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Trojans Live - Stanford Week

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A big game means a big Trojans Live tonight at 6 p.m. PT from The Lab gastropub across Figueroa from campus.  John Jackson and I will be joined by head coach Steve Sarkisian, DL Antwaun Woods, OL Max Tuerk, women's volleyball setter Hayley Crone and defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.

Click here to watch the live stream.

USC fans and students will be treated to $1 tacos plus drink specials if you come enjoy the show in person.  You can also listen live on KFWB 980 AM and on the TuneIn app.


JuJu's Debut in Context

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Streaking down the USC sideline in the Cardinal and Gold No. 9, you cannot blame Dion Bailey for being confused.  The former Trojan safety tweeted at Marqise Lee that he "must be seeing things" and asked the Biletnikoff Award winner if he is still at USC.

USC_FSU_08302014_MCG6222_2.JPGBut no, it is John "JuJu" Smith in the No. 9 jersey now, and while he looks like a junior superstar, he is just a 17-year-old freshman.  Smith finished his breakout performance with four catches for 123 yards, which is more than any USC true freshman has had in a season opener.

Here is how USC's career Top 10 pass receivers fared in the season opening games of their first year  (catches-yards-TDs):
 

Roberts Woods, 2010 vs. Hawaii, 4-46-0

Marqise Lee, 2011 vs. Minnesota, 5-32-0

Dwayne Jarrett, 2004 vs. Virginia Tech, 2-8-0

Keary Colbert, 2000 vs. Penn State, 0-0-0

Kareem Kelly, 1999 vs. Hawaii, 5-104-0

*Johnnie Morton, 1990 vs. Syracuse, 0-0-0 (*was redshirt freshman in 1990)

Steve Smith, 2003 vs. Auburn, 1-7-0

Mike Williams, 2002 vs. Auburn, 4-56-0

**Keyshawn Johnson, 1994 vs. Washington, 1-5-0 (*was junior in 1994 after transferring from JC)

*John Jackson, 1986 vs. Illinois, 3-53-0 (*was redshirt freshman in 1986)

Meet Viane Talamaivao

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor
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Name: Viane Talamaivao

Position: OL

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-3, 330 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Centennial (Corona)

Scouting report: If it were not for Damien Mama, Talamaivao would be the massive freshman on everyone's mind.  He is a mountain of a man himself, and his skills and size translate to any of the interior offensive line spots.

Prep Career: Talamaivao played alongside fellow Trojan freshman John Plattenburg at Centennial before Plattenburg transferred to Lamar High in Houston for his senior year. Talamaivao was also highly touted out of high school claiming a spot on the ESPN 300 list, the Los Angeles Times All-Area team and the 2013 Prep Star All-American Dream Team.

Fall Camp: Due to the breakneck speed of Steve Sarkisian's offense, the offensive line will see many different rotations to keep the line fresh. Talamaivao worked all summer with the strength & conditioning staff as well as nutritionist Becci Twombley in order to be adequately conditioned by the start of Fall Camp. Talamaivao featured mainly with the second team in Fall Camp, but he rotated into the action at right guard consistently in the season opener against Fresno State.

Sark on Viane: "I think our younger guys continue to improve, continue to get better. I think Viane has made very good strides at guard. What it looks like at the start of a game or start of a practice might not be who's getting the most reps. We're just always trying to find the scenarios. We need eight really good guys who can rotate through for our season to be really successful."

Here is Caroline Deisley meeting Big V...

McAlpine Opening Eyes

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Steve Sarkisian is not the only USC head coach making an impressive debut this fall.  New women's soccer boss Keidane McAlpine is off to an undefeated start through four matches capped by a 2-1 upset of No. 9 Notre Dame in South Bend this past weekend.

Click here for more.

The Women of Troy were trailing the Irish at halftime before second half goals from Savannah Levin, the first of her career, and Reilly Parker, the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.  Senior Caroline Stanley, the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week, made a crucial stop on a penalty kick to preserve the victory.

Click here for the Pac-12 release.

USC started the weekend by defeating Iowa State 3-1.  The Women of Troy will play their home opener on Friday at 4 p.m. PT against UC Riverside.


A Place Like No Other

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USC will unveil its new university commercial this weekend during the Trojans football game against Stanford on ABC (12:30 p.m. PT).  Here is a first look...


Volley Goes to the Bank

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USC women's volleyball enjoyed a successful opening weekend in Stockton by taking out Rider, Arkansas-Little Rock and Pacific to win the Community Bankers Volleyball Classic.  The Women of Troy needed five sets to top the hosts, Pacific, and junior Samantha Bricio was named the tournament MVP.

Click here for more.

