September 2016 Archives

Stadium Security

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This season, the L.A. Memorial Coliseum is implementing a number of new safety and security procedures that affect parking, tailgating, stadium entry and more.

The Coliseum is also implementing a clear bag policy for Trojan games this year. Helpful Honda is offering two bag check locations in case fans bring an impermissible bag to a game.

Learn more about all of the stadium's security procedures here:

2016 Game 5: USC vs. ASU

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Arizona State Sun Devils (4-0, 1-0) at USC Trojans (1-3, 0-2)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 5:30 p.m. PT on FOX

Ballage.jpgSun Devil to Watch: Junior RB Kalen Ballage

For 40 years, USC RB Anthony Davis held a share of the Pac-12 record for touchdowns in a single game thanks to his legendary six-TD performance against Notre Dame in 1974. AD and the rest are all looking up at Kalen Ballage now after the junior scored eight times in a 68-55 victory over Texas Tech earlier this season. Ballage tied the FBS single-game record with his eight touchdowns, scoring seven on the ground and one as a receiver. He has not come near that production in ASU's other three wins, but he is a threat to watch in the Sun Devils' "Sparky" package, which most people call the "Wildcat", but they understandably do not.

Click here for more on the Sun Devils.

3 Keys

Get Up to Speed Quickly

Arizona State plays at a completely different tempo than USC's first four opponents. The Trojans have been faced with power run, huddle offenses, aiming to grind defenses down physically over four quarters. The Sun Devils want to spread opponents out, speed them up and then turn the fourth quarter into a fitness test. USC's next month of opponents all fit this same mold, so the Trojans must adjust quickly by rotating more players defensively, tackling well in space and using their offense to protect their defense. Third down efficiency is key on both sides of the ball to get the defense off the field or keep the offense on it.

In a Rush

USC has not generated a sack in back-to-back games for the first time in a long time, so defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast must manufacture a pass rush if the Trojans are unable to get home with their front four. However, the pass rushers cannot lose their gap discipline against another mobile quarterback. ASU QB Manny Wilkins is second on the team with 56 rush attempts, so he is happy to escape the pocket and make overaggressive defenses pay with his feet. The Trojans must contain and then collapse the pocket on the first-year starter.

Start the Finish Early

USC had not played a competitive fourth quarter until last week when Utah came back from a two-touchdown deficit to gut the Trojans in the final seconds. In ASU's last trip to the Coliseum, the Sun Devils pulled off a great escape, stealing victory from the Trojans with "The Jael Mary." Through four games, Arizona State is averaging more fourth-quarter points versus FBS competition (21.7) than any other FBS team. The Trojans would be wise not to leave it to a late defensive stop. USC would prefer its 2015 blueprint when the Trojans entered halftime in Tempe with a 35-0 lead. Take the drama out of it and get back in the win column in front of the home fans.

ASU Thursday - Clay Helton Presser

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

With two days to spare before what could be a very high scoring affair between USC and Arizona State, the Trojans squeezed in one more strong practice Thursday at Howard Jones Field. Coach Clay Helton addressed his team's health and the upcoming game at his press conference after practice.

Busy Weekend in the Water

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USC men's water polo hopes to rattle off three quick wins this weekend, with games against Concordia (Calif.), Fresno Pacific and Pacific.

Click here for the full preview.

The Trojans, who dropped to No. 3 in the nation after suffering their first loss of the season last weekend, head to Riverside to compete in the Lancer Invitational tomorrow.

First, they will face the Concordia Eagles for the third straight season. In the last two matchups, the Trojans have outscored the Eagles by a combined 45 goals to 12. Later that day, USC plays Fresno Pacific. Last time the Trojans met the Sunbirds, USC won, 26-4.

On Saturday, the Trojans return home to host No. 4 Pacific. The Trojans will tangle with the Tigers for the second time in a week, after beating them, 8-3, in the third place game of the Mountain Pacific Invitational on Sept. 25.

In that game, driver Grant Stein led the Trojans with two goals, while McQuin Baron racked up 10 goals.

USC looks for a repeat performance against Pacific this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatic Center.


Leventhal Stat of the Week - ASU

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On Saturday, USC will play its 600th game in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Since the stadium opened in 1923, the Trojans are 430-136-27 (.748) there, not including 6 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty. Their original record was 436-136-27 (.750).

USC is sharing the Coliseum with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams for the next three years, after having shared the stadium with the team from 1946-1979. The Rams are 144-77-8 (.646) in the Coliseum.

The Coliseum, which hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1984, is set to undergo renovations intended to enhance the experience of football fans. Learn more about the renovation by clicking here!


Action Jackson

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Since arriving at USC in 2014, Adoree' Jackson has been one of the most dynamic players in college football. As a cornerback, receiver and returner at Troy, the Belleville, IL native has scored 12 touchdowns in four different fashions.

Jackson has five receiving TD, one pick-six, three kickoff return TD and three punt return TD. His seven career non-offensive touchdowns, including his latest 100-yard kickoff return against Utah, are tied with Maryland's William Likely's mark for the most in the nation since 2014.

Last year, the Pac-12 first teamer was the only player in the country with 400 yards receiving, 600 in kickoff returns, 200 in punt returns and 30 tackles.

Jackson has earned the respect of current players around the country as well as former Trojan greats, and was named an ESPN All-American candidate heading into this season.

Jackson and the Trojans take the field again this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. USC hosts Arizona State, against whom Jackson scored an 80-yard receiving touchdown last year. See if Jackson can do it again this weekend - click here to purchase tickets!

touchdown returns-4 (1).jpg

From Sitting 'Em Out to Shutting 'Em Out

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

USC_Womens_soccer_pepperdine_mcgillen_082816_DSC_5015(1).JPGLast Friday, USC's women's soccer team earned an emphatic 4-0 win over Arizona. The game didn't leave much work for goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme, a redshirt senior, or at least that's what the scoreline seemed to indicate. That's what happens when you shut out your opponent, which has been a common occurrence at USC's McAlister Field and across the country this season.

By beating Arizona, USC extended its impressive shutout streak to seven games --- a new school record --- and gave head coach Keidane McAlpine his 100th victory as a Division I head coach. The Women of Troy have not conceded a goal in 654 minutes, which matches a school record, meaning today's game at Oregon could bring even more history to the program.

This current streak by the Trojans has seen seven wins, 16 goals, and a massive win over North Carolina, one of the nation's most prestigious women's soccer programs. Prudhomme has enjoyed the best view of the run from between her two posts, which has helped her come up with the key to keeping the streak alive.

"The main way to keep a streak going is not to focus on it. We didn't even know there was a shutout streak," said Prudhomme. "We want to get a shutout every single game. If not, all that matters is if we win the game in the end."

Prudhomme believes this mentality will bode well for her team's aspirations for a Pac-12 championship, a high NCAA seed and beyond. She credits consistency as another aspect that has helped the Women of Troy climb to a Top 10 national ranking.

"I think the biggest difference between this season and last season is we have players, old and new, that are consistently scoring. I think a lot of that has to do with how confident we're feeling on defense," said Prudhomme. She also credits the coaches pushing the team to work for each other and stay together, especially at times of adversity. That has manifested into a resilient and selfless identity on and off the field.

Many players never go on a run like this in their athletic careers, but Prudhomme achieved a similar feat her senior year of high school --- her team strung together a shutout streak (which was eventually broken up), then went on to win the championship. The funny thing about shutout streaks is that the goalie always gets pushed into the spotlight, and this USC keeper has come a long way to be No. 1 in the net during this record-breaking run.

USC_Soccer_LMU_Mcgillen_D500_card2_DSC_2691.JPGGrowing up in Aliso Viejo, CA, Prudhomme was obsessed with sports, playing basketball, tennis and soccer. At the age of 13 she had to pick one sport to stick with, and soccer was the easy choice to make.

"I just love it. It's my passion. I love everything about it and even when I hate it, I love it. I think it's just something I was meant to do," said Prudhomme. So how does a girl that loves soccer get hooked on being a goalkeeper when most kids shy away from shots catapulted towards their faces day in and day out?

"When I was really young I was always in the back because I didn't want people to score any goals. I don't know if it was because I didn't want to run or I just wanted to defend the goal, but it was one or the other," explained Prudhomme. "I was a fearless little kid and that's the type of personality you need to have to play goalkeeper." She started playing soccer at age six, started walking across her family's pool cover even earlier, and got keeper fever at age eight.

Prudhomme didn't take the normal route in becoming a soccer player (keepers are a rare breed), nor did she en route to USC. In fact, she was once a conference foe of the Women of Troy at Oregon State, whom USC faces on Sunday.

"I went in for a visit my junior year [of high school] and I loved it there. I loved the team that was there at the time, the school, everything about Oregon," said Prudhomme. But after two years she realized the environment around the team soured, causing her to look elsewhere to transfer. Choosing between USC and St. John's was a tough call, but the stars aligned when a new coach took over in Southern California.

"The biggest thing for me, when I asked for my release, was that the old coach at USC had been fired, and they picked up Keidane. I knew about him and I knew his reputation," said Prudhomme. McAlpine had previously coached in the Pac-12 at Washington State, and Prudhomme soon fielded calls from her former club coaches who told her she and Keidane would be a great match. The two then got in touch and she was given an offer to come down to California.

"I accepted it, went out for a visit and knew it was the place to be," said Prudhomme. It took a lot of patience to navigate through the red tape and headaches of transferring, especially within the conference, but soon enough, Prudhomme was on campus. The only problem was that she was forced to take a mandatory redshirt year because of NCAA and Pac-12 transfer policies.

USC_Soccer_LMU_Mcgillen_D500_card2_DSC_2883.JPGThough sitting out for a year was tough, she got to learn under Caroline Stanley, who now plays professionally in the National Women's Soccer League for Sky Blue FC. When it was finally time for her to take over, she leaned on what she learned that year sitting out and on her competitive nature.

"The biggest motivation for me is that [soccer] is something I really love to do. If I want to keep doing it, I need to keep working hard and keep getting better and better," said Prudhomme. "I'm also an extremely competitive person and the competitive nature of sports just continues to drive me. I love the competition and I love competing."

Like Stanley before her, Prudhomme hopes to play professionally after her final season, either in the NWSL or abroad, but she's not getting ahead of herself just yet.

"Right now I'm focusing on what we've got going on right here. It's fun and I don't want to take anything too quickly when I have such a good thing going on right now," she said.

Prudhomme and the women's team are back in action today at 4:30 p.m PT against the Oregon Ducks, as they aim for another shutout record and win. The game will be aired on the Pac-12 Networks.

Olympic Saturday

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USC was represented by 44 Olympians at Rio 2016, and 17 of those Trojans will be in attendance at the USC vs. Arizona State football game on Saturday, including 8 medalists. All the USC Olympians will be honored at halftime for an exceptional summer, which featured 21 medals won (9 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze).

Click here for tickets to USC vs. ASU.

Here is the list of Trojans expected to attend (Rio 2016 medal winners in bold):

Felix16.jpgAllyson Felix (Track & Field)

Aaron Brown (Track & Field)

Amalie Iuel (Track & Field)

Andre De Grasse (Track & Field)

Dalihah Muhammad (Track & Field)

Haley Anderson (Swimming)

Kaleigh Gilchrist (Water Polo)

Kami Craig (Water Polo)

Katarzyna Wilk (Swimming)

Murphy Troy (Indoor Volleyball)

Nia Ali (Track & Field)

Tim Wynter (Swimming)

Victoria Chamorro (Water Polo)

Thomas Dunstan (Water Polo)

McQuin Baron (Water Polo)

Tynia Gaither (Track & Field)

Dylan Carter (Swimming)

ASU Wednesday: Notes

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The Trojans hit the practice field on Wednesday before another crucial Pac-12 South matchup with Arizona State on Saturday evening.
  • USC_Football_Stanford_mcgillen_2016_DSC_1018.JPGFull injury report, per USC head coach Clay Helton: OT Zach Banner (ankle - expected back tomorrow), CB Jack Jones (ankle - has a chance to play Saturday), OL Khaliel Rodgers (wrist), RB Dominic Davis (knee).
  • Helton said the team emphasized two things in practice today: containing QB runs by ASU and protecting Sam Darnold from ASU's defensive pressure.
  • "I'm beyond impressed with Manny Wilkins and his pocket sense of being able to create off pass attempts," Helton said about the Sun Devil QB, who has the second-most rush yards of any signal caller in the Pac-12. "He's as good as I've seen thus far in that area."
  • Safety Chris Hawkins echoed his head coach's sentiment, and praised ASU's entire offense. "He can make things happen with his feet," Hawkins said. "They've got two good receivers on the outside ... and they've got two good running backs." One of those running backs is Kalen Ballage, who tied the FBS record with eight touchdowns in a game earlier this season.
  • On the defensive front, Helton repeated that he and DC Clancy Pendergast have conferred on how to get more pressure on the quarterback on Saturday, after not registering a sack against Utah.
  • Pressuring the QB will be key in helping the Trojans win a game that ILB Michael Hutchings (pictured) called "do-or-die." "Every game in the South is a huge one for us, especially in this conference," he said. "Any given week, any team can win."
  • Hutchings noted that being "assignment-sound" is a priority for the defense this week. "I think that's what's kind of hurt us over the last few weeks is just big blown assignments and coming up clutch in key situations," he said. "We're put in the correct spot by the coaches and it's on the players to make plays."
  • While the defense will focus on stopping big plays, Helton is also looking for more explosive plays from his offense. "We're always looking to push the ball down the field, and I know that's one thing Sam does a good job of --- he likes to push that ball downfield."
  • Here's Helton's full press conference:

Academic Elite

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USC is one of the top 15 universities in the nation, according to a new Wall Street Journal study. No. 15 is the school's highest placement to date in a major higher education ranking.

Click here for more.

The new study uses a set of comprehensive metrics to determine whether a college offers students sufficient resources to succeed, whether students feel challenged and engaged, whether the student body is diverse and international and whether graduates succeed by paying off their loans and are able to find satisfying, high paying jobs.

In the Pac-12, No. 1 Stanford and USC are the two universities in the top 25, while UCLA (No. 26) and Cal (No. 37) place in the top 50. The Trojan Family can be even prouder of its standing when context is applied, ranking second nationally in the area of Environment - which measures the diversity of both students and faculty. USC's ranking in this category was boosted in part by the high proportion of Pell Grant-eligible and first generation students in its undergraduate student body.

"Throughout USC's academic ascent, we have always prioritized maintaining a student body that is representative of the country and the world at large. So over and above our impressive national ranking, the Trojan Family should take great pride in our diversity scores, which prove once and for all that academic excellence and inclusion are not mutually exclusive priorities," said USC president C. L. Max Nikias.

Other areas where USC showed strength was in the area of outcomes, where USC students reported graduation rates, salaries, and their ability to repay loans in the highest percentile nationally.

Added Nikias, "I am also thrilled to see, based on student surveys, how well our students perform after they graduate. There is no doubt that our Trojan graduates chart a path to success in parallel with graduates from our peer universities, which are the very top institutions in the country."


Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 6

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On Friday, USC women's soccer set a school record with its seventh consecutive shutout. The Trojans, who moved up to No. 9 in the national rankings, beat Arizona, 4-0, to open Pac-12 play. The win was also head coach Keidane McAlpine's 100th win in Division I soccer.

