October 2016 Archives

Two Top Trojans

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After two big wins for men's water polo this weekend, junior driver Matteo Morelli and freshman two-meter man Matt Maier swept the conference's weekly honors.

Click here for the full release!

Morelli was named MPSF Player of the Week after leading the Trojans in scoring against both Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (three goals) and Cal (four goals). It's the first time the Trojans' leading scorer this season has ever earned MPSF Player of the Week.

Maier, meanwhile, earned his second MPSF Newcomer of the Week award of the season. He scored one goal against both Cal and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. He now has 15 goals on the season.

Maier, Morelli and the Trojans host two more matches before postseason play begins. San Jose State comes to town on Sunday, before USC meets UCLA on Saturday, Nov. 12 to round out the season.


Sights and Sounds: USC vs. Cal

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The Trojans went 4-0 in October, culminating in a dominant victory over California. Here are the "Sights and Sounds" from a near perfect game to end a perfect month:

Late Afternoon Kick in Seattle

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USC at Washington on Saturday, November 12, will kick off at 4:30 p.m. PT and be broadcast live on FOX. The Trojans have not visited Seattle since 2012, and they have not played in Husky Stadium since 2009.


SooHoo Gallery: USC vs. Cal

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Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Dodgers' season is over, but the good news is that we get Jon SooHoo back inside the Coliseum. Here are his photos from the win over Cal:


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To get into the Halloween spirit and give back to the community, members of the USC baseball team attended Mayor Eric Garcetti's Halloween Spooktacular on Sunday.

Junior pitcher Mason Perryman, sophomore catcher/pitcher C.J. Stubbs and redshirt sophomore outfielder Roosevelt Bates represented the Trojans at the event, where they gave out posters and interacted with local children.

The Trojans were joined by other prominent Angelenos, including the recently crowned WNBA Champion L.A. Sparks. Members of USC's Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry also attended the event and handed out toothbrushes to the candy-crazed children.


Trojan Wish - Angelina Repetti

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During USC's Thursday night game against Cal, the Repetti family enjoyed a special experience courtesy of Trojan Outreach.

USC's Trojan Wish program treated six-year-old Angelina Repetti and her family to a Cardinal and Gold tailgate, pregame sideline passes and complimentary tickets to watch the Trojans beat the Bears, 45-24.

Angelina, who particularly enjoyed meeting the Song Girls in a matching skirt, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was nine months old. After five rounds of chemotherapy, her cancer went into remission. She now battles kyphoscoliosis and scoliosis.

The Repetti family resides in northern San Diego county and traveled up to see USC's big win.


Homecoming Kick at 4

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The USC vs. Oregon game on this Homecoming Saturday will kick off at 4 p.m. PT and be broadcast live on ESPN. The Trojans and Ducks have not squared off in the Coliseum since 2012.


Conquering Cal

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USC men's water polo avenged its only loss of the season on Saturday with a 10-6 win over Cal.

Click here for the full recap!

Junior driver Matteo Morelli stepped up to lead all scorers with four goals in the match. He helped the Trojans improve to 18-1 on the season and 2-0 in conference play.

Check out USC photographer John McGillen's photos of the big match!

Trojan of the Game vs. Cal: Ronald Jones II

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16-Trojanofthegame-cal.jpgThe Trojan Family voted Ronald Jones II the Mercury Insurance Trojan of the Game for his career-night in the blowout victory over Cal. The sophomore busted loose for 223 yards on the ground, equaling Allen Bradford's 2010 total against Washington, which is the most by any Trojan since Reggie Bush* in 2005 (260 rush yards vs. UCLA). Jones also added a touchdown catch to his special night.

In that 2005 win over UCLA, LenDale White ran for 154 yards and the team rushed for 430 total. Last night, Aca'Cedric Ware also posted a career-high 130 rush yards and the team accounted for 398 yards on the ground. The Jones/Ware duo combined for the most single-game rush yards since Bush and White, and this was USC's best rushing performance since that game in 2005.

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

USC vs. Cal Wrap-Up

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Despite boasting the top offense in the Pac-12, Cal couldn't hold a candle to USC's offensive firepower last night. The Trojans put up 629 yards of total offense --- the first time they've surpassed 600 against a conference foe since 2012.

Trojans Beat the Bears Under Thursday Night Lights

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Trojans Beat the Bears Under Thursday Night Lights

McGillen Galleries: Cal

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The Trojans trounced the Cal Bears, 45-24, on Thursday night at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. USC team photographer John McGillen was there to capture every moment:

6-Points: USC 45, Cal 24

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The Trojans have run off four consecutive victories to move to 5-3 on the season.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

Cal-Final.jpgRun Ronald Run

It was coming. Head coach Clay Helton told anyone who would listen that Ronald Jones II was ready to blow. The "ticking time bomb" finally went off as Jones ran for a career-high 223 yards on 18 carries. He accounted for one score on the ground, a 37-yard dash to the end zone, and another through the air, coasting in untouched on a 16-yard screen play. "He had a heckuva game," said RB Aca'Cedric Ware about his buddy. "He balled. I'm proud of that guy."

Run Everybody Run

Jones was not alone. Ware added a career-high 130 rush yards as part of a 398-yard day on the ground, the Trojans biggest since UCLA in 2005. "Between [Jones] and Ced and the offensive line, I can't say enough about them," said Helton. "They won the game." Ware was quick to credit the big boys up front. "I love those guys. They continue to work hard and get better. And we continue to get better as a team. We're something special." The USC offensive line not only overpowered the Bears, but they outschemed them as well. "We saw a lot of weaknesses on their wide zone, which we did a lot of," said center Nico Falah. "You could notice me pulling a lot, which we worked on a lot during practice, and it worked out today."

3rd Down Wins

The USC defense limited Cal to 20 points below its season average. "To hold that team to 24 points is an amazing effort because that is maybe the best quarterback that we may face the whole year," said Helton. The head coach pointed to third down efficiency as the key. The Trojans stopped the Bears short of the chains 9 times in 12 tries. In one clutch sequence, backup CB Ajene Harris forced incompletions on third down and fourth down. "I just came out here prepared...and ready to make plays when my number was called," said Harris who was credited with two pass breakups and a fumble recovery. "[Jonathan] Lockett went down early, so I had to step up and make plays for this team like I know I can."

High Five

Oh by the way, Sam Darnold became the first USC QB to throw five touchdown passes in back-to-back games, giving him 10 over the last two which ties Matt Barkley's school record (Barkley did 6 + 4 twice). The redshirt freshman was efficient once again, completing 18/25 for 231 yards. He distributed the ball to six different receivers, four of whom caught touchdowns, led by senior Darreus Rogers (6 receptions for 97 yards and 2 TD). While the running game was the story, Helton loves the "great balance" that Tee Martin has developed with this offense. The Trojans have amassed 500+ yards of offense in four consecutive games.

Dirty Words

On a night like tonight, the only team that could stop USC was USC. "You look up and we got 45 points, but I really felt like we left points out there because of the penalties and the turnovers," said Helton. "Those are going to be things that could cost you down the stretch when we are playing this playoff football." The Trojans committed three turnovers, which led to 10 Cal points. They also hurt themselves by committing 13 penalties for 125 yards.

No Mercy

Nevertheless, the Trojans are officially rolling, completing a perfect 4-0 October. USC's offense is putting up yardage totals that hearken back to the glory days. The Trojans totaled 459 yards in the first half, the team's best half since 2005. In the end, USC posted its first 600-yard game against a Pac-12 opponent since Oregon in 2012. Speaking of the Ducks, they are up next (Saturday, November 5 at the Coliseum). The Trojans are filled with confidence, knowing that if they keep working hard, victories will continue to pile up. "We're going to make it happen again," said Ware. "We're going to shine again."

Here are all the highlights from a dominant display on Thursday night football:

Special Discount for Oregon

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A new special ticket package is available for USC's homecoming game vs. Oregon on Nov. 5.

Trojan fans can now purchase four tickets for $199 to watch USC's second-to-last home game of the 2016 season.

Click here take advantage of the special discount for USC's homecoming game against the Ducks!


DeMar's 2016 Debut

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USC alum DeMar DeRozan lit it up in the Toronto Raptors' 2016-17 season opener last night.

He led the Raptors to a 109-91 win over the Pistons with 40 points, 4 rebounds, a steal and an assist. His 40 points were the second most in the NBA's first two nights (Pelicans F Anthony Davis scored 50). They were also a Raptors franchise record.

The other Trojans in the NBA had impressive showings, as well. Magic F Nikola Vucevic earned a double-double, with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Spurs C Dewayne Dedmon locked up 8 rebounds and 2 points off the bench on opening night. Lakers G Nick Young scored 8 points and added 3 rebounds. Taj Gibson and the Bulls kick off their season tonight.


The Water's Fine

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USC men's water polo hosts two home matches this weekend as the end of the regular season approaches.

Click here for the full preview!

Tomorrow, the No. 3 Trojans host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 5 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatic Center. USC has never lost to the Stags, and beat them 20-5 in their matchup last season.

On Saturday, the Trojans face a rematch with the only team that's beat them all season: Cal. The No. 2 Bears edged USC, 10-8, in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Invitational back in September. USC's McQuin Baron, the best goalie in the conference in terms of goals-against average (4.22) will go up against the MPSF's top scorer in Johnny Hooper (2.94 goals per game) under the lights. Hooper led all players with three goals in USC's first matchup with Cal.

The Trojans take on Cal at 6:30 p.m. at USC's Uytengsu Aquatic Center.


2016 Game 8: USC vs. Cal

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California Golden Bears (4-3, 2-2) at USC Trojans (4-3, 3-2)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN and WatchESPN

Webb.jpgBear to Watch: Senior QB Davis Webb

USC head coach Clay Helton unequivocally called Webb "the best quarterback we have faced this year," and it is easy to see why. He leads the Pac-12 and ranks third in the nation in passing at 368.7 yards per game. The Texas Tech transfer has quickly filled the void left by Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. While Webb may be without his top target, Pac-12 leading receiver Chad Hansen, it did not seem to bother him against Oregon last week when he threw for 325 yards and 5 TDs.

Click here for more on the Bears.

3 Keys

Dictate the Terms

Cal has scored 40 or more points in six of seven games this season, but the Bears have yielded 40+ five times, so their strategy is clear. Head coach Sonny Dykes wants to lure opponents into a shootout and beat them late (five of their seven games have been decided by 7 points or less). Cal averages 89.6 plays per game (second most in the nation), while the Trojans are plodders by comparison (71.9 plays per game, 85th in the country). USC must impose its style to control the tempo of the game just like it did last year in a 27-21 victory in Berkeley.

Weave a Tangled Webb

Despite throwing 51.9 passes per game (second most in the nation), the Bears have only allowed 14 sacks (4th best in the Pac-12). Webb will release the ball quickly, so the Trojans must put pressure in his face to get him off his spot and out of rhythm. If his field of vision is compromised and he cannot rely on his first read, the blitzers and edge rushers will have time to get home. Webb is not a particularly mobile quarterback, amassing -86 yards rushing this season, so if the Trojans can force him to hold onto the ball, they will have a party in the backfield.

Be Ruthless

Quite simply, the Trojans can put up a number in this game if they are efficient in the red zone and hold on to the football. The Bears are last in the Pac-12 in rush defense and 11th in total defense and scoring defense. As it proved against Arizona and Arizona State, USC can be an offensive machine when it gets out if its own way. The Trojans are rolling with Sam Darnold at quarterback, averaging 36.7 points per game over their last three contests (25th in the country in that span). Even without Justin Davis and Steven Mitchell, Darnold has a plethora of weapons to whom he can distribute the ball, starting with JuJu Smith-Schuster who has six touchdowns over his last three games.

Real Trojans Don't Bully

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In support of Bully Prevention Month and Playworks, the Trojans released a video urging kids to settle their conflicts peacefully.

Women's Basketball Poster

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The Women of Troy begin the season on November 11 as the front end of a doubleheader which will be capped by the men's basketball season opener at 8 p.m. The rest of the schedule can be found here or below on this year's poster featuring Courtney Jaco, Alexis Lloyd, Jordan Adams and Ivana Jakubcova.

Click here for ticket information!

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Pawel Furtek

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

SDM16-NCAA-Sat-USC(Originals022).jpgName: Pawel Furtek
Class: Junior
Sport: Swimming
Major: Computer Engineering & Computer Science
GPA: 3.9

Aubrey Kragen (AK): Coming from Poland, how did you hear about USC in the first place? And how did you decide to come here?

Pawel Furtek (PF): Back in middle school, my coach told me about studying in America, how it allows you to be a top student and top swimmer at the same time, and it really stuck in my head. Back then, I would look at universities around here, and I remember looking at USC and seeing Coach Dave Salo here. He's a very well-known coach around the world. And I would think, 'Oh that would be so cool to come here.' So flash forward to summer of 2013, I was at the World Junior Championships and when I was in Dubai, I received a Facebook message from an assistant coach from USC, asking 'Have you ever thought about studying in the U.S.?' and I was like, 'Heck yeah.' I checked that he was actually a coach at USC and I was like, 'This is just perfect!' After that message, I was sure I wanted to come here ... It was just a dream come true.

AK: When and how did you get interested in computer science?

PF: Actually, if I stayed in Poland, I would be a lawyer. I actually applied to law school and got in back in Poland. But I've always also liked math and logic, so I feel like computer science and engineering are things that use a lot of math and a lot of logic. So I said, 'I'll give it a try.' And honestly, I'm so happy I didn't go to law school, because this major is just everything I've always wanted to do.

AK: Why do you like it so much?

PF: I really like coding, which is weird, because it's a very long process to write a program. But I really like the fact that I build it from scratch --- from nothing to the final product. And also, the moment when your code finally works, even if it's just printing 'Hello, World' or something, it's such a great experience.

AK: What do you think you want to do with your degree?

PF: I'm not sure yet. I'm sure I want to code. My major is really computer science and computer engineering, so it's the software part and the hardware part. I think I want to focus on the software part of my major. I'm actually interning right now with a mobile development company ... That would be awesome if I could do mobile development, but really I'm still open to any opportunity.

AK: I've heard before that math and numbers are the same in any language. Do you think that has helped you in your classes, considering English isn't your first language?

PF: That's what I really like about computer science --- especially in my freshman year, English was still pretty hard. I knew the language, but it was still pretty hard to understand, it was hard to speak, because everyone around me was a perfectly native speaker. But when we were learning coding language, everyone was at the same level. It was even. So I feel like that made me like it more, because I wasn't at a disadvantage.

AK: Does the mental toughness that it takes to do long distance swimming translate to the classroom?

PF: Obviously, if you're a distance swimmer, you have to have a certain mentality ... I feel like my distance swimming helps me with school, because I spend a lot of time actually swimming, and not standing at the wall. So when you swim and you can only hear the water buzzing, it clears your mind a lot. And in my major, you often have an algorithm problem that would take two days to solve, and you think about it constantly. And in those moments when I swim, those are the moments when I come up with the best ideas ... It's really cool to think about something while you swim. It also helps you get through practice if it's hard --- you don't focus on how hard it is, you focus on school.

AK: What did it mean to you and your family to earn CSCAA Scholar All-American team honorable mention honors last year?

PF: My family is very supportive of me. They always ask me how I'm doing in school, and even if I do badly, they're like, 'OK, it's fine, it's college.' But honestly, it means a lot to me, because back in Poland, being an athlete would mean they don't do well in school. And even here, when you hear 'student-athlete,' you think of them as people who get through classes just because they're athletes and they would fail otherwise ... So I really want to prove to myself, to my teammates and to non-athletes that a student-athlete  actually can do well in school and beat other people in the classroom.

AK: Lastly, what goals do you have going forward as a student and an athlete?

