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Champions of the Green

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

It was a good week for USC golf as both the men's and women's teams won the Bill Cullum Invitational and Stanford Intercollegiate respectively. The men, led by sophomore Rico Hoey and freshman Jonah Texeira, bested second-place Arizona State by 11 strokes, finishing 31-under 833.

For the complete recap, click here.

The No. 6 Women of Troy came from behind to share the title at the Stanford Intercollegiate with host Stanford. Juniors Kyung Kim and Annie Park, senior Doris Chen and sophomore Karen Chung all finished with under-par final rounds to bring the Trojans back from a three-stroke deficit.

Click here for the full release.

The Women of Troy finish the fall season at the Pac-12 Preview in Hawaii from November 3-4. The men finish at the Gifford Collegiate Championship in San Martin, Calif. from November 5-7.

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Women's Hoops' Media Day

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USC women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and forward Alexyz Vaioletama are representing the Women of Troy at Pac-12 Media Day today in San Francisco.

Click here to watch it live.

Coming off winning the Pac-12 Tournament title and making the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans are picked to finish sixth in the conference this season.


Trojans Live - Utah Week

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On Trojans Live this week, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian prepared us for the Top 25 battle in Utah and looked back at the record-setting afternoon against Colorado.

Click here to watch Sarkisian on Trojans Live.

Plus, here is AVP star April Ross on her perfect summer and how she became partners with Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings...


Utah Wednesday: Notes

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

With Utah in the near horizon, the Trojans are focusing on their physicality to prepare for a tough, hard-nosed match-up. 
  • Much like Stanford, this is going to be a physical battle that is won at the line of scrimmage, which is exactly the type of game DL Leonard Williams likes to play. "I'm not a finesse type of player," he said. "I love playing hard, physical games."
  • The defense's number one concern is Utah's prolific running game featuring junior RB Devontae Booker. "He runs angry. He's not trying to run away from people, and he pulls out of as many tackles as any back we've seen this year," said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. 
  • Sarkisian emphasized that the defensive line is the key to stopping Utah's downhill rush attack. "We need to keep [Booker] corralled as best we can near the line of scrimmage so that he can't get his momentum going in the secondary. Our defensive front has a tall order this week."
  • Facing a tough running opponent arouses unpleasant memories from the early season loss to Boston College in which the Trojans sacrificed 452 yards on the ground. Since then, they held Arizona State and Arizona to season-low rushing totals. Sarkisian credits this improvement to the defense's focus on defeating one-on-one blocks, staying true to gap integrity, having a better attitude but most importantly, just executing. 
  • Su'a Cravens has been all over the place for the Trojans' defense getting a sack one week and an interception the next. The linebacker is confident that what happened in Boston will never happen again, and he's also conscientious of Utah's ability to pass with either quarterback. "They've got a speedster in Dres Anderson. He's a monster. They're going to try and throw it deep against our young corners."
  • The Trojans know just how important this Top 25 match-up against Utah is for the rest of their season. Sarkisian specifically highlighted wide receivers Nelson Agholor and JuJu Smith as well as RB Buck Allen in terms of their attitudes and mentality as they prepare for Saturday. On the defensive side of the ball, he singled out the Lott Impact Trophy quarter-finalist Leonard Williams, who the head coach said "worked his tail off" at practice on Wednesday.  
  • Finally, the head coach said the team couldn't be more excited and ready for Saturday's game. He said, "I think we're hitting our stride at the right time."
  • Here is the head coach after Wednesday's practice...

2014 NFL Week 7

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The Best

Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings - 8 tackles (7 solo), 3 sacks and a forced fumble

Everson-Griffen.jpgThe pass rush specialist was at his very best Sunday tormenting Kyle Orton en route to tying his career-high with three sacks in a game.  Griffen signed a monster $42.5 million contract in the offseason, and he has rewarded Minnesota with seven sacks this season, which ties for second in the NFL. "Without my team, I wouldn't be able to get three sacks," Griffen said. "I'm just very happy to be playing with these guys, and we just have to bounce back and win the game. That's all we have to do."

Best of the Rest

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 22/31 for 253 yards and 2 TDs

Shareece Wright, CB, Chargers - 8 tackles (7 solo)

Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers - 2 tackles and a fumble recovery

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 6 tackles (3 solo)

Malcolm Smith, LB, Seahawks - Game-high 10 solo tackles

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars -  1 catch for 20 yards and 2 runs for 5 yards

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 4 tackles (3 solo)

Nick Perry, OLB, Packers - 3rd sack of the year

UNFILTERED: Colorado

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In a new UNFILTERED, we take you on the field for Cody Kessler's historical seven touchdown game against the Buffs.