Now USC takes a trip to play Oregon tomorrow and Oregon State on Sunday.

Check out the latest episode of Kickin' It With Keidane, in which the coach outlines what his team has done well and previews this weekend's matchups:

ASU Tuesday: Notes

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As the day cooled, the practice field heated up as the Trojans prepared for the undefeated Arizona State Sun Devils.
  • Here is the injury report per head coach Clay Helton: OG Damien Mama (stinger - anticipated back Wednesday), OT Zach Banner (ankle - anticipated back Wednesday), CB Jack Jones (more severe ankle injury - 50/50 to play). S John Plattenburg is "about ready to go" after a long battle with a concussion.
  • USC_Football_Utah_mcgillen_LR_USC_Football_Utah_mcgillen__MCG5921.JPGDL Noah Jefferson is being held out as he focuses on his academics and rehabbing, according to Helton. The head coach hopes to have him back by November.
  • While the fan base is largely depressed after three September losses, the players do not have the time to sulk. "It hurts a lot, but you can't just sit back and just think about it knowing that you've got eight more games ahead of you," said WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. "As a grown man and as a professional, there's no time to be sad --- there's a whole other future of eight games in front of you."
  • Smith-Schuster is buoyed by his best performance of the season, catching eight balls for 98 yards. "The whole game plan wasn't set up around me, but there were plays that were made for me," he said about his breakout game. "A lot of the plays were nine-yard stop routes and with the defense they were playing, I was allowed to get the ball more."
  • Redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold ignited Smith-Schuster and the rest of the offense with his impressive starting debut. "I felt a lot of nerves, you know it was the first game, first starting college football game and in that atmosphere it's really nerve-wracking, but you can't show that to your guys and you can't show that to everyone watching the game," Darnold said. "You just got to be poised and you've got to be able to make plays when they're there. After the first couple series, even after the first series, I thought I wasn't nervous at all."
  • While he knows he played well, Darnold values team success over personal achievement. "I think it is reassuring but at the same time you've got to get wins. I mean as a quarterback your job is based on how much you win - it doesn't matter how well you play, you've just got to get those wins...especially when you're up 24-10."
  • Arizona State plays one of the most aggressive defensive schemes in the country, Helton expects that the Sun Devils will be "chomping at the bit to be able to pressure" a young quarterback.
  • Darnold is preparing himself for the challenge. "They're a really good football team, a really good bunch," he said. "Obviously late in games, what you saw in that Cal game with two late interceptions, that was obviously huge for them. It's a great football team, we're just looking to execute and play our style ball."
  • On the other side of the ball, generating a pass rush is a "point of emphasis for Clancy this week" both from a scheme and personnel standpoint, said Helton. With ASU running such a fast tempo, backup outside linebackers Connor Murphy, Olajuwon Tucker and Oluwole Betiku could potentially see more playing time.
  • Here is Helton with an extensive scouting report on ASU and more:

2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 3

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USC added another Trojan to its list of active NFL players in Week 3 when the Bears promoted QB Matt Barkley to their active roster. Here are the highlights from USC's 37 active NFL players this week:

everson-nfl (1).jpgThe Best

Minnesota Vikings DE Everson Griffen was key in shutting down NFL MVP Cam Newton and the Panthers on Sunday. Griffen sacked Newton three times (which is tied for the most sacks in a single game this season), and had four tackles and four QB hits in total. The Vikings beat last year's NFC Champs, 22-10, in Charlotte.

Best of the Rest

Nick Perry, LB, Packers - 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 2 TFL, 1 pass defensed

Su'a Cravens, S/LB, Redskins - 3 tackles, 2 passes defensed, 1 INT

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 6 tackles, 1 QB hit

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - 3 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 QB hit, 2 TFL

Cody Kessler, QB, Browns - 21/33 for 244 yards in first career start

Robert Woods, WR, Bills - 6 receptions, 51 yards

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars - 5 receptions, 44 yards

Shareece Wright, CB, Ravens - 7 tackles

Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - 4 tackles, 1 pass defensed

Josh Shaw, CB, Bengals - 3 tackles, 1 special teams tackle

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - 5 tackles

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 4 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 QB hit

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 3 tackles, 1 sack

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles - 3 receptions, 21 yards

Rhett Ellison, TE, Vikings - 1 reception, 18 yards

Learn more about Eat the Ball here!

Golfing Glory

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USC women's golf surged in the final round to win the season-opening ANNIKA Intercollegiate today for the second year in a row.

Click here for the full recap.

The Trojans, who won this event last year with a school-record 36-under, entered the final round today in fourth place. But the 2nd-ranked team in the nation shot 12 under par to finish 24-under 840 (279-285-276), erasing a 13-stroke deficit. USC finished two strokes ahead of Arkansas. UCLA was in first place coming into today, but finished in third.

Senior Victoria Morgan shot a 7-under 209 (69-70-70) to tie for eighth in the individual draw --- the highest she's placed in a full team event. Tiffany Chan, Gabriella Then (pictured) and Robynn Ree all finished at 4-under par, good for 17th place.


Fierce Freeman

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USC women's soccer senior Mandy Freeman was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, the conference announced today.

Freeman has been key in helping the No. 9 Trojans set a school record with seven consecutive shutouts. The Royal Palm Beach, FL native has been on the pitch for all 654 minutes of USC's shutout streak.

The honor is Freeman's first on the defensive side of the ball, but she earned the Pac-12's Offensive Player of the Week award last season. Freeman is the second Trojan to win the defensive honor this year, as Ally Prisock was awarded it on Sept. 12.

Next up for USC is a trip to Oregon to face the Ducks on Thursday and the Oregon State Beavers on Sunday.


Trojans Live: ASU Preview

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While most of you were engrossed in the debate, Trojans Live carried on with head coach Clay Helton, kicker Matt Boermeester, and speedsters Michael Norman and Andre De Grasse.

Helton explained some of the tough decisions in the Utah loss and had a message for the Trojan Family going into a home game this week.

Click here for Helton on Trojans Live.

Boermeester is 6/7 on field goals this year and has more touchbacks through four games this season (13) than USC had all of last year (11).

Click here for Boermeester on Trojans Live.

Norman is expected to be the next star sprinter in the illustrious history of USC track & field.

Click here for Norman on Trojans Live.

De Grasse is the current standard bearer for USC track, winning three medals at Rio 2016 and pushing himself to be the fastest man in the world.

Maier, the Man of the Week

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Matt Maier, a true freshman on USC's men's water polo team, won the MPSF Newcomer of the Week award today following an impressive performance in the Trojans' weekend tournament.

Click here for the full release.

Maier, who hails from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, scored six goals in four games at the MPSF Invitational. He scored at least one goal in each game, after entering the weekend with only three goals in the Trojans' first six matchups this season.

Maier now has nine goals this year, which ties him for seventh-most on the team. Maier and the Trojans host Pacific at 1 p.m. on Saturday.


Men's Volleyball Schedule Released

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USC men's volleyball announced its 2016-17 schedule today, with hopes of improving upon its 7-19 record last season.

Click here to see the full schedule.

USC will face a big test early on, as it faces defending national champion Ohio State in the AVCA Showcase -- Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge on Jan. 6, 2017.

The Trojans will also face the national runners-up, BYU, as well as NCAA semifinalists Long Beach State and UCLA.

Exhibition play runs from October to November, and USC kicks off the season with a tilt at Concordia (Calif.) on Jan. 3.


Bragging Rights for Bellamy

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USC men's tennis senior Rob Bellamy cruised to the title at the Battle in the Bay in San Francisco this weekend.

Bellamy enjoyed a bye in the Round of 64, then didn't drop a set in the next three matches (plus an opponent withdrawal), which earned him a spot in the championship. He met Cal Poly's Ben Donovan, the 5-seed in the tournament, in the title match. Bellamy, whose mother was an NCAA singles champion at USC, dispatched of Donovan, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4.

Bellamy became the fifth Trojan in seven years to win the Battle in the Bay singles title.

Bellamy is undefeated in singles play throughout the fall season so far, with three wins in the Porsche Napa Valley Tennis Classic earlier this month.

Next up for the Trojans is the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Tournament, starting on Saturday.


Clay Helton Q&A - ASU

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USC head coach Clay Helton sat down with us for his weekly Q&A to explain the near-miss at Utah and the challenge ahead with a big home game against Arizona State.

Darnold's Debut

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Darnold's debut

Goal Getters, Record Setters

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USC women's soccer kept the ball rolling and set a school record on Friday with its seventh consecutive shutout win.

The squad's 4-0 win over Arizona broke the USC record set back in 2006 and also marked head coach Keidane McAlpine's 100th win as a Division I head coach.

During the current win streak, USC has defeated Pepperdine, Georgia, Auburn, LMU, UNC, Kansas and Arizona by a combined tally of 19 goals to zero. The Trojans have also tied the school record for minutes without allowing a goal (654), which they will look to extend at Oregon on Thursday.

Goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme has racked up 34 saves during the winning streak. Only eight goalies in the nation boast more shutouts than Prudhomme this season. The Aliso Viejo, CA native has earned two Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week awards this year, while defender Ally Prisock earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 13 for her efforts in keeping the shutout streak alive.

The Trojans, who now stand at 7-2 (1-0 Pac-12), head to Eugene this week to take on Oregon, who is 6-3-1 (0-1 Pac-12) and averages 1.5 goals per game.


Colorado Kick Time

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USC and Colorado will square off under the Los Angeles sunshine in a 1 p.m. game at the Coliseum on Saturday, October 8. The game will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Mountain.

Click here for tickets.

The Trojans are 10-0 all-time against the Buffaloes, including five consecutive victories since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011. However, the Buffaloes are playing inspired football this season with a 3-1 record, coming off a momentous win over the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium.


ASU Kick Time Official

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USC will host Arizona State at 5:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Coliseum. The game will be broadcast live on FOX.

Click here for tickets.

The Trojans are in desperate need of a victory after a 1-3 start, so the friendly confines of the Coliseum are a welcome sight after playing three of four away from home against Top 25 teams to begin the season. The Sun Devils are 4-0, but they just missed out on the latest AP Top 25, coming in at No. 26.


Polo Places Third

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USC men's water polo took third place in the Mountain Pacific Invitational in Berkeley, CA this weekend.

The Trojans opened up the tournament with a 21-4 win over No. 19 Santa Clara and a 9-4 win over No. 7 Long Beach State the next day. Just hours after their win over LBSU, the No. 2 Trojans faced off against No. 3 Cal, and suffered their first loss of the season. USC entered the fourth period down 8-3, but mounted a furious comeback, only to ultimately fall by a score of 10-8.

The Trojans bounced back with an 8-3 win over No. 4 Pacific the next day to take third place overall. UCLA won the tournament, while Cal placed second.

Grant Stein (pictured) led the Trojans with nine goals across the four games, including two against Pacific, who USC faces again this Saturday. Goalie McQuin Baron racked up 42 saves.

This is the second straight season in which USC has won its first eight games and lost its ninth, and this year the Trojans are aiming to take one more step than they were able to last year, by winning the NCAA Championship.

Next up is a 1 p.m. clash with Pacific at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Saturday, Oct. 1.


USC vs. Utah Wrap-Up

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Despite strong showings from QB Sam Darnold and RB Justin Davis, the Trojans fell, 31-27, to No. 24 Utah on Friday. Now USC returns home to continue Pac-12 South play against ASU.

McGillen Galleries: Utah

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The Trojans slugged it out with Utah in rainy Salt Lake City on Friday night, falling behind on a Ute TD with 16 seconds to go. USC team photographer John McGillen was there to capture the heartbreaking loss:

6-Points: Utah 31, USC 27

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The Trojans fall in the final seconds to Utah, dropping to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

IMG_6252.JPGSam I Am

Redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold was the obvious silver lining in a losing effort. "I thought he did a tremendous job," said head coach Clay Helton about his new starting quarterback. "He made some terrific plays in a hostile atmosphere on a rainy night. You could not ask for anything more from the kid than what he did tonight." Darnold completed 18 of 26 for 253 yards and ran 9 times for 41 yards and a touchdown. The team needed a spark and Darnold ignited the offense. "I am so proud of Sam," said senior RB Justin Davis. "I am so proud of the way he handled himself and stayed composed. If he keeps playing like that, we're going to win some football games."

First Half Regrets

The Trojans put together their best performance of the season, but they did not do enough to put Utah away and then the Utes capitalized with a late comeback. "I thought the biggest thing for us was the first half," said Helton. "We came in 17-10, but I walked in at halftime feeling sick to my stomach because of the three turnovers, two of them deep in their territory which could have led to points and being up two or three scores." USC only punted once the entire game, but three first half fumbles let the Utes hang around.

Running Wild

When the Trojans held onto the ball, they ran wild with it. On only 10 carries, Davis covered 126 yards with a touchdown. "The offensive line allowed me to see a hole and I just took advantage of it, just let my abilities work," Davis praised his offensive line. "They did a great job up front." The offensive line also held Utah's pass rush to one sack after the Utes recorded 10 sacks last week. USC averaged 6.5 yards per rush as a team.

A Step Behind

The Utes came out running the football, but once they were behind, they were forced into the air. The Trojans could not generate a pass rush, so the defensive backs were assaulted in coverage. "Congrats to Troy [Williams]," Helton complimented Utah's quarterback. "He made some big plays down the stretch as well as the big receiver, Tim Patrick. I thought they made the plays that had to be made down the stretch." Williams orchestrated a game-winning 93-yard touchdown drive, finishing the game with three consecutive scoring drives of 10 plays or more. "The quarterback played well," said CB Iman Marshall. "We gave up a lot of slants, a couple of plays, but at the end of the day, we've got to execute on our end and we didn't do that today."

The Kicker

Utah is known for having the best specialists in the Pac-12, but USC's group was exceptional tonight. PK Matt Boermeester continued his tremendous season, hammering two field goals through the uprights and burying the Utes in their own end with four touchbacks. On his lone punt, Chris Tilbey placed the ball at the Utes' seven-yard line. And of course, Adoree' Jackson returned his third career kickoff for a touchdown, going 100+ yards to tie the game in the first quarter.

September Ends

The Trojans had the hardest September schedule of any team in the country, and it has put them "behind the eight ball" to use a Helton expression. "It pains me that the whole Trojan Family, all the fans have to go through this because USC is not supposed to be 1-3," said Davis. "We're going to come together as a team and do what we can do to get these next two wins." USC returns home to play Arizona State and Colorado. "They are going to Fight On," said Helton. "The kids that were out there tonight, they live and breathe to help this team win."

Here are the game highlights:

2016 Game 4: USC vs. Utah

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USC Trojans (1-2, 0-1) at No. 24 Utah Utes (3-0, 0-0)

Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on FS1

Dimick.jpegUte to Watch: Senior DE Hunter Dimick

The Utes have several candidates on their defensive line worthy of the spotlight, but Dimick has made the most noise so far this season with three sacks to lead the Pac-12. As a team, Utah tops the conference and sits second in the nation with 15 sacks, including 10 last week. Dimick was hurt much of last season, but he had 1.5 sacks against the Trojans at the Coliseum. In 2014, he had another 1.5 sacks against USC en route to 10 for the season which placed him fifth in the conference.