PF: Well as an athlete, I want to final at NCAAs this year. Last year I got 10th --- I was a second behind being eighth. That would be awesome if I could do that this year. I feel like I'm ready and the coaches think I'm ready. And for academics, honestly, I just want to get straight As. That's what Dave [Salo] always tells us ... Our coach is great at forcing this mentality on us, that we need to do well in the classroom as well as in the pool. He always tells us that we're not football, we're not basketball --- we're not going to make a living out of swimming. There's a very small probability that you're actually going to be Michael Phelps ... he always tells us that what you're going to do in the classroom is going to matter in your future.

Cal Tuesday: Notes

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In his final press conference before the Trojans get back to work on Thursday night, head coach Clay Helton proclaimed that RB Justin Davis is "doubtful", discussed pitch counts for quarterbacks and much more.

Four for Stopping the Score

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For the fourth time this season and the second week in a row, Sammy Jo Prudhomme of USC women's soccer was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week.

Click here for the full release!

In USC's two wins this weekend, Prudhomme made five saves and didn't allow a single goal. She now boasts 10 individual shutouts this year, the most ever by a Trojan in a single regular season.

The Aliso Viejo, CA native leads the conference in shutouts (10), goals against average (0.44) and save percentage (.909). No other Pac-12 goalkeeper has earned the award as many times and Prudhomme this year. In fact, Prudhomme has won more weekly honors than any player of any position in the Pac-12 this season.

She stacks up against some of the best goalkeepers in the nation, as well --- fourth in the nation in save percentage and tied for fifth in shutouts.

Prudhomme has now earned six of the Pac-12's weekly honors in her career. She and the No. 4 Trojans travel to face Utah and Colorado before finishing out the regular season on Nov. 4 against UCLA at StubHub Center.

Click here for tickets!


Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 10

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USC women's soccer moved up to No. 4 in the nation after two more wins this weekend over Washington State and Washington. The Women of Troy improved to 13-3 with the two shutout victories, during which head coach Keidane McAlpine called his goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme "phenomenal."

Hear everything McAlpine had to say about his team and the final three games of the regular season:

#USCtotheNBA in 2016

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With the 2016-17 NBA season tipping off tonight, we take a look at the five former USC players on opening day rosters.

taj gibson.jpgF Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls)

The longest-tenured member of a fresh-faced Bulls roster, Gibson will start at forward for Chicago in their season opener on Thursday evening. Last season, Gibson averaged 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and may see more opportunities to increase those numbers with big men Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah gone. After missing the playoffs last season, Gibson and his new teammates Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo aim to get Chicago back on top.

G Nick Young (Los Angeles Lakers)

Young, who is entering his fourth year with the hometown Lakers, looks to make an impact off the bench this season. The charismatic character, who scored 7.3 points per game last season, is now one of the veterans on a young Los Angeles squad looking to get back to its winning ways.

C Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic)

Vucevic led the Magic in scoring (18.2 PPG) rebounding (8.9 RPG) and blocks (1.1 BPG) last season. He was one of just four players (ATL's Paul Millsap, NO's Anthony Davis, SAC's DeMarcus Cousins) to lead his team in those three categories last year. Under new head coach Frank Vogel, Vucevic will look to continue his offensive excellence and potentially push the Magic into the playoffs.

C Dewayne Dedmon (San Antonio Spurs)

Dedmon, USC's most recent NBA addition, enters his first season with the Spurs when they play the Warriors tonight. The Spurs will surely rely on Dedmon's size (7 feet, 245 lbs.) to protect the rim in relief of Pau Gasol. He averaged 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds while playing 12.2 minutes per game last year for the Magic. Dedmon and the Spurs enter the season at No. 3 in ESPN's power rankings.

G DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)

Fresh off a gold medal winning performance in Rio, DeRozan hopes to take the next step with the Raptors this season. DeRozan led Toronto with 23.5 PPG last year, adding 4.0 assists per game and 4.5 rebounds per game on his way to his second career All-Star game. He helped the Raptors reach the Eastern Conference Finals, where they fell, 4-2, to the eventual NBA Champion Cavaliers. With Team USA this summer, he came off the bench to contribute 6.6 PPG.

Follow @USC_Hoops on Twitter for updates on Trojans in the NBA all season long.

demar derozan.jpg

Poster Boys

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USC men's basketball season begins November 11 at 8 p.m. against Montana at the Galen Center. The Trojans are expected to have a big year, returning four elite players plus a host of talented newcomers.

Click here for tickets.

Last week, the Trojans revealed their 2016-17 schedule posters via social media. Be sure to follow @USC_Hoops on Twitter and @uschoops on Instagram.

Thursday Game Info

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thursday-game-header-3.jpgThe Trojan Family is used to one weekday home game per year now, but we have created a website to answer all your questions and remind you about the changes to parking, tailgating and transportation due to the Thursday night kickoff.

Click here to view the site.

With the 7:30 p.m. kickoff, parking is available on campus, but not until after 5:30 p.m. Click here to reserve a spot in advance.

Public parking in the Exposition Park/Coliseum lots is only available in Lot 1 for $25 and will be based on availability. There is also a garage located at Browning and Vermont Ave, one block north of Martin Luther King Blvd which is $25 per space. All other parking lots surrounding the Coliseum in Exposition Park are reserved for our Trojan Athletic Fund Members. Parking is also available for $15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center located on Figueroa Street between Venice Blvd and 15th Drive.

Click here for more on parking.

Tailgating or picnicking will not be permitted on campus - no exceptions. This restriction includes campus buildings, parks, the Row, plazas, etc. Tailgating at the Coliseum and Expo Park will be allowed as on a normal game day.

Click here for more tailgating options.

In terms of transportation, Expo Line trains run every six minutes before and after games. Metro's Silver Line also provides service to the 37th St/USC Station, just a short walk from the stadium. To help speed up traffic for drivers after the game, all fans leaving the Coliseum area can hop on the I-110 South ExpressLanes at the 28th St/Flower or 39th St entrance and travel to Manchester Ave AT NO CHARGE.

2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 7

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Through seven weeks of the NFL season, USC's representatives continue to set the tone. With Matt Barkley likely starting at QB for the Bears next week, USC will boast the most active QBs and most starting QBs in the league in Week 8. Check out some of the top performances by the NFL's Trojans in Week 7:

perry-nfl.jpgThe Best

All eyes were on the Packers-Bears game on Thursday night, and Nick Perry didn't disappoint. The Packers LB racked up 4 tackles, 1 sack and 1 INT (the first of his career). Perry leads the Packers with 5.5 sacks this season and ranks in the Top 10 in the league.

The Best of the Rest

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 3 tackles, 1 QB hit

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 2 tackles, 1 QB hit

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 4 tackles, 1 pass defended

Cody Kessler, QB, Browns - 9-of-11 for 82 pass yards before leaving game with concussion

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - 6 tackles, 2 passes defended

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars - 8 receptions, 107 yards, plus 4 kick returns for 93 yards

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - 3 tackles, 1 QB hit

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles - 2 receptions, 10 yards

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 2 tackles, 1 QB hit

Xavier Grimble, TE, Steelers - 2 receptions, 14 yards

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 29-of-49 for 342 pass yards

Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - 6 tackles

Click here to learn more about Eat the Ball!

Trojans Live: Cal Preview

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In anticipation of the Thursday night showdown with Cal, USC head coach Clay Helton, tailback tandem Ronald Jones II and Aca'Cedric Ware, and Arizona Cardinals DL Frostee Rucker joined Trojans Live on Monday night at The Lab. Also, USC women's basketball season begins November 11, so Ivana Jakubcova and Sadie Edwards capped the show.

Helton broke down the Bears who have one of the nation's top offenses.

Click here to watch Helton on Trojans Live.

Rucker explained the secret to an 11-year NFL career and praised his former Wild Bunch II teammates.

Click here to watch Rucker on Trojans Live.

Jakubcova and Edwards previewed their season ahead and the reason they transferred to USC.

Click here to watch the Women of Troy on Trojans Live.

And, here are Jones and Ware talking about stepping into the starting role without Justin Davis, Halloween costumes and the power of dreadlocks.

Cal Monday: Notes

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The Trojans had no time to suffer a case of the Mondays, hitting the field hard today to prepare for Cal on Thursday.
  • Injury report, per head coach Clay Helton: DB Ajene Harris and S Leon McQuay III practiced today and are expected to play, while RB Justin Davis did not practice and is less than 50/50 to play on Thursday.
  • USC_Football_Arizona_McGillen_2016_3820.jpgHelton said the team focused on two major things today: containing Cal QB Davis Webb's deep threat ability and third down efficiency on defense.
  • "There's not gonna be too many overthrows or missed throws with this guy," Helton said of Webb. "He's an elite talent." Indeed, Webb is second in the nation with 27 pass TD and third in the nation with 368.7 pass YPG.
  • While USC is well-rested after its bye week, Cal is coming off a grueling 2OT win over Oregon on Friday. LB Michael Hutchings (pictured) said he thinks that Cal's short week gave the Trojans a two-day advantage in preparation. "We have had a chance to get up ahead of them mentally and game plan wise and schematically," he said. "So hopefully that pays off --- the extra hours we put in the film room and getting a chance to watch them this week."
  • Hutchings echoed Helton's emphasis on third down, considering the Bears' tempo (Cal's 89.6 plays per game ranks second in the nation). "They just set an NCAA record for plays in a game," Hutchings noted. "When you're dealing with an explosive team like that and a quarterback like that, it's just something you have to be ahead on."
  • LB Quinton Powell offered two simple keys to stopping Cal's high-powered offense: "Physicality and running to the ball."
  • CB-WR-RET Adoree' Jackson has been known to run to the ball this season, and Helton mentioned he might see more opportunities on offense going forward. "We bring his package into the game every week," Helton said. "If you can get it to where he's not tired, he's capable of coming over and helping you and they're not kicking it to him, you want to get it in his hands somehow, some way."
  • Should Jackson get the ball in his hands on a kickoff return, he has the chance to break USC's career kickoff return yardage record on Thursday. He is currently tied with Curtis Conway, with 1,723 yards.
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

Photo Gallery: Swimming & Diving Home Opener

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USC's 12th-ranked men's and women's swimming and diving cruised to victory in their home opener on Friday. The women's team defeated Florida Gulf Coast, 162-124, while the men beat Cal State Bakersfield, 171-97.

Click here for the full recap!

Check out photos of the Trojans' first home meet here:

Photo Gallery: Trojan Tip Off

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On Saturday, USC men's and women's basketball teams held Trojan Tip Off, a free fan fest and scrimmage, at the Galen Center. The teams met fans, signed autographs and practiced acrobatic dunks in front of the crowd.

Check out photos from the event:

Taylor's CLASS

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Senior libero Taylor Whittingham of USC women's volleyball was recently named a Senior CLASS Award candidate for the 2016 season.

Click here for the full release!

Whittingham is one of 30 candidates for the award, which stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. The award is given annually to an NCAA Division I senior who shows excellence in the community, the classroom, in character and in competition.

Whittingham, a team captain, has excelled on the attack and on defense this season, leading the team with .27 aces per set and 4.91 digs per set. The Rancho Santa Margarita, CA native recently moved up to fourth on USC's all-time digs list, with 1,548 and counting.

Last season Whittingham was named a Volleyball Magazine third-team All-American, An AVCA All-Pacific South Region selection and a Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention. She built on those this year by winning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 3 --- the third such honor in her career.

Off the court, she holds a 3.0 GPA as a communication major and is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention selection. She has been involved in service projects at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital and has served as a team leader and counselor for USC's annual inner-city outreach program, A Day In Troy. She also has been an active counselor for the Girl Scouts program in 2014-2015. This summer, Whittingham was joined the Pac-12 All-Star Team, which visited China to play and to put on on free volleyball clinics.

The 10 finalists for the award will be announced later in the regular season.


Split Sweeps

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USC women's volleyball ended up on both the winning and the losing end of a sweep this weekend at the Galen Center.

On Friday, the 25th-ranked Women of Troy took down Cal in three close sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-18). Senior libero Taylor Whittingham (pictured) helped lead the team to victory with a match-high 11 digs. Her efforts catapulted her into fourth place on USC's all-time digs list.

The Trojans couldn't get it done on Sunday against Stanford, though, falling in three sets just as close as Friday's (25-22, 25-19, 25-21). Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier finished with 11 kills, five digs and two blocks in the loss.

USC is now 14-7 and 6-4 in Pac-12 play. The Women of Troy have back-to-back matches at the Galen Center against Utah and Colorado on Friday and Saturday. Click here for tickets!


Making the Cut

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Junior CB-WR-RET Adoree' Jackson was named a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, the organizations announced today.

The Lott IMPACT Trophy, named after Trojan legend Ronnie Lott, rewards players who demonstrate excellence in the following categories: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Jackson is one of seven DBs and one of just two Pac-12 players on the 19-man list.

Jackson was also named one of 16 semi-finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in college football.

Jackson has 34 total tackles on the season, including one TFL. He boasts four pass breakups and six passes defended, and he's recovered two fumbles, leading the team in all three categories.

The Belleville, IL native is also dangerous as a returner, having scored a punt return TD and a kickoff return TD this season. He ranks seventh in the nation in both punt return average (15.6) and kickoff return average (31.7).

The Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 9, while the Thorpe Award finalists will be named on Nov. 21.

Last Minute Call for Homecoming Kick

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The USC vs. Oregon game on Saturday, November 5, at the Coliseum is still awaiting a kick time. The television networks have elected to extend the selection process until Monday, October 31.

The possible times range from 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Pac-12 MBB Media Day Wrap-Up

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On Friday, head coach Andy Enfield and junior guard Elijah Stewart represented USC men's basketball at Pac-12 Media Day in San Francisco.

After finishing 21-13 last season, USC was picked seventh in the preseason poll --- right where the Trojans ended up last year.

Stewart, who averaged 9.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season, said fans can look forward to USC's "run-and-gun three point offense" this year.

Enfield, entering his fourth season at USC, dropped dimes at Pop-A-Shot before sitting down to discuss the upcoming year. He praised his younger players' development during the offseason, and identified Stewart as the team's most athletic player (much to the chagrin of sophomore forward Chimezie Metu).

Enfield, Stewart and the rest of the Trojan squad host Montana on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. in the season opener.

Click here to purchase tickets to watch them play this season!

Eight Straight

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On Saturday, USC men's water polo earned its eighth straight win with a 13-8 takedown of Long Beach State.

Click here for the full recap!

The No. 3 Trojans trailed at the end of the first period for the first time since their loss to Cal on Sept. 24. But USC utilized a big second and third period to knock off the 6th-ranked 49ers for the second time this season. USC also beat Long Beach State, 9-4, in the Mountain Pacific Invitational last month.

Blake Edwards, Lazar Pasuljevic (pictured), Thomas Dunstan and Matteo Morelli scored two goals apiece to lead the nine Trojans who found the back of the net. Edwards leads the team with 32 goals this season. McQuin Baron racked up 10 saves.

This Thursday, the 16-1 Trojans host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at USC's Uytengsu Aquatic Center at 5 p.m. Saturday, No. 2 Cal --- the only team to beat USC this season --- comes to town. That matchup will take place at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.


Two More Down, Three To Go

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USC women's soccer earned two shutout wins over Washington State and Washington this weekend to improve to 13-3 with just three games left in the regular season.

On Thursday, Nicole Molen, Leah Pruitt and Hailey Hite found the back of the net to help the 5th-ranked Trojans top Washington State, 3-0.

The Trojans stayed home to host the Washington Huskies on Sunday in their last regular season match at McAlister Field. After a scoreless first half, Alex Anthony (pictured) netted the game-winner to lead USC to a 1-0 victory. Anthony is now tied for the team lead in goals scored this season, with seven.

The two wins marked USC's 10th and 11th shutouts of the season --- more than any other team in the Pac-12 can claim. USC's .436 goals against average also ranks first in the Pac-12, and eighth in the nation.

Next up for the Trojans is a road trip to Utah and Colorado, before returning to Los Angeles to play UCLA at the StubHub Center on Nov. 4.

Click here for tickets to USC's regular season finale!


