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2014 Game 8: USC vs. Utah

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No. 20 USC Trojans (5-2, 4-1) at No. 19 Utah Utes (5-1, 2-1)

Rice-Eccles Stadium at 8 p.m. local time (7 p.m. PT) on Fox Sports 1

Ute to Watch: Senior DE Nate Orchard

Orchard-Utah.jpgOrchard leads the fiercest pass rush in college football as Utah averages 5.5 sacks per game, including 10 against Brett Hundley and UCLA in the Utes win at the Rose Bowl.  Orchard is second in the nation with 10.5 sacks, and he comes in hot with six sacks in his last two games.  As Fox Sports 1 analyst Charles Davis said on Trojans Live this week, the Utes are like "an NFL pass rush. They are looking to stop the run on the way to the quarterback."

Click here for more on the Utes.

3 Keys

Show What You've Learned

The young USC offensive line went back to school under Tim Drevno after the Boston College loss, which saw them exposed by a veteran front in a road atmosphere.  Ever since, the Trojans have improved week-by-week providing a cushy pocket for Cody Kessler to set records and paving the way for Buck Allen to lead the Pac-12 in rushing.  Now, Utah provides a midterm exam worthy of a final.  If the offensive line can stall the Utes' pass rush and force the game to be decided by perimeter athletes, USC will have a distinct advantage.

Scoreboard Pressure

Steve Sarkisian has made his game plan clear. He wants his offense to be his best defense by controlling the scoreboard even more than worrying about time of possession.  Utah has the second best rushing attack in the Pac-12, but the second worst passing offense. The Utes will undoubtedly pound Devontae Booker over and over again into the thin USC front seven hoping to wear the Trojans down by the fourth quarter.  Other than getting off the field on third down, Sarkisian hopes that taking an early lead will force the Utes to play to their statistical weakness instead of their strength.

Automatic Andre or Alex

The head coach also pointed to the kicking game as a potential deciding factor.  Special teams is Utah's strength led by "Automatic" Andy Phillips, who is the conference's leading scorer per game (13/15 on field goals). The Utes also feature a dangerous return man in Kaelin Clay, who leads the nation with three punt return TDs. USC has not attempted a field goal in the last two games as Andre Heidari sat out with a sore groin and Alex Wood handled kickoffs and extra points. If this game turns into a physical, grinding affair, the Trojans cannot afford to leave three points on the field or give up a special teams six. 

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Daland Memorial

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A public celebration of the life of legendary USC men's swimming coach Peter Daland, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 93, will be held on Nov. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on the USC campus.

Click here to reserve a seat (passcode: daland).

Daland, who died on Oct. 20 in Thousand Oaks, Calif., led the Trojans to nine NCAA team championships during his 35-year (1958-92) tenure. His USC teams also placed second at the NCAA meet 11 times, won 17 league crowns and posted a 318-31-1 (.917) dual meet record. A six-time National Coach of the Year, his swimmers captured 93 NCAA and 155 Pac-10 individual and relay titles.

The pool at the new Uytengsu Aquatics Center is named for Daland.

In lieu of flowers, Daland's family requests that donations be made to the Peter Daland Endowed Head Swimming Coach's Chair to endow the men's swimming head coach's position (c/o Ron Orr, USC Athletic Department, Heritage Hall, Los Angeles, Calif. 90089-0602).

Here is four-time Olympic gold medalist John Naber on Trojans Live this week talking about his late, great coach:



Soccer in the Coliseum

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Two weeks from tonight (Friday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m.), USC women's soccer closes its regular season with an epic Senior Night showdown against rival UCLA in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  The Women of Troy are calling on the Trojan Family to turn up in record-setting fashion and lead the team to an upset over the defending national champions.

Click here for more!

As incentive, tickets are as low as $3 and the first 2,500 fans will receive a FREE USC scarf. Plus, valuable SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup points will be on the line.

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Pac-12 Previews USC-Utah

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No. 20 USC at No. 19 Utah is the game of the week in the Pac-12.  The conference crew previewed the Top 25 match-up which could go a long way to deciding the Pac-12 South champion.


10th Anniversary of Run For Her

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A decade ago, Kelli Sargent, a former USC athletics marketing staffer, started "Run for Her" to raise money in the battle against ovarian cancer, which claimed her mother.  Started as a project at USC, the 5K run/walk has raised more than $6 million as it heads into its 10th anniversary.

Click here for more information.

The west side run in Pan Pacific Park features approximately 5,000 participants annually, and "Run for Her" has branched out to New York and San Jose.  Ovarian cancer still has no cure and no detectable test, so the uphill battle continues.

"My mom's biggest goal was awareness," Sargent told Fox Sports West. "If she or any of us knew any of the signs and symptoms, she wouldn't be in the situation she was. No doubt, I see her smiling, knowing how far the awareness is going now. This is exactly what she dreamed of when we were sitting at the kitchen table talking about it. I so wish she could be here to see the growth and the different cities. We'd probably have even more cities because she knew so many people. This is her dream come true for the cause."

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Enfield and Jovanovic at Media Day

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USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield and junior forward Nikola Jovanovic took questions from the assembled press at Pac-12 Media Day in San Francisco this morning.  Enfield explained that the 2014-15 roster is much more athletic and features better shooters, while Jovanovic talked about his summer in China and working on his low post game.

Here is the entire Q&A:


Women of Troy Press On

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USC women's soccer is looking to rebound from another tough loss after falling 2-0 to Arizona State last week. Head coach Keidane McAlpine is confident in his team's ability to get back on track in the remaining five games of the regular season. "If we continue to believe in what we're doing and grind through the process, I think we'll be just fine," he said in his weekly season update.

The Women of Troy look to snap their three-game losing streak as they head to the Pacific Northwest to take on Oregon this Friday at 7 p.m. and Oregon State on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Here is McAlpine's weekly update...

Sarkisian on The Seth Davis Show

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Head coach Steve Sarkisian joined The Seth Davis Show to talk about returning to USC, what he's learned from an impressive lineage of Trojan head coaches and making his own legacy. 

Here is the full interview from Campus Insiders...

Utah Thursday: Sarkisian Presser

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In his last time addressing the media before the Trojans depart for Salt Lake City, head coach Steve Sarkisian recapped his team's week of preparation to face the Utes on Saturday.  

Trojans in Business: Jeff Byers

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

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Name: Jeff Byers

Resume: Financial Advisor at the Drexler Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

Sport at USC: Football

Caroline Deisley (CD): So Jeff, what exactly do you do for Wells Fargo?

Jeff Byers (JB): I work for the Drexler Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. Steve Drexler and I are partners. Our goal is to really simplify, enhance and preserve our clients monetary well-being. That can mean a wide range of things, but what we really take pride in and specialize in is individual portfolio management. We build individual portfolios for our clients, and we manage them to the risk tolerances that our clients have so that their goals and objectives can be met through these portfolios. We really focus on disciplined portfolio risk management. We have defined process-driven results that we go through for how we build portfolios. Everything is based on personalized goals and strategies for our clients. We have clients all over the country, we're national in scope and we take pride in building meaningful and close relationships across the country.

Football and athletics has taught me so much about my job and so much is applicable whether it's discipline, work ethic, planning, strategy, how to deal with relationships, etc. Everybody deals with things in a certain way. Those different personalities? You learn about that on a football team and you learn how to interact with different people who are very different minded than yourself. 

CD: Throughout your athletic career, you faced many obstacles. What would you say is your biggest takeaway from learning how to overcome life's challenges?

JB: I guess what I've learned most is that you can only control what you can control in life. The two things that I really believe in is that you can control your attitude and your effort. You can't control these other things in life. You can't control if you get hurt, if you lose your job, whatever it may be. Those things are out of your control - what you can control is what you should worry about. Focusing on your attitude and your effort in life really helps you overcome any obstacle because there's always positives in all these negatives that come up. I got hurt at SC and it gave me an opportunity to get my Master's. It's really easy to look at things very near-sided, short-term wise and it can be very negative. But, I've always found that there's some positive in every situation, some learning opportunity, some way that you can better yourself or grow as a person when the obstacles arise because everybody faces adversity - that's how life is. The really great, successful people that I've been around and have had the opportunity to know are the people that just take adversity in full swing and say, 'This only makes me stronger. I'm going to let this define me in a positive way rather than the negative way.' 

CD: For a lot of the athletes that we talk to, it is challenging to be both a student and an athlete. Do you think that you would have gotten the same academic experience if you hadn't gotten hurt or gotten the most out of it like you did?

JB: That's a great question. I got hurt my second and third year. There was definitely a refocus in my mind towards academics. When I was 18, I thought football was top priority and all that. When you get hurt, you realize that life has different goals and life should have different goals. Sports is a small microcosm of life. I'm at USC and I have this tremendous opportunity to get this education and better myself. Maybe in five years I'm still playing football, but I guarantee you in 20 years I'm not. So, SC has given me a future outside of football and for football as well.