Click here for more on the Utes.

3 Keys

Free Darnold

Sam Darnold is set to become the eighth freshman and fifth redshirt freshman to start at quarterback for USC since 1984. The offense needs a spark, ranking last in the Pac-12 (although strength of schedule plays a major factor), and head coach Clay Helton has pointed to the fresh-faced QB to energize the Trojans. Darnold certainly has the ability to be a difference maker. In limited duty, he has displayed a powerful arm, completing 14/22 for 136 yards and 2 TDs. In practice, he has also shown the swiftest feet for a USC quarterback in quite some time. In a difficult atmosphere, the coaching staff must create a game plan that plays to Darnold's strengths and puts him in a position to succeed.

Hog Heaven

If the USC offense is going to improve, the offensive line has to lead the way. While the unit has gotten better each week, according to Helton, the front five will again be tested by Utah's defensive line, which is the calling card of head coach Kyle Whittingham's program. The Trojans manhandled Stanford last week, but they stalled their own momentum by committing six false start penalties. On a wet and cold Salt Lake City night, expect a slugfest with OC Tee Martin pounding the run game to take pressure off Darnold and to slow down Utah's pass rush. The offensive line is central to that game plan.

No Regrets

The USC defense has walked out of both losses bemoaning a few mistakes which spoiled an otherwise dominant performance. The Utah offense is talented but middle of the Pac. QB Troy Williams provides a dual threat option, but he is also tied with UCLA's Josh Rosen for the conference-lead in interceptions. The Utes have turned to tailback by committee to replace Devontae Booker, while Tim Patrick has emerged as the playmaking threat on the outside. If the Trojans can eliminate the handful of mental errors and breakdowns that have plagued them this season, Clancy Pendergast's defense could take control of this game.

Photo Gallery: WVB Falls to Bruins

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No. 21 USC women's volleyball saw its eight-match winning streak come to an end in a tight four-set loss to No. 9 UCLA on Wednesday night.

Click here for the recap.

The Women of Troy were led by junior Niki Withers who had 13 kills and freshman Khalia Lanier who posted 12 kills.

Here are the John McGillen photos:

Utah Wednesday: Clay Helton Presser

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor 

With a shorter week leading up to Friday's game on the road against the Utah Utes, USC got in one last practice Wednesday.

Coach Clay Helton provided several injury updates and more information ahead of the game at his press conference, which you can watch below.

Yoga on the Pitch

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No. 10 USC women's soccer is ready to make a run at the Pac-12 title and needs your support to create a home field advantage at McAlister Field. To that end, the Women of Troy are offering a post-match yoga session as part of a package that includes admission to the USC women's soccer game against Cal on October 9 at 11 a.m.

Click here for ticket information.

The $20 deal includes admission, a USC yoga mat and the post-match yoga session on the field. The package is only $20.

USC vs CAL yoga soccer social media.jpg

Divisional Rival

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Traditionally, the NFL is known for its divisional rivalries, while college teams focus on conference play. But in the modern era of oversized conferences, divisional games have gained in importance as schools try to secure spots in conference championship games with postseason implications.

The stakes are clear in the Pac-12. First, win your division. Then, battle for the conference crown at the Pac-12 Championship Game in Santa Clara. Win that and you've earned a ticket to the Rose Bowl.

Last year, the Trojans showed the value of winning divisional games. Despite dropping three contests to Pac-12 North opponents, USC won the South by running the table in its division.

While USC is 0-1 in conference play this year, the loss came at the hands of the reigning Pac-12 champions Stanford from the North. This week, the Trojans travel to Utah, beginning Pac-12 South play, adding increased value to an already crucial contest.


2016-17 Women's Basketball Schedule

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2016-17 WBB Schedule.jpg
USC women's basketball begins its fourth season under head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke on November 11 against Hawaii at the Galen Center and then sets off on a challenging schedule which features 15 televised appearances.

Click here for more.

The Women of Troy will play the balance of its non-conference schedule at home in front of the Trojan Family, highlighted by the Women of Troy Classic (December 16 and 18). The toughest early road test is at Texas A&M, an SEC power, which will broadcast the game live on SEC Network+.

The Trojans know that the Pac-12 offers nothing but challenges, including showcase home games against Oregon State (January 15), UCLA (January 18), and Washington (February 19). USC went 19-13 last season, but its hoping to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013-14.

Click here for tickets.

Utah Tuesday: Notes

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On Tuesday, the Trojans continued their accelerated preparation for their first Pac-12 South opponent, Utah, on Friday night.
  • USC_Football_Utah_State_2016_McGillen_DSC_4791.JPGTE Taylor McNamara (foot) and Malik Dorton (hip) were limited in practice today.
  • USC head coach Clay Helton announced that OT E.J. Price plans to transfer from USC to a school closer to home to deal with family issues. Helton called Price "a really good kid" and wished him "nothing but the absolute best."
  • Helton said that despite Price's departure, he's happy with the depth of his offensive line, and noted that he thought the Stanford game was the unit's "best game by far," in terms of sacks allowed and opening up the run game.
  • USC LB Porter Gustin took time to compliment Utah's offensive line, as well as their QB. "He's very athletic so we've got to contain him, make sure he doesn't run," he said. "They've got a pretty solid O-Line, I think. So just get off blocks, set edges, be quick on the pass rush and play physical."
  • Gustin, who spent his final two years of high school in Salem, UT, said he's excited to play in cooler weather and in front of a lot of family.
  • DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, who transferred to USC from Utah this year, expressed even more excitement to play there. "I can't wait to see what I can do against them," he said. "Hopefully it's good."
  • Tu'ikolovatu (pictured) reminisced on Utah's last-second win over USC in 2014. "I remember beating USC, saying how much I hated these guys, but now I love them to death," he said.
  • Now, Tu'ikolovatu has pledged his allegiance to USC, and has been "telling everybody how the other offensive lineman plays, what's his weaknesses, so we can try to capitalize on that."
  • The Trojans will need his advice on playing in a sold-out Rice-Eccles Stadium on a rainy Friday night, but Helton said he has the utmost confidence in Sam Darnold starting his first game on a short week. "Showing the poise he did, the anticipation he's shown in his throws, his knowledge of the offense right now --- he's making plays."
  • Helton also praised QB Max Browne's attitude this week. "That's why he's got the C on his jersey," he said. "He's shown true leadership out here. He's been a pro about how he's handled it, and really led our team."
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

Crosstown Cup Commences

USC women's volleyball will be the first Trojan team to face off against UCLA this season when they host the No. 9 Bruins tomorrow. The 7 p.m. match will mark the start of the 16th Crosstown Cup competition.

Click here for the full match preview.

In 2015, the Trojans took home the Crosstown Cup for the 10th time in 15 years of competition. USC swept UCLA in key sports like football, men's basketball, women's soccer and women's water polo to earn a 115-70 edge in total points.

The women's volleyball team split matches with UCLA last season, so both teams earned 5 points each. In their first meeting, the Trojans swept the Bruins, but the tables turned later in the year when No. 13 UCLA upset top-ranked USC.

This year, UCLA enters the matchup at 9-1 and is ranked No. 9 in the nation, while USC is ranked No. 21 at 8-3. The Crosstown Cup begins when the teams face off tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center.


Meet Connor Murphy

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Name: Connor MurphyUSC_Football_Fall_Camp_2_080516_mcgillen_MCG1442.jpg

Position: OLB

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-7, 255 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Brophy Prep (Phoenix, AZ)

Game: Murphy is a classic outside pass rusher with a long body and the frame to gain weight and strength as he grows up at USC. He has opened eyes since arriving this summer and worked his way up to the backup rush end spot on the depth chart behind Porter Gustin.

Prep Career: Despite battling a groin injury that limited him to just seven games his senior year, Murphy earned Prep Star All-American honors thanks to his 30 tackles, including 5 TFL, plus 4 deflections and 2 fumble recoveries.

Clay Helton on Connor Murphy: "He's learning fast ... It's neat to see that big a body step up in that hurry, and we'll see how it progresses, but he's doing some really big things."

Fun Fact: Murphy comes from an athletic family --- his brother, Trent, was an All-American linebacker at Stanford and now plays for the Washington Redskins. His sister, Kayli, played basketball at Arizona State.

Here is Connor Murphy on what it means to be a Trojan, how he spends his free time and more:

Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 5

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USC women's soccer has posted a scorching six-game shutout streak to improve its record to 6-2 and its rankings to No. 10 heading into conference play.

Bad news for opponents: Head coach Keidane McAlpine says the team is still not playing to its full potential. Watch the fifth episode of Kickin' It With Keidane here:

2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 2

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Through two weeks of the 2016 NFL season, USC's 36 representatives have proven themselves to be some of the early stars.

grimble-nfl.jpgThe Best

Xavier Grimble, TE, Steelers

There's no better "Welcome to the NFL" moment than scoring a touchdown on your first-ever NFL catch. Grimble did just that on Sunday, stretching out for the end zone for a 20-yard score against Cincinnati. "X-Man" finished the game with two receptions for 26 yards in the Steelers' 24-16 win over the Bengals.

Best of the Rest

Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB, Bills - 5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery for a TD

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - 4 tackles

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars - 5 receptions, career-high 75 yards

Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - 7 total tackles (6 solo)

Su'a Cravens, S/LB, Redskins - 4 total tackles (3 solo)

Ryan Kalil, OT, Panthers - Helped Panthers gain 529 yards of total offense

Jordan Cameron, TE, Dolphins - 5 receptions, 49 yards, TD

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 18/31 for 308 yards and 3 TD

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - 6 total tackles (5 solo)

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 3 tackles, 1 sack

Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings - 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Nick Perry, LB, Packers - 3 tackles, 2 QB hits, 0.5 sacks

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles - 4 receptions, 42 yards

Click here to learn more about Eat the Ball!

Trojans Live: Utah Preview

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Trojans Live was back on its normal Monday night to recap a tough loss at Stanford and preview the short week ahead, ending in a Friday night tilt at Utah. Head coach Clay Helton joined the show as he always does to explain why he changed quarterbacks from Max Browne to Sam Darnold (video below).

DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu is a grad transfer from Utah, so he looked forward to his homecoming against his former teammates.

Click here to watch Stevie T on Trojans Live.

No. 10 USC women's soccer has posted six consecutive shutout victories to tie a school record, so goalie Sammy Jo Prudhomme gave us the secret to their success.

Click here to watch Prudhomme on Trojans Live.

You can watch the full show live and archived on our Facebook page.

Utah Monday: Notes

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USC hit the field hard on Monday in preparation for its Friday night tilt at No. 24 Utah.
  • USC_Football_Bama_mcgillen_LRDSC_1871.JPGHead coach Clay Helton announced that Sam Darnold will start at QB against the Utes. "I want to see a spark in our offense, and I hope that Sam can bring that," Helton said. "I'm confident in it after three games of watching him perform."
  • Darnold (pictured) spent the majority of practice today with the first-string offense, and Helton said he now believes that the redshirt freshman is an "every down guy."
  • Despite making the change, Helton expressed that Max Browne "is not the reason we are 1-2," adding that "he is not the scapegoat here. The way he competed and performed was more than honorable."
  • Helton called Browne "the ultimate competitor" and "the ultimate leader," but said that ultimately, Darnold's "eilte arm strength" and ability to run the ball solidified the decision to make the change.
  • When asked whether the QB competition is still open, Helton had this to say: "I think we always compete. Like I told our team, I'm always going to do what I feel is in the best interest of our team. And right now, being in the situation we are in, I just thought it was time to make a change."
  • Darnold said he was "stoked" to learn he'd be starting and explained he'd continue to prepare just as he has been all season. "I'm just going to do my best with the opportunity given, and hopefully we get a W," he said.
  • Browne acknowledged his disappointment, but expressed that he would continue to compete. "I'll be ready," he said. "I owe it to my teammates and the guys I've been here with for four years now ... I'll be ready at a moment's notice. I have experience under my belt and I'll be good to go."
  • Darnold and the Trojans will likely play in the rain in Salt Lake City on Friday night, so the team ran a number of drills with wet balls today.
  • USC also practiced with simulated crowd noise, as Helton explained that the team had to be "ready for a raucus crowd" at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

Extra Yard Week

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The College Football Playoff has put its philanthropic might behind supporting teachers, dubbing September 17-24 "Extra Yard for Teachers Week". In recognition of that worthy cause, USC senior offensive tackle Zach Banner spoke about the two greatest educators in his life, his parents.

Night Game for ASU

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USC will host Arizona State on October 1 under the lights of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The exact game time has not been announced yet, but kickoff will be between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. The television networks will finalize their decision six days out.


Sweet Shutout Streak

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On Friday, USC women's soccer tied a program record with its sixth straight shutout victory in a 2-0 win over Kansas.

Click here for the full recap.

The last time the Trojans achieved that feat was in 2006, when the team went 11-5-5 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

This year, USC has not allowed a goal since Aug. 26, in a 1-0 loss to Long Beach State. Goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme has racked up 28 saves since then.

USC looks to extend its dominant streak on Friday when it hosts Arizona in the first game of Pac-12 play. The Wildcats enter the matchup at 5-2-1 and average 2.25 goals per game.


Haley Gets 400

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On Friday, USC women's volleyball won its eighth straight match, which was also win No. 400 for head coach Mick Haley.

Click here for the full recap.

Haley, who came to Troy in 2001, now holds a 400-98 (.803) all-time record at USC and is the winningest head coach in program history. The program, meanwhile, is now just three wins away from 1,000.

The Women of Troy have made the NCAA Tournament in every season under Haley. He has guided his teams to two NCAA championships (2002 and 2003), six NCAA semifinal appearances (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2011) and four Pac-12 championships (2002, 2003, 2011, 2015).

This season, USC is 8-3 and currently tied atop the Pac-12 standings with Washington, whom the team plays on Friday. Before that, the Trojans take on UCLA on Wednesday to kick off Pac-12 play.


McGillen Gallery: USC Water Polo vs. Stanford

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The No. 2 Trojans improved to 6-0 this season with a win over No. 5 Stanford on Saturday.

USC photographer John McGillen was at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center to capture photos from the 8-4 victory.

Vavic Nets No. 500

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On Saturday, USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic won his 500th game with the men's program as the No. 2 Trojans beat No. 5 Stanford, 8-4, in Palo Alto.

Click here for the full recap.

Vavic's career record is now 500-82 (.859) with the men's team at USC and 1,016-224 (.819) at USC overall, having also coached the women's team since arriving at Troy in 1995.

The only head coach in history with more wins at USC than Vavic is the legendary Rod Dedeaux, who racked up 1,332 victories in 45 seasons as USC baseball coach.

This year, Vavic has led the Men of Troy to a 6-0 start as they look to get back on top after finishing second in the NCAA championship two years in a row. No one doubts Vavic can get the team there again, as he's won 14 team titles in his tenure at USC, including the women's championship just last year.

Up next for the Trojans is the MPSF Invitational in Berkeley on Friday.

jovanvavicwaterpolo500 (1).jpg

USC vs. Stanford Wrap-Up

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USC couldn't hang on in Saturday's loss to Stanford, despite impressive games from CB Adoree' Jackson and TE Tyler Petite. The Trojans have no time to dwell, though, as they head to Salt Lake City to face No. 24 Utah on Friday.