Cal Sunday: Notes

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor 

With a rare Thursday night game coming this week against Cal, USC got back to work on the weekend.

  • USC head coach Clay Helton announced on Sunday that DE Jabari Ruffin has been suspended from team activities due to a student conduct issue.
  • Helton also said the following players returned from injury: S Leon McQuay III, OL Jordan Simmons, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, RB Aca'Cedric Ware and LB Olajuwon Tucker. Helton said Justin Davis is a "50-50 at best" for Thursday, while Ajene Harris was kept out after banging his knee last week during the bye.
  • If the Trojans are without Davis for the second straight game, the trio of Ronald Jones II (pictured), Dominic Davis and Ware will continue to share the workload. "We have a lot of faith in Ro Jo, Ced and Dominic," said Helton. "We won't change what we do."
  • Though USC might miss Davis, the team will face a Cal defense that is giving up an average of 270 rushing yards per contest. That, however, isn't affecting Jones' approach to the game. "We'll have to pick up the load. We don't really look too much into rankings, we're just going to go out there and do what we do," he said. Jones is coming off of a big game against Arizona where he said he got "a little confidence booster." The absence of Davis would see Jones start at tailback on Thursday.
  • Davis' absence would also mean more time for Ware. Like Jones, Ware had a big impact against the Wildcats, running for a career-high 103 yards. He believes the rushing attack could have a big game against the Bears. "We're going to play our game. We just have to keep playing the way we play, play fast and physical," said Ware. "We're going to have a nice game and put a show on."
  • LT Chad Wheeler has helped pave the way for USC's running backs since his return from injury. "He's definitely a great talent. He has a lot of experience here," said Helton. "He's playing his best football right now. He's making us a better team."
  • Helton joked during his press conference that he was constantly keeping up on the scores of Colorado and Utah over the weekend, as the battle for the Pac-12 South heats up.
  • Here is Helton with his analysis of Cal's offense, changes on defense and more:

Still to Come in 2016

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The Coliseum is quiet today, but the Trojans plan on making a whole lot more noise this season.

Enfield Event in Newport

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USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield will host a meet and greet at GARYS on Fashion Island in Newport Beach on November 3 at 5:30 p.m. Save the date and come hang with the coach.

GARYS USC night F2016.jpg

Pac-12 WBB Media Day Wrap-Up

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Senior center Ivana Jakubcova, senior guard Courtney Jaco and head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke represented USC women's basketball at Pac-12 Media Day in San Francisco yesterday.

The Trojans were picked to finish ninth in the Pac-12 for the 2016-17 season, which kicks off Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. at the Galen Center.

Cooper-Dyke said the team, which finished 19-13 last season, has a chip on its shoulder this year. She mentioned that the team has reinforced every position and pointed to senior guard Jordan Adams and junior forward Kristen Simon as two of the leaders of the squad.

Jakubcova and Jaco also posed for photos and answered questions from Pac-12 analysts. Jakubcova had the following to say about her head coach:

Catch Cooper-Dyke, Jaco and Jakubcova at Trojan Tip Off at noon tomorrow at USC's Galen Center. Admission is free.

Click here to purchase tickets to watch USC women's basketball play this season!

Trojans Shut Out Another

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USC women's soccer beat Washington State yesterday to earn its 12th win of the season.

Click here for the full recap!

On a hot Thursday afternoon, the Trojans netted three goals (from Nicole Molen, Leah Pruitt and Hailey Hite) to beat the Cougars, 3-0, and earn their 10th shutout of the season. The Women of Troy have now outscored their opponents 35-7 this year, tying them for the fewest goals allowed in the conference.

Next up for No. 5 USC is an 11 a.m. tilt with Washington on Sunday.

Check out team photographer John McGillen's gallery of the big win over the Cougars!

Swedish Fish

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Louise Hansson is just like any other USC freshman. She's amazed by the weather in Los Angeles and isn't 100 percent sure if she wants to stick with her business administration major or not. The only difference between the soon-to-be-20-year-old and most other rookies at USC is that Hansson happened to compete for the Swedish national team at the Rio Olympics this summer.

Louise-Hansson.jpgHansson was a star swimmer on the Swedish and international circuits growing up. She set a senior national record in the 200m IM at the Swedish Short Course Championships and set a junior national record in the 100m IM. At the 2014 FINA World Championships, Hansson was part of Sweden's silver-medal winning 4x200m free relay team which broke the European record. At the 2014 European Championships in Berlin, she took home gold with the Swedish team in the 4x100m free and helped set a Swedish record for the silver-medal winning 4x200m free team.

All of that set Hansson up for a trip to the Olympics this summer.

"It was so cool," Hansson said of her experience in Rio. "It's been a dream for me my whole life ... I didn't perform as well as I wanted to, like I had bigger goals with the team that we didn't achieve, so the competition part I'm not super happy with, but it still was a great experience to be there."

Individually, Hansson finished 29th in the 200m IM and 32nd in the 100m fly, and helped the Swedish team finish fifth in the 4x100m and 4x200m free relays. She noted that she already has her sights set on Tokyo 2020.

Despite not earning a medal in Rio, Hansson says she felt lucky to experience the Olympics with two people in particular: her younger sister, Sophie, and nine-time USC All-American Stina Gardell.

"It was awesome having someone you know so well, when you get nervous or anything, you can always talk to them and they'll be there to listen," Hansson said of sharing her Olympic experience with her little sister.

Hansson also said that along with her coaches growing up, Gardell, a longtime Swedish national teammate, was the catalyst in getting her from Helsingborg, Sweden to USC's campus in Los Angeles, CA.

"All my free coaches back home went to college --- not to USC --- but college in America somewhere," Hansson said. "[Gardell] always talked to me about USC and how fun it is here. So when I was looking at colleges, USC was the first school I was looking at."

Hansson mentioned that in Rio, Gardell pointed out the other swimmers who prepped at USC, including Santo Condorelli, Tim Wynter and Dylan Carter. Now, Hansson is on campus with some of these swimmers, and seems to be loving every minute. Earlier this semester, she caught her first glimpse of American football, during which she admitted being "mostly confused," but still having fun.

Despite coming to USC from halfway across the world, Hansson has made a seamless transition into college life, and especially college athletics. In her first collegiate competition last month against Washington State, she won three events. In her second swim meet as a Trojan (last week at the SMU Classic), she set a meet record in the 200y IM.

For an Olympic swimmer, early season NCAA competition might sound easy, but Hansson explained that both meets so far have been "really intense."

"It's such a short time, with only like five minutes between your races," Hansson said. "I'm usually swimming a lot, so I'm usually having a lot of races, but it's usually like 30-40 minutes between, not five. So it's just in the water and out, trying to prepare for the next race."

Hansson and the USC swimming & diving team will host their first home meet of the season on Friday at 2 p.m. at USC's Uytengsu Aquatic Center.

Leventhal Stat of the Week - Bye

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The Trojans will take this weekend off before regrouping to host Cal in next Thursday night at the Coliseum. USC head coach Clay Helton said the bye couldn't come at a better time, after an exhausting game in the Arizona heat.

Throughout the program's history, USC has performed well after a bye, sporting a 95-46-4 record during the regular season after taking a week off.


Ready to Deliver

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USC sophomore Bennie Boatwright made the Karl Malone Award watch list for the best power forwards in the country.

Click here for the complete list.

Boatwright had a tremendous freshman season, averaging 11.5 points per game and tying for the team-lead with 60 made three-pointers. He was also the second-leading rebounder (5.2 per game) on the team and made 74 percent of his free throws.


Trojan Tip Off

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USC men's and women's basketball season ceremonially begins on Saturday at the Galen Center with the annual Trojan Tip Off. The doors open at Noon for families to enjoy the fan fest and then the program begins at 1 p.m.

Admission is FREE.

The schedule includes scrimmages by both teams, shooting competitions and an autograph session.


Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Nicole Molen

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool -- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a little better in our academic spotlight.

USC_soccer_air_force_mcgillen_3409.jpgName: Nicole Molen
Year: Junior
Sport: Soccer
Position: Midfielder
Major: Human Biology
GPA: 3.92

Aubrey Kragen (AK): So you're a human bio major and you're interested in going into physical therapy? When and how did you become interested in that?

Nicole Molen (NM): Well, going into my freshman year, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do. The decision to go with physical therapy came from my experience with that. Obviously, over the years playing soccer, you get injured, you have to go in to see a PT, and I just really liked the environment of a PT office and the ability to keep continuing to work with athletes. And continuing athletics in that way is something that I really enjoyed.

AK: I know a lot of students and student-athletes are interested in physical therapy, but when they get to college they find the course load too difficult. Did you ever have a moment where you thought it was too hard? What has inspired you to stick with it?

NM: Definitely those first few bio classes -- those are the classes that try to weed the people out that don't want to put in the work, or they find out that it's not worth it for them. But just being in the medical field is something that I really want to do. I feel like it's going to be hard no matter what major you choose, in some way, so I feel like just sticking with it and just trying to focus on the end goal is something that really motivated me.

AK: How do your experiences as an athlete here help or overlap with your course work?

NM: There's one class I'm in right now that's called "Prevention of Athletic Injuries," and obviously I know a lot about that because I've been involved with athletic trainers and physical therapists. In terms of the course load, I'm not sure that athletics necessarily helps, just because of the time it takes. But it helps me stay focused, because if I had a ton of free time to waste, I don't think I would be as focused on my schoolwork, so in that way, athletics kind of helps with the work load.

AK: I heard the players on the women's soccer team formed committees focused on things like leadership and branding. Which one are you on, and how do those committees help you and everyone on the team achieve their goals?

NM: I started out on Health and Wellness, which I liked because of the physical therapy aspect of it, like taking care of your bodies, making sure you're going in for recovery, that type of thing. But as I developed my GPA and my academic success, I switched over to the academic committee, just because I thought it was more fitting. It would be interesting if I could combine the two, or something like that. It helps because there are certain things that each person on the team is good at. So if you can get those people together, it helps influence the whole team in that certain area.

AK: What specifically are your responsibilities on the academic committee?

NM: We just try to make sure everyone's getting their study hours done, going to tutoring, or if they need a tutor, helping out. Or if anyone has any academic-related questions or needs help in a class, and we've taken it, maybe, they can come to us. Also just fun activities, like last spring we did this trivia thing, just cool kind of games that we can do just to get the team involved in any way.

AK: You have the highest GPA on the team and you were a Pac-12 All-Academic First Team selection last year. Is there an accomplishment that you're most proud of out of all of your academic success?

NM: Definitely the Pac-12 one is one that stands out for me. It wasn't necessarily something I was striving to do, but just the fact that I could receive that honor was something that meant a lot to me ... [Becoming an Academic All-American] would be unreal. That would be amazing. But I try not to keep that type of stuff in mind. I try to just do my thing.

AK: If you don't keep academic accolades like that in mind, what is it that motivates you to do so well in school?

NM: At heart, I'm a perfectionist. I like to get good grades. I think just keeping the end goal in mind, like I said before, just of going to PT school or getting into grad school is something that is really important to me, and establishing a career. So that's one of the main motivations for me.

AK: Do you have a plan yet for physical therapy school? Do you have a school in mind, or do you want to take a break before?

NM: I mean, a lot is up in the air. If possible, I'd like to try to play overseas or something like that. Maybe take a year off and have that experience as a professional soccer player. That would be really awesome. I don't have a specific school in mind in terms of PT, but I definitely want to get out of state and experience something new, because I've lived in California my entire life. I think it would be nice to expand my boundaries and experience something kind of different.

AK: Lastly, how do you find the time in the day or week to achieve all of your academic and athletic responsibilities and maintain such an impressive GPA?

NM: I've done sports my entire life, and I guess it's just something where I don't know any different. Even in high school, I didn't have a lot of time to devote to school; soccer took up a lot of my life. So I think just the years of experience and knowing how to schedule things and get things done in a certain amount of time has helped me in college. Just building that up through high school. I mean, It's difficult. I'm not going to say it's easy. But just learning how to manage time is the most important thing.

Bye Week Wednesday: Notes

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

The Trojans held another laid back practice on Cromwell Field on the Wednesday of their bye week.
  • USC head coach Clay Helton said the team is at the same place they were yesterday in terms of injuries. OL Jordan Simmons, LB Olajuwon Tucker and S Leon McQuay III were all held out of practice. He added that the rest of the team is focusing on healing up from "bumps and bruises."USC_Football_2016_ASU_McGillen_d500_2786.jpg
  • After three straight wins in which the defense has held opponents to 20 points or less, Helton referenced the added pressure the team is getting on opposing quarterbacks as a big reason why. Arizona only completed one pass in the first half against the Trojans last weekend. "Clancy dialing up the pressure he is now makes it hard on offensive lines and quarterbacks," said Helton.
  • Helton said he believes individual improvement has played a huge part in this current defensive upswing. "I think [Porter Gustin] and Uchenna [Nwosu] have improved the most in pass rushing. I think they've gotten better and a lot of it has to do with being in the nickel package a lot more." Helton also noted that the team has improved on getting decent pressure with just a four man rush.
  • Chris Hawkins has noticed a change in the defense too, that he said is very noticeable out on the field. "We're flying around right now. I've never been a part of a defense that plays so fast," said Hawkins, who forced a fumble against Arizona. "The speed of our play right now is on another level."
  • When it comes to the offense that Helton's defense will be facing after their bye week against Cal, Helton said they will be up against one of the best passing attacks in not just the Pac-12 but the country. Cal quarterback Davis Webb has thrown for over 2,200 yards and 22 touchdowns though six games. "He's doing a tremendous job of getting the ball out," said Helton. "He can make any throw on the field."
  • Because of that explosive offense, Helton said he will monitor Adoree' Jackson's reps. With what Helton described as a tall order for Jackson, he said they want to be careful with Jackson next week.
  • The Trojans will have the next two days off to focus on academics, as the coaches go out for recruiting trips.
  • Watch Helton's full press conference here:

Generations: Zach Banner and Sam Baker

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USC All-Pac-12 RT Zach Banner wants his name on the All-American walk just like three-time All-American LT Sam Baker. The two big men shared a meal at Galen Center together for a new episode of Generations.

Trojan Tune-Up

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USC men's volleyball is gearing up to host a nine-team preseason tournament this Saturday at USC's Galen Center Pavilion.

Click here for the full preview.

The Trojans will split into two teams ("Cardinal" and "Gold") and will compete against Long Beach State, Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge, Cal Baptist, Grand Canyon and Concordia.

USC hopes to get back into the mix this season after going 7-19 in its first year under head coach Jeff Nygaard.

The team kicks off competition at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday on the upstairs courts at the Galen Center Pavilion, which is adjacent to the Galen Center. Admission to the event is free.


Bye Week Tuesday: Notes

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The Trojans enjoyed a relaxed practice on Cromwell Field at Loker Track Stadium on the Tuesday of their bye week.
  • USC_Football_Colorado_Mcgillen_2016_6031.jpgUSC head coach Clay Helton said the bye week couldn't come at a better time, as he was able to hold a number of players to get healthy. Full injury report: RB Justin Davis (ankle), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (back), OL Jordan Simmons (knee tendonitis), S Leon McQuay III (hip, groin).
  • With Steven Mitchell Jr. out for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL, Helton said that Deontay Burnett (pictured) will step into a starting role. Burnett has 23 receptions for 229 yards and 2 TD this season.
  • Burnett said he's been in contact with Mitchell, who's in good spirits. "I told him that I'm gonna play for him," Burnett said of his teammate. "I told him every time I'm on the field, it's gonna be for him. He just told me to be who I am."
  • Last year, Burnett was buried on the depth chart, but was able to get some extra reps during the bye week, which happened for some younger players today. Helton praised QB Matt Fink, WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR Velus Jones Jr., WR Trevon Sidney and WR Tyler Vaughns, who saw extra playing time during today's practice.
  • "I look at those two groups there at the end in that last period, and you say, 'Gosh dang, there's the future of your football team,'" Helton said of the players who got extra opportunities today. "There's some talented young kids here, and this is quality reps for them to try to grow."
  • In RB Justin Davis' absence, Ronald Jones II has seen the field a bit more as well. Jones had a slow start to the season, but earned the start against Arizona and rushed for 81 yards and a TD. Jones said one thing he's learned to do better as the year has gone on is "recognizing the blitzes and being able to pick it up to give the quarterback time to throw."
  • Giving QB Sam Darnold time to throw has proven effective for the Trojans, as they've gone 3-1 with the redshirt freshman at the helm. Jones called Darnold "electrifying," adding that "that one play he had against Colorado, when the ball fumbled and he threw it back, it kind of reminded me of Johnny Manziel."
  • Helton and his staff will spend Thursday and Friday recruiting before getting the team back in-house on Saturday to start preparation for the Thursday night game against Cal.
  • Watch Helton's full press conference here:

Award-Winning Defense

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The Pac-12 recognized two USC women's soccer players in their weekly honors this week, as Savannah Levin was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and Sammy Jo Prudhomme was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week.

