By Jordan Moore on November 16, 2013 11:06 AM
Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor
For the first time in its history, ESPN's College GameDay was hosted on USC's campus and the reaction from the Trojan faithful was deafening, literally. With McCarthy Quad abuzz Lee Corso picked USC to upset No. 4 Stanford adding to the building anticipation for tonight's game.
Coach O kicked off the festivities appearing on the show to talk about the camaraderie of the team heading into one of the biggest games of the season. The fans, who rallied for an early roll call, erupted into the "Coach O Chant" multiple times throughout the show and stayed strong in number until the end.
While the rest of the GameDay crew went with Stanford, Corso confidently selected USC by hoisting the sword even busting his lip in the process.
While the Trojans came out sluggish in the first half falling behind by 10 at the break, Byron Wesley remained the most consistent force. He finished the night with a career-high 31 points to go along with 9 rebounds, and he did not commit a turnover. "I couldn't take Byron out of the game," said head coach Andy Enfield, who played the junior 36 minutes. "He's expanding his game. I give Byron a lot of credit. He spent a lot of time in the offseason by himself and he's improved. He's leading by example."
D.J. on D
In a tight game down the stretch, Enfield was subbing backup center D.J. Haley in for Omar Oraby on defensive possessions. The head coach was rewarded when Haley showed outstanding perimeter quickness to force a Northern Arizona miss in the final seconds, and then he finished the possession with a rebound leading to the victory sealing free throw. "He loves to play defense," said Enfield about Haley. "He just wills himself to it. He's seven-feet, 250-something pounds, and he just decides to get in a stance and guard people, and I love that. It means so much to our team."
Second Half Energy
While the Trojans had several problems tonight, including giving up 18 offensive rebounds, the root issue was first half intensity. USC simply came out flat. "I thought our players showed in the second half they actually wanted to win the game. In the first half, I wasn't so sure," said Enfield. "I think we proved to ourselves when you give effort, we can be a pretty good basketball team." In the second half, USC held NAU to 25% shooting and just 23 points. So, what did the coach say at halftime that made the difference? "I can't repeat what I said because you don't want to print that."
USC could have had a much easier night if not for 17 missed free throws (19/36). "They need to make a couple hundred before they go to sleep tonight, so we'll see what time they get to bed," said Enfield. "We might have to order breakfast in the Galen Center."
Earlier this year, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, the Beats by Dre co-founders, donated $70 million to create a new academy for arts, technology, and the business of innovation. The goal of the academy will be to prepare students to become a new generation of inspired innovators who challenge conventional views of art and industry.
Stanford has a plethora of eye-catching players including QB Kevin Hogan, RB Tyler Gaffney, WR Ty Montgomery and LB Shayne Skov, but Murphy is an irrepressible force. Similar to USC's injured OLB Morgan Breslin, Murphy has an insatiable appetite for rushing the quarterback. He is second in the nation with 10 sacks accounting for a third of Stanford's team total. USC freshman LT Chad Wheeler will face his toughest test of the season.
All week, the focus has been on the line of scrimmage, and rightly so. However, while Stanford must impose its will up front to win, the Trojans just need to do enough to let their advantage on the perimeter take hold. The Cardinal do not have Marqise Lee or Nelson Agholor. They also don't have anyone that can cover them if Cody Kessler has time to deliver the ball. No. 9 is overdue for a big game, while No. 15 is in peak form.
Down and Distance
In a match-up of the best two pass rushes in the Pac-12, neither team is equipped to win this game in 3rd and long. The Trojans' defense will need to stay out of short yardage situations in an effort to get off the field and avoid wearing down over the course of four quarters. Stanford was doing everything but telling Oregon that the power run was coming, and the Ducks were powerless to stop it. The Trojans' front seven will hit first, but need their legs to hit last.
The last three meetings between these teams have come down to the final possession, but the Cardinal has prevailed each time. In 2010, the clock operator forgot to start the time leaving Andrew Luck an extra possession to setup the winning kick. In 2011, a triple overtime classic was teed up by a T.J. McDonald personal foul and ended on a Curtis McNeal fumble. Last year, the Trojans failed to bury the Cardinal early only to be shattered at the end once more. Assuming Saturday follows the pattern, kickers or mistakes will tell the final tale.
By Jordan Moore on November 15, 2013 4:30 PM
We had a big Trojans Live Thursday night on KFWB News Talk 980 to match the big game with Stanford. Check out the archived broadcast featuring interim head coach Ed Orgeron, All-American WR Marqise Lee, LB Hayes Pullard, CFO Steve Lopes and men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield.
By Jordan Moore on November 15, 2013 12:05 PM
Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor
Experience. That's all junior driver Kostas Genidounias will credit as to why he continues to perform exceptionally for the USC men's water polo team. Though the Trojans' leading scorer hails from Greece, water polo is certainly not foreign to him.
"I've been playing water polo for a long time, longer than most of the guys on the team," said Genidounias. "I know what it takes to control a game. I've been through all these situations with my previous teams."
Growing up in Greece, Genidounias always looked up to his older brother who inspired him at the age of eight to pick up water polo and ever since, that's all he's ever known as he continued to play all the way up to the Greek National Team.
If you look at Genidounias, you're reminded of the heroes of Ancient Greece and even more so when he's in the water dominating the opponents in his wake. However, when he talks, the young Greek is soft-spoken, light-hearted, and laid back.
"I think that's why I adapted so easily and so quickly. I expected there to be a bigger difference but I've said it before, Greeks and Californians really are not all that different. We're all real laid back and that's why I like it here."
In the water, however, laid back is not how anyone would describe Genidounias' performance. The junior driver continues to improve every season even though he's made a dramatic impact since he arrived.
His freshman year, Genidounias was USC's third leading scorer earning him All-America Honorable Mention and All-MPSF Honorable Mention. His sophomore season, he blew away the competition becoming USC's second leading scorer, tying USC's fifth-most single-season goals all-time. His performance made him a First Team All-American. On top of that, Genidounias was also selected to the NCAA All-Tournament First Team after scoring the national championship winning goal.
All of those accolades certainly earn Genidounias endless bragging rights, yet the humble Greek shies away from all the attention only focusing on the task at hand, bringing that sixth national championship home.
"Right now, all I can think about is winning another championship. We still have a long way to go. Even though we only have a few games left, they are going to be very tough," cautioned Genidounias. "I'm 100 percent focused. Me and the rest of my team are willing to do whatever it takes to bring another championship home."
By Jordan Moore on November 15, 2013 11:33 AM
As the holidays fast approach, every USC fan will want "The Official and Exclusive Illustrated History of USC Trojan Football," which documents 125 years of greatness through the camera lens. Plus, the coffee table book features 20 original essays by Frank Gifford, Troy Polamalu, Jack Del Rio and many more.