ferentz said Wednesday.

``There are a number of elements in this game that will draw the attention of everyone around the country,″ Carroll said. ``These are two very good teams that played good football at the end of the season and finished strong.″

No. 3 Iowa (11-1) and No. 5 USC (10-2) have Heisman Trophy hopefuls at quarterbacks. Iowa’s Brad Banks and Southern California’s Carson Palmer were picked as finalists for Saturday’s Heisman Trophy presentation.

Banks, who never started a Division I-A game until this season, led the nation in passing efficiency, going 155-of-258 for 2,369 yards, 25 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 387 yards and five TDs on 73 carries, and was The Associated Press College Player of the Year.

Palmer, trying to become the first West Coast player to win since USC’s Marcus Allen in 1981, completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 3,639 yards and 32 touchdowns with 10 interceptions this year.

``We’ll certainly draw a lot of attention,″ Carroll said. ``Our quarterbacks are going to draw a great deal of attention because they’re both involved in the Heisman Trophy voting. Whether either one of them wins or not, it will be a great matchup. This is really a special event.″

But tickets could be hard to find.

The Orange Bowl, sponsored by FedEx, sold out Wednesday _ the fastest sellout in a decade. The 69th Orange Bowl game set a single-day record for ticket sales Monday. Then long lines of Iowa fans waited outside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday in hopes of snatching extra tickets for the game.

``The Orange Bowl is going to have a great crowd on hand for the game on Jan. 2 and a lot of those fans will be wearing black and gold,″ said David Sandstrum, Iowa’s director of ticket operations. ``We tried to accommodate as many Hawkeye fans that we could, but the demand was very high.″

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