Levin scored her first goal of the season in USC's 2-0 win over ASU this weekend and anchored the Trojan defense, which earned its ninth shutout of the year. Levin is the third Trojan this season to earn the award, as Ally Prisock and Mandy Freeman have also been honored for their defensive performances. It's the first Player of the Week award Levin has earned as a Trojan.

Prudhomme is no stranger to the Pac-12's weekly honor roll. After posting her eighth individual shutout of the season against ASU, she earned her third Goalkeeper of the Week award this year --- more than any other Pac-12 goalie can claim. She's now earned five such awards in her career.

Levin and Prudhomme have been key in carrying a USC defense that is second in the Pac-12 in goals allowed (7) and shutout games (9). Prudhomme herself leads the conference in save percentage, stopping .903 percent of the shots that have come her way.

The Women of Troy hit the field again on Thursday. They host Washington State at McAlister Field at 2 p.m.


Going the Extra Yard

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In conjunction with the College Football Playoff's Extra Yard for Teachers Initiative, USC's Trojan Outreach program presented a Los Angeles elementary school teacher with a $10,000 check today.

USC OT Zach Banner tagged along to Lou Dantzler Elementary School to surprise art teacher A.K. Usafi with the check. After Banner engaged in a Q&A regarding the importance of education and creativity through the arts, he left the stage and re-emerged to surprise Ms. Usafi.

Trojan Outreach also invited Usafi and the students at Dantzler to attend USC's Thursday night game vs. Cal on Oct. 27.

Check out the video of the surprise check presentation!

Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 9

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USC women's soccer advanced to 11-3 and 5-1 in conference play with a 2-0 win over ASU last weekend. Now, head coach Keidane McAlpine leads the Women of Troy to two more Pac-12 tilts, against Washington State (where McAlpine previously coached) and Washington.

In the latest episode of Kickin' It With Keidane, the head coach explains how the recent loss to Cal has helped the team grow, and how dangerous USC's upcoming opponents are:

Top Dog

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Following his 235-yard, 5-TD performance against Arizona on Saturday, USC QB Sam Darnold moved up to No. 1 in the nation in total QB rating, according to ESPN.

This statistic values a QB on all play types on a 0-100 scale, adjusted for the strength of the opposing defense.

Darnold sits atop the national ranking with a 91.4 total QBR. Rounding out the Top 5 are Louisville's Lamar Jackson, Washington's Jake Browning, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Toledo's Logan Woodside.

In his four starts this season, Darnold has gone 3-1, while completing 67.2 percent of his passes and averaging 299.5 pass yards per game. He has 13 pass TD on the season (11 as the starting QB), and has added 2 TD on the ground. His 137 rush yards this season are the most by a USC QB since Reggie Perry had 254 in 1991.

Darnold and the Trojans get this week off before facing Cal in a Thursday night game on Oct. 27.


2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 6

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USC's representatives in the NFL have continued to make an impact all over the field this season. Through six weeks, two Trojans (Leonard Williams and Nick Perry) rank in the Top 10 in sacks, while others lead their teams in certain categories (Robert Woods' 239 receiving yards are the most on the Bills).

kessler2-nfl.jpgThe Best

Cody Kessler had his best NFL performance to date, going 26-of-41 for 336 pass yards, 2 TD and 0 INT on Sunday. Though the Browns couldn't top the Titans in Nashville, Kessler's showing was among the best of all QBs in Week 6. Only three signal callers threw for more yards than Kessler this weekend, and they all have Super Bowl rings (Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Tom Brady). Kessler's performance earned him a nomination for the NFL's Rookie of the Week.

The Best of the Rest

Robert Woods, WR, Bills - 5 receptions, 44 yards, 1 TD, plus 1 rush for 6 yards

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars - 6 receptions, 61 yards

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 4 tackles

Xavier Grimble, TE, Steelers - 1 reception, 11 yards

Josh Shaw, CB, Bengals - 8 tackles, plus 1 special teams tackle

Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - 2 tackles

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 6 tackles

Shareece Wright, CB, Ravens - 2 tackles, 1 pass defensed

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 2 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 1 pass defensed

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles - 3 receptions, 34 yards

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - 4 tackles, 1 TFL

Nick Perry, LB, Packers - 5 tackles

Clay Matthews III, LB, Packers - 2 tackles

Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - 8 tackles

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 23-of-34, 213 pass yards, 1 TD

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - 5 tackles, 1 QB hit, 1 TFL

Learn more about Eat The Ball by clicking here!

Q&A With TaRhonda Bazille, Filmmaker of The Ryan Francis Story

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

On May 13, 2006, USC point guard Ryan Francis was shot and killed in his hometown of Baton Rouge, LA. He was just 19 years old. Ten years later, filmmaker TaRhonda Bazille produced a documentary shedding light on Francis' life, entitled "The Ryan Francis Story." USC social media intern Max Holm caught up with Bazille to discuss the making of the film.

Francis (sh).jpgMax Holm (MH): Before getting into the specific film on Ryan Francis I wanted to ask you about your background in film.

TaRhonda Bazille (TB): So I actually don't necessarily have a background in film. This is actually my first documentary that I've been blessed to be a part of. I do have a strong passion for stories, sharing stories, telling stories. That's kind of how I got into it. I wrote a book previously, so to be able to do something visually made everything OK for me. I actually have a degree in engineering so it's kind of weird, because I write as well, and the two are so different. I get asked, 'How did you get into engineering or how did you get into writing?' But as a child I always enjoyed writing and it just kind of manifested.

MH: So with this being your first film, why this story? Why Ryan Francis? What drew you to it?

TB: I would say that there are two main things that led me to tell Ryan's story. The first was his mother, Ms. Paulette. We have a really good relationship. We're very close. And I know how broken she was from the tragic loss of her only child, Ryan. Two years ago I realized that she would have conversations, whether it was me and her talking or other people, but there was always one thing you knew not to discuss and that was Ryan. It was the elephant in the room. So I wanted to change that for her. I wanted to help change her most painful memory into something special. So I went to her and got permission, and I kept her close throughout the entire process.

And then the second reason is pretty much because I've lost a lot of friends to gun violence, so much that it became the norm. And it's like, 'Oh it's another sad story,' but then it happens again. So when I looked at Ryan's life and everything that he accomplished, I truly believed that he has the platform to inspire change. So those were the two main things that led me to tell his story.

MH: Now with this film submitted to film festivals, what do you hope to achieve with this film?

TB: I'd say there are three things I truly hope to achieve: the first would be healing for his mother, the second is for people to understand that our children truly do need us and there is a major problem with violence in our inner city youth, and the third is I pretty much want people to know and remember Ryan Francis.

MH: When did you start working on the film and how long did it take start to finish?

TB: I started working on it toward the end of 2014, so almost two years. It's funny because a few years prior to me actually beginning this, my brother came to me and asked if I would do a movie about their team, because he played with Ryan in high school. I told him I'd consider but couldn't make any promises because it was such a big story, and it's the type of story you can't touch unless you give 200 percent. So I knew it would take all of my heart. When I finally felt it was time I started with making the documentary.

MH: So when did you end up wrapping up the film, final takes, edits and all?

TB: I finished all of the interviews in December of 2015. And then I took about three months to transcribe everything. I took all the interviews and detailed them word for word and created this whole Excel sheet. It was over 500 pages, it was crazy. It made the editing process so much easier, though, because I knew where everything was, who said what. I finished the editing in late July, early August.

MH: So especially since this was the first film you've worked on, what were the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of this whole process for you?

TB: I would say that from start to finish, I enjoyed the entire process. It had a lot of challenges and so many points where things could have stopped it from being completed or coming to life, but it just kept going. I think between all of the families, working schedules, gaining and giving trust --- these were people I did not know before --- it was amazing that they loved Ryan so much that they talked to me and we built these relationships. Them trusting me with their image on camera, to me that was pretty amazing. Meeting people from all walks of life all for the love of Ryan really was a big deal.

MH: Along those lines, having met all those people, who were the most interesting people you talked to? Were there any moments that stood out looking back, where you thought to yourself, 'Wow, that was really special?'

TB: I did, but to be honest I interviewed 27 people and each and every one of them was compelling. Honestly, no lie, there were so many amazing storylines. I believe that everyone can relate to at least one person or story line in the documentary. So many emotions and different stories were shared. It was unbelievable. But they all had something unique. It's crazy because many of them said some of the same things. So people were picking up off of one another and it's how you know they were telling the truth. A lot of them had very compelling story lines, from his mom to pretty much all of them. They all just had amazing stories.

MH: So gearing this film toward USC, what do you think USC and the Trojan Family, especially those that don't or didn't know Ryan Francis, can take away from this film about Ryan but also the film in general?

TB: That USC had a great impact on Ryan's life. I think that USC gave him a chance. They helped complete his story, the tail end of his time here on Earth. They took a kid that was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and they gave him a chance to live his dream. USC changed his life.

Trojans Live: Bye Week Preview

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With USC football headed into its bye week, Trojans Live focused on the win over Arizona and the big basketball event coming up this Saturday.

Head coach Clay Helton led off the show with a thorough recap of the three-game winning streak and a note on why Cody Kessler is thriving in the NFL.

Click here to watch Helton on Trojans Live.

Safety Chris Hawkins came up big in Tucson with a team-leading five tackles and a forced fumble.

Click here to watch Hawkins on Trojans Live.

Finally, it's almost basketball season! Junior guards Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart previewed this year's team ahead of the Trojan Tip Off on Saturday (FREE admission).

Cam Smith's IMPACT

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Prior to this season, USC LB Cameron Smith was named to the 2016 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List. Named for two-time USC All-American Ronnie Lott, the award honors college football players who demonstrate each component of the IMPACT acronym: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Smith has started all seven games for USC this season and leads the Trojans with 50 tackles. Watch Smith discuss the IMPACT Trophy, the player he modeled his game after, and more:

Clay Helton Q&A - Bye Week

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Fresh off a 48-14 wallopping of Arizona, USC gets a bye this weekend to rest up before its Thursday night game next week vs. Cal. USC head coach Clay Helton sat down to discuss what went right against the Wildcats and how to shut down Bears QB Davis Webb.

Helton also expressed his condolences to WR Steven Mitchell Jr., who tore his ACL against Arizona and will miss the remainder of the season. Mitchell had 24 receptions for 226 yards and a TD before his injury.

Hear everything Helton had to say here:

National Recognition

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USC men's basketball junior captain Jordan McLaughlin is one of 20 players named to the watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, given annually to the nation's best point guard.

Click here for the complete list.

McLaughlin has been at the center of the program's resurgence under head coach Andy Enfield, averaging 13.4 ppg and 4.7 apg last season. He will take over primary point guard duties this year after sharing responsibility with Julian Jacobs in 2015-16.

Single game tickets are now available for this season, starting with the home opener on November 11. Fans can meet the team this Saturday at the Trojan Tip-Off (1 p.m. at Galen Center). Admission is FREE.


Lanier Leads the Way

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Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors for leading USC to two road wins this weekend, over Oregon and Oregon State.

On Friday, the Women of Troy earned a four-set upset of No. 16 Oregon in Eugene. Lanier posted a career-high 23 kills and added eight digs and a block to lead all players with 23.5 points.

Lanier earned a double-double in USC's tilt with Oregon State on Sunday to help the Trojans sweep the Beavers. She finished with 16 kills, 12 digs, two blocks and an ace. Alyse Ford also posted a double-double. The win was USC's first sweep of a conference opponent this season and helped the Women of Troy stay undefeated on the road this year (7-0).

Despite leading all Pac-12 freshmen in kills (4.01 per set), service aces (0.25 per set) and points (4.52 per set), this is Lanier's first Freshman of the Week award from the conference.

Lanier and the Trojans host four conference opponents to close out October, starting with Cal on Friday at 6 p.m.


Trojans Gash Gauchos

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USC men's water polo earned its seventh straight win this weekend with a 16-6 takedown of UC Santa Barbara.

Click here for the full recap.

The Trojans have now outscored the Gauchos 30-9 in their two meetings this season.

In Saturday's matchup, junior driver Blake Edwards netted five goals, the last of which was his 100th as a Trojan. For his efforts, Edwards was named the MPSF Player of the Week. It was the first such award for Edwards, who connected on all of his shot attempts against the Gauchos.

It was a close game out of the gates, with USC up just 4-3 after one period, but the Trojan defense tightened up to lead the way to a 10-goal victory. USC now boasts 11 double-digit victories this season.

Next up for the Trojans is a short trip to Long Beach to take on Long Beach State on Saturday.


Sun Devil Shutout

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USC women's soccer improved to 11-3 on the season with yet another shutout victory this weekend.

After suffering their first loss in over a month to Cal last weekend, the No. 6 Trojans topped the Arizona State Sun Devils, 2-0, this Saturday.

Click here for the full recap.

After 45 minutes of scoreless play, Katie Johnson and Savannah Levin (pictured) netted second-half goals to earn the win for USC. For Levin, it was the first goal of the season. Johnson, meanwhile, is tied for the team lead with seven goals.

USC has now shut out nine of its 14 opponents this season thanks to goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme and the Trojans' staunch defense. The Trojans' .498 goals against average ranks 11th in the nation.

Next up for USC is a home stand vs. Washington State and Washington before finishing out the regular season with three matches away from McAlister Field.


USC vs. Arizona Wrap-Up

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Behind Sam Darnold's career-high five touchdown passes, the Trojans rolled over the Wildcats on Saturday. The Trojans have now won three straight games, and get a bye this weekend before going for their fourth on Oct. 27 vs. Cal.

McGillen Galleries: Arizona

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On Saturday, the Trojans endured the scorching heat in Tucson to top Arizona, 48-14. USC team photographer John McGillen was at Arizona Stadium to document the big win.

USC Tramples Arizona

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USC Tramples Arizona

6-Points: USC 48, Arizona 14

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The Trojans trounced the Wildcats en route to their first road win of the season and third consecutive victory.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

Final-AZ.jpgTurnover Talk

All week long, the Trojans were peppered with questions about their growing turnover problem, and they responded by posting a season-best +4 in turnover margin. "We came out strong defensively and attacked the young quarterback," said CB Iman Marshall, who had one of USC's two interceptions. "We tried to get as many turnovers as possible, and we came up with four, which is a big day defensively for us." S Chris Hawkins created a key fumble early in the game to set up a score, and the Trojans also picked up an interception from Ajene Harris and a fumble recovery by freshman Connor Murphy.

Safe with Sam

Offensively, USC played a clean game, starting with redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold who said that he thought about ball security on every play. "You love guys that love to be coached. There was a huge emphasis on ball security and it started with the quarterback," said Helton about Darnold. It certainly did not hamper Darnold's playmaking ability as he completed 20/32 for 235 yards and 5 TDs plus 54 rush yards. "He's almost too good to be true," Helton praised.