McGillen Galleries: USC vs. Stanford

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The Trojans dropped their conference opener in Palo Alto yesterday, falling 27-10 to the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal. USC team photographer John McGillen was there to capture the game from start to finish.

6-Points: Stanford 27, USC 10

The Trojans drop their Pac-12 opener in Palo Alto to the reigning conference champions.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

CsmvwbzVIAA6RtI.jpg_large.jpgDrive Killers

The Trojans moved the ball well most of the night, gaining 5.8 yards per play, but penalties and miscues derailed too many drives to keep up with Stanford's efficient offense. USC's offensive line was flagged for six false starts, five in the first half. "We don't like to blame other factors, but the defensive lineman were saying, 'Go,'" explained OG Damien Mama. "We have just got to be better as an offensive line to hone in on the cadence and don't jump offsides." Head coach Clay Helton said that USC went to a silent count in the second half, which solved the problem.

Wild Caff

On the other side, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey tortured the Trojans once again, amassing 260 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. "The thing that Stanford does well is that they have really patient runners, especially Christian McCaffrey," said USC NT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu. "He's pretty good at waiting for his blocks to develop, finding any gap and then he hits it hard." McCaffrey nibbled away at the Trojans for most of the night, gaining five and six yards at a time. "You look up and there were a lot of 3rd and 1s, 2s, 3s," said Helton about Stanford's methodical game plan. The Heisman candidate did have a couple signature moments as well, shaking loose for a 56-yard touchdown catch and a 33-yard run to setup another score.

Remember the Run

Statistically speaking, USC's tailback tandem, Justin Davis and Ronald Jones II, were almost as effective as McCaffrey, but they did not impact the game nearly as much. "It felt really good," said Mama about winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. "We've just got to learn how to keep it going." Helton explained that they "definitely wanted to continue to go to [the run]" but they also "wanted to try and stay balanced." In the end, Davis averaged 4.5 yards per carry and Jones went for 5.7 yards per rush.


Helton did not commit to a starting quarterback after the game. "Anytime that you sit there, and you're 1-2, you've got to evaluate every position," he said about choosing the starter for Utah on Friday night. "I think Max [Browne] played an efficient game. I look forward to watching the tape of everybody." Browne went 18/28 for 191 yards, while Sam Darnold was 5/7 for 45 yards and a late interception.

Star Standard

Junior cornerback Adoree' Jackson continues to set the pace for his teammates, playing another near flawless game. He made a leaping grab for his second career interception and knocked away a pass in the end zone. Jackson was also second on the team in tackles with six solo stops, including one for loss. Primarily, he was matched up with Stanford's top wide receiver Michael Rector who was held to one catch for three yards.

Short Week, Big Game

"We have no time to feel sorry for ourselves," said Helton. "We've got to get ready for Utah." The head coach is right. The Trojans fly to Salt Lake City on Thursday for a Friday night battle in the Pac-12 South. The Trojans backs are already against the wall having dropped their conference opener. The game will be a homecoming for Utah grad transfer Stevie Tu'ikolavatu. "I am just super excited to play back at home, to play against my buddies at Utah. I don't know if the fans are going to like me over there, but I'm going to have a great time. I can't wait."

Focused on 500

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Legendary USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic has a chance to earn his 500th win as the head of the men's team tomorrow at Stanford.

In his 22 seasons as head coach, Vavic has compiled a 499-82 (.859) record and has won nine national championships with the men's team, including six straight titles from 2008-2013. Since joining USC in 1995, Vavic has never had a losing season at the helm of the men's team. Vavic also coaches the women's team, and his 500th win with that squad came against none other than Stanford.

Tomorrow, Vavic has a chance to repeat that feat when the No. 2 Trojans take on the No. 5 Cardinal at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.

Click here for the full preview.

The Trojans carry a 5-0 record into the matchup, having outscored their opponents by a total of 97 goals to 13 this season, for an average margin of victory of 16.8.

Stanford, though, always presents a great challenge for USC's squad. The Trojans hold a 62-60 edge in the series, and the four matchups between the two teams last season (three of which USC won) were decided by an average of just 2.25 goals.

Vavic and the Trojans fight for 500 tomorrow at 1 p.m.

polo preview 500.jpg

2016 Game 3: USC vs. Stanford

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USC Trojans (1-1, 0-0) at No. 7 Stanford Cardinal (1-0, 0-0)

Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto at 5 p.m. PT on ABC and WatchESPN

USC_FOOTBALL_092015DSC_9702.jpgCardinal to Watch: Junior RB Christian McCaffrey

Who else? USC fans are all too familiar with McCaffrey's exploits. He burned the Trojans twice last year en route to breaking Barry Sanders record for all-purpose yards in a season. In the first meeting at the Coliseum, McCaffrey broke out for a then career-high 115 rush yards. He would go on to make that performance seem pedestrian, topping the 100-yard mark 11 times last season. He singlehandedly trounced the Trojans in the Pac-12 Championship Game, accounting for 461 all-purpose yards (207 rush, 105 receiving and 149 return). 

Click here for more on the Cardinal.

3 Keys

Find 5

The Trojans were well aware of McCaffrey's talents by the time of the Pac-12 Championship Game, but they could do little about it. Under new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, the hope is that the USC defense has improved at taking away an opponent's strength. In fact, head coach Clay Helton praised Pendergast for that exact ability this week after the Trojans shut down Alabama WR Calvin Ridley and Utah State RB Devante Mays in the first two games. The Crimson Tide were able to beat USC with options two and three, but the Cardinal offense is not quite as diverse. McCaffrey received 64 percent of the offensive touches (rushes + receptions) in Stanford's season-opening victory over Kansas State.

No Margin for Error

With the exception of the Pac-12 Championship Game, USC and Stanford tend to play cagey, low-scoring affairs in recent years. The Trojans emerged victorious in 2013 (20-17) and 2014 (13-10) by not turning the ball over, excelling in the kicking game, and playing stout defense, especially in the red zone. The winning formula should be similar this year. Pendergast and special teams coach John Baxter must work their magic, while the offense only needs to be efficient and mistake-free.

Stage for a Star

All week long, the Trojans have heard the name McCaffrey on repeat. "That makes us want to work hard to try to get our names out there," said USC senior RB Justin Davis. "Sometimes the whole Pac-12 gets so concerned about Christian McCaffrey, but we've got backs just as talented at USC. I just can't wait to display that." The Trojans have the tailbacks and wide receivers, including one JuJu Smith-Schuster, who have the ability to emerge from this game as the story. While the offense may not need to score 40 points to win, a few special plays could define the game and maybe even someone's career.

Stanford Thursday: Clay Helton Presser

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor 

After about a month of rest, John Plattenburg has cleared concussion protocol and will be back in action next week with the Trojans. The team met one last time today before heading north for another episode in their rivalry with the Cardinal. 

Here is head coach Clay Helton addressing the media after practice:

Volleyball Sets Up at Home

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USC women's volleyball returns to the Galen Center this week to host the 2016 Pac-12 Challenge.

Click here for the full preview.

The No. 21 Trojans have picked themselves off the mat, winning six straight after dropping their first three matches of the season. They took home the title at the USC Radisson Classic and the Rice Adidas Invitational and now they prepare to face Oklahoma and Maryland this weekend.

Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier (pictured), junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie and senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins, all of whom earned all-tournament honors last week, will be key in topping the Sooners and the Terrapins.

Lanier, who was the 2016 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year, 20 leads the team with 125 kills and 10 service aces this season. Ruddins, meanwhile, has posted a team-leading 32 blocks.

The Trojans face Oklahoma at 8 p.m. tonight and Maryland at 8 p.m. on Saturday.


Down to the Wire

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USC opens its conference slate this Saturday with a trip to Palo Alto to face No. 7 Stanford.

Though the Cardinal have won four of the last six regular season meetings between the two teams, each game has been a battle to the end. In those six games, the margin of victory has never been greater than 10 points. In fact, on average, those games have been decided by just 5.5 points each.

The Trojans enter the matchup unranked, but given the recent history between those two teams, that's nothing to be worried about. In 2013, unranked USC toppled No. 5 Stanford, while in 2012, the tables were turned, as a Trojan squad ranked No. 2 in the nation fell to the 21st-ranked Cardinal.

Time will tell what will come of the latest matchup between the Cardinal and the Cardinal & Gold.

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Soccer Ready to Bulba-score

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pokecard-social[7].jpgThis Friday, USC women's soccer hosts Kansas in its last dust-up before conference play begins.

Fans attending the 3 p.m. match at McAlister Field will receive a free Pokemon t-shirt.

The Trojans are fresh off five straight wins, and have not given up a goal during that streak, outscoring their opponents 13-0. Most recently, USC earned a statement win over 22-time National Champion UNC, which helped catapult the team to No. 12 in the NSCAA Coaches Poll.

Click here for the full game preview.

A few Women of Troy have stood out during the team's winning streak.

Sophomore Ally Prisock was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after using iron guard to raise her defense and help e-Raticate the competition.

Senior goalie Sammy Jo Prudhomme has been catching 'em all this season, earning her two consecutive Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week awards. She's been credited with four shutouts and has saved almost 90 percent of the shots that have come her way so far.

Offensively, Alex Anthony has been putting the (poke)ball in the back of the net all year. The redshirt junior transfer from Maryland has scored a team-high five goals, while Morgan Andrews and Nicole Molen have posted three each. Andrews was named to the TopDrawer Soccer's Team of the Week on Tuesday for her two-goal effort over the weekend.

Kansas, meanwhile, enters the game with a 5-2-1 record, and is coming off three straight wins against Valparaiso, Pittsburgh and UMKC.

The Jayhawks come to town at 3 p.m. on Friday at McAlister Field. Hopefully you will Pika-choose to attend and the heat won't make you Drowzee or Krabby!

Stanford Wednesday: Notes

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The Trojans are locked in on No. 5 in preparation for Stanford.
  • With one notable exception, USC will have all hands on deck Saturday. DL Noah Jefferson is likely out, but OT Zach Banner (illness) and S Marvell Tell III (concussion) were cleared to play, per head coach Clay Helton.
  • USC_Football_Pac_12_Championship_Stanford_MCGILLEN_V3_LR12071500013.jpgKhaliel Rodgers, who moved to defensive line in the offseason, has moved back to offensive line to backup Nico Falah at center after the injury to Toa Lobendahn. Helton called Rodgers "the ultimate team player."
  • Most of the Stanford questions revolve around Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey. "We have got to tackle him," said LB Cam Smith. "He's just a human. He's a great ball player, but we have got to do our job. He's very elusive. "
  • In practice this week, the "lightning quick" Velus Jones Jr. has been tasked with simulating McCaffrey on the service team. Jones is a talented receiver as well as runner, so he can provide the versatile looks that makes McCaffrey so difficult.
  • However, Stanford is more than just one player. The Cardinal run a thinking man's offense that often calls two plays in the huddle, so the quarterback can make an informed decision at the line of scrimmage. "They give you a lot of things," said defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast about the Cardinal. "They give you multiple personnel groupings, multiple formations. They force you to have to adjust and you've got to be on your P's and Q's because of the different things they do and you have to be really good at playing situation football."
  • While the Cardinal put 41 points on the Trojans in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the recent regular season contests have been tight affairs with little scoring. "I've been here long enough to know this game's going to come down to a few points," said QB Max Browne. "Very competitive team, very competitive rivalry - especially in recent memory. It's going to come down to a few throws so just staying prepared and executing what we need to do."
  • The deep throws are the ones that can make the difference and both Helton and Browne have expressed an urgency to get the vertical passing game going. "We missed a few last week," said Browne about the deep ball. "It falls on my shoulders, so making sure those balls are accurate and giving our guys a chance. I feel like that's one of my strengths - just going out there and throwing the deep ball. It's back yard ball, I've been doing that since the good old recess days. Going out there and executing those plays, those plays are big momentum plays, so that'll be huge for us."
  • Here is Helton's press conference:

21 Pilots

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Heading into the 2016-17 season, representatives from each of USC's 21 sports met on top of the AT&T Center for the annual "All 21" photo shoot. The AT&T Center, just two miles from campus, overlooks the skyline of downtown Los Angeles, where the Trojans call home.

Top row, from left to right: Nick Bell (men's water polo), Nina Kelty (lacrosse), Rebekah Ent (cross country), Anika  Apostalon (women's swimming), Eric Sloan (men's track & field), Courtney Jaco (women's basketball), Karen Chung (women's golf), Lucas Yoder (men's volleyball), Reed Malone (men's swimming), Brianna Daboub (women's water polo), Sara Hughes (beach volleyball), Jeremy Martinez (baseball)

Bottom row, from left to right: Zach Banner (football), Zoe Katz (women's tennis), Jordan McLaughlin (men's basketball), Amalie Iuel (women's track & field), Madara Strautmane (rowing), Nick Crystal (men's tennis), Collin Pollard (men's diving), Taylor Whittingham (women's volleyball), Savannah Levin (women's soccer), Sean Crocker (men's golf), Madison Witt (women's diving)

Cardinal, Gold Clash Again

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This weekend, USC heads up to Palo Alto for the latest installment of what has been an exciting rivalry the last few years between the Cardinal and the Cardinal & Gold.

While USC holds a decisive 60-31-3 series lead against Stanford, the last seven regular season meetings have been intense, featuring nailbiting, upsets and overtime. Since 2010, each regular season matchup between USC and Stanford has been decided by an average of just 5.5 points.

USC's Homecoming game vs. Stanford on Nov. 14, 2009 is the catalyst that helped the rivalry become what it is today. Jim Harbaugh's 25th-ranked Cardinal came to town and upended the 9th-ranked Trojans, 55-21. Harbaugh's decision to attempt a 2-point conversion with his team up 48-21 prompted the infamous, "What's your deal?" post-game exchange between he and then-USC head coach Pete Carroll.

The next year, Stanford rubbed salt in the wound by erasing USC's go-ahead score with just over a minute to go by hitting a game-winning FG on the final play of the game.

Come 2011, the Trojans were ready to be back on the winning end of the rivalry. Though the Cardinal entered the match-up ranked No. 4 in the nation, No. 20 USC played fearlessly --- leading by 10 in the third quarter and retaking the lead on Nickell Robey's pick-six with just three minutes to go in the game. But that's when Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck showed his strength, engineering a 76-yard, game-tying TD drive. The game would go to triple overtime, and the Cardinal stole a victory when USC fumbled into the end zone on its last opportunity to score.

It was Matt Barkley who was campaigning for a Heisman in 2012, and the Stanford game that year was a defining moment in the season. Though USC at No. 2 was ranked 19 spots ahead of the Cardinal, Stanford captured its fourth straight win in the series.

DSC_7226.jpgThe tables finally turned on a November night the next year when unranked USC toppled No. 4 Stanford. Andre Heidari came through with a 47-yard FG to put USC ahead 20-17 with moments to go, and the sold out crowd rushed the field at the L.A. Coliseum.

Heidari earned the nickname "Cardinal Killer" when he hit a career-high 53-yard FG to put the Trojans up 13-10 the following year at Stanford. J.R. Tavai forced a fumble on the Cardinal's final drive to seal another win for USC in the rivalry.

