State of Troy: October 2015

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Each month, we interview USC Athletic Director Pat Haden to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

Haden on USC football through the first month of the season...

cody-kessler-weekly-asu.jpgWhat we know about our team is that our quarterback is playing extremely well. We also found out that Stanford is a pretty good football team, although we still had our chances there. We also beat a pretty good Arizona State team, which I think beat a good UCLA team. I really do believe the Pac-12 South is not going to be decided until the very last week of the season, and there will be three or four teams in that mix. I would not say Utah is a surprise, but they are playing as well as anybody in the conference right now.

Click here to see our postseason awards site!

Haden on Thursday night football games...

Every Pac-12 school has to host a Thursday or Friday night game two out of every three years. That is the requirement. I would prefer to play every Saturday at 1 p.m., but that is not going to happen. We have tried to embrace it, and thankfully, we do get a bye before and a few days after the Thursday game. This particular week, we have some of our football players who will be getting to the hotel late Wednesday night because of midterm exams. They are regular students like they should be. While it may be inconvenient, I am proud of the fact that our guys have taken it on as a challenge and are just going to do it.

Click here for tailgating and parking information for this Thursday's game at the Coliseum against Washington.

Haden on USC women's volleyball's rise to the No. 1 national ranking...

wvb-ranking1.jpgI have been to several games, including two this past weekend, and they are fun to watch, playing much quicker. The team is performing spectacularly well, and Samantha Bricio is leading the way. Watching her after the Friday night match, she is a hero in the Latino community. She was swarmed by 300 kids who wanted her autograph and to take a picture with her. We needed to make sure that she had a security escort just to get out of there. She is on pace to break the school's all-time kills record, so that will be some great history to track as the season progresses.

Haden on the latest news surrounding the O'Bannon lawsuit...

I would say it is on pause. I would not say the NCAA nor the plaintiffs have won yet. There is a lull here, but there will be more litigation down the road, and we are just monitoring it. There are three or four other lawsuits coming, so we have to prepare financially.

Haden on starting year two as a College Football Playoff committee member...

The best thing we did was to wait and let the season marinate before releasing our first rankings. It is kind of comical to watch commentators release their Top 4 every week when we know that there is a long way to go here. We do not vote until the season is past its halfway point, so you have much more of an understanding about teams during conference play because many schools do not play difficult non-conference schedules. My specific responsibilities this year are to monitor the ACC schools, so I am watching a lot of their games, including Clemson's win over Notre Dame. I watched seven games on Saturday and then one every morning on the treadmill. I know we will have a very committed committee again this year.

Kickin' It With Keidane: Week 7

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USC women's soccer has a huge Pac-12 home stand due up this weekend at McAlister Field with Arizona State coming to town on Friday (3 p.m.) and No. 15 Arizona ready for a Sunday showdown (3:30 p.m.). Both matches will be live on Pac-12 Network.

On Friday, fans can enjoy lunch from the Amazebowls truck. While on Sunday, all in attendance are encouraged to wear pink for breast cancer awareness, and the first 500 fans will receive a FREE gray USC flat bill hat.

Here is head coach Keidane McAlpine's preview:

Thursday Game Info

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USC football is back in action Thursday when the Trojans host Washington at the Coliseum (6 p.m. kickoff). This is the third consecutive year with a Thursday night home game, so most fans are aware that parking and tailgating are not permitted on campus.

For pregame and parking alternatives, please check out our dedicated Thursday Night Football site with all the information you need to enjoy the game.


Golden Goal Scorer

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For the second consecutive year, USC women's soccer legend Amy Rodriguez scored the game-winning goal to secure the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) title for FC Kansas City. Rodriguez netted all three goals for her club in the last two championships games combined.

Click here for the recap.

Rodriguez's side defeated the Seattle Reign, which included former USC goalie Caroline Stanley, an NWSL rookie. Rodriguez has compiled an all-time resume, highlighted by two NWSL crowns, two Olympic gold medals, a World Cup and the NCAA Championship.


So Much Speed

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The present and future of track & field was well-represented at USC's Loker Stadium on Tuesday as the world's fastest man, Jamaica's Usain Bolt, talked with the world's third fastest man, USC senior Andre De Grasse, and dual-sport star Adoree' Jackson while shooting a commercial on campus.

Just two months ago, De Grasse stood next to Bolt on the podium at the 2015 Track & Field World Championships in Beijing. Capping off his insanely successful year, the Trojan tied for third in a school-record time of 9.92 (-0.5) in the race while the reigning world champion, Bolt, clinched first again in 9.79.

Both De Grasse (100m, 200m) and Jackson (long jump) have their sights set on seeing Bolt again in Rio next year for the 2016 Summer Olympics. For now, two of USC's fastest are just enjoying the journey.