Bully Ball

The veteran USC offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, creating huge holes for a committee of young tailbacks en route to the biggest rushing day of the season. "I really challenged not only the backs - to be next man up - but I challenged the offensive line," said Helton. "They owned the field today." The offensive line was boosted by the return of All-Pac-12 RT Zach Banner. "We felt like, if we're going to win this game, we need to do it up front," said Banner. "We needed to pound the ball. We did just that and we had a good time." USC racked up 320 yards on the ground led by sophomore RB Aca'Cedric Ware, who had a career-high 103 yards and a touchdown.

Lights Out

The USC defense put together another complete performance, creating four turnovers and stuffing the Wildcats on a goal line stand. Helton gave "credit [to] the secondary" which limited Arizona freshman QB Khalil Tate to 7/18 passing and only 58 yards. Marshall explained that the game plan was to "put pressure on [Tate] and make him beat us with his arm. When he tried to do that, we made him pay."

Playmakers on the Mend

Once again, Darnold distributed the ball well as nine different receivers made catches. Junior WR JuJu Smith-Schuster paced the pack, hauling in nine receptions for 132 yards and 3 TDs. However, late in the game, he went down with a painful lower back injury after taking a helmet to the area. The good news is that the x-rays were negative. Unfortunately, Helton has major concerns about Steven Mitchell's knee which will require an MRI tomorrow before a prognosis can be made.

On to the Next

Helton pushed his team to take care of business on the road, and the Trojans rewarded him with a dominant showing. Now, USC has won three consecutive games going into its bye week. Despite being back above .500 at 4-3 on the season, the Trojans must maintain their sense of urgency. "We've got to keep on," said Helton. "We need to have this week off to get some injuries healed up and get ready for a good Cal team." USC will take on the Bears at the Coliseum on Thursday, October 27.

Click here for tickets.

Here are all the highlights from the blowout victory:

Elevens Up

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Tickets for USC men's basketball's 2016-17 season went on sale today, and fans can take advantage of special pricing for the Trojans' season opener on Nov. 11.

In addition to Mini Plans, Tommy Pass and Individual Game tickets, USC Athletics is offering 111 tickets for just $.11, 111 tickets for $1.11 and 1,111 tickets for $11.11 for USC's home opener against Montana on 11/11 at 8 p.m. The tickets are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here to purchase a ticket for $.11 for USC vs. Montana!

Click here to purchase a ticket for $1.11 for USC vs. Montana!

Click here to purchase a ticket for $11.11 for USC vs. Montana!

The Trojans went 21-13 last season and made their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2011. Watch them look to take the next step starting on Nov. 11!


All in a Day's Work

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Twice this season, the Trojans and Rams play back-to-back games in the Coliseum, including last weekend. On Saturday, USC defeated Colorado, and then on Sunday, Buffalo took down Los Angeles. In between, the Coliseum staff went to work to convert the stadium from USC to the NFL.

Check out this time-lapse video capturing the Coliseum makeover:

2016 Game 7: USC vs. Arizona

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USC Trojans (3-3, 2-2) at Arizona Wildcats (2-4, 0-3)

Arizona Stadium in Tucson at 12:30 p.m. PT on FOX

Tate.jpgWildcat to Watch: The Running Quarterbacks

We don't know which quarterback to spotlight because we don't know which quarterback Rich Rodriguez plans on playing. He has used four different men behind center, largely due to injury issues, which make the picture even murkier this week. Whomever he chooses, Rodriguez will deploy an athletically-gifted quarterback who is more likely to hurt the Trojans on the ground than through the air. Sophomore QB Brandon Dawkins, who is in concussion protocol, is the fourth leading rusher in the Pac-12. Highly-touted freshman Khalil Tate (pictured), a Serra product, is a known entity to several Trojans. "Once he's got the ball in his hands, it's hard to get him down," USC CB Adoree' Jackson said of Tate. "One of those things where he's electrifying with the ball, he can beat you with his arm and beat you with his feet. A special kid." Junior Anu Solomon is the veteran QB, but he's dealing with a knee injury.

Click here for more on the Wildcats.

3 Keys

Take the Show on the Road

The Trojans are 3-0 at home this season, but 0-3 away from the Coliseum. While life on the road is difficult, USC has a golden opportunity to scratch one against a slumping Arizona side which has lost three straight. With that said, the Wildcats are also dangerous, particularly in Tucson, where they took Washington, the current cream of the conference, to overtime. To secure a road victory and extend their winning streak to three, the Trojans must eliminate the mistakes that plagued them against Alabama (communication), at Stanford (penalties) and at Utah (turnovers). If USC plays a clean game, Arizona will not be able to keep up with an otherwise dominant team this month.

Release RoJo

Senior RB Justin Davis, who is fifth in the Pac-12 in rushing, will likely miss the game with a high ankle sprain. Without its primary ball carrier, USC will turn to the "Texas Two Step," Ronald Jones II and Aca'Cedric Ware. Jones has struggled to match the magic of his freshman season, but he appears primed to snap out of the slump with a big performance on Saturday. Last year against Arizona, Jones ran for a career-high 177 yards. With that in mind and ample opportunities, his confidence should be boosted.

Contain and Collapse

As USC head coach Clay Helton mentioned several times this week, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez invented or popularized many of the spread option concepts that almost every college team uses today. The Trojans will see a steady diet of "RPOs" (run/pass options) from Arizona's extremely mobile quarterbacks. The USC defense has handled Arizona State and Colorado's wide open attacks much better than Alabama and Stanford's ground-and-pound from earlier in the season. It is incumbent upon the Trojans front to contain the Wildcats QB, whomever it may be, in the pocket and force him to be a thrower.

Arizona Thursday: Clay Helton Presser

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor 

USC got in one last practice Thursday before its trip to the desert to face the Arizona Wildcats. The Trojans will be looking to extend their winning streak and go a game over .500 with a win on Saturday.

In his press conference after practice Thursday, coach Clay Helton explained his even keel demeanor, the growth of his team and more:

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Mihajlo Milicevic

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool, they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a little better in our academic spotlight.

Mihajlo Milicevic
Year: Junior
Sport: Men's Water Polo
Position: Utility Player
Major: Business Administration
GPA: 3.71

Aubrey Kragen (AK): You went to college for a year in Serbia, right? What made you decide to make the move out here?

Mihajlo Milicevic (MM): Well in Serbia, it's very hard to combine water polo and school together --- to play on a very high level and at the same time to have a good education. So that's the No. 1 thing. Also, I heard about USC, I knew that school and water polo were great here, and this was just a great chance for me.

AK: How had you heard about USC all the way in Serbia? Did you have friends or know someone here?

MM: I actually met Chase Koplow, who is currently on the team. He went to Serbia to practice, because Serbia is pretty good in water polo. So he was getting ready for college, and he told me about USC. He told be about Jovan [Vavic], how he's the head coach. So I got interested, and looked it up, and then we talked a little bit more about USC and everything.

AK: For a transfer student within the United States, it can be difficult to adjust to a new college. How difficult was it for you to get adjusted coming from halfway across the world?

MM: The biggest issue was the language barrier. It was hard for me in the beginning to understand, and even to talk. But once I learned English, everything else was kind of the same. Education here is a little bit different, so once I learned the system and learned how to schedule my classes, how to find the buildings, how to read the syllabus --- all the basic stuff --- everything else was easy.

AK: What was your process of learning English? Did you know much growing up or did you come here and have to pick it up?

MM: Well, before I came here, I thought I was pretty good at English, which is kind of sad. In Serbia, I started learning English since fifth grade in elementary school. But we would just study grammar and we wouldn't talk in English at all. It would be just writing, and it would be just a couple of phrases, so it wasn't that useful. So once I came here and tried to talk, it was completely different and I was confused and kind of embarrassed. I didn't want to talk that much, but then I just realized that I have to try. After a month, I think, I felt more comfortable.

AK: You started here as an economics major but you switched to business administration. What made you decide to switch?

MM: Well, my primary goal was to get in business school. The econ major was just because academically I was a junior last year, so I had to choose a major, and econ was in Dornsife, and I was undeclared in Dornsife, so that was the easiest option for me ... And then after that I applied to business school.

AK: So why is business the field you want to go into?

MM: Well, I love math, and I love problem-solving and decision-making, and I think I'm pretty good at that. So I see myself in that area, and I would like to work one day in finance. Mainly because it's very competitive, and I was an athlete my entire life, so I love to compete. And I love problem solving, so I think I could find myself in that area and just continue my lifestyle in a little bit different industry.

AK: How difficult is it to maintain such a high GPA when you're on a team that consistently has such high expectations athletically?

MM: Well, what I think in my opinion is it's not about how intelligent you are, it's not about how smart you are, it's all about organization and discipline. So, if you're very organized, even though you have a lot of things to do during the day, in the end, you will know, 'Now, I'm studying. Now, I'm going to take a break, I'm going to get ready for my practice, I'm going to class.' Or at night I know I have to finish this paper or get ready for a midterm. If you have that attitude that you know you have to do it, then it's possible.

AK: So do you schedule your day out like that? Do you have a planner where you block times out for certain things?

MM: That's weird, because I don't have a planner. That's kind of bad. But I have a planner in my head, so I basically have the entire plan for the entire week in advance. I already know that I have to study, for example, on Tuesday night ... So I kind of make a planner in my head, which I know is not good --- I have to start writing, because in the future I will forget a lot of things.

AK: Lastly, I have to ask, what are the worst pronunciations of your name you've gotten from professors?

MM: Oh yeah. I got so many. I don't understand why, but they always put a 'K,' so they will always say "Mi-Ki-Lo" or "Mi-Kay-La." I would end up with a lot of different names ... it's "Mi-Hi-Lo." So you can put it as "Me-High-Low."

Gearing Up for the Gauchos

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USC men's water polo gets back in the pool after a week off with a tilt against UC Santa Barbara on Sunday.

Click here for the full preview.

The No. 3 Trojans (14-1) face off against the No. 7 Gauchos (8-4) for the second time this season. In their home opener on Sept. 10, the Trojans beat UCSB, 14-3. In that match, Matteo Morelli and Lachlan Edwards scored three goals each and McQuin Baron racked up 16 saves.

Today through Saturday, UCSB hosts four matches, before making its way to L.A. Meanwhile, the Trojans will be well-rested for the nonconference bout.

Sunday's matchup kicks off at 1 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatic Center.


Meet Keyshawn "Pie" Young

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USC_Football_Stanford_mcgillen_2016_DSC_0776.JPGName: Keyshawn "Pie" Young

Position: DB

Class: Freshman

Size: 5-foot-11, 175 pounds

Age: 19

High School: Miami Senior HS (Miami, FL)

Game: Young is an athletic, energetic young defensive back with a bright future for the Trojans. Head coach Clay Helton only believes in reaching out of state for top talents and Young fits the mold. Despite his youth, he has earned playing time on special teams and defense already this season.

Prep Career: Young earned Prep-Star All-American and All-State Class 8A honorable mention honors as senior WR-DB. He racked up 2,069 yards from scrimmage and 30 scrimmage TDs his sophomore and junior seasons, and added three punt return scores as a junior.

Secondary coach Ronnie Bradford on Young: "When he first came in here, he was a little rough around the edges ... He's done a great job of just picking it up ... I look for big things from that kid, because he's trying to do it the right way all the time."

Fun Fact: His nickname came from his late grandmother, who wanted him to be "Perfect In Everything," hence PIE.

Here is Pie Young on his Miami roots, his famous family members and more:


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USC OT Zach Banner has been selected as one of 30 finalists for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award.

CLASS stands for "Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School," and the organization recognizes senior Division I football players who who excel in the community, the classroom, in character and in competition.

Banner, who hails from Tacoma, WA, was an All-Pac-12 first team selection last season and made the watch list for the Outland Trophy this year.

The team captain has always placed emphasis on his studies and his community service endeavors. He received his Bachelor's degree in Communication and is now pursuing another in Sociology. He has also spoken at New Life Christian Center and several elementary, middle and high schools about the importance of education and receiving a college degree. Last month, he lent his support to the College Football Playoff's Extra Yard for Teachers initiative, too.

Additionally, Banner participates in USC's Swim With Mike event every year and was active within USC's partnership with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation during the 2015 season.

This season, Banner started the first four games of the season at right tackle before being sidelined against ASU and Colorado with an ankle injury. He hopes to get back on the field this Saturday at Arizona.


Leventhal Stat of the Week - Arizona

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History predicts that USC's matchup against Arizona on Saturday will be a close one. Since 2007, every game between these two schools has been decided by eight points or fewer. On average, the margin of victory has been 5.3 points in those nine games (seven of which USC has won). Last year's eight-point win was the Trojans' largest over the Wildcats since USC's 17-point victory in 2006.


Arizona Wednesday - Notes

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The Trojans took the field on Wednesday to prepare themselves for their fourth straight Pac-12 South game.
  • USC_Football_Colorado_Mcgillen_2016_6180.jpgUSC head coach Clay Helton mentioned that OT Zach Banner (ankle) practiced in full, and that RB Aca'Cedric Ware tweaked an ankle but was able to finish practice.
  • The team's relatively good health is a stark contrast from an Arizona squad which has cycled through three QBs this season due to injury: Anu Solomon, Brandon Dawkins and Khalil Tate.
  • USC CB-WR-RET Adoree' Jackson (pictured) was a high school teammate of Tate's at Serra, and sees similarities between himself and the Wildcat QB. "Once he's got the ball in his hands, it's hard to get him down," Jackson said of the true freshman. "One of those things where he's electrifying with the ball, he can beat you with his arm and beat you with his feet. A special kid."
  • Jackson has a chance to have an electrifying game as well, as Arizona's kickoff coverage ranks last in the Pac-12. Jackson says he expects the Wildcats to beef up their coverage with him coming to town, though. "I know at the end of the day some teams that have had troubles on special teams, when they go against someone who can change the game, they seem to figure it out and get it together," he said. "So it's just me trying to make the most of my opportunities."
  • A big opportunity awaits for Jackson on Saturday. He can break USC's all-time kickoff return yardage record with just one yard against the Wildcats. He is currently tied with Curtis Conway, at 1,723 yards.
  • Jackson and the defense have stepped up in the last few games, holding both Colorado and ASU to season-lows in points scored. LB Uchenna Nwosu, who had a career-high 10 tackles against CU, accredits this to the defense "building a bond together" as well as "studying extra together" and "getting closer."
  • Nwosu acknowledged that the team is itching to earn its first road win this year. "We want to make a statement. We've got to keep building," he said, adding, "On the road it's harder --- the crowd gets more involved. Every time someone plays USC it's like their Super Bowl so you know everyone gives us their best game."
  • Nwosu and the defense will be tasked with shutting down Arizona's QB runs this weekend, as Helton pointed out that the Wildcats "are the second-leading QB rush team in the country, behind Louisville."
  • Helton noted that in order to keep Arizona's offense off the field, USC's offense must keep up the good work on third down. "I think it's going to be critical this week to be able to keep a team that can get 90 to 100 plays on a lot of teams [off the field]."
  • Watch Helton's full press conference here:

Celebrating Joint Forces Day

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USC_Football_Colorado_Mcgillen_2016_4674.jpgUSC celebrated Joint Forces Day at the Coliseum on Saturday during the Trojans' game against Colorado.

To honor those who have served, USC Athletics gave away approximately 7,000 tickets to organizations such as the U.S. Marines, USC ROTC, Coast Guard Public Affairs, the Veteran Tickets Foundation, the East L.A. Vet Center and more. USC also

Before the game, Trojan fans were treated to a C-17 flyover. The crew of the C-17 was honored during the game, as well. At halftime, the Spirit of Troy Marching Band performed the official song for each branch of the U.S. Military.

Additionally, Athletic Director Lynn Swann presented 30-year U.S. Air Corps veteran Robert Friend with a USC Medal of Honor.

USC will continue to honor the U.S. Military across multiple sports this year.

Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 8

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In the last week, USC women's soccer experienced intense highs and lows after beating the No. 1 team in the nation, then losing a game for the first time since Aug. 26.

In the latest episode of "Kickin' It With Keidane," the head coach explains what went wrong against Cal and previews this weekend's matchup against ASU.