In 2015, USC couldn't get it done against Stanford, as Christian McCaffrey racked up 249 all-purpose yards in the Coliseum. The teams met again in the Pac-12 Championship, and the Cardinal were victorious again.

"That should never happen at USC: losing to Stanford twice in a season, let alone one time," said USC RB Justin Davis recently. "To have those two losses in our mouth right now, against a team that we could have very easily beat, it's driving us crazy right now."

USC has a chance to change that this Saturday in Palo Alto. For the third straight year and the fourth out of five years, the Trojans open conference play against the Cardinal. With Stanford ranked No. 7 and USC currently outside the Top 25, the Trojans have the opportunity to pull off an upset and make a statement following a 1-1 start to the season.

The Trojans take the field at 5 p.m. on Saturday to write the next chapter in the USC-Stanford story.

#USCHero: Captain John MacIntyre

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At every home game, USC and Sport Clips celebrate a veteran of the armed forces, starting this week with Captain John MacIntyre. The USC alum ('75) served 30 years in the Navy in many operational commands.

During his distinguished career, he received two Legion of Merit awards, four Meritorious Service medals, three Navy Commendation medals and three Navy Achievement medals. On Saturday, he was presented the USC Medal of Courage by athletic director Lynn Swann.


Trojans Live: Stanford Preview

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With another big game due up Saturday at Stanford, USC head coach Clay Helton and sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith stopped by Trojans Live to preview the Pac-12 opener.

Click here for Helton on Trojans Live!

Also, USC women's volleyball has won six consecutive matches, so senior captain Taylor Whittingham explained how the Women of Troy have turned it around.

Click here for Whittingham on Trojans Live!

Here is Smith's interview on rehabbing his knee injury, the difference between last year's defensive system and this year's, plus much more:

Stanford Tuesday: Notes

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The Trojans took the field for an extended practice on Tuesday in preparation for their conference opener at Stanford.
  • JD.JPGOn the injury front, USC head coach Clay Helton noted that DT Noah Jefferson is doubtful for Saturday's contest due to his shoulder injury. Full injury report: S Marvell Tell III (concussion), RT Zach Banner (stomach bug), Ronald Jones II (ribs, thigh).
  • Helton also announced that LB Osa Masina and DE Don Hill are now indefinitely suspended from all football activity, including practice and meetings, based on guidance from the University.
  • One of the Trojans' top priorities on Saturday will be bottling up Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey. Helton likened covering the 2015 Heisman Trophy finalist to "finding Waldo" because of his versatility. Helton noted that he's a skilled runner, returner and receiver, "not just out of the backfield, but they're actually using him in slot receiver positions, outside receiver positions --- he's all over the place."
  • USC RB Justin Davis (pictured) explained that McCaffrey's record-breaking performance last season motivated the Trojans to get better. "That makes us want to work hard to try to get our names out there," Davis said. "Sometimes the whole Pac-12 gets so concerned about Christian McCaffrey, but we've got backs just as talented at USC. I just can't wait to display that."
  • Helton praised K Matt Boermeester's performance on kickoffs against Utah State and emphasized how important touchbacks will be with McCaffrey as the returner on Saturday.
  • Helton also reaffirmed his commitment to playing both Max Browne and Sam Darnold all season. Helton called Browne "efficient" and Darnold "a weapon," and said "we're going to use every weapon possible on this team to be able to win football games."
  • WR Darreus Rogers, who had a career-high seven catches on Saturday, said he's happy playing with either QB, arguing that "both of the guys are good --- starters on any team in the country."
  • Rogers acknowledged that Stanford is more well-rested than USC, coming off a bye week, but is less experienced, with only one game under its belt. "They finished strong last year, but it's a new season," Rogers said. "We'll be ready, and they'll be ready, too, so it'll be a good one."
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 4

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USC women's soccer has been on a tear for the last couple of weeks, winning five straight and not allowing a goal in any of those contests.

Most recently, the Trojans pulled off an upset over 22-time National Champion UNC, 3-0. Head coach Keidane McAlpine and the 11th-ranked Trojans now gear up for a tilt against Kansas on Friday before starting conference play. McAlpine praised the play of his keeper, Sammy Jo Prudhomme, and emphasized how the team has grown since losing its first two games of the season.

Watch the fourth episode of Kickin' It With Keidane here:

Soccer Standouts

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pac-12player-prisock.jpgTwo USC women's soccer players were named Pac-12 Players of the Week yesterday, rewarding their performances in the Trojans' two weekend wins.

Click here for the full release.

The conference named Ally Prisock (pictured) the Defensive Player of the Week and Sammy Jo Prudhomme the Goalkeeper of the Week.

Prisock, a sophomore from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, picks up her first-ever Player of the Week award. She was a member of the Pac-12's All-Freshman team last season, having started each of USC's 23 contests. This season, she anchors a USC defense that's allowing just over half a goal per game.

Prudhomme, meanwhile, racks up her second consecutive player of the week award and her fourth overall. She had five saves in USC's two wins this weekend, and has been credited with four shutouts this season.


Meet Jack Jones

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USC_FOOTBALL_FALL_CAMP_080416-6080.jpgName: Jack Jones

Position: CB

Class: Freshman

Size: 5-foot-11, 170 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, CA)

Game: Jack Jack is the latest electrifying talent to join the Trojans. He can affect the game any number of ways, but most prominently, Clay Helton wants him to be a shutdown cornerback. While he learns the tricks of the trade at the college level, Jones is seeing immediate time on kick return (wearing No. 84) where he has the speed and shiftiness to bust a big play at any time.

Prep Career: Jones was a versatile player in high school, racking up 23 tackles, 1 INT and 4 deflections his senior year in addition to 42 receptions for 837 yards and 11 TD, plus occasional punt and kick return duties. He made 2015 Prep Star All-American Dream Team, USA Today All-California First Team, and was a All-American, in addition to numerous other accolades.

Helton on Jones' aspirations to win the Heisman Trophy: "The thing that I really appreciate about all these freshmen that are coming in is their confidence. Just watched them running down on kickoff --- there's no fear. There's four of them lined up and they're all flying ... They feel like they're the best in the world. And that's the approach you've got to take."

Fun Fact: Jones announced his college decision on Snoop Dogg's talk show.

Here is Jones on what he's learned since coming to USC and who he looks up to on the team...

2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 1

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The first week of the 2016 NFL season is over, and many of USC's 36 representatives in the NFL made a big impact in their season openers.

leonard-nfl-week1.jpgThe Best

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets

After a 2015 season which put him in the conversation for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Williams appears ready to take command in 2016. Williams had a monster performance in his season opener, racking up 6 tackles and 2.5 sacks --- a career-high and the most in the NFL after Week 1. Williams' Jets couldn't pull off the win, though, as the Bengals went ahead on a late FG and fellow Trojan Josh Shaw hauled in an INT on the Jets' final drive to seal the victory for Cincinnati.

Best of the Rest

Josh Shaw, CB, Bengals - 4 tackles, 1 INT (sealed victory for Bengals)

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 24/37, 271 yards, 2 TD, 104.7 passer rating

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles - 4 receptions, 47 yards, 1 TD

Shareece Wright, CB, Ravens - Game-high 11 tackles (all solo), including 3 TFL

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 3 tackles (including 2 TFL), 1 sack

Nick Perry, LB, Packers - 3 tackles (including 2 TFL), 1 sack

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - 8 tackles (4 solo), 1 TFL

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 8 tackles (all solo), game-high 4 TFL

Pride of Polynesia

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Two Trojans have been selected as finalists for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

lofa.jpgUSC alums Riki Ellison and Lofa Tatupu (pictured, #58) are two of the 18 finalists chosen from a list of more than 200 nominees. Five of the current 18 will be inducted early next year.

Ellison, known as Riki Gray at the time, played LB at USC from 1978-82. The New Zealand native won a national championship at USC his freshman year and appeared in two Rose Bowls. He earned Pac-10 first-team honors his sophomore year and led the Trojans in tackles his senior year.

Ellison was drafted in the 5th round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, becoming the first Kiwi to ever play in the NFL. He played in SF for seven seasons (1983-89), winning three Super Bowls. He then played for the Los Angeles Raiders for three years (1990-92).

Tatupu, also a linebacker, played at USC from 2003-04, winning national championships both years. After leading the team in tackles in both seasons at USC, he was named an All-American in 2004. He also won many team awards, including USC's Bob Chandler award, Most Inspirational Player Award, John McKay Award and Defensive Weightlifter of the Year Award during his time as a Trojan.

The Seahawks drafted Tatupu in the 2nd round of the 2005 NFL Draft. In six seasons in Seattle, Tatupu was a three-time Pro Bowler, an All-Pro selection in 2007 and a Super Bowl champion in 2006.

Clay Helton Q&A - Stanford

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As a new week begins, the Trojans turn their attention to Stanford, the reigning Pac-12 champions. USC fell to the Cardinal twice last season, but the recent rivalry has see-sawed back-and-forth with the last seven regular season games being decided by 10 points or less.

Here is Helton's early impressions on the Cardinal, Christian McCaffrey and more:

High Performer: Cameron Smith

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Freshman All-American LB Cameron Smith has been even better through two games as a sophomore. Despite losing the end of last year and the offseason to knee surgery, the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year is leading the conference in tackles.

Along with OLB Porter Gustin, he paced the team in tackles against Alabama, and then Smith led all Trojans in stops with 13 in the home opener versus Utah State. He also picked up his first tackle-for-loss against the Aggies.

The Trojans will need Smith to step up again this week when they travel up to Stanford. USC limited Cardinal star Christian McCaffrey to 115 rush yards in the first meeting last season when Smith played, but the 2015 Heisman finalist obliterated the Trojans for 207 rush yards in the Pac-12 Championship Game with Smith sidelined.


Lusty Lachlan

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USC's Lachlan Edwards was named MPSF men's water polo player of the week following his impressive performances in the Trojans' three weekend wins.

Click here for the full release.

Edwards, who earned second-team All-American honors as a sophomore last year, led the team with 11 goals scored in three games this weekend. The Melbourne, Australia native now ranks second on the team with 12 total goals. Last year, his older brother, Blake, led the team in scoring. Though Blake is nearly three years older than Lachlan, both are juniors on the team, since Blake transferred in after playing collegiately in Australia, while Lachlan was recruited straight out of high school.

Trojan fans can check out the Edwards brothers and the men's water polo team when they play at Stanford on Saturday at 1 p.m. --- four hours before the football team kicks off at Stanford Stadium.


Hometown Hero

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor

The chance to compete in an Olympics is every athlete's dream. The chance to compete in an Olympics for the host country, in your hometown, in an event your country has never participated in before? Unimaginable. But that was exactly the opportunity for junior Victoria Chamorro, goalie for Women of Troy water polo.

Grace DeWitt (GD): What was your first thought when you learned that Rio would be hosting the Olympics?

Victoria Chamorro (VC): "It was 2009 when I found out. I had started to play water polo a year earlier - I was really new to the sport. I was really happy because the Beijing Olympics had just ended and I had watched and thought, 'Wow, I can play in the Olympics at home in the future,' like a 'when I grow up...' kind of thought. It came true when I joined the national team and later sank in that I actually could be a part of the Olympic team. It was awesome; it was really motivating."

GD: When did you find out you'd be playing for the Brazilian team?

VC: "The last cut was in July of this year. I had already been on the national team for two years with the coach that would be the Olympic coach, but I didn't know if I would be going to the Olympics or not because there would only be two goalies going and there were three trying out. The other two were much older than me, 10 years older. It was the first time that the Brazilian team was going to Olympics. I knew that I had it in me, but I still didn't know if I would be selected. Even though I had played more than the other two goalies, anything could happen. But I was selected, and I was really emotional."

USC_Water_Polo_ASU_031415_MCG6674.JPGGD: Did you bump into other Trojans while you were there?

VC: "Yes! Water polo had a lot of Trojans, for both women's and men's. I met up with my friend, goalie McQuin [Baron], who is also from the class of 2018. I also met up with two women's water polo players from Team USA, Kaleigh Gilchrist and Kami Craig, Kostas [Genidounias] from Greece, and many others. It was really cool to see how strong the USC program is and how many Olympians we send to every Olympics. I was really honored to be part of this group that represents USC water polo in the Olympics. To come back here and be a part of a group that studies here, are Olympians, and play for USC --- it's really gratifying. It's an honor."

GD: You played against Kaleigh and Kami, how was that?

VC: "Kaleigh shot a penalty shot against me. Kami missed one against me. I was doing an interview and then she stopped me and was like 'Dammit, it was the intimidation factor,' because she was swimming and swimming and she didn't stop. She got too close, lost the angle and then she just like...boom. I didn't even have to touch it! It went off the corner; she just missed the cage. I was like, 'Alright!' and she was like, 'Oh, that was embarrassing.' I knew Kaleigh before the Olympics from here at school, but Kami was always someone whose playing I admired a lot. Today we're friends and they're really cool. We always talk at championships because we're both from USC. Playing against them is...interesting (laughs). It's really cool. But they are Americans, so at game time I'm not thinking whether they're from USC or not. But after the game it's all respect, admiration for others from the same school, friendship. So it's really cool. It's cool to see, to have two people that passed through the same process of college as me, and to arrive at this level, earn gold medals, and Kami three medals!"

GD: Describe your emotions playing in your country, in your hometown.

VC: "I have so much to say. First, arriving at the Olympic Village, I already started to cry with my colleagues from here. Afterwards, at the Opening Ceremonies, it was amazing entering Maracana with everyone screaming, singing, Maracana packed. I'm going to get goosebumps thinking about it right now. It was a lot of emotions altogether. I thought a lot about my family, everything I had been through to get to that point, when training was hard, nut at the same time, a lot of happiness to be living in that moment. I was looking up at everything, enjoying the moment. After, in the first game, I was very confident the whole time, very happy, ready, I didn't feel nervous, I didn't feel any pressure. Nerves hadn't hit me at all. It was only my motivation --- to be home, with 10,000 people watching in the stadium. And even when I played, it was very emotional. It was a unique feeling. I had never felt that way in my life."

GD: Did you have a lot of family there watching you at the stadium?

VC: "Yes! My mother and father, my best friends from my childhood, my friends from my Brazilian club team, my aunt, cousins; lots of people."

GD: What was your favorite part of the games?

VC: "The Brazilian fans. The crowd was amazing. Every goal, every time I had the ball they would scream my name. It was such a vibe, they cheered for me the whole time. It was awesome to play with everyone supporting and rooting for you. For me, at least, I didn't feel intimidated, I felt very happy. I was home. Everything changes when you think, 'Wow, everyone is in Brazil playing my sport, which isn't well known here, with 10,000 people watching,' It was very motivational. It was really special."

GD: Did you feel like your team had an impact on the sport in Brazil?

VC: "It was the first women's water polo team from Brazil, a young team with with young players like myself. Other girls were much older, more than 30 years old. It was a milestone in the history of my sport in the country. Our team didn't have a lot of help from the confederation. No investments; they cut it off from us. And even so, the team was able to represent the country well. We were able to show the world of water polo that talent exists in Brazil and that if we had a little bit more incentive from the confederation, we can be a team that can fight for a medal. All the teams had difficult games against us. Brazil was winning until the half against a majority of the teams, so it wasn't easy. Everybody saw Brazil through different eyes, in a different way, with more respect for Brazil's women's water polo. To be part of that impact is very rewarding and I hope that we are in the next Olympics."