Trojans Live - Washington Week

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The rainy weather on Monday night was perfect for this week's Washington-themed edition of Trojans Live. First up, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian talked about facing his former team for the first time and the explosiveness of his offense through the season's first four games.

Click here to watch Sarkisian's full segment.

Later, USC tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo called in to talk about his legendary career as a quarterback at Washington.

Click here to listen to Tuiasosopo on the evolution of the quarterback position in both college and the NFL.

After a very busy summer that included a third place finish in the 100m at the Track & Field World Championships, USC senior Andre De Grasse joined the show to talk about his meteoric rise to the top of his sport. 

To hear what Usain Bolt had to say to De Grasse after their 100m final race in Beijing, click here.

Finally, the always-entertaining Zach Banner, USC's towering right tackle and aspiring sports broadcaster, stopped by to give Jordan and JJ a run for their money as on-air personalities. Watch his insightful and hilarious interview here:

Meet Aca'Cedric Ware

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Name: Aca'Cedric Ware

Position: RB

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-0, 200 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Cedar Hill High School (Cedar Hill, TX)

Game: Ware brings physicality to the USC running back corps, using all his weight to barrel through defenses. A sprinter in high school, the freshman also displays tremendous bursts of speed once he gets in the open field.

Prep Career: The tailback led his team to back-to-back state championships in high school, finishing with 2,440 yards on 291 carries and 34 touchdowns in his senior season. Adding to his list of accolades, Ware was also named to the 2014 Prep Star All-Midlands Region team and was the All-District 8-6A MVP. 

Fall: The running back position is one of the deepest on the Trojans' roster, so Ware spent training camp learning the playbook to earn a spot in the five-man rotation. The freshman showed flashes of his potential during the fall's few scrimmages and has seen limited playing time in the Trojans' first few games. 

Sarkisian on Ware: "The competition is great. We go to team run and Ced is running harder than everybody else. It's pushing everybody and driving everybody. The end result is over time that's going to make us a better team and a better program through all of the competition. Ced's going to have his opportunities. He has a long career in front of him, and he's going to be a great player for us."

Here is Ware with our Caroline Deisley... 

Washington Tuesday: Notes

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

In head coach Steve Sarkisian's final address to the media before USC's Thursday night game, he touched upon the team's altered schedule for a midweek game, the Trojans' new theme 'Sharpen Our Sword' and the status of several players after the bye week. CB Kevon Seymour will be available on gameday but WR Darreus Rogers and DL Claude Pelon remain game-time decisions.

Here is the rest of Sarkisian's presser:


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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The USC men's water polo team avenged its only loss of the season by defeating the Stanford Cardinal 12-8 in overtime on Saturday. The No. 3 ranked Trojans were back and forth with the No. 2 ranked Cardinal who scored five unanswered goals to force overtime before USC ultimately pulled away handing Stanford its second loss of the season. Goalie McQuin Baron stood his ground for the Trojans, setting a career-high for saves (18) with five of those coming in crucial moments during overtime. This performance, along with Sunday's 17-3 rout over San Jose State, earned the sophomore goalie MPSF Player of the Week honors on Monday. 

The Trojans returned to the pool on Sunday for their first home matchup against the San Jose State Spartans since 1979 with 10 different players finding the back of the net for USC. The Trojans had three hat tricks in the final match of the weekend courtesy of Blake Edwards, Lazar Pasuljevic and Grant Stein. 

The USC men's water polo team is now 12-1 overall and 3-0 in MPSF play as it gears up for the Kap7 SoCal Invitational on Saturday at Pepperdine with its first matchup being a rematch against San Jose State to kick off group play at 10:40 a.m. 

Check out John McGillen's photos from Saturday's match against Stanford...

2015 NFL Week 4

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The USC-Hawks are on Monday Night Football, but the rest of the Trojans starred on Sunday.

kennard-nfl.jpgThe Best

Devon Kennard, OLB, New York Giants

Always known as a cerebral player with a tremendous work ethic, Kennard has thrived since entering the NFL. After a strong rookie season, he has become a rock of the Giants' defense. At USC, he was known for his pass rush and attacking the line of scrimmage, but he has greatly improved his play in space, highlighted by his first career interception on Sunday against the Bills. He made a tremendous adjustment in coverage, which blew up on social media.

Best of the Rest

Nick Perry, OLB, Packers - 2 sacks

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 2 TFLs including a sack

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 6 tackles (5 solo), 2 TFLs including a sack

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - Game-high 10 tackles (9 solo) and a forced fumble

Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - Game-high 11 tackles (7 solo) including one for loss

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles - 3 catches for 64 yards including a sick one-hander

Dion Bailey, S, Jets - 4 tackles and a pass defended in London

Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - 8 tackles (4 solo)

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 29/46 for 352 yards and 1 TD

Robert Woods, WR, Bills - 3 catches for 33 yards

Buck Allen, RB, Ravens - 5 carries for 19 yards