Women of Troy Sweep ITA Regionals

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For the second time in five years, the USC women's tennis team swept the ITA Southwest Regional Championships held at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego this past week. Senior Zoe Scandalis finished as the singles champion and Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith took home the doubles crown. The last time USC swept the event was in 2010. 


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Utah Tuesday: Notes

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The Trojans ready for a potential Pac-12 South decider in Utah.
  • USC is getting healthier.  CB Adoree' Jackson, WR George Farmer and WR Ajene Harris all practiced.  S Gerald Bowman and LB Hayes Pullard were limited to the exercise bike, but the prognosis is good for Saturday. FB Soma Vainuku was held out again.
  • Head coach Steve Sarkisian has been preaching that every week is a championship game, but he knows this week is an easy sell. "It's worth the same, but it is an important one, and we understand the environment that we are heading into," he said.
  • After a resounding win, the Trojans will wear the new helmets again in Utah. Sarkisian said it would be a "game-by-game" decision going forward.
  • The Utes present the fiercest pass rush in the country, which will really test the young USC offensive line. "They're pretty stout up front," said OG Viane Talamaivao. "They get after the ball and they have good pass rushers up front. We're going to have to work really hard this week to make sure the pocket's clean for Cody [Kessler]." 
  • Sarkisian knows that he must keep his quarterback and offensive line out of predictable situations. "We need to be creative with our play calls to make sure we are taking care of our offensive line and putting them in positive positions to be successful," said the offensive play caller.
  • The Trojans will be hard pressed to match the offensive production from last week when Kessler threw a remarkable seven touchdown passes, which felt more like a team accomplishment than an individual record. "Cody is an awesome teammate," said Sarkisian. "When his teammates and his peers see him having success like that, I think it is uplifting for everybody, especially when the ball gets distributed like it did."
  • Steven Mitchell's first career TD catch was the record-setter for Kessler. "It felt really good," Mitchell said. "I'm in the books and I'm always going to be there now. That's a pretty good first touchdown."
  • While the focus of the offense has been on the run game most of the season, the wide receivers enjoyed their breakout day. "It was good to show what we are made of. We are a talented WR corps and we knew we were capable of that," said Mitchell. "We just have to keep being physical and doing what we did on Saturday."
  • In the run game, Justin Davis has raised his production level, but he has been guilty of fumbling the ball on second effort plays.  Sarkisian is not concerned, but he is emphasizing to Davis that he needs to "raise his level of awareness" down the field when he is making guys miss or breaking tackles.
  • Here is Sarkisian's post-practice press conference...


A Legend Goes

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As Rod Dedeaux was to USC baseball and John McKay to Trojan football, Peter Daland was the iconic leader of USC men's swimming. After a life and career that amassed nine national team championships in 35 years of coaching at Troy, Daland passed away Monday of Alzheimer's disease at 93.

Click here for his complete obituary.

Under Daland from 1958 through 1992, USC 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. USC went undefeated in dual meets in 20 of his seasons. His 1977 team is regarded as the finest collegiate swim team ever.

"The world of swimming has lost one of its most progressive minds," said current USC swimming and diving head coach Dave Salo. "Personally, I have lost a great and close personal friend. Peter was instrumental in teaching me the championship process. He was about relationships and driving the process to championship performance through team work."

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Former AD Perry Dies

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Perry-Richard.jpgFormer USC athletic director Dr. Richard Perry, who was at the helm for 20 national team championships during his tenure from 1975 to 1984, died of a stroke and heart attack on Sunday in Riverside. He was 85.

Click here for the complete obituary.

"Dick Perry created the 'Trojan Family' concept at USC, bringing a sense of unity and family not only within our athletic department but with the alumni and fans," said Stan Morrison, who was hired by Perry as the USC men's basketball coach and then later served as UC Riverside's athletic director like Perry.  "He was a great source of poise and reason for me when I was USC's basketball coach, and he provided me with great wisdom and counsel.  I loved him dearly and will really miss him."

Said Barbara Hedges, who worked under Perry as a Trojan associate athletic director after being originally hired in USC's physical education department by Perry:  "Dick Perry did an outstanding job as our athletic director and left an impressive legacy of men's and women's national championships.  It was a privilege for me to work for him.  At that time, we were starting to build our women's athletics program at USC and he was incredibly supportive of our efforts, and that helped result in many national championships."

A memorial service will be held on Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Riverside (4495 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, CA 92501).

In lieu of flowers, Perry's family requests donations be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (6931 Arlington Rd. #200, Bethesda, MD 20814) or to the YMCA of Long Beach in care of "endowment gift in memory of Richard H. Perry" (3605 Long Beach Blvd. #210, Long Beach, CA 90807).