GD: Any other thoughts from the games?

VC: "To represent USC in the Olympics, to represent Brazil in Rio, my home, was a special experience. I'm never going to forget it. It changed and impacted my life in many respects: as an athlete, as a person. I'm happy to value Rio as my home. I think the Olympics were very beautiful. I was a little afraid about the structures and security, but it was very positive. I think everything was really beautiful. Everything was alright and made a great impression for everyone who went, especially for me since I'm from Rio. The Olympic spirit definitely will be with me forever and I definitely want to go to Tokyo 2020 now. My hands can't wait."



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USC women's volleyball swept the Rice Adidas Invitational over the weekend to extend its winning streak to six straight matches.

The Trojans, who moved up three spots to No. 21 in the nation this week, only dropped one set in the tournament. They opened up by topping Sam Houston State in three sets. The next day, they swept Oakland before beating host Rice in four sets to claim the tournament title.

USC had three players (middle blocker Elise Ruddins, opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie and outside hitter Khalia Lanier) named to the all-tournament team. Ruddins, who finished the weekend with 25 kills and 16 blocks, was named the MVP of the tourney. The Laguna Beach, CA native had a career-high nine blocks and a career-best .688 hitting percentage against Rice.

USC head coach Mick Haley now has 398 wins at USC, with the opportunity to get to 400 in the upcoming Pac-12 Challenge, where USC hosts Oklahoma and Maryland.

Wicked Weekend for Water Polo

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USC men's water polo enjoyed an utterly dominant weekend, outscoring its opponents 67-7 in three games.

On Saturday morning, No. 2 USC hosted No. 6 UC Santa Barbara at Uytengsu Aquatics Center, and beat the Gauchos with ease in a 14-3 win. The Trojans didn't skip a beat, heading to La Verne, CA for the Inland Empire Classic the next day. USC opened up with a 27-3 win over Whittier and ended the day with a 26-1 win over La Verne.

Lachlan Edwards led the Trojans with 11 goals over the weekend, and 19 Trojans scored in total. On the defensive side, USC continued its streak of not allowing more than 3 goals in any game this season.

The Trojans have now opened up their season 5-0 in the last 15 consecutive seasons.

Rachel Bennett was at Uytengsu to capture USC's first win of the weekend. Check out her photos here:

Special Indeed

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USC junior cornerback Adoree' Jackson was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week for his 77-yard punt return for a touchdown against Utah State.

Click here for the full story.

Jackson now has three punt returns for touchdowns in his career along with two kick return TDs, five touchdown catches and one pick-six to make 11 total scores. He has also been dominant at the cornerback position through two games, while playing significantly less on offense than previous seasons.


Taking Down the Tar Heels

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USC women's soccer upset perennial powerhouse UNC on Sunday in a dominating 3-0 victory.

Click here for the full recap.

No team had scored 3 or more goals on the 22-time National Champion Tar Heels in exactly five years to the date. The last time UNC surrendered that many goals was in a 4-3 OT loss to Texas A&M on Sept. 11, 2011.

Click here for highlights of the upset win.

The Trojans, meanwhile, have not allowed a goal since Aug. 26, in a 1-0 loss to Long Beach State. Since then, they've won five straight and outscored their opponents 13-0.

In the shutout win over the No. 8 Tar Heels, the Trojans got goals from Morgan Andrews, Katie Johnson and Alex Anthony. Anthony now leads the team with five goals in seven games, while Andrews has three.

Both Anthony and Andrews are transfers, as Anthony is in her first year at USC after transferring from Maryland, while Andrews came to Troy from Notre Dame in 2015.

Click here to see what Anthony, head coach Keidane McAlpine and defender Ally Prisock had to say after the win.

John McGillen was at McAlister Field to capture all the action from USC's impressive win. Check out his photos here:

McGillen Galleries: USC vs. Utah State

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On a beautiful Saturday morning/early afternoon, the Trojans found their feet at home in the Coliseum. USC team photographer John McGillen and his team, Ryan Kang and Rachel Bennett, provided blanket coverage of the first win of the season.

Trojan of the Game: JuJu Smith-Schuster

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The Trojan Family voted junior WR JuJu Smith-Schuster the Mercury Insurance Trojan of the Game for his two-touchdown performance against Utah State.

Smith-Schuster saw consistent double teams once again, but he managed to shake loose for 7 catches and 56 receiving yards. His signature moment did not require the ball as he blasted a defender with a bone-shattering block, which drew national attention.


SooHoo Gallery: USC vs. Utah State

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For the first home game of the season, legendary Los Angeles photographer Jon SooHoo provided us with his photos from USC's resounding victory over Utah State.

09/10/16-USC v Utah St-available - Images by Jon SooHoo

6-Points: USC 45, Utah State 7

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The Trojans looked right at home in the Coliseum, bouncing back with a blowout victory to even their record at 1-1.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the Rapid Reaction.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

Final-USU.jpgFeel Good W

The Trojans were embarrassed by their performance against Alabama, and they played like a team with a chip on its collective shoulder. "All week, we've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting to get that bad taste out of our mouth," said senior RB Justin Davis. "What we showed against Alabama is nothing close to what USC football is supposed to be." The collective anger was expressed in one play by JuJu Smith-Schuster who showed the edge and physicality that head coach Clay Helton preaches on a daily basis. The Trojans got back to the formula that led them to the Pac-12 South title last season: stop the run, run to open up the pass, play good special teams and create turnovers.

Baxter's Back

Helton made two big hires upon being named the full-time head coach. First, he brought back special teams coordinator John Baxter who has a knack for drawing up blocked kicks. In need of an early spark, special teams created "great momentum," per Helton, "especially the block punt right off the bat by Michael Pittman. Terrific job. Exactly how Coach Baxter drew it up." Later in the game, the amazing Adoree' Jackson raced 77 yards for his third career punt return for a touchdown. "[Baxter] preached all week that Adoree', if given the opportunity, would score a touchdown," said Helton.

Clancy Too

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast was the other big addition to the coaching staff. "Thank goodness Clancy Pendergast is here," said Helton. After a dominant first half last week, Pendergast's crew put two halves together Saturday, and nearly pitched a shutout. Utah State came into the game as the No. 1 rushing team in the country, but the Trojans held the Aggies to 49 yards on 26 attempts. "When it comes to playing the run, we have a lot of potential there," said OLB Porter Gustin, who had 6 tackles, 2 TFLs and 1 sack. "We're really coming together all around in the run game, so I think that's actually going to be one of our strengths."

QB1 and QB1A

For the second consecutive week, Helton played two quarterbacks and Max Browne and Sam Darnold were "both very efficient," according to the head coach. Browne completed 23 of 30 for 182 yards and 2 TDs with 1 INT.  Browne "wasn't perfect," said Helton, who added that he "missed a couple deep ball opportunities that I wish we had back." While Darnold played a lot, there is no quarterback controversy for the time being. Darnold is contributing in short yardage and red zone situations, and gaining experience because he is "one snap away from being the starter," explained Helton. The redshirt freshman went 5/7 for 62 yards and 2 TDs. Both quarterbacks threw the first touchdown passes of their college careers.

Spreading the Wealth

With so many eyes on Smith-Schuster, the offense diversified its attack. Ten different Trojans caught passes, led by Darreus Rogers (7 receptions for 82 yards), and four different players scored touchdowns, including two for JuJu. "Whoever is there is going to make our plays," said Browne. "It's great having a lot of weapons." Helton liked the ball control attack, which featured 208 yards on the ground, highlighted by 106 all-purpose yards from Davis and 57 yards on 11 carries and a TD for Aca'Cedric Ware. To make it all work, the offensive line "stepped up," per Helton, and provided time and room for the skill position players to shine.

Trip to the Farm

The offensive line needs to continue its improvement because the next two opponents, Stanford and Utah, feature fierce fronts. "I still believe that they're the best o-line in the country...and I kinda saw it a little bit today, which made me excited," said Davis about his front five. "We're going to have to take it up to a whole other level, myself included, at Stanford next week." The Trojans are all too familiar with the Cardinal. "They are the Pac-12 champs. We faced them twice last year on the short end. We have a huge challenge," said Helton. "We look forward to the opportunity." Expect another physical battle next Saturday in Palo Alto at 5 p.m. on ABC.

Here are the Pac-12 Network highlights from USC's 45-7 win over Utah State:

The Sights and Sounds from USC's Win over Utah State

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

USC Wins Big in Home Opener vs. Utah State

2016 Game 2: USC vs. Utah State

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Utah State Aggies (1-0) at USC Trojans (0-1)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 11 a.m. PT on Pac-12 Network

Myers.jpgAggie to Watch: Junior QB Kent Myers

The Trojans will see an endless parade of mobile quarterbacks this season and Myers is no different. He owns the school's single-game rushing record for a quarterback, scampering for 191 yards against Colorado State last season. He is also an accurate passer, completing 63% of his passes over his career, which is second best in program history. Last week, Myers hurt Weber State with his arm (11/17 for 100 yards) and his legs (7 carries for 53 yards) in a 45-6 win.

Click here for more on the Aggies.

3 Keys

Breakfast at the Coliseum

The Trojans will likely not have played a game that kicked off before Noon since Pop Warner days, so they need an early wake up call. Motivation should not be a problem after last week's humbling defeat at the hands of Alabama. However, USC could use a fast start offensively to build confidence, so early execution will be key. The offensive line will have to get used to a new center with Nico Falah taking over for the injured Toa Lobendahn.

Trap Game

Having won or lost the opener, Utah State was always going to be a tricky test. The Aggies are a solid squad, which gave USC fits in a 17-14 Trojans' victory back in 2013. Last year, Utah State only lost by 10 at Utah and 14 at Washington. While the USC fan base is down after the disappointing effort against Alabama, the team cannot afford to be. Everything is still in front of them. Head coach Clay Helton has preached that no one game will define this season, and his team needs to match that mentality to avoid any hangover effect.

Game of Runs

While Helton had a multitude of problems to clean up after game one, the run game is first and foremost on his mind. He has clearly expressed that the power run mentality will be the hallmark of his offense and everything else works off that. Utah State is thinking the same thing. The Aggies rushed for 428 yards and 6 TDs in their season-opening win. Tricks and gimmicks will not win the day. The Trojans and Aggies will battle for line of scrimmage supremacy and the victor will get all the spoils.

Reserve a Tailgate for Saturday!

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Saturday's 11 a.m. game against Utah State is the earliest kickoff at the Coliseum since at least the 1950s. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone else get there early to set up your tailgate for you?

This fall, Tailgater Concierge is providing an easy and affordable tailgating option for Trojan fans.

Tailgater Concierge will provide set-up and take-down of an exclusive tailgate as well as service throughout the entire tailgating period, both at home and at select away games.

Packages are available for groups of any size and can be customized to fit your needs.

Click here to reserve a tailgate or to find more information!

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Utah State Thursday: Clay Helton Presser

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor 

USC wrapped up its final practice of the week Thursday, before its home opener against Utah State this Saturday at the Coliseum. While the Trojans are raring to go in front of their home faithful, head coach Clay Helton had to deliver some tough news on center Toa Lobendahn. After injuring his knee against Alabama, more testing showed a torn ACL for the junior lineman, which will rule him out for the remainder of the season.

In his place, Nico Falah will start for the Trojans. For additional information on Lobendahn's injury and more ahead of the game on Saturday, here is Helton's press conference:

Leventhal Stat of the Week: Utah State

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This year, the Trojans are teaming up with the USC Leventhal School of Accounting to bring you a Stat of the Week for every upcoming game.

This Saturday against Utah State, USC looks to improve upon its 94-19-7 (.813) record in home openers. That record does not include one win vacated due to NCAA penalty (original record: 95-19-7).

Click here for tickets!

It Takes A TV

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Are you counting down the days until you can watch USC men's basketball take the court? The Pac-12 announced today that 29 of the Trojans' 31 regular season games this season will be available on the Pac-12 Network, ESPNU or Fox Sports 1.

Click here for the full release.

All 31 games will be broadcast on USC's radio flagship station, ESPNLA 710, one of its affiliates or on the TuneIn Radio app.

USC is coming off a 21-13 season in which the team made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011. USC returns three starters from that team, and welcomes two transfers and four freshmen.

The Trojans kick off their season on Nov. 11 at the Galen Center against Montana.

Click here for tickets!

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Polo in the Morning

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If USC's 11 a.m. kickoff at the Coliseum on Saturday isn't early enough for you, USC men's water polo hosts its home opener at 9 a.m. that morning.

The No. 2 ranked Trojans are fresh off the Triton Invitational, where they beat No. 8 UC Irvine, 14-3, and No. 17 Cal Baptist, 16-3. On Saturday, they set up at home against 6th-ranked UC Santa Barbara.

Click here for the full game preview.

USC topped UCSB twice last year --- once in Malibu at the Kap SoCal Invitational (10-8) and once in Santa Barbara (6-5).

Saturday's showdown will be the first of nine home matches for the Trojans this season, and head coach Jovan Vavic thinks fans are in for a treat.

"I know that we have the talent and the pieces, and now we have experience," Vavic said. "If they really commit, I think it's going to be a great year."

Click here for the full season preview.

Grab your coffee and head to Uytengsu Aquatics Center Saturday at 9 a.m.!


FIRST LOOK: 2016 USC Football Poster

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Fans attending the home opener against Utah State will go home with the 2016 USC football schedule poster along with a Marcus Allen bobblehead. The two-sided poster celebrates football and family, two pillars of the Trojan tradition.

Click here to read the stories behind the poster!

You can click on either image to download the full-res version. Posters are also available for free pickup at Heritage Hall or purchase ($5) online.

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Steve Bronze-son

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USC's all-time most decorated men's tennis player added another piece of hardware to his collection last month.

stevie j.jpgSteve Johnson, who won two NCAA singles crowns and four team championships at USC, earned a bronze medal in men's doubles at Rio 2016. Johnson just missed a chance to medal in singles, too --- in the quarterfinals, he showed his fighting spirit in a three-set loss to Andy Murray. Johnson failed to win a game in the first set, but roared back to win the second before falling in the third set tiebreaker to the eventual Olympic champion.

Just hours after that heartbreaking defeat, Johnson teamed up with Jack Sock to win bronze in the doubles tournament.

The top-ranked American man in tennis recently stopped by USC to share stories about his Olympic experience.

Aubrey Kragen (AK): You were so incredibly successful at USC. Was the Olympics a goal for you at the time, or did it become a reality later on?

Steve Johnson (SJ): "When I left USC, the Olympics wasn't even on my radar, because right when I finished, the 2012 Olympics was just happening, but you saw the Olympics and you obviously, one day, would like to play. I'm such a big team guy, and I knew playing in that environment would be remarkable. I kind of knew at the end of last year that I was going to be in, so it took a lot of the pressure off me ... It was such an amazing experience down there. It was hard to describe. It was fun to catch up with a lot of USC athletes and friends I hadn't seen for years, and to see how our paths had taken such different turns, but we all ended up at the same place. It was just such a blast."