Ready for a Breakout

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USC men's basketball sophomore forward Chimezie Metu was recently named a breakout player for the 2016-17 season by Jon Rothstein.

Click here for the full article.

Last season, Metu averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for the Trojans. He led the team with 54 blocks, which were the most by a USC freshman since Taj Gibson posted 69 in 2007. He started only two games, but appeared in all 34.

This year, he'll step into a starting role and look to improve offensively. The Trojans kick off their season at home on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. against Montana. Prior to that, you can catch Metu at Trojan Tip Off on Oct. 22. USC's men's and women's basketball teams will hold a fan fest, a scrimmage and more.


#USCHero: Robert Friend

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On Saturday during USC's game against Colorado, AD Lynn Swann presented Robert Friend with a USC Medal of Courage.

Friend served 30 years in the U.S. Army Air Corps, during which he flew 142 missions before retiring in 1972. He was a pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation's first African American military pilot group.

For his service, Friend was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007, and has received a Bronze Star, a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Distinguished Service Cross and an Air Medal.


Sights and Sounds: USC vs. Colorado

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Back-to-back home wins has breathed new life into the Trojans and the season.

Arizona Tuesday: Notes

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After back-to-back home wins, the Trojans search for their first road win of the season this week.
  • Here is the injury report, per head coach Clay Helton: RB Justin Davis (high ankle sprain - likely out), RT Zach Banner (ankle - practiced), OLB Jabari Ruffin (cleared concussion protocol), TE Taylor McNamara (struggling with back and quad injuries), CB Jonathan Lockett (shoulder - practiced today) and LB Michael Hutchings (shoulder - limited today).
  • CHEVRON_SD.jpgOutside of Davis, the injury picture is clearing up, especially if Banner is able to return this week. The All-Pac-12 right tackle said, "It's just hurt not being out there." Assuming he plays, he would take back his starting spot, but Helton expects to rotate in either Chuma Edoga or Jordan Simmons to spell him since he has been inactive.
  • While it was difficult to sit out, Banner has been impressed, but not surprised, by what he has seen from his teammates in the last two games. "We're a tough team," he said multiple times. "I think we've gotten better every single week, and I couldn't be any prouder of my guys."
  • When asked about watching Sam Darnold perform over the last two weeks, Banner posed a question right back at the media. "He's a great player, isn't he?" he said. "Anybody who lines up behind us, we're going to protect. We're happy we have a guy who gives as much effort and tenacity as this guy."
  • Darnold ranks eighth in the nation in passer rating and tops among freshmen, but in his three starts, he has fumbled three times. "To be honest, in the game, I don't think about it, which is something that has to change," said Darnold about ball security. "I'm not mindful enough of the ball. That needs to change and it will."
  • At the end of practice, all the skill players, including Darnold, went through a ball protection drill. The redshirt freshman QB has had to make a ball placement change from high school. He used to hold the ball low and in one hand, but now, he is being schooled to hold it high and tight with two hands.
  • Outside of the turnovers, the Trojans' offense has been transformed under Darnold, averaging 509 yards per game in his three starts. "No one can stop us so far if we don't turn it over," he said. "We're only killing ourselves. We're going to go as far as we want ourselves to go."
  • Darnold played baseball as a youngster (he's a Dodgers fan), so he knows how to slide. "I'm comfortable doing it. It's obviously something I need to do a little bit more."
  • While turnovers have been an issue in two of the last three games, the USC offense did not commit a single penalty against Arizona State. "That was a good thing," said Helton with a smile. "Penalties were one that got cleaned up."
  • In order to get a road win, Helton is emphasizing the running game to protect his young quarterback. Without Justin Davis, Ronald Jones II will likely emerge as the primary ball carrier, but he has struggled to match his freshman magic. "He's getting there," said Helton about Jones. "Between the tackles, I'm hoping the reps in real live game action will help him. I truly think the kid is ready for a breakout game."
  • Here is Helton with a complete breakdown of Arizona and much more:

Ellison Earns Honor

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riki ellison.jpgFormer USC national champion Riki Ellison has been named to the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Ellison, known as Riki Gray during his time at USC, played LB for the Trojans from 1978-82. The New Zealand native, who is of Maori ancestry, 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).

Ellison is joined by Junior Ah You, Chris Naeole, Ma'a Tanuvasa and John Manumaleuna in the Class of 2017.

Ellison and the rest of the Class of 2017 will be honored during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on January 21-22, 2017 in Oahu, Hawai'i.

USC Athletic Allies

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In honor of National Coming Out Day today, USC Athletics is taking a number of actions to make sure that LGBTQ students and student-athletes feel supported at Troy and around the world.

Recently, USC president C.L. Max Nikias signed the NCAA Pledge to Promote Diversity and Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics.

Now, several departments within athletics are being trained in "Safe Zone" programming, which helps participants stay informed of LGBTQ issues and improve their support to the LGBTQ community. Additionally, USC Athletics staff members were encouraged to wear shirts to show support for LGBTQ students and student-athletes.

Next month, USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism will host a USC LGBTQ Sports Conference. One panel will feature administration, coaches, players, and staff discussing how USC Athletics is creating an inclusive environment for all Trojans.


2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 5

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Week 5 of the 2016 NFL season has come and gone, and USC's NFL representatives are continuing to make names for themselves in every game. Jets DE Leonard Williams is tied for 5th in the league in sacks, and three Trojans have helped the Minnesota Vikings become the only undefeated team in the league: DE Everson Griffen, TE Rhett Ellison and OT Matt Kalil (reserve/injured).

Nickell-nfl.jpgThe Best

CB Nickell Robey-Coleman returned to the Coliseum on Sunday, this time in nautical blue and red. The Trojan-turned-Buffalo Bill had two interceptions against the Rams, one of which he returned for a touchdown. "Today was a great homecoming for me," he said after the game. "Today was a wonderful day."

Best of the Rest

Javorius "Buck" Allen, RB, Ravens - 4 carries, 18 rush yards

Cody Kessler, QB, Browns - 5/8 for 62 yards and 1 TD before leaving game with chest/ribs injury

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles - 2 receptions, 27 yards

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 2 sacks

Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - 4 tackles

Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings - 2 tackles, 1 QB hit

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Xavier Grimble, TE, Steelers - 2 receptions, 13 yards

Josh Shaw, CB, Bengals - 2 tackles

Robert Woods, WR, Bills - 2 receptions, 26 yards

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 5 tackles, 1 QB hit

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 7 total tackles (5 regular, 2 special teams)

Nick Perry, LB Packers - 4 tackles, 3 QB hits, 1 sack

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 2 tackles, 1 sack

Click here to check out Eat the Ball!

A Whole Lott of Love

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Junior CB-WR-RET Adoree' Jackson was named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week today. Jackson finished the Saturday's win over Colorado with 50 punt return yards, 33 kickoff return yards, six tackles and one acrobatic interception.

Jackson is now second in the nation in average punt return yardage (18.7) and he leads the team with two interceptions.

This weekend at Arizona, Jackson has the opportunity to become USC's all-time leader in kickoff return yardage. He is currently tied with Curtis Conway at 1,723 yards. With just one kickoff return yard against the Wildcats, he'll become USC's record holder. That game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. PT on Saturday in Tucson.

adoree Lott IMPACT.jpg

Trojans Live: Arizona Preview

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After back-to-back wins, Trojans Live was a fun place to be on Monday. Head coach Clay Helton, defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and pass catching brothers Josh and Daniel Imatorbhebhe joined the show along with beach volleyball superstars Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes.

Helton praised his team's resolve and addressed the growing concern over turnovers ahead of the road trip to Arizona.

Click here to watch Helton on Trojans Live.

Pendergast assessed his defense at the midway point of the season and explained why several players are having breakout seasons.

Click here to watch Pendergast on Trojans Live.

TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe, fresh off his first career touchdown catch, and WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, a talented freshman, talked about their upbringing and how they both ended up at USC.

Click here to watch the Imatorbhebhe brothers on Trojans Live.

And finally, national champions Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes are back for one more year with their 73-match winning streak intact.

Trojan Wish - Brandon Willis

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USC_Football_Colorado_Mcgillen_2016_4430.jpgOn Saturday, 12-year-old Brandon Willis attended his first-ever Trojan football game. USC's Trojan Wish program provided an unforgettable experience for the diehard fan, who has Spina Bifida and a cognitive brain disorder.

Before the game, Brandon was gifted an authentic No. 9 jersey and enjoyed multiple hamburgers at USC's Cardinal and Gold tailgate. He was accompanied by his father, Tyrel, his school principal, Nat Adams, and Adams' son, Colby, whom Brandon goes to school with and looks up to.

Brandon had never attended a football game before, in part because his Spina Bifida has made it difficult for him to walk, especially in crowded areas. His whole life, though, he has exceeded doctors' expectations, by getting out of his wheelchair and doing away with his walker. He even re-learned to walk after having major surgery.

Brandon and his friends and family traveled three hours from Ventura County to watch the game, and thankfully it didn't disappoint. He particularly enjoyed meeting the Song Girls, watching the Spirit of Troy play, and seeing the C-17 flyover after the national anthem. Of course, USC's 21-17 win over Colorado was pretty fun to watch, too.

"It was amazing to see my son smile as much and as bright as he was," said Tyrel. "He had the time of his life. It was amazing to see his smile again."


Clay Helton Q&A - Arizona

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Following USC's 21-17 win over No. 21 Colorado, head coach Clay Helton sat down to discuss the deciding plays in that game as well as Arizona's quarterback situation in his weekly Q&A.

Digging Dasic

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Freshman driver Marin Dasic of USC men's water polo earned MPSF Newcomer of the Week honors for his four-goal performance over the weekend.

Click here for the full release.

Dasic, who hails from Zagreb, Croatia, scored two goals against Pepperdine on Friday and two more against UC Irvine on Sunday. Entering the weekend, Dasic averaged less than one goal a game. He now has 15 on the season, tying him for fifth on the team and first among freshman.

Dasic is the second Trojan to win this award this season, as freshman two-meter man Matt Maier earned it back on Sept. 26. Maier, Dasic and the Trojans get back in the pool Sunday against UC Santa Barbara.


Trojan of the Game vs. CU: Adoree' Jackson

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The Trojan Family voted Adoree' Jackson the Mercury Insurance Trojan of the Game for his performance against Colorado.

It's not hard to see why. The junior put together another show-stopping display, including an acrobatic interception which drew national attention. He also contributed 4 tackles, 50 punt return yards and a 38-yard kickoff return.


Trophy Time

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During the Trojans' game vs. Colorado on Saturday, USC's female student-athletes were presented their trophy and check for winning the 2015-16 Capital One Cup.

The Capital One Cup recognizes NCAA Division I athletics programs for their cumulative performance across multiple men's and women's sports. The Women of Troy earned their first ever Capital One Cup Trophy by winning two national championships (water polo and beach volleyball) and posting eight total Top-10 finishes (lacrosse, volleyball, golf, swimming, track and indoor track) last season. USC's spring sports helped catapult the program from 17th place at the end of the winter season to the top overall spot.

As part of the presentation, Capital One also presented USC with a $200,000 check for student-athlete scholarships.

Currently, USC's women's soccer, volleyball, golf, cross country and swimming programs are working to keep the Women of Troy atop the college athletics totem pole. Women's swimming heads to the SMU Classic on Friday, while volleyball faces Oregon in Eugene on Friday night. Women's golf will start play in the Stanford Intercollegiate tournament on Friday as well.

Egg-Beating the Competition

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USC men's water polo picked up two more quality wins this weekend, with victories over No. 8 Pepperdine and No. 17 UC Irvine.

The Trojans have now won six straight after dropping their first and only loss of the season to Cal on Sept. 24.

No. 3 USC utilized a balanced scoring attack to beat Pepperdine, 15-4, at Uytengsu Aquatic Center on Friday. Five Trojans scored two goals apiece, leading the 10 total players who found the back of the net for USC. Junior goalie McQuin Baron (pictured) racked up 14 saves, moving into second place on USC's all-time saves list.

On Sunday, USC kept up the tough defense to cruise to a 20-4 victory over UC Irvine. Junior driver Matteo Morelli led the way with four goals, while the Edwards brothers (Blake and Lachlan) chipped in three each. The Trojans have now topped the Anteaters twice this season, by a combined score of 34-7.

Now, the Trojans enjoy a week off before hosting No. 7 UC Santa Barbara on Sunday.


USC vs. Colorado Wrap-Up

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USC earned its sixth straight home win and its second straight Pac-12 South win on Saturday with a 21-17 victory over No. 21 Colorado.

Trojans Topple No. 21 Colorado

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USC Tops No. 21 Colorado

McGillen Galleries: Colorado

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Yesterday, USC topped No. 21 Colorado, 21-17, to improve to 2-1 in the Pac-12 South. USC team photographer John McGillen was there to capture the action from start to finish on a hot October day at the Coliseum.

6-Points: USC 21, Colorado 17

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The Trojans even their record at 3-3 by knocking off the No. 21 Buffaloes at the Coliseum.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

Final-Colorado.jpgWhatever It Takes

The Trojans had no more room this season for a regrettable loss, so while they probably should have won this game more comfortably, what matters most is that they won it at all. To do so, USC needed a staunch defensive performance because while the offense racked up 539 yards, four turnovers limited the scoring. The USC defense held Colorado to 6 of 17 on third down and forced seven punts and one remarkable interception. "We're coming closer together every week," said OLB Uchenna Nwosu, who had a team-high 10 tackles plus a sack. "Coach Clancy [Pendergast] has us building a special bond. We play our hearts out for each other and for the offense." Even with the impressive D, the offense had to make the game-winning plays tied at 14 in the fourth quarter. Senior WR Darreus Rogers came through with "one of the greatest plays I've seen in my life," said head coach Clay Helton. Rogers ripped a 50-50 ball away from the defender for a 46-yard catch to setup the go-ahead touchdown. "I saw the ball in the air and I wanted it more," said Rogers. "I wanted this victory for my team."
Get a Grip

For the second time in three games, USC fumbled the ball away three times. To make matters worse, QB Sam Darnold added an interception as part of an ugly third quarter. "Anytime you turn the ball over four times and win a game, you're very happy because that usually doesn't happen," said Helton. "You really have to give the game ball to our defense." While the defense was able to persevere, giving up only seven points off those four turnovers, the Trojans know that they must hold on to the ball better going forward.

Dangerous Darnold

Darnold contributed three of the turnovers (two fumbles and his first career interception), but he also passed for 358 yards and 3 touchdowns. "He's doing a good job distributing the ball to several different guys," said Helton about Darnold. "The one thing that we have to do is protect the ball at that position." While Darnold looked like a freshman at times tonight, he is an exceptionally talented one. He became USC's first freshman quarterback to throw for 300+ yards in back-to-back games since Todd Marinovich in 1989. Helton explained that Darnold is "not a finished product yet," but he shook off the mistakes to lead game-winning and game-sealing drives in the fourth quarter.

Four Minute Offense

While the game-winning drive was impressive, the game-sealing drive showed tremendous growth by the USC offense which has struggled to put games away in recent years. Up 21-17 with just over four minutes left in the game, Helton refused to be conservative. "I told Tee [Martin] in the beginning, 'Let's control our own destiny here. We're going to play it like it's 0-0,'" said Helton. "I'm going to be smiling tonight because we ended the game offensively." Martin dialed up a masterful drive which was finished off by an aggressive third down completion to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who could have sprinted into the end zone, but decided to slide down and guarantee victory. Helton praised the play and the player for being "so unselfish."

Tight End U

For years, many USC fans have screamed at the top of their lungs to throw the ball to the tight end. Well, if you are one of those fans, today was your day. "It's always in the game plan, but whether we really get the ball or not is always a question," said TE Tyler Petite. "Sam has been working his progressions really well. My first touchdown was just an incredible play by him to keep the play alive." Petite, who is Darnold's roommate, caught two scores, while fellow TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe grabbed the other touchdown.