Bricio was joined on the all-tournament team by freshman outside hitter Lauryn Gillis and junior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms.  Against Pacific, USC posted 21.0 team blocks to tie a decade-old mark last reached on Sept. 25, 2004, in a five-set loss to a third-ranked Washington squad.

The Women of Troy will stay on the road and travel to Lexington, Ky., next weekend for the Commonwealth Classic.  They will face host Kentucky as well as Creighton and Northern Iowa.

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Ultimate Rivalry

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The USC-UCLA rivalry has a new name and a new prize.  Starting now, the Trojans and Bruins will compete annually in 19 sports for the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup.

Click here for the complete release.

The Crosstown Cup will replace the Gauntlet, which USC won nine times in 13 years.  The scoring system will be similar, but all 19 sports are now valued at 10 points each with the points being awarded to the winner of the head-to-head season series or the higher Pac-12 finisher in non-head-to-head situations.  The 10 points are split if both schools win an equal amount of matchups in a sport.  It takes 100 points to clinch the trophy. 

"The USC-UCLA rivalry is unlike any in college athletics, with two universities of such academic prestige and athletic tradition sharing the same city," said USC Athletic Director Pat Haden. "No matter the sport, whenever the Trojans compete against the Bruins, it is an intense battle. This unique all-sports competition between the schools has added another element to the rivalry. We welcome the Southern California BMW Centers as the competition's new presenting partner."

In partnership with Southern California BMW Centers, the rivalry competition will be taken to the next level with a website dedicated to updating fans about the latest standings and upcoming matchups.  Plus, Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket will feature the competition during their broadcasts.  Fans can enter the debate on social media using #ULTIMATERIVALRY. 

Click here for BMWCrosstownCup.com!

The competition begins on September 23 when USC women's volleyball hosts UCLA at Galen Center.


Stanford Tuesday: Notes

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USC had a couple injury scares at practice today...
  • Junior QB Cody Kessler, the Pac-12 Player of the Week, sat out practice due to a "procedure" on his toe, which was bothering him Saturday.  Head coach Steve Sarkisian expects his quarterback to practice tomorrow.
  • All-American DE Leonard Williams "rolled his ankle" this morning and limped off Howard Jones Field.  Again, Sarkisian is not overly concerned.  OL Damien Mama suffered a "scare" with his knee at the end of practice, but he should be fine as well per the coach.
  • RB Tre Madden remains out due to turf toe. "He is not 100% healthy yet, but he is much improved," said Sarkisian who spoke with the tailback today at practice. 
  • LB Lamar Dawson returned to practice today.
  • USC and Stanford have played epic games in each of the last four years decided on the final play.  The Cardinal had the Trojans number until last year's Coliseum classic. "They got us for awhile and we ended up getting them so now it's going to be fun this year," said Kessler. "It will be a tough game going there. I haven't played a game there before so I'm excited to go up there and it will be fun game, really competitive."
  • The game is expected to be decided in the trenches between two of the most physical teams in the conference.  "They're a good defensive front," said center Max Tuerk. "We're going to have to work extremely hard this week to be physical."
  • While Fresno State was a good opening challenge for USC's talented freshmen, Stanford will be at another level in terms of physicality and intensity. "I'm just hoping that I can contribute even more to the team," said freshman WR JuJu Smith. "So this week I'm just staying focused, working hard every day, and getting ready for Saturday. I still have things to improve."
  • Kessler was blown away by the performance of the debutants. "It was really cool to see not only those guys get in and actually play but also make an impact," he said. "You know some of those guys JuJu, Adoree [Jackson], some of the O-Lineman, they made a significant impact in the game and they really helped us win. It was really cool to see coming from some guys that it was their first college game."
  • Washington and Stanford played some memorable games as well during Sarkisian's tenure in Seattle, including last year's clash, which involved heated post-game press conferences for both coaches. "David and I are both highly competitive people," said Sarkisian. "There may be a disagreement or two Saturday as well, but that's part of the business that we are in. That doesn't affect our personal lives when we move out of that competitive forum."
  • USC defeated Stanford on an Andre Heidari game-winning kick last year, but the senior looked shaky Saturday missing a field goal and hooking a kickoff out of bounds.  Sarkisian has confidence in his kicker, who had a strong Fall Camp, but he wants to see Heidari take on "a next play mentality," so that one mistake does not snowball into several.
  • Here is Sarkisian's post-practice presser:


SC Top 5: USC vs. Fresno State

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For every big game this season, we'll deliver the Top 5 plays, and there were plenty to choose from in football's season opening victory over Fresno State.


Sarkisian Q&A: Stanford

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Head coach Steve Sarkisian labored on Labor Day including sitting down for our weekly Q&A to look back at Fresno State and ahead to Stanford.