AK: You mentioned it took pressure off you making the team early, but when you got there, did you put a lot of pressure on yourself? What were your expectations?

SJ: "I just wanted to make the most of it and make everyone proud of the way I competed and carried myself throughout the Olympics. Once you get towards the end of the week, you realize there is a chance for medals, and the chance to stand on the podium and represent your country. It was in the back of my mind the whole time, because you want to go down there and succeed, but when it becomes a reality, you've really got to focus on what you do best that got you there ... You didn't want to get too far ahead of yourself, but you wanted to make sure that you were ready to go."

AK: Can you talk me through your match against Andy Murray? What was going through your head?

SJ: "It was interesting. I had played him once before and I knew kind of what he was going to do, and I knew what I wanted to do. Sometimes it doesn't go according to plan --- the first set went by a little too fast. I got kicked in the pants a little bit and got a chance to regroup in between sets ... I came out and I was playing great, you know, got my chance to win at the end, and unfortunately, he played great tennis at that point. Nothing I can do but just say, 'Too good' and hopefully get another chance. To get that close in singles to a chance at a medal was definitely heartbreaking, but later that day we got the chance to win the bronze in doubles. The range of emotion went from sadness to complete joy, and I didn't even care about the singles anymore. It was such an interesting day --- emotionally up-and-down."

AK: How were you able to bounce back mentally after a really disappointing loss to perform well enough to medal in doubles that same day?

SJ: "The doubles helped ... That singles match was heartbreaking, so I'm glad I actually got the chance to go out there and play doubles later in the day, to get a chance to rewrite the end of this Olympic story for 2016. Thankfully we went out there and got a win and got a bronze medal, because after the singles, if we would have gone out there and gotten fourth, my experience would be so different. I'm just so happy to walk away with a medal and bring it back to show all my friends and family. It's something I can share with them for the rest of my life."

AK: What's it been like since getting back now that you have a medal? What do you do with your medal?

SJ: "I haven't quite gotten the box for it yet. It's still a work in progress from the Olympics --- I had to leave the next day after we finished, so I didn't get a chance to get a trophy box. I've been on the road since the Olympics, and I just got home, so it's been fun to share it with my parents, my girlfriend's family and my family. I'm going to see my grandparents in a few days, and they've never seen one so it'll be fun for them to see one. I don't like to be the center of attention, by any means, so I just bring it and it kind of sits around until someone wants to see it. It's just fun to share that with friends and family, because if you know anything about any sport, you know what the Olympics are and you know how special that is."

AK: What did it mean to you to meet up with some fellow Trojans in Rio, so far away from home?

SJ: "It's amazing. The Trojan Family is a bond that we'll never not have. It was awesome to watch Kaleigh [Gilchrist] and Kami [Craig] win gold in women's water polo --- I was glued to my TV in Cincinnati. Same with Micah [Christensen] and Murphy [Troy], coming back from down two sets in the third and the fourth ... It's just fun to support and follow those kinds of people that went through the same things as you, and now you can enjoy it on a bigger stage."

AK: Is there anything you learned at USC that helped you when you were in Rio or helped you get there in the first place?

SJ: "They really helped me grow as a person, both on the tennis court and off. I have a lot to thank for my parents and my family and Peter [Smith] and everybody here who was involved with my upbringing and turning me from a talented boy to a grown man who's now responsible for life and adulthood. Having all these people around me and supporting me, they were the first people I called as soon as I won."


Find the Trojans on Pac-12 Network

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For the first of at least two times this season, USC football will be on Pac-12 Network. If you cannot make it to the game, we're trying to make it as easy as possible for you to watch it on TV despite the conference channel's distribution limitations.

Click here for the Pac-12 Network channel finder.

If you are in Southern California, here is a handy chart:

AT&T - Pac-12 Network (HD & SD) + Pac-12 Bay Area (HD & SD)+ Pac-12 Los Angeles (HD & SD)
Bright House Networks - Pac-12 Network (HD & SD) + 6 Regionals (HD & SD)
Catalina Cable - Pac-12 Network (HD & SD) + Pac-12 Los Angeles (HD & SD)
Cox - Pac-12 Network (HD & SD) + Pac-12 Los Angeles (HD & SD)
DISH Network - Pac-12 Network (HD & SD)
Frontier Communications - Pac-12 Network (HD & SD) + Pac-12 Los Angeles (HD) + Pac-12 Bay Area (HD)
Suddenlink - Pac-12 Network (HD & SD) + Pac-12 Los Angeles (HD & SD)
Time Warner Cable - Pac-12 Network (HD & SD) + 6 Regionals (HD & SD)

The big news is that the Pac-12 Network is now on Frontier (formerly Verizon Fios) in the Los Angeles area. Also, the conference announced a deal with Sling TV.

The game kicks off at 11 a.m. PT. Roxy Bernstein and Anthony Herron are on the call with Kate Scott on the sideline.


Utah State Wednesday: Notes

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Spirits were high on the practice field as the Trojans continue to push each other to play better on Saturday.
  • Head coach Clay Helton recited a similar injury report as yesterday: DE Noah Jefferson (shoulder sprain - "very questionable"), DT Khaliel Rodgers (hamstring), C Toa Lobendahn (knee swelling - awaiting MRI results), WR Deontay Burnett (shoulder sprain) and John Plattenburg (concussion).
  • USC_Football_Bama_mcgillen_LRDSC_0914.JPGMax Browne will start at quarterback again, but expect to see Sam Darnold enter for certain red zone and short yardage opportunities. Helton is looking for Browne to combine his "poise" with "productivity."
  • While Browne broke a long run (pictured), he is much more likely to make big plays with his arm, and he is looking for better success down the field this week than against Alabama. "I think you look back and there's probably two deep ball throws that are not only completions, they're momentum shifters," Browne said. "So you have to connect on those in all three phases: offensive line, my play, and then receivers down field. But just staying the course, leading my guys, and staying ready."
  • The Crimson Tide took away Browne's top target, JuJu Smith-Schuster. "If that's the case, let's make Darreus Rogers a household name, and that's what we've got to do," the redshirt junior QB said. "We had flashes of that last week I think, but at the end of the day, it's not just like we're going to forget about [JuJu]. Nah, that's not the case. We're going to move them around and give them the ball, find situations to make plays and if it happens and we're in that situation, we'll spread the ball around. We've got a lot of playmakers."
  • The defense kept the Trojans in the game for a half because the defensive line held up much better against the power run than most expected. Grad transfer NT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu played an important role with his ability to "hold the point," explained Helton. The head coach will want more of the same against Utah State, which is "a very good run team."
  • The running will start with Aggies QB Kent Myers, who owns the school single-game rushing record for a quarterback. "I expect him to run a lot," said ILB Cam Smith. "He's gonna scramble and make anything he can get. He's a good guy, he's a good quarterback and he likes to use his feet so I'm expecting that a lot."
  • Smith looked like his old self on Saturday, leading the Trojans with nine tackles, but he knows that the defense as a whole must clean up the mistakes. "The main thing I saw was we shot ourselves in the foot a lot," said the sophomore. "When they had those big plays, that was the main thing. We have a lot to look forward to, but there's definitely some things to work on."
  • The Trojans were enjoying themselves on the practice field today. On the final play, CB Adoree' Jackson was swarmed by his defensive mates after knocking away a deep ball from Josh Imatorbhebhe. "I think the guys are responding fine," said the junior captain. "We're still out there practicing like we've been practicing. Nothing has really changed, we're still doing the same preparation. You don't really change in-season just because a game like that happens. We've got to do the same things coming in. Like Coach said, we prepared for it, our outcome didn't come out to how we prepared. The same preparation we did last week, we're going to do this week."
  • Here is Helton who was mostly peppered with questions about the team's entrance:

Cover Girl Kerrigan

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Kerrigan Miller, an incoming freshman on USC's women's lacrosse team, is featured on the September cover of "Inside Lacrosse" magazine.

Miller was the top recruit in the nation coming out of Bayport-Blue Point High School in Bayport, NY.

Halley Quillinan, the editor of "Inside Lacrosse Women," spoke very highly of Miller. "She's a special type of player that a program can be built around for four years, and the type that doesn't come around often," Quillinan said. "She's the first No. 1 recruit that USC has been able to snag, but undoubtedly not their last and I think her commitment to the program and the coaches there legitimized the Trojans as 'having arrived,' so to speak."

Come February, Miller will have the chance to help the Trojans improve upon last season's outstanding 20-1 record.


#USCtotheNFL in 2016

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This Thursday, the 2016 NFL season kicks off, and 36 Trojans will be represented on active rosters.

USC has eight linebackers, four tight ends, four QBs, four cornerbacks, three wide receivers, three centers, two defensive ends, two defensive tackles, two running backs, two offensive tackles and one safety on active rosters.

The Trojans on active NFL rosters are spread across 23 different teams. The Buffalo Bills have the most Trojans of any NFL squad (four), while the Vikings are right behind, with three.

In addition to the the 36 Trojans on active rosters, three USC products are also on practice squads, two are on injured reserve and one is suspended, for a total of 42 USC alumni in the league.

Carson Palmer is the most seasoned Trojan in the NFL, currently entering his 14th season. Meanwhile, four Trojans are set to embark upon their rookie seasons: Su'a Cravens, Cody Kessler, Kevon Seymour and Max Tuerk.

USC also has many NFL head coaching connections, highlighted by Chuck Pagano (Colts), Jeff Fisher (Rams), Pete Carroll (Seahawks) and Jack Del Rio (Raiders).

Here are your 2016 USC alums on opening day NFL rosters...

sua.jpgQB Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals)
DT Frostee Rucker (Arizona Cardinals)
RB Javorius "Buck" Allen (Baltimore Ravens)
CB Shareece Wright (Baltimore Ravens)
RB Reggie Bush (Buffalo Bills)*
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (Buffalo Bills)
CB Kevon Seymour (Buffalo Bills)
WR Robert Woods (Buffalo Bills)
C Ryan Kalil (Carolina Panthers)
LB Rey Maualuga (Cincinnati Bengals)
CB Josh Shaw (Cincinnati Bengals)
QB Cody Kessler (pictured; Cleveland Browns)
TE Randall Telfer (Cleveland Browns)
QB Mark Sanchez (Dallas Cowboys)
OT Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
LB Clay Matthews (Green Bay Packers)
LB Nick Perry (Green Bay Packers)
LB Brian Cushing (Houston Texans)
S T.J. McDonald (Los Angeles Rams)
WR Marqise Lee (Jacksonville Jaguars)
cody.jpgLB Hayes Pullard (Jacksonville Jaguars)
TE Jordan Cameron (Miami Dolphins)
TE Rhett Ellison (Minnesota Vikings)
DE Everson Griffen (Minnesota Vikings)
OT Matt Kalil (Minnesota Vikings)
LB Devon Kennard (New York Giants)
DE Leonard Williams (New York Jets)
LB Malcolm Smith (Oakland Raiders)
WR Nelson Agholor (Philadelphia Eagles)
TE Xavier Grimble (Pittsburgh Steelers)
C Max Tuerk (San Diego Chargers)
C Marcus Martin (San Francisco 49ers)
LB Mike Morgan (Seattle Seahawks)
DT Jurrell Casey (Tennessee Titans)
QB Matt Cassel (Tennessee Titans)
S/LB Su'a Cravens (pictured; Washington Redskins)

QB Matt Barkley (Chicago Bears)
DE Claude Pelon (New York Jets)
NT Antwaun Woods (Tennessee Titans)

FB Soma Vainuku (Houston Texans)
RB Tre Madden (Seattle Seahawks)


RB Silas Redd Jr. (Washington Redskins)

*Pursuant to the NCAA/COI report of 6/10/10, USC was directed to disassociate itself from Reggie Bush.

State of Troy: September 2016

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

Swann on the Alabama game...

USC_Football_Bama_mcgillen_LRDSC_6199.JPGOne game, especially the first game, does not make a season and does not break a season. Everyone in the Trojan Family would have liked to have been on the right side of an upset win over the No. 1 team in the country, but we are a better football team than the score indicated. The lopsidedness of the score was an indication of a few mistakes, broken assignments and playing against an extremely talented and deep football team. We can correct those mistakes. Most teams in college football make their greatest improvement between the first and third games of the season. We are looking for a lot of improvement in terms of assignments, not making mistakes and playing better football in the second game of the season against Utah State. I think we are a much better football team than we showed Saturday. Our ultimate goal is to win the Pac-12 and have a chance to be in the Rose Bowl. All other things come as a result of achieving that goal.

Swann on the fighting spirit needed by all Trojans...

What we do and what we say is 'Fight On' and that's exactly what we do in the next game. You pick your head up and learn from the mistakes. You find the resolve to come back and play the next week. We always learn more from the difficult things we endure in life than the easy wins. We celebrate the victories, but we learn from the mistakes. As a demonstration of that mindset, every Friday here is 'Fight On Friday', so wear your Cardinal and Gold proudly. Come support all our teams and show your Trojan pride wherever you are.

Click here for tickets to USC vs. Utah State at the Coliseum.

Swann on women's soccer and women's volleyball bouncing back with winning weeks...

I watched the women's soccer team play earlier this year, and they looked extraordinary solid and talented. They are working on a few bugs to be a more cohesive team and a unit, but there's some remarkable talent out there. They have a great opportunity this week to host a Top 10 North Carolina team on Sunday (1 p.m.) at McAlister Field. And later this season, the Women of Troy will play a showcase game against UCLA at StubHub Center. Women's volleyball got off to a slow start, trying to replace some key players from last season. They have some young players who will have the chance to stand up and fight and do well. They have begun that process.

Click here for tickets to USC vs. UCLA at StubHub Center.

USC_Womens_soccer_pepperdine_mcgillen_082816_DSC_5171.JPGSwann on No. 2 men's water polo and head coach Jovan Vavic...

Jovan has a great record and a unique style. He is very forthright and honest about his approach with the student-athletes. They have responded, obviously by their record, extraordinarily well. He is a demanding coach and his players have a huge track record to live up to and they don't shy away from it. You have got to admire that. He will continue to press and to push to get the most out of the young men and women who are under his charge. And, I look for him to continue to be successful.

Swann on the Los Angeles Rams' season starting...

It is a growing relationship between USC and the Rams. In general, there are different crowds going to each game, so everyone needs to be aware that there will be more traffic and activity around campus on NFL game days. Plus, along with the Rams, we have introduced new security measures this season, including metal detectors and a clear bag policy.

Click here for more on the new safety measures.

Swann on appreciating the life of a student-athlete...

Our student-athletes are extraordinarily busy. I get in the John McKay Center to work out at 5:30 a.m. and there are always student-athletes already training and starting their day. The dedication is impressive. You couple that with a full class load and participating in campus activities like fraternities and sororities and organizations, the daily schedule gets pretty stretched.

Showcase Setting for Classic Rivalry

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USC women's soccer will host its annual showdown with UCLA at the StubHub Center on November 4 at 7 p.m. PT. The Women of Troy are expecting thousands of fans to turn up for what could be a massive match-up between two contending teams with the city title on the line.

Click here for tickets!

Tickets are only $10, and groups and students can purchase them for $5 apiece. Please call 213-740-GOSC for more information. Parking will be an additional $15.

