Sarkisian Q&A: BC and Bye Week

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USC head coach Steve Sarkisian broke down the loss to Boston College and the bye ahead in his weekly Q&A with our David Foley.

Clean Sheet

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No. 14 USC women's soccer is still unbeaten in the Keidane McAlpine era as the Women of Troy managed a win and a draw last week.  The Trojans defeated Pacific 3-0 thanks to three second half goals on Friday, while they were tied up by UC Irvine on the road yesterday.

Click here for the Pacific recap.

The Trojans have two more games this week to wrap up the non-conference schedule before Pac-12 play begins on September 26 at Arizona.  USC will host Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday at 3 p.m. and Pepperdine on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Here is Jamie Fink and her fake microphone interviewing Kayla Mills after the Pacific victory:

Fine Form

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No. 3 USC men's water polo dismantled four different opponents this weekend by a combined score of 90-19 to sweep the Inland Empire Classic.  The Trojans are off to an 8-0 start in search of a seventh consecutive national championship.

Click here for the recaps.

Next up, USC will head to Stockton for the NorCal Tournament against a loaded field featuring No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Cal.  The Trojans have won three of the last four Norcal Tournaments.

In case you missed it, here are Kostas Genidounias and Rex Butler, water polo's dynamic duo, on Trojans Live last week.

Volley Hits Bump in the Road

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Just like football, USC women's volleyball is licking its wounds this week trying to overcome an early season setback with bigger goals ahead.  The Women of Troy started the season 6-0 on the road, but they were bounced out of their own gym by Texas A&M and No. 10 Florida as part of the USC Classic last week.

Click here for the recaps.

This week, the Trojans look to rebound in the Pacific Northwest as part of the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase.  They will play Wisconsin on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. PT and Maryland on Friday at 5:30 p.m. PT.  Both matches will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.


Fight On Dillon Connolly

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Dillon Connolly, a former USC men's swimming and diving captain and 2011 graduate, suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a body surfing accident on Saturday, according to his parents.  He is currently hospitalized in Orange County.

Click here for the full story.

He graduated from USC as the school-record holder in the 100y and 200y breaststroke and remains the second-fastest all-time Trojan in both events.

Click here to follow his story on CaringBridge.

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Crook Dismissed by Women's Hoops

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USC women's basketball senior guard Ariya Crook has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team and university policy.

Click here for more.

"We wish Ariya the best and appreciate her contributions to our program over the past three years," head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. "She will have the opportunity to finish her academics, but will no longer be involved with this program. It's a blow to our team, for sure, but we are a resilient group."

Crook was the Women of Troy's leading returning scorer and the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player.  She ranks No. 5 all-time on USC's career three-pointers made list.


Primetime Kick for Oregon State

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No. 17 USC will host Oregon State at 7:30 p.m. PT on September 27, and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Click here for tickets.

The Trojans have a bye this week, but the practice schedule will remain the same with sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning.
USC defeated Oregon State 31-14 in Corvallis last season.

McGillen Galleries: USC vs. BC

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The result was not pretty in Boston, but the pictures captured the drama as USC falls for the first time this season.  Here are three John McGillen galleries starting with pregame followed by 1st half and 2nd half...

6-Points: BC 37, USC 31

The Trojans fall to 2-1 on the season as Boston College pulls off the upset thanks to a dominant ground game.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

10405540_850098808355659_7766945573362545835_n.jpgCouldn't Stop It

Boston College defeated USC despite only passing for 54 yards on 13 attempts.  How is that possible?  Well, the Eagles ran for 452 yards, the most by a USC opponent since 1977, led by their quarterback Tyler Murphy, who had 191 rush yards on 13 carries (14.7 yards per carry).  "We just needed to stop the quarterback, and unfortunately, we couldn't," said S Su'a Cravens. "I'm telling myself and I'm telling my guys, don't be sad over a game like this, be disappointed, because they didn't beat us.  We lost this game, and they did a great job of taking advantage of the mistakes we made."

Couldn't Start It

On the other side of the ball, the Trojans pounded away at BC's defense with Buck Allen but never made a dent.  After back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to start the season, Allen produced only 31 yards on the ground, and with sack yardage included, the USC offense was limited to 20 total rush yards.  "Obviously, the plays we were trying to run weren't the best plays," said head coach and play-caller Steve Sarkisian who took responsibility. "We've got to look at one, the game plan, two, the execution, and the third piece of this is that at some point, you have to defeat your man."

Sizzle Then Fizzle

With all the talk of a letdown, the Trojans actually started on fire.  They led 10-0 after the first quarter and 17-6 before BC ran off 24 unanswered points.  "I felt like the energy in the locker room getting ready to take the field was really good, and we probably played our best football early in the game," said Sarkisian. "For whatever reason, we lost that focus and that spark, and that's what I have to figure out."

Not All Gloom and Doom

The Trojans failed in terms of "execution" but the "effort" was there, according to Sarkisian.  They made a couple late pushes, but could not get over the hump.  Nevertheless, WR George Farmer scored his first touchdown, and CB Chris Hawkins secured his first interception.  S Su'a Cravens had three tackles-for-loss, and RB Buck Allen caught nine passes for 118 yards.  Also, Andre Heidari drilled a 52-yard field goal to keep his confidence rolling.

Keep Cody Clean

While it took the Trojans too long to get the passing game started, Cody Kessler delivered another sterling performance when given time.  He finished 31/41 for 317 yards and 4 TDs without a turnover.  However, he was sacked five times, which he explained was a combination of needing to make better calls at the line and a lack of physicality up front. "At the end of the day, I am not worried," said Kessler. "This team knows how to fight back and they are going to bounce back from this."

Been Here Before

These Trojans are no stranger to adversity, so while this loss comes as a shock after all the excitement from the Stanford victory, they have no intention of letting it linger.  USC enters its bye week with plenty on which to improve, but also carrying the "next play" mindset that the coaches preach on a daily basis.  "I am glad that we got this out of the way early," said WR George Farmer. "We're going to come back and fight on this bye week and clean up everything and come back and fight hard for Oregon State."

2014: Boston College Friday Night Video

The Trojans look to continue their impressive start to the 2014 season under the lights at Alumni Stadium with a win over the Boston College Eagles. To get ready for this primetime showdown, check out this week's Friday Night Video: