2015 Game 12: USC vs. UCLA

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No. 22 UCLA Bruins (8-3, 5-3) at USC Trojans (7-4, 5-3)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 12:30 p.m. PT on ABC or ESPN2 (coverage map) and WatchESPN

Rosen.jpgBruin to Watch: Freshman QB Josh Rosen

After a hot start to the season, the star-studded neophyte was dubbed "Chosen Rosen" and put on Heisman lists. While he has not quite matched the initial hype, he has enjoyed a solid true freshman campaign, throwing for 283.9 yards per game with 19 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. He has actually gone 218 throws without a pick. While Rosen is not as elusive or powerful as Brett Hundley, he is still a capable runner, including 70 yards on 5 carries against Washington State.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn)

Click here for more on the Bruins.

3 Keys

Act Your Age

When he has time to throw, Rosen looks like an elite NFL prospect, blessed with a tremendous amount of arm talent. However, under pressure and off his spot, he can suddenly resemble a true freshman, especially in the losses to Arizona State and Stanford (44/82 and 3 INTs). The USC defense must regain its aggressive mentality, which disappeared in the first half against Oregon. If the Trojans can get in the backfield to chop down Paul Perkins, the conference's fourth leading rusher, and harass Rosen, they will find much more success than they did against Brett Hundley, whose mobility was the key to UCLA's three-game winning streak in the crosstown rivalry.

Kessler's Time

Against Cody Kessler, the UCLA defense has found success by taking away his favorite target. In 2013, the Bruins held Marqise Lee to 6 catches for 69 yards. Last year, Nelson Agholor managed only 3 catches for 24 yards. This time around, all Bruin eyes, at least in the secondary, will be on JuJu Smith-Schuster. So, can Kessler beat UCLA by spreading the ball around to all his targets? The Trojans will certainly need someone (or several someones) to step up as unsung heroes and etch their names into the great history of this rivalry.

Leave a Legacy

As if the game needed another storyline, USC's seniors will also be playing their final game in the Coliseum. Thanks to their perseverance, the Trojans are in position to depart as champions. USC handled its business all season long in the Pac-12 South, defeating ASU, Arizona, Utah and Colorado, but it will take a clean sweep to win the division and advance to the Pac-12 Championship for the first time in school history. The difference between winning and losing this game will characterize the whole season and how this senior class will be remembered.


Leave a Legacy

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The 2015 USC football seniors have persevered through more than they ever could have imagined on Signing Day, but they are in position to finish their college careers as champions. As the veteran Trojans get set to enter the Coliseum in uniform for the final time, they know that they can walk out with a Pac-12 South title by beating UCLA.


Pac-12 Preview: USC vs. UCLA

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Here is the preview of the Pac-12 South championship game by the Pac-12 Network crew including USC's Curtis Conway:

No Shocker

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USC men's basketball is off to a 5-0 start after defeating No. 20 Wichita State, 72-69, in the quarterfinals of the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando. While the Shockers are one of the best programs in the country, the victory was not an upset as the talented Trojans controlled the action despite 23 turnovers.

Click here for the recap.

Freshman Bennie Boatwright was the hero, scoring a career-high 22 points, including five made three-pointers. The Trojans advanced in the winner's bracket to play another Top 25 team, Xavier, today at 11:30 a.m. PT on ESPNU and TuneIn.

Here are the highlights from USC's first win over a ranked team since 2013:

UCLA Thursday: Notes

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The Trojans held a brief Thanksgiving Day practice in front of family and friends on Thursday morning before dispersing to coaches' and teammates' homes for turkey dinner. But just because it's a holiday doesn't mean USC is taking a break in preparing for its Pac-12 South Championship game on Saturday. The team is fired up and ready to go for the 85th installment of the most famous crosstown rivalry in college football. 

Here is interim head coach Clay Helton in his final address to the media before Saturday's game...

Happy Thanksgiving!

