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October 30, 2008

Carroll, Ferrell pull off Halloween gag

zzz
Rivals.com College Football
Staff Writer

As the door flew open on a camera tower high above the ground just outside Howard Jones Field, all eyes turned to a man inside screaming and waving his arms.

As he hurled to the ground, players winced in horror. Fullback Stanley Havili ran toward the door, but before he could get there, he received good news.

"He caught him," a woman yelled.

With the man cradled in his arms, a masked superhero strolled into Howard Jones Field. Sure enough, "Captain Compete" turned out to be comedian Will Ferrell.

After speaking to the team for a couple of minutes, Captain Compete got another chance to save a life, when a man engulfed in flames emerged from behind the goalposts.

After the man was extinguished, Ferrell tried to help, launching a Gatorade cooler at the man - not on the man.

"What a sense of timing that guy has," USC coach Pete Carroll said.

The Halloween gag had most of the Trojans fooled.

"It felt awful," Havili said. "My stomach just dropped."

Freshman defensive tackle Armond Armstead saw the man fall and thought tragedy struck.

"Seriously," he said, "I thought we just watched a dude die."

The prank lightened the mood after the team finalized its week of practice

"It was just a little something in the Halloween spirits," Carroll said. "I just thought we'd have a little fun."

Dan Woike is the lead team reporter for USCFootball.com. This will be his second season covering major college football professionally after working at the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago.
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