StubHub Center is the home of the Los Angeles Galaxy and one of the city's best showcase stadiums for soccer. The match will be part of USC's Homecoming festivities, which include a home football game against Oregon the next day.


Trojans Live: Utah State Preview

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No shortage of topics for week two of Trojans Live as 1981 Heisman-winner Marcus Allen, head coach Clay Helton, senior captain Michael Hutchings and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kami Craig joined the show.

Helton talked about his "mad" football team which had just come off the practice field after a scrappy Tuesday night session.

Click here for Helton on the Alabama loss.

Click here for Helton on the challenge ahead.

Hutchings provided insight into the state of the locker room, the revamped defense and the mistakes that need to be avoided going forward,

Click here for Hutchings' interview.

Craig showed off her latest gold medal and explained how Team USA has become dominant in women's water polo.

Click here for Craig's interview.

To start off the show, Allen provided perspective as only he can as perhaps the greatest Trojan of them all.

Utah State Tuesday: Notes

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The Trojans put their heads down and worked on Tuesday in preparation for their home opener against Utah State.
  • USC_Football_Bama_mcgillen_LRDSC_1047.JPGA few players got banged up in the Alabama game and were out or limited in practice today. Here's the full injury report, per USC head coach Clay Helton: DE Noah Jefferson (shoulder sprain), LB Quinton Powell (illness), TE Taylor McNamara (ankle), DT Khaliel Rodgers (hamstring), C Toa Lobendahn (knee swelling).
  • Freshman DB Jamel Cook practiced in pads for the first time as a Trojan today, participating for about 30 minutes.
  • Helton announced that LBs Osa Masina and Don Hill will not play in Saturday's game.
  • Helton characterized today's practice as "ultra-competitive" and called the Trojans "a mad football team" following their 52-6 loss to Alabama.
  • RT Zach Banner (pictured) agreed that today's practice was especially intense, and noted that the team immediately got back to work following the loss. "Everyone was here getting the extra lift in on Sunday, rather than waiting until Monday," Banner said. "We had almost 70 players lifting Sunday afternoon and then after that, watching film and getting dinner together and being around each other. Loving up on each other, getting ready to come out this week."
  • Banner mentioned that this is the closest he's ever seen the team. "We're a family. We're close-knit," he said. "And that's a reflection of our head coach."
  • Helton acknowledged that against Alabama, the team had issues with giving up big plays on defense and missing assignments on offense, but that one of the most important fixes the team would have to make is controlling a quarterback run-driven offense. Helton praised Utah State's Kent Myers as a dual-threat QB who has runs designed for him but can also create plays for himself.
  • Justin Davis will look to have a big day running the ball against Utah State, and believes that his coaches and his offensive line will help make that happen. "The run game --- that's the thing that ultimately gets our offense running," he said. "We're run first, and we've got the guys up front to do it."
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

Powerful Opener for Polo

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USC men's water polo opened its 2016 campaign with two impressive wins in the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, CA on Saturday.

The Trojans, ranked No. 2 in the nation, topped No. 8 UC Irvine, 14-3, and No. 17 Cal Baptist, 16-3. In both games, USC jumped out to an insurmountable halftime lead --- 9-1 in the first game, and 9-0 in the second.

Junior driver Matteo Morelli led the way with five goals over the weekend, while junior McQuin Baron, a 2015 All-American second team selection, posted 10 saves in the cage.

The Trojans are now focused on their home opener against No. 6 Santa Barbara on Saturday at 9 a.m.

Coliseum Security Changes

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This year, the Coliseum is implementing new security measures for USC football games.

Most notably, guests will only be permitted to bring clear bags or small clutch bags into the stadium. The goal of this policy is to expedite the bag checking process for those entering the Coliseum.

A new secure perimeter fence around the stadium has been constructed, where security personnel will check for prohibited items or bags before guests reach the entry gates. Note that the erection of this fence, along with the construction in Exposition Park, means that there is no longer space to tailgate by Gates 4, 16 and 19.

In addition to the new bag policy, all guests must now walk through metal detectors upon entering the stadium.

For more information on the bag policy, click here.


Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 3

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USC women's soccer came away with two shutout wins this weekend, helping the team get back on track after a couple tough losses.

Head coach Keidane McAlpine, an Alabama native, praised goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme for her 17 saves in the Auburn Soccer Classic, and expressed his excitement for the team's home opener on Friday.

Watch the third episode of Kickin' It with Keidane here:

Prudhomme the Playmaker

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USC women's soccer's Sammy Jo Prudhomme earned Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week honors thanks to her 17 saves over the weekend.

Prudhomme was named the Co-MVP of the Auburn Soccer Classic, helping the Trojans beat Georgia, 3-0, and Auburn, 2-0. She posted a career-high nine saves against the Bulldogs, and followed it up with eight saves against the Tigers.


Volleyball Bounces Back

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After getting swept in its season-opening tournament, USC's women's volleyball went 3-0 this weekend to get back on track. The Women of Troy topped Kentucky, Northern Iowa and Creighton to win the USC Radisson Invitational.

USC swept No. 23 Kentucky on Friday to earn its first win of the season. Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier finished with a match-high 13 kills to open an impressive tournament showing.

Lanier also led the way with 16 kills in USC's win over Northern Iowa on Saturday. The Trojans topped the Panthers in four hard-fought sets.

USC was tested in its final match of the weekend against No. 22 Creighton, and showed resilience in a five-set victory. After another outstanding performance (21 kills, 17 digs, 2 service aces, 2 blocks), Lanier was named the tournament MVP.

The Trojans hit the road for the Rice Adidas Invitational this weekend, where they hope to keep their winning streak alive.

Soccer's Southern Success

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USC women's soccer went undefeated in the Auburn Soccer Classic this weekend, blanking both teams to extend its shutout streak to three straight games.

On Friday, USC topped Georgia, 3-0. Alex Anthony, Katie Johnson and Nicole Molen scored for the Trojans, while Sammy Jo Prudhomme tallied a career-high nine saves in the game.

USC head coach Keidane McAlpine, who spent time as an assistant coach at Auburn, saw his Trojans top the Tigers, 2-0, on Sunday. Anthony and Molen scored again, and Prudhomme had another outstanding game, tallying eight saves.

The Trojans hope to continue their win streak in their home opener on Friday against Loyola Marymount at 4:30 p.m.

Clay Helton Q&A - Utah State

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Following their 52-6 loss to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, the Trojans have turned their focus to their home opener against Utah State. In his weekly Monday Q&A, head coach Clay Helton reflected upon USC's loss and previewed the challenges the team will face with the Aggie defense this weekend.

McGillen Galleries: Alabama

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Despite holding a lead at the end of the first quarter, the Trojans dropped their season opener to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday night. John McGillen was at AT&T Stadium, amid more than 80,000 spectators, to capture every moment.

Here are his galleries:

Rapid Reaction: Alabama

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USC couldn't get it done in their season opener against Alabama on Saturday night. Despite leading at the end of the first quarter, the Trojans fell to the No. 1 Crimson Tide, 52-6.

Hear what the Trojans had to say about the game and where they go from here in the first Rapid Reaction of the season:

6-Points: Alabama 52, USC 6

The Trojans were humbled by No. 1 Alabama on opening night in Arlington, Texas.

Click here for the final stats.

Click here for the game recap.

Final-Bama.jpgRead It and Weep

The Trojans were thoroughly dominated by the defending national champions, leading to some historically ugly stats. USC suffered its worst loss since falling to Notre Dame, 51-0, in 1966. It was the first time the Trojans failed to score a touchdown in a game since 1997. And, Alabama outgained USC, 465-194, including a stretch in the middle of the game when the Tide accounted for 313 yards compared to 2 for the Trojans. "We played a very good team tonight that lived up to its potential, and we didn't play up to ours," said head coach Clay Helton. "We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves."

Losing the Line

The root of USC's problems came on the offensive line, which was tasked with stopping an impressive Alabama front-seven. The Tide's relentless assault on the line of scrimmage proved too much for the Trojans who "missed assignments" and suffered "physical beats" in one-on-one mismatches, according to Helton. The head coach wants to build USC's offense around a power running attack, but the Trojans were only able to manage 64 rush yards on 30 attempts. "We've got to get better running the ball," Helton stated frankly.

QB Buffet

Five quarterbacks played in the game, including both of USC's debutants, Max Browne and Sam Darnold. "Both kids did a good job for their opening ballgame," said Helton. "I never saw any fear in their eyes. I saw poise. I saw competitiveness." Browne completed 14 of 29 passes for 101 yards, while Darnold was 4/8 for 29 yards passing. Without having to over-commit to stop the run, the Alabama secondary had plenty of bodies to smother USC's talented receiving corps. "Alabama has a great defense," said senior WR Darreus Rogers, who had a team-high 45 yards receiving. "I had to work hard every play to make sure I was gassed up and not tired out there. It was kinda hard. I just tried to do my best and make my plays."

First Quarter D

On the positive side, USC's defense came out of the gates flying, smothering Alabama in the first quarter, which the Trojans won, 3-0. "I thought they did a tremendous job of really making it a close game there for a quarter and a half," said Helton about his defense. "They were really doing a nice job stopping the run." The Trojans were led by sophomores Porter Gustin and Cameron Smith, who had nine tackles apiece. "We did our assignments. We were crisp. We were tackling and we ran to the ball," said Smith. "I thought the first half looked great."

Work There Too

Late in the first half and throughout the second, the defense started to wilt. "All of the sudden, we had a couple runs break and a blown coverage on third down with the pressure. That turned the game and turned the momentum in a hurry," said Helton. Alabama OC Lane Kiffin directed a balanced attack, which ran for 242 yards and passed for 223 more. "They had some big plays and they executed on our mistakes," said Smith. "We hurt ourselves more than they pounded on us."

Just Getting Started

USC suffered its first season-opening loss since 1997. And while it was not pretty, the Trojans have at least 11 games to go and every prize is still in front of them. "One game doesn't make or break our season," said Helton. "Whether we won or lost, it's not our ultimate goal. Our goal is to win a Pac-12 championship." The defending Pac-12 South champions have a crucial contest next Saturday, home to Utah State (click here for tickets), before beginning the conference quest. The USC veterans know what it takes to bounce back, so they preached to the whole team that the Trojans simply need to "come back next week and fight harder," said Rogers.

Photo Gallery: AT&T Stadium Walk-Thru

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With just one day to go until their 2016 season opener, the Trojans held a walk through at AT&T Stadium.

Amid 80,000 empty seats, they were able to fully focus before the big day. Check out John McGillen's photos here:

#USCtotheNFL Preseason Week 4 Highlights

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The last game of the 2016 NFL preseason gave a few Trojans the chance to rest, and others a chance to shine.

Cardinals QB Matt Barkley had his best showing of the preseason, going 20/29 for 262 yards and 2 TD in Arizona's 38-17 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos. He played the entire game.

Meanwhile, Browns rookie QB Cody Kessler went 10/17 for 40 yards in their game against the Bears.

LB Devon Kennard was named a team captain for the Giants in their 17-9 win over the Patriots on Thursday.

2016 Game 1: USC vs. Alabama

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No. 20 USC Trojans vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on ABC

calvin-ridley-123115-getty-ftr_1t8qyfddgavprzlzm60z99wlm.jpgTide to Watch: Sophomore WR Calvin Ridley

While many like to criticize Lane Kiffin, his play-calling acumen, especially when it comes to showcasing receivers, is among the nation's best. At USC, Kiffin helped Robert Woods and Marqise Lee rewrite the school's record books, and he has done the same at Alabama with Amari Cooper and now Calvin Ridley. The 6-foot-1 target made 89 catches for 1,045 yards and 7 TDs a year ago. While the Tide are still sorting out the quarterback position, Kiffin will move Ridley around the offense to create favorable match-ups and get the ball in his hands as often as possible.

Click here for more on the Crimson Tide.

3 Keys

What can Browne do for you?

Nothing, unless he is given the time to operate. The onus falls on USC's veteran offensive line to provide a pocket for the redshirt junior to spread the ball around to the many talented Trojans on the perimeter. Alabama can be attacked in the secondary, but Nick Saban's defense features a fierce pass rush led by Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams who combined for 22.5 sacks last season, finishing second and third in the SEC respectively. Sophomore LT Chuma Edoga will be in the hot seat, protecting Browne's blind side since senior LT Chad Wheeler will be limited due to plantar fasciitis. If the Trojans can keep Browne upright, he should have the veteran poise to produce.

Island Life

Alabama is expected to play two quarterbacks, maybe even three, so Kiffin's game plan will likely be centered around the rushing attack behind a powerful offensive line. The Trojans' front-seven has greatly improved since spring, thanks in large part to grad transfer NT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, but they will still need to sell out on the run to force the Tide into the air. Adoree' Jackson and Iman "Biggie" Marshall will be tested much more in man-to-man coverage under defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast this season. Jackson versus Ridley is the one-on-one match-up that everyone wants to see.

Quarterly Reports

The defending national champions will not be awed by any opponent or any stage. They have been there and done that. While the Trojans also have a great pedigree, the current team will need to prove it belongs on the same field with No. 1 Alabama. The first quarter is about belief. The Trojans must stay confident and composed, so a fast start would be the perfect prescription. Even if USC hits first, the Tide will not go away, so quarters two and three are about staying power. In the final 15 minutes, the pressure of a tight game should shift to the No. 1 team in the country, which has much more to lose.

Polo Begins Championship Pursuit

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After losing in the national championship game in 2015, USC men's water polo enters the 2016 season aiming to achieve what it fell just short of last year.

The Trojans, led by head coach Jovan Vavic, are ranked No. 2 in this year's CWPA poll. Only UCLA --- the team that bested USC in last year's title match --- topped USC in the poll.

Click here for the full season preview.

The Trojans return each of their eight All-Americans from last season and each of their top six scorers, including Blake Edwards, who had 68 goals last year.

Two Trojans now have Olympic experience under their belts, as junior goalie McQuin Baron and freshman driver Thomas Dunstan both competed for Team USA in Rio.

Dunstan headlines the freshman class that also includes Marin Dasic, a driver from Croatia, and Matt Maier, a two-meter from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, along with 11 other newcomers.

No. 2 USC kicks off its season tomorrow at the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, CA, where they'll face No. 8 UC Irvine and No. 17 Cal Baptist.

Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

USC is flying out to Dallas tonight ahead of its Saturday night showdown with the Alabama Crimson Tide. However before the Trojans took off, they squeezed in a quick practice.

Here is coach Clay Helton's final press conference before Alabama:

Generations: Sam Cunningham and Justin Davis

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This Saturday, USC opens its 2016 season against No. 1 Alabama in an exciting matchup at AT&T Stadium. While the Trojans are surely looking forward to their tilt against the Tide, they've also looked to the past for inspiration --- specifically from the USC-Alabama game played on Sept. 12, 1970.

In that game, the Trojans routed the Crimson Tide, 42-21, thanks in part to Sam Cunningham's 135 rush yards and 2 TD. Cunningham's success and USC's win that day helped spark the integration of African-Americans into college football in the South.

Ahead of this year's game, USC RB Justin Davis met up with Cunningham to discuss the impact of that game and what it means to be part of the Trojan Family.