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UCLA Wednesday: Notes

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On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Trojans are solely focused on feasting on the Bruins.
  • While most of the injury news has been positive this week, USC will likely be without S Leon McQuay III and LB Osa Masina on Saturday, per interim head coach Clay Helton, although neither has been ruled out. PK Alex Wood is still in concussion protocol, so Matt Boermeester could again be called on if the senior is not cleared by the doctors.
  • cody-uclaquotepic.jpgOG Viane Talamaivao, RB Tre Madden and S Marvell Tell III remain on track to return from injury this Saturday.
  • At inside linebacker, USC will primarily use a three-man rotation of Anthony Sarao, Olajuwon Tucker and Michael Hutchings with Uchenna Nwosu still learning the position.
  • The Trojans will need all hands on deck to slow down the Bruins after a disappointing defensive showing against Oregon. "Obviously when you don't play like you expect to or the way you feel like you're capable of, it's disappointing and frustrating. The key is that you own it and you don't just turn the page immediately," said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. "Every single person in the room, the coaches, every position group and every player...because no one did a good enough job for us to win the game. As a competitor, you want to come back out and get another chance."
  • C Khaliel Rodgers is playing through injuries to both shoulders as he prepares to face perhaps the best defensive tackles in the Pac-12 in UCLA junior Kenny Clark. "He's one of those guys you really have to game plan for," Helton praised Clark. "It's going to take all of us, every different scheme that we've got, to be able to contain him."
  • USC's nose tackle is already emotional about Senior Day. "It's heartbreaking," said Antwaun Woods. "The Coliseum is a great place, especially growing up in LA and watching USC. I mean I'm a fan too. Man, it comes so fast. But I just have to make sure I'm remembered in my last game."
  • It promises to be a heated contest, so the Trojans are wary of succumbing to their emotion. "We can't let the rivalry get over our heads and hurt ourselves," Woods said. "We need to play disciplined football and execute. It's really not about just the rivalry. It's about fixing our errors and focusing on us to win the game."
  • While Saturday is the final home game for the seniors, it could also be Su'a Cravens last chance to run out of the tunnel in uniform. The junior is projected to be a first round draft pick if he declares, and Helton compared him to Seahawks star Kam Chancellor. "He's my hero," Helton said about Cravens.
  • WR coach Tee Martin was nominated for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach. "Tee is invaluable," said Helton about Martin. "Tee is the definition of a complete football coach in my opinion. [He is a] leader, teacher, educator, recruiter, establishes relationships. If there is a blueprint of what to be, Tee Martin is it."
  • Here is Helton after Wednesday's practice:

Just Keeps Getting Better

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Game by game, the beginning of the 2015-16 season for the USC women's basketball team just keeps getting better and better. On Tuesday night, the Women of Troy got their biggest win yet, defeating Gonzaga, 60-56, in Spokane in a down to the wire contest that revealed this Trojan squad's resiliency and strength. Graduate transfer Temi Fagbenle led her team once again, scoring a game-high 21 points to lead USC to victory in front of a rowdy Bulldog crowd.

For a complete recap of Tuesday night's impressive win, click here

The Trojans fell behind, 21-15, in the first quarter, but came roaring back on a  16-0 run that gave them the lead for the remainder of the game. Both teams continued to battle into the fourth and, backed by an energized crowd, Gonzaga pulled within one thanks to significant time at the free throw line. But senior Brianna Barrett and sophomore Kristen Simon stepped up in the clutch to nail three final free throws for the Trojans to seal the deal in the final minute and a half. USC shot 44 percent from the floor to Gonzaga's 38 percent, and forced 22 Bulldog turnovers in the game.

The Women of Troy get a brief Thanksgiving break before wrapping up the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Challenge against Iona at 9 a.m. PT on  Sunday in Connecticut.

Follow the USC women's basketball team on Twitter @USCWBB for in-game updates, highlights and more all season long.


McQuin and the Edwards Brothers

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USC men's water polo has the week off before taking part in its 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament, so the Trojans are collecting honors while they wait. Newcomer Blake Edwards paced the group, picking up All-MPSF First Team for his team-leading 63 goals.

Blake's brother, Lachlan, made the conference's second team along with goalie McQuin Baron. Lachlan Edwards added 33 goals to the family total, while Baron could break his own school record for saves in a single season with a strong showing at the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore Grant Stein also earned honorable mention.

