Southern Cal tailback Joe McKnight rejoined the Trojans for practice yesterday after missing their early preparations for the Emerald Bowl.

McKnight still hasn't been cleared by the school to play against Boston College tomorrow night, but coach Pete Carroll was optimistic he'll be available. USC is investigating whether McKnight violated rules by using an SUV that doesn't belong to him.

McKnight practiced with the Trojans in Los Angeles on Monday, but stayed home to deal with compliance issues when the Trojans traveled to San Francisco.

"Joe did everything he needed to do compliance-wise," Carroll said.

McKnight is USC's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2005, with 1,014 yards on 6.2 yards per carry and eight touchdowns. If McKnight can't play, Allen Bradford likely will start for the Trojans. Bradford rushed for 596 yards and eight scores.

Ohio State's woes. Ohio State's roster for the Rose Bowl keeps getting smaller.

Coach Jim Tressel confirmed that the team's top kick returner, Ray Small, and backup defensive lineman Rob Rose would not be making the trip with the Buckeyes to play Oregon next week. Tressel said both were suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Freshman wide receiver Duron Carter, the son of former Ohio State great Cris Carter, was declared ineligible last week shortly after semester grades were released.

Tressel also said that walk-on running back Bo Delande would not make the trip, also for an unspecified team rules violation.

Poinsettia Bowl. "It's a great feeling, especially at home, to play the way I did and get a bowl win," said freshman Jordan Wynn after he threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 23 Utah to a 37-27 victory over California in San Diego on Wednesday.

Wynn, a native of the San Diego area, helped the Utes overcome a two-TD deficit by scoring 27 straight points.

Utah won its ninth straight bowl game, the longest current streak in the country and tied for the second-longest ever. Florida State won 11 straight from 1985 to 1996, and Southern Cal won nine in a row between 1923 and 1945.