Open Race

USC handed Colorado its first conference loss of the season, meaning every Pac-12 South school has at least one loss. The Trojans have work to do but they are back in the fight. "We're climbing out of the hole right now," said Helton. "We beat a good Colorado team, and now we have to go get ready for Arizona." USC is 3-0 at the Coliseum this season, but 0-3 away from home, so the Trojans must remedy that problem starting next week in Tucson. "That's going to be a big game," said Nwosu. "You know their fans are live. It's hard to hear in there, so communication is going to be a big key."

Extra Point...

JD Update

Senior RB Justin Davis was on his way to another 100-yard performance when he suffered a "high ankle sprain," which could cause him to miss some time. Helton will update the injury during the week.

Here are the highlights:

McGillen Gallery: USC Women's Soccer vs. Stanford

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On Thursday afternoon, No. 7 USC women's soccer earned a program-record 10th straight win and its first ever over a No. 1 team. The Trojans knocked in three goals against Stanford, more than the Cardinal had allowed in a single game since 2005.

Check out USC photographer John McGillen's photos of USC's statement win:

2016 Game 6: USC vs. Colorado

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No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes (4-1, 2-0) at USC Trojans (2-3, 1-2)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 1 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network

Shay-Fields.jpgBuffalo to Watch: Junior WR Shay Fields

Like most of the Pac-12, Colorado recruits Southern California heavily. The Buffaloes have 43 players from the state of California, while USC has zero from Colorado. Shay Fields is a local product who once was linked with the Trojans, but ultimately, he found a bigger opportunity in Boulder, and he seized it. The third-year wideout is second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game and tops in yards per catch. He is an explosive weapon in the pass game who would love nothing more than to come back to Los Angeles and show off in front of family and friends.

Click here for more on the Buffaloes.

3 Keys

Like ASU, But Opposite

Arizona State was one of the best fourth quarter teams in college football, but the Trojans put the game out of reach before the final 15 minutes. Conversely, Colorado is one of the best first half teams in the nation. The Buffaloes have scored 164 points before halftime and only 52 after the break. USC must burst out of the gate like Ralphie, so the Trojans can gallop home like Traveler. 

Baxter Ball

Colorado appears to be a team without many weaknesses. The Buffaloes have the top ranked defense in the Pac-12, and they are exceptionally balanced offensively, ranking third in the conference in rushing and passing. So, how do you beat them? Michigan is the only team that can claim a victory over Colorado in 2016, and even the Wolverines found themselves trailing, 21-7. However, Michigan won quite comfortably in the end, 45-28, thanks to two special teams touchdowns. USC has been expert in the third phase of the game this season after welcoming back special teams guru John Baxter. In an otherwise evenly matched affair, big plays on special teams could tilt the balance.

Turning Point

The Trojans rebounded nicely from a trying September by blasting previously undefeated ASU last week. The season's momentum can really turn if USC can pick up a galvanizing win over a veteran, ranked Colorado team, which is playing with much more belief than recent versions. The Trojans did not leave much room for error after an 0-2 start in league play, but if they can beat the Buffs than every Pac-12 South team will have at least one loss and another wide open division race will commence.

Toppling the Top-Ranked

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USC women's soccer earned a program-record 10th straight win and its first-ever win over a No. 1 team with its 3-0 victory over top-ranked Stanford today.

Thanks to Morgan Andrews' goal in the 28th minute, USC entered halftime with a 1-0 lead over the Cardinal. It was the first time all season that Stanford trailed at the half. After a goal from Alex Anthony and another from Andrews, the Trojans prevailed, 3-0. Those three goals were the most Stanford had surrendered since 2005. Andrews leads the team with seven goals this season, while Anthony is tied with Katie Johnson for second, at six goals apiece.

No. 7 USC has now won 10 straight games --- the longest streak in program history. The Trojans enjoyed an 11-game unbeaten streak in 2008, but that comprised nine straight wins, a tie and another win.

Should USC win on Sunday against Cal, the Trojans are sure to jump into the Top 5 in the national rankings. That game kicks off at 11 a.m. at USC's McAlister Field. Click here for tickets to watch the Trojans host the Bears!

Colorado Thursday - Clay Helton Presser

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor 

Clay Helton met with the media one last time today ahead of Saturday's matchup against Colorado. It's the first time this season the Trojans will enjoy back-to-back games at home. According to Coach Helton, OT Zach Banner is doubtful to play and TE Taylor McNamara will likely be limited to emergency situations. Helton also discussed redshirt possibilities, the team's brotherly relationships, and the offense's progress.

Here is his post-practice presser:

Leventhal Stat of the Week - Colorado

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This Saturday against Colorado, USC football has a chance to win its sixth consecutive game at the Coliseum. The Trojans' last home loss came a year ago to the date of this weekend's tilt with Colorado (USC fell, 17-12, to Washington on Oct. 8, 2015). Since then, USC has beaten Utah, Arizona, UCLA, Utah State and Arizona State at home.

The current five-game win streak is USC's longest since the Trojans won 12 consecutive games at home from 2007-2009.

Click here to purchase tickets to USC vs. Colorado this Saturday at 1 p.m.


Volleyball Nets 1,000

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Last night, USC women's volleyball won its 1000th match as a program in a 3-1 victory over ASU at the Galen Center.

Click here for the full recap!

The Women of Troy improved to 11-5 on the season, with a 3-2 mark in conference play, and became the 17th women's volleyball program in NCAA Division I history to earn 1,000 wins.

Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier led the way with her eighth double-double of the season (career-high 22 kills, 11 digs). Opposite hitters Niki Withers and Alyse Ford also racked up double-digit kills.

The Women of Troy won the first two sets easily (25-15 and 25-18), but dropped a close third set (25-27). They roared back in the fourth, jumping out to an early 7-2 lead, and Ford put up the final kill to seal USC's 1000th victory.

The win was just another milestone for head coach Mick Haley, who has led the program to their 600th, 700th, 800th, 900th and now 1000th win.

Click here to watch highlights of the match!

USC photographer John McGillen captured all the best moments from USC's historic win:

Colorado Wednesday - Notes

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The Trojans hit the practice field on Wednesday preparing to play their fourth ranked opponent this season: No. 21 Colorado.
  • USC_Football_2016_ASU_McGillen_d500_2518.jpgFull injury report, per USC head coach Clay Helton: RT Zach Banner (ankle, doubtful for Saturday), S Ykili Ross (shoulder, doubtful), LB Jabari Ruffin (concussion, 50/50), TE Taylor McNamara (back, will assess tomorrow).
  • Helton said the team's main point of emphasis today was third down defense. Colorado is second in the Pac-12 in third down efficiency, moving the chains on half their attempts this season.
  • The team also focused on defending the deep ball today, specifically shutting down Colorado wideout Shay Fields. Helton called his deep-threat ability "as good as we've seen to date." Indeed, Fields leads the Pac-12 in yards per catch (21.9).
  • The Trojans have caught some heat for not signing Fields, who initially committed to USC out of St. John Bosco HS, but Helton explained, "You can only take so many, but there's also so many in Southern California." "Credit to Shay," he added. "He's doing a tremendous job."
  • USC CB Jonathan Lockett (pictured) played against Fields in high school, and said he's excited to face his former foe. "Going against him in high school, it should be a fun one," Lockett said. "My freshman year [at SC] I lined up against him. It's always fun going against him."
  • Colorado still hasn't announced whether Sefo Liufau or Steven Montez will start at QB on Saturday (Liufau missed the last two games with an ankle injury), but Lockett doesn't seem daunted by the uncertainty. He said both QBs "play the same way --- same body type and same style of running."
  • Lockett and the Trojans will be hosting a Colorado team that's nationally ranked for the first time since 2005, and DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu marveled at how far the Buffs have come. "I went back and watched film and figured out how they put this much points on Michigan, how they put this much points on Oregon, on Oregon State, and they're really improved from the past two years," he said. "I'm impressed, man."
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

#USCHero: Jose Cevallos

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At every home game, USC and Sport Clips partner to celebrate a veteran of the armed forces. This weekend, it was Jose Cevallos, an 11-year Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Cevallos joined the Army in 2004, and was deployed to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. While in Afghanistan for his final mission, his vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade, resulting in a traumatic brain injury, along with other severe injuries. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his courage and heroism.

Now, Cevallos is working toward a Bachelor's degree in Human Services, and plans to apply to USC's Master's in Social Work program upon graduating in 2017. AD Lynn Swann presented Cevallos with a USC Medal of Courage on Saturday.

uschero-asu (1).jpg

State of Troy: October 2016

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

USC_Football_2016_ASU_McGillen_d500_1552.jpgSwann on the football season through five games...

The team has improved week over week. The players are executing better and making fewer mistakes, which were our biggest issues earlier in the year. They played strong, fast and confident against Arizona State, so Coach Helton has done a great job making sure the players are focused on the game ahead instead of worrying about the game behind. That is how you get better and have a winning season.

Click here for football ticket information.

Swann on the university being ranked in the nation's Top 15 academically...

The No. 15 ranking in the Wall Street Journal study is a testament to the long term growth of the university. You do not improve in those rankings overnight. It's not about doing something well for one year. You have to do it consistently. Under the leadership of Max Nikias as our president, USC has been able to do that, not just in terms of the new buildings that you see on campus, but the professors and academic teams inside these buildings, and the kind of students that are applying to USC from all over the country and around the world.

Click here for the full story.

Swann on women's soccer's nine-match winning streak being tested by No. 1 Stanford on Thursday...

USC_Soccer_LMU_Mcgillen_D500_card2_DSC_2333_1.JPGYou always want to beat Stanford. You always want to beat Cal. And of course, you always want to beat UCLA. All the California teams, so you establish your dominance within the state. The women's soccer team has been phenomenal. They are good, confident and deep. You can see their determination every time you walk out to the field and watch them play. They go after it. They are relentless in their pursuit of this streak and winning championships. Their shutout streak was broken, but that's okay because they are still winning.

Click here for the women's soccer schedule.

Swann on expectations for men's and women's basketball season...

I am looking forward to watching both teams as practice begins this month. I have sat with Andy Enfield and tried to help him recruit some of the top athletes in the country, and he feels very confident about the future classes that he is going to bring into the school. He has the program on the upswing. They were in the NCAA Tournament last year, and he feels really good about the talent that he has on this year's team and their chances to get back to the postseason.

On the women's side, I see them more than just about any group down at the McKay Center, working out and getting stronger. They are so confident that a number of the players on the team have challenged me personally in terms of a workout, so we might have a little competition somewhere along the way. They are eager and ready to show that they are improving also.

Click here for basketball ticket information.

Swann on the safety and security improvements at the Coliseum...

Security is a big issue around the country. With the Rams being here, we are following some of the same procedures that the NFL does, and many other colleges are following suit. For example, the clear bag policy and the metal detectors help our security staff provide a safe environment, but it takes a little extra time. We need to educate all our fans not to rush the gates right before kickoff. We encourage them to enter the stadium earlier to make sure that they make it to their seats in a timely manner. It's a process. People have to get used to the new way of doing things. Everybody at the stadium is working diligently to make sure that the process is as smooth and efficient as possible.  

Click here to watch a video on the new security procedures.

Transfer of Energy

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Tomorrow, USC women's soccer will go for its 10th consecutive win, a school-record-setting feat. At 9-2, the program is off to its best start in nearly a decade, thanks in part to third-year head coach Keidane McAlpine.

When McAlpine arrived at USC after two years at the helm of Washington State, he made clear his goal of bringing a national championship back to Troy. But in soccer, student-athletes typically commit to colleges around their sophomore year of high school, so McAlpine inherited a few years' worth of players that he didn't recruit. If McAlpine wanted to implement his strategy and make an immediate positive impact, he would have to think outside the box.

USC_soccer_air_force_mcgillen_3466.jpg"In those gap years, to be able to fill the void quicker, if you have an opportunity to go get the one piece who has some experience, it'll allow your team to continue to grow," said McAlpine.

So, the coaching staff scoured the country to find recently freed talent who could transfer to USC and contribute as soon as they arrived. Standout goalkeeper Caroline Stanley was on her way out, and McAlpine knew just the replacement.

"I had the fortune of playing against Sammy Jo [Prudhomme] when she was at Oregon State, so I knew her talent," the head coach said. "I knew that as Caroline was going out, we were going to need an experienced goalkeeper to do what we wanted to do in terms of changing the program."

Now in her second year as USC's starting keeper, Prudhomme helped the team set the school record in shutout games and shutout minutes. She's No. 1 in the Pac-12 in saves per game (4.18) and second in save percentage (.885).

Prudhomme is one of many transfers on USC's roster that have led the team to its highest ranking (No. 7) since 2008. Alex Anthony (pictured) and Morgan Andrews, who are tied for the second-most goals on the team this year, are both imports, from Maryland and Notre Dame, respectively.

USC_Womens_soccer_pepperdine_mcgillen_082816_DSC_4523.JPGAnthony graduated from Maryland in three years, and chose to transfer to USC over Florida, Stanford and Cal due in part to USC's Master's of Public Policy program, in which she's specializing in homeland security. She believes her prior experience has helped her, but acknowledged that transitioning to a new coaching staff was difficult at first.

"I've had certain styles ingrained in my head, like, 'This is what you do in this situation, this is what you don't do.' It's not necessarily bad, it's just re-learning a different way," she said. "And I wouldn't say that either way is right or wrong, it just depends on what system you're playing and the players around you."

Though Anthony is one of the new kids on the block, having arrived on campus on July 1, she had help learning the ropes. She moved in with Amanda Rooney, who transferred to USC from North Carolina last year, and started against them in USC's upset win last month (an experience she called "sweet"). Rooney joked that she took Anthony under her wing, and both of them laughed when they realized they couldn't remember which members of the team were transfers --- a testament to how well the squad has integrated them.

"All this new stuff is being sent down from the coaches, so everyone's kind of new and on the same page, which allows everybody to gel together," Rooney said. "Everyone's just learning new stuff at the same time."

Indeed, when USC's previous head coach, Ali Khosroshahin, was let go, every woman on the team was forced to adapt to McAlpine's style, so the whole team understands what it's like for a transfer to come in and learn a new system. McAlpine seconded Rooney's assessment of the team's relationship.

"Joining a new team is difficult, but I'll give the team here credit. They've opened the door and allowed those players some space to have some success," he said.

USC_Womens_soccer_UNC_mcgillen_2016_LR_USC_Womens_soccer_UNC_mcgillen_2016_DSC_6605.JPGMcAlpine expedited that process by forming committees within the team to encourage his players to take ownership of the team's direction. Each committee has a different focus, from academics, to personal branding, social media, health and wellness, and more. Anthony, for example, is on the academic committee, while Rooney (pictured) is on the social media committee. McAlpine asserted that these committees force his players reach out to the USC community, including academic advisors, sports psychologists and nutritionists.

McAlpine sees this community as crucial to helping the team achieve its lofty goals.

His first goal upon taking the job was to get the team to the NCAA Tournament, which they did in his first season, losing a penalty kick shootout to Pepperdine in the first round. Next, it was about making a run in the tournament, which they did the following year, advancing to the third round. Now, with the transfers McAlpine "hand-picked with a purpose" and with his first class of freshman recruits, McAlpine is focused on the next step forward: a national championship.

"We're going to have our peaks and valleys," he said. "Right now, we're on the upswing, but we know that there's probably something coming down the road that we're going to half to deal with. Whether it equates to a loss or not, we're trying to make sure that we keep walking on this journey."

The journey continues tomorrow at 4 p.m. against No. 1 Stanford on McAlister Field.

Meet Jordan Iosefa

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USC_Football_Stanford_mcgillen_2016_DSC_1598.JPGName: Jordan Iosefa

Position: ILB

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-2, 215 lbs.

Age: 18

High School: St. Louis (Honolulu, HI)

Game: Iosefa was not as highly touted as many of USC's recruits, but the young linebacker made an immediate impression on teammates and coaches. He is a high-energy, physical player who has earned a role on special teams and as a situational linebacker.

Prep Career: Iosefa started his career at Waipahu High, but transferred to St. Louis School in Honolulu and was forced to sit out the entire 2014 season. In 2015 as a senior linebacker, he earned Prep Star All-West Region and USA Today All-Hawaii second-team honors by making 34 tackles.

Clay Helton on Jordan Iosefa: "I did not think Jordan would be this far along this fast. And he's in a great situation, he's learning from Mike Hutchings ... really talented."

Fun Fact: Iosefa is the youngest player on USC's roster, born on September 20, 1998.

Here is Jordan Iosefa on adjusting to LA life, who he looks up to on the team, and more...

Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 7

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USC women's soccer is one of the hottest teams in the nation right now, currently riding a nine-game win streak. The Trojans' consistent performances have seen them inch their way up to No. 7 in the national rankings, their highest mark since the 2008 season.

In the newest episode of Kickin' It With Keidane, the head coach praises his top scorer, Katie Johnson, and his "ultra-competitive" center-back, Mandy Freeman. Watch McAlpine assess his team, preview the Trojans' upcoming match against No. 1 Stanford, and more, here:

Colorado Tuesday: Notes

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The Trojans are back on the practice field preparing for another ranked opponent.
  • Here is this week's injury report per head coach Clay Helton: OT Zach Banner (ankle - pulled mid-practice), LB Jabari Ruffin (concussion protocol), DB Ykili Ross (shoulder sprain), CB Jonathan Lockett (shoulder sprain but participated), RB Dominic Davis (returned from knee hyperextension), RB Aca'Cedric Ware (nursing a hand injury), TE Taylor McNamara (lower back strain).
  • CHEVRON_JD.jpgWR Deontay Burnett was treated to an icy bath for his birthday thanks to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree' Jackson who chased the sophomore around with an ice bucket before dousing him after practice.
  • Helton and offensive coordinator Tee Martin have changed their game plan to utilize QB Sam Darnold's skill-set, but the head coach does not consider USC a "spread offense" team because the Trojans typically use a tight end in their base sets. Whether USC is a spread team or not, the mobile quarterback is forcing opponents to defend the Trojans differently. Helton explained that having a second live runner in the backfield has forced defenses to stack the box even when USC is spread out.
  • RB Justin Davis has also benefited with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since Darnold took over. Helton called the senior a "complete back" who also contributes as a pass-catcher and blocker. The always humble Davis is happy to contribute any way he can, but he has been in a groove lately as the lead back. "The more touches on a ball you get, the more comfortable you get," he explained. "You're more in tune with the game. It's kind of like an NBA shooter."
  • Like any smart running back, Davis credited his offensive line for opening up holes. "They've just been working their butts off all week and stuff's starting to click," said Davis about the offensive line's recent success. "We always have room for improvement. We can't stop there, because we've still got some very hard teams ahead of us."
  • Center Nico Falah credited his offensive line coach Neil Callaway for bringing this unit together. "Give it up to Coach Callaway," said Falah. "He drilled us really hard this past week against ASU, and this Colorado week's going to be tough too, because they're a really good defensive front. Coach Callaway's doing his best to get us ready for their schemes, their defensive line games and everything."
  • Helton profusely complimented Colorado's veteran team under head coach Mike MacIntyre. He called the Buffaloes' offense "extremely balanced" which is apparent in the stats. Colorado is third in the Pac-12 in rushing and passing. While the Buffaloes have not announced a quarterback for the game, both Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez have played well and they are similar enough that USC only needs one defensive game plan, according to Helton.
  • Defensively, Colorado runs a 3-4 with 10 returning starters, and the front seven is stout. The Buffaloes are the top rated defense in the Pac-12 through five games. Helton has challenged special teams coach John Baxter to be the difference-maker against Colorado, which struggled in the third phase of the game against Michigan.
  • Here is Helton with the complete breakdown of Colorado:

Sights and Sounds: USC vs. ASU

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Before turning your attention to Colorado, enjoy one last look back at a picture-perfect victory over Arizona State at the Coliseum.

Grand Expectations

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Sitting on 999 wins as a program, USC women's volleyball has two chances to get to a grand this week.

The No. 22 Trojans (10-5, 2-2 Pac-12) set up at home against Arizona State (7-9, 0-4) tomorrow and Arizona (10-6, 2-2) on Friday. Both matches are at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center. USC enters the week fresh off two road wins over Colorado and Utah, after dropping their first two conference matches.

USC has been hot against these two teams recently, boasting an 8-2 record in the last 10 matches over ASU and 9-1 in the last 10 against the Wildcats.

Click here to purchase tickets to what could be USC's 1,000th win!


Magnificent Seven

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USC women's soccer will sport a shiny new No. 7 national ranking, its best since 2008, heading into Thursday's showdown with No. 1 Stanford at McAlister Field (4 p.m. kick). The Women of Troy have earned their spot by winning nine straight matches, tying the program-record for consecutive victories.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students are in FREE with USC ID.


Women of Troy Apparel

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The Women of Troy collection is available now at the USC Bookstore and


Trojans Live: Colorado Preview

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Coming off a winning week, Monday night's Trojans Live had a much more celebratory atmosphere.

USC head coach Clay Helton praised his team's performance against Arizona State and looked ahead to a showdown with No. 21 Colorado at the Coliseum on Saturday.

Click here to watch Helton on Trojans Live.

USC women's soccer head coach Keidane McAlpine broke down the Women of Troy's nine-match winning streak and the huge game against No. 1 Stanford on Thursday at McAlister Field (4 p.m. kick).

Click here to watch McAlpine on Trojans Live.

Finally, fresh off a hat trick of touchdown catches, junior WR JuJu Smith-Schuster lit up the show with his always affable personality.

2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 4

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Week in and week out, USC's representatives in the NFL are some of the most talked about players in the game. Everson Griffen captains a Minnesota defense that's helped the team stay undefeated, and he and Jets DE Leonard Williams are among a handful of players tied for third in the league in sacks (4.0). They and many other Trojans in the NFL had notable performances in Week 4.

kessler-nfl (1).jpgBest of the Best

In his second career start, Browns QB Cody Kessler threw his first NFL TD on a 9-yard pass to Terrelle Pryor. Kessler went 28-of-40 for 223 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in Cleveland's 31-20 loss to Su'a Cravens and the Redskins. Kessler has filled in admirably for the injured QBs ahead of him on the depth chart this season.

Best of the Rest

Josh Shaw, CB, Bengals - 5 tackles (3 solo)

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars - 4 receptions, 28 yards

Su'a Cravens, S/LB, Redskins - 3 tackles (2 solo), including 1 TFL

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL

Robert Woods, WR, Bills - 7 receptions, team-high 89 yards

Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB, Bills - 2 tackles, including 1 TFL

Javorius "Buck" Allen - 3 carries, 13 yards (first game of the season)

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - 6 tackles (all solo)

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 23/36, 288 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 1 tackle, 1 INT, 2 passes defensed

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 4 total tackles, including 1 TFL

Check out Eat the Ball!

Afternoon in Tucson

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USC at Arizona on Saturday, October 15, will kick off at 12:30 p.m. PT and be broadcast live nationally on FOX.


#USCtotheMLB 2016 Recap

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The MLB's regular season is over, and several USC products enjoyed a solid year in 2016.

Ian Kennedy, SP, Royals

In the first season of his 5-year, $70 million deal with the Kansas City Royals, pitcher Ian Kennedy (pictured) had the second-most wins (11) and the second-most strikeouts (184) for the defending World Series champs. He finished the season with an 11-11 record and a 3.68 ERA in 33 games.

Here is how all the Trojans in the MLB fared in 2016:

Lucas Duda, 1B, Mets - .229 BA, 7 HR, 23 RBI in 47 games (back injury sidelined him for the majority of the season, but he's been impressive since returning)

Tommy Milone, P, Twins - 3-5 with a 5.71 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 19 games

Brad Boxberger, P, Rays - 4-3 with a 4.81 ERA in 27 games

Nick Buss, LF, Angels - .198 BA, 1 HR, 8 RBI in 36 games in his first MLB action

Grant Green, 2B, Giants - .261 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI in 18 games

Andrew Triggs, P, A's - 1-1 with a 4.31 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 24 games

Danny Couloumbe, P, A's- 3-1 with a 4.53 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 35 games

J.P. Howell, P, Dodgers - 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 64 games

ian kennedy.jpg

Team Edward

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After racking up seven goals in three games, USC water polo's Lachlan Edwards was named the MPSF Player of the Week.

Click here for the full release.

It's Edwards' second such award this season, having also won it on Sept. 12. This week. Edwards scored two goals against Concordia, two goals against Fresno Pacific and a team-high three goals against Pacific.

Edwards is now USC's second-leading scorer, with 21 goals this season.


Clay Helton Q&A - Colorado

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After a resounding win against previously undefeated ASU, the Trojans set their sights on another Pac-12 South matchup this weekend. Hear what head coach Clay Helton has to say about the game and his scouting report on No. 21 Colorado, who USC hosts on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Wonderful Whittingham

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Taylor Whittingham, a senior libero on USC's women's volleyball team, earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for her efforts against Colorado and Utah this weekend.

After missing the last two matches due to injury, Whittingham came back to lead the team in digs in both contests this weekend, with 19 against the Buffaloes and 28 against the Utes, for an average 5.22 digs per set.

Whittingham, one of USC's team captains, has now registered 20+ digs in six matches this season. Overall, she leads the team with 222 digs (4.83 digs per set).


Water Polo Keeps Winning

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No. 3 USC men's water polo handled No. 4 Pacific in a 15-7 victory on Saturday to improve to 12-1 on the season.

Click here for the full recap.

Just a day after a double-header in Riverside, CA, the Trojans showed no signs of fatigue, rattling off the first seven goals of the game against the Tigers. Junior two-meter Lachlan Edwards scored three goals to lead the 10 Trojans who found the back of the net on Saturday.

Meanwhile, junior goalie McQuin Baron posted 14 saves to pull within two of tying for second place on USC's all-time ranks. Baron's next chance to move up on that list comes on Friday at 5 p.m. at home against No. 9 Pepperdine.

Check out John McGillen's gallery of USC's big win:

Big Bounce Back

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After dropping its first two Pac-12 matches, USC women's volleyball bounced back with two wins over ranked opponents over the weekend.

Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier led the way with a career-high 18 digs, plus 19 kills and three blocks in the 23rd-ranked Trojans' 3-1 win over No. 20 Colorado.

On Saturday, USC earned a hard-fought, five-set win over No. 25 Utah. Lanier posted another double-double --- her seventh of the season --- and senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins (pictured) hit .727 plus a career-high three solo blocks.

USC is now 10-5 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play. Next, the Trojans set up for what could be the program's 1000th win on Wednesday vs. Arizona State.

That match kicks off at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Galen Center.


Racking Up Records

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USC women's soccer's shutout streak ended, but the team accrued two more huge achievements this weekend.

On Friday, the Trojans beat the Ducks, 3-1. USC's shutout streak ended at eight games and 729 minutes --- both school records. Morgan Andrews scored a brace and Sydney Sladek contributed another goal in the Trojans' win.

Click here for the full recap!

Sunday saw the Trojans secure their ninth-straight win, tying a school record set in 2008 and 2009. Katie Johnson's hat trick --- the second of her career --- lifted USC to a 3-1 victory over Oregon State. Goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme made two saves against her former team.

Click here for the full recap!

During USC's nine consecutive wins, the team has outscored its opponents 25-2.

Next, the Trojans face their biggest test of the season, when top-ranked Stanford comes to town. The Cardinal are 10-0-1 and undefeated in the Pac-12 so far. USC hosts Stanford at 4 p.m. on Thursday at McAlister Field


Trojan of the Game vs. ASU: JuJu Smith-Schuster

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For the second time in as many victories, the Trojan Family voted WR JuJu Smith-Schuster the Mercury Insurance Trojan of the Game. There were several good candidates from which to choose, including QB Sam Darnold, RB Justin Davis and CB Jonathan Lockett, but none better than Smith-Schuster, who has five touchdown catches combined in USC's two home games.


McGillen Galleries: USC vs. Arizona State

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The Trojans got back to their winning ways on Saturday night in front of the Coliseum faithful. Team photographer John McGillen captured the victory from arrival to celebration.

Trojans Top ASU

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Trojans Rout Sun Devils in Darnold's First Home Start

6-Points: USC 41, Arizona State 20

In its 600th game at the Coliseum, USC blew away Arizona State to pick up its second win of the season.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

ASU-Final.jpgHome Cookin'

Coming off a September to forget, USC put together a complete performance in front of the Trojan Family to alleviate some of the pressure that had been mounting on this program. "We needed [this win] so bad," admitted junior WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Trojans are now 2-3 on the season and 1-2 in the Pac-12, but 2-0 in the Coliseum with three of the next four still come in their building. "We love being home," said Clay Helton, who remains undefeated in the Coliseum as the USC head coach.

Dishing Out Dimes

Redshirt freshman Sam Darnold proved that his scintillating debut was no fluke, passing for 352 yards and 3 TDs, while running for one more score. "He's got several attributes that are hard to defend," Helton listed vision, anticipation and mobility. "He's a dangerous weapon." With Darnold as its point guard, the Trojans' offense has come to life, piling up 523 yards tonight. "The defense has to account for him," explained WR Deontay Burnett, who had a career-night with 7 catches and 93 yards. "If they account for him, we have a lot of playmakers on the outside. And if they are so heavy on us then Sam can make plays too. That's been helping our offense a lot, moving the chains, putting up points and looking like USC."

Lock Down D

While the offense brought the style, the defense provided the substance. Arizona State came in averaging 48.8 points per game, and the Trojans limited them to 6 points until garbage time. "I thought it was a great group effort defensively, but credit Clancy [Pendergast]," said Helton about his defensive coordinator. "You may get him once, but you're not going to get him very many times. I was really nervous against a really high-powered Arizona State offense, but I thought Clancy was fantastic tonight." Pendergast dialed up the pressure, leading to three sacks, six tackles-for-loss and one turnover. "The quarterback sees nothing but USC players coming at him," said CB Jonathan Lockett, who had the interception. "I feel like if I get on my man close enough, I should be good."

JuJu and JD

The veteran stars turned up on a night when USC desperately needed to right the ship. Smith-Schuster made 7 catches for 123 yards and 3 TDs, while RB Justin Davis ran for 123 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. "The balance of all of it put together is really gelling right now," said Helton. Smith-Schuster provided the highlight of the night (see below), turning a short pass into a 67-yard touchdown by traversing the entire field. "I saw the open field and I saw my boys blocking for me," said Smith-Schuster about Steven Mitchell and Darreus Rogers. "I just crossed the field and it was all daylight."

Clean Game

While USC has spoiled its previous success this season by shooting itself in the foot with penalties, turnovers and communication errors, the Trojans looked a vastly improved team tonight. "Overall, I thought it was a very clean game on both sides," said Helton. "Both sides came together for by far their best game of the season." USC did not turn the ball over, had only four penalties going into the fourth quarter and limited the explosive plays against. When the Trojans play fundamentally sound football, the exceptional talent is able to shine through.

Doormats No More

Next Saturday is shaping up to be a showdown. Colorado has had trouble competing in conference since joining the Pac-12, but the Buffaloes have positioned themselves as Pac-12 South contenders in the early going by winning at Oregon and blasting Oregon State. "They are playing great ball," said Helton about his next opponent (October 8 at 1 p.m.). "Coach [Mike] MacIntyre does a tremendous job. We saw that last year. They played a lot of close games, and we were one of them. We came away saying, 'Wow, that's a very well coached football team.' Now you look up, he's got some more weapons, his team's healthy, and they are putting up a lot of points on the board offensively. We've got another challenge, another great offense in the Pac-12, seems like every week."

Click here for tickets to the Colorado game!

Here are the highlights from USC's first Pac-12 win of the season: