USC tailback Hershel Dennis tears knee ligaments

Updated: December 16, 2004, 7:13 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Third-string Southern California tailback Hershel Dennis tore ligaments in his left knee at practice Thursday and will miss the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma.

Top-ranked Southern Cal (12-0) will face No. 2 Oklahoma (12-0) in the national championship game on Jan. 4 in Miami.

USC spokesman Tim Tessalone said it was too early to predict Dennis' status for next year. He will have surgery next month.

Dennis, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior, started all 13 games for USC in the 2003 season. He was the Trojans' second-leading rusher, gaining 661 yards on 137 carries with four touchdowns.

Dennis violated team rules before the 2004 season and was suspended for the first two games. He was used sparingly behind sophomore tailbacks LenDale White and Reggie Bush.

Dennis played in nine games for the Trojans, gaining 109 yards on 28 carries and scoring one TD.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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