Click here for more.

The Trojans open NCAA play against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 7 p.m. on December 3 at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center to fight for a place in the NCAA Semifinals. The winner will advance to play No. 2 Cal in Westwood on December 5.


Trojan Tribune: Jamie Fink

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In our new series titled Trojan Tribune, we want to give a voice to our student-athletes as they share various experiences from their time at USC. Our first installment features USC women's soccer senior Jamie Fink who reflects on her four years here and details all of the opportunities the university has opened up to her along the way.

USC_Soccer_Long_Beach091315DSC_3966.jpgI was told that college goes by in the blink of an eye. I didn't believe it, up until now. Now, I am that very person telling everyone else to cherish every moment of their college experience because it really does go by in the blink of an eye.

My college experience at USC has shaped the person and athlete that I am today. Two of the most important aspects that I have learned throughout my years here are to be opportunistic and to not be afraid to discover who you really are.


I remember stepping on campus the first day of my freshman year. I remember all of the overwhelming feelings of excitement, nervousness, anxiety and fear pulsating throughout my body. Wrapped up in the frosh frenzy, I never once took advantage of the many resources that USC has to offer by reaching out to my professors, coaching staff, athletic department or academic advisers. I thought my voice was irrelevant since I was only a freshman. However, I soon learned that USC stresses the importance of establishing connections and taking advantage of every opportunity. I took this to heart and started to reach out to professors for help and advice for the future. Through my connections, I established relationships, which proved to be very beneficial as I was able to attain an internship at Fox Sports. As a communication major, I took advantage of the resources provided to me by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and began attending guest lectures. This allowed me to build relationships and discover other interests outside of soccer. As I began to get out of my comfort zone and become more opportunistic in the academic world, I realized that I had nothing to lose and so much more to gain.

USC_Soccer_ASU_101215_MCG1809.jpgAs an athlete, I began to see games and practices as an opportunity. It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to represent the University of Southern California every day, while playing the sport that I love. I developed the mentality of trying to capitalize on every opportunity afforded to me. Every time I stepped on the field, I fought for my teammates, coaches, program, university and family. Not many people get to say that they had the chance to do that, which is why I feel so fortunate. As time progressed, I also saw an opportunity to be a leader. I was a little hesitant to take on this role since I had always thought of myself as a "leader by example" rather than one by voice. My coach at the time told me there was no such thing as "leading by example", and that I must lead by my voice. Taking advantage of that opportunity, I began to make my voice heard. That leap paid off as I was honored as team captain my junior and senior seasons. As a captain, I fine-tuned my leadership attributes and learned lessons and skills such as responsibility, organization, mentoring and empathy that I will carry with me beyond my college years.

Discovering My Identity

Most college students encounter a bump in the road at some point. It's just bound to happen. My bump unexpectedly hit my junior year, when I introspectively questioned who I was beyond the world of soccer and school. What do I actually want to do with my life? What is my true identity? I have been a student and soccer player my entire life. I soon found myself in a slump that was very hard to reverse. The one thing I can't thank USC enough for is lending a hand to help me out of this hole. USC allowed me to discover my identity. Through the wide variety of programs and groups in the university, I was able to find that I had strong interests outside of soccer. I found out that I had a passion for sports broadcasting through the multiple communication courses that I enrolled in and the interviews that I was allowed to conduct through the athletic department for my soccer team. There are few better places than USC to develop and hone broadcasting skills. Never in my life did I think I would be interested in anything other than soccer. But low and behold, sports broadcasting had my name on it.

Fight On Forever

I am so appreciative and thankful to have attended such an amazing university, rich in academic resources and superior athletic programs. It's difficult to summarize a four-year experience in one short speech for something that has had an unimaginable effect on me. Four years of extensive opportunities and experiences have gone by in the blink of an eye. I've followed my passions, discovered new interests, developed invaluable relationships and grown as an individual. USC will always hold a special place in my heart and although my graduation date is near, the legacy will forever Fight On!