Women's Tennis' New Talent

| No Comments
Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Last week, the USC women's tennis team announced the signing of the nation's No. 7 ranked USTA G14 player, Angela Kulikov. The talented amateur will join the already strong Women of Troy squad for the 2016-17 season.

Click here for more on one of the newest members of the Trojan Family.

"The number one thing we value is mental maturity in muddy situations and Angela has this in spades," said associate head coach West Nott. "Angela just knows how to win and has proved that at every level."

Kulikov was the No. 1 ranked player in 2012 and 2013 in the Tennis Recruiting TennisRPI. She boasts a long list of accomplishments including winning the 2013 ITF Aarhus doubles championship and the singles titles at the 2013 Deloitte Junior Cup ITF and the 2011 USTA G14s Regional Championships.

Highlights: USC 90, New Mexico 82

| No Comments
Written by Sarah Bergstom & Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributors

The USC men's basketball team defeated the New Mexico Lobos to improve to 3-0 on the season for the first time since 2000. The Trojans were led by Jordan McLaughlin (19 points, 6 assists), Elijah Stewart (18 points, 7 rebounds) and Bennie Boatwright (15 points, 9 rebounds) as they fought off a late, second half comeback effort from the Lobos. Up next, USC hosts Cal State Northridge on Monday at 6 p.m. PT. 

Check out the SnappyTV highlights from tonight's victory...

Afternoon Kick for UCLA

| No Comments
The annual Crosstown Showdown, which will determine the Pac-12 South champion this year, finally has a kickoff time. USC and UCLA will tee it up at 12:30 p.m. PT on Saturday (Nov. 28) at the Coliseum, and the game will be broadcast live on either ABC or ESPN2 depending on your region.


6-Points: Oregon 48, USC 28

| 1 Comment
Despite a tough loss in Eugene, the Trojans are still alive in the Pac-12 South title race.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the Rapid Reaction.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

Final-Oregon.jpgSelf-Inflicted Wounds

USC had the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with Oregon's high-powered offense, but the Trojans made too many mistakes, including 12 penalties for 124 yards. "We had enough penalties for about 10 ball games to be honest with you," said interim head coach Clay Helton. "We really shot ourselves in the foot." The Trojans racked up 424 yards, but the offense was two steps forward, one step back. "It's plain and simple. We beat ourselves," said junior RB Justin Davis. "We were in some really good situations and penalties just killed us." Outside of penalties, USC also missed some big plays in the pass game. "We had some opportunities on some deep ball shots, and we just didn't hook up or we had a breakdown in protection," said Helton. "I am going to look back at that tape and be absolutely sick at the opportunities that were out there."

Mount Vernon

On the other side of the ball, Oregon QB Vernon Adams repeatedly torched the Trojans' defense, using his legs to buy time for his arm. "He broke contain and kept the ball alive just like we've seen on tape," said Helton about Adams. "He keeps his eyes downfield. There's only so long that you can cover those guys. They are great athletes." Adams threw six touchdown passes, a record for a USC opponent, amassing 407 passing yards. "Vernon Adams' ability to extend plays with his feet and get the ball out, I think that's what really hurt us," said LB Olajuwon Tucker.

Game Changed in a Snap

While USC buried itself in a 38-14 third quarter hole, the Trojans fought back to score 14 straight points and close within 10 to start the fourth quarter. Plus, they had the football and the perfect play dialed up. "I really feel like we had the momentum right then and there. And gosh almighty, JuJu [Smith-Schuster] ran an incredible route, absolutely killed the safety," recalled Helton. "Just had a little bit of a low left snap that Cody had to handle and get back up and try to find him. I would like to have that one back. That will be one that haunts me a little later tonight." While Kessler eventually gathered the snap, he fumbled the ball away on the ensuing scramble, leading to a back-breaking Oregon touchdown one play later.

Dancing Davis

In terms of a silver lining, Justin Davis put together a memorable effort, running for a career-high 141 yards on 16 carries (8.8 per rush). He has thrived in a two-back system, splitting time with freshman RB Ronald Jones II (14 carries for 56 yards and a TD). "The more you get the ball in your hands, the better rhythm you get into," explained Davis. "Rhythm is so important because I can see the flow of the defense and it allows me to get a better sync with the offensive line."

The New Guy

While the defense suffered several coverage breakdowns and at least one crucial miscommunication, Olajuwon Tucker showed what he can do at inside linebacker, starting in place of the injured Cam Smith. Tucker led the team with 9 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. He admitted communication was "kind of a big issue for us," but overall, he was pleased to be able demonstrate his skills on the big stage. Tucker was not alone in making plays, particularly in the second half. Freshman Porter Gustin tallied 1.5 sacks, while senior Anthony Sarao added a sack as well.

Pac-12 South Championship Game

As bad as USC felt walking off the field in Eugene, the Trojans were comforted to know that they still control their own destiny in the Pac-12. Thanks to UCLA's win at Utah, the Crosstown Showdown at the Coliseum will serve as a de facto Pac-12 South championship game. "We have an opportunity to go be champions. That's immortal. That's leaving a legacy for our [seniors]," said Helton. "They are going to get every ounce of effort from myself and this coaching staff to go win a big ball game." The USC-UCLA winner will advance to the Pac-12 Championship Game in Santa Clara on December 5. "[UCLA is] the one that everybody really, really wants to win," said Davis. "I know our guys will be ready this week. We all know what's at stake."

Here are the SnappyTV highlights:

Infographic: Oregon 48, USC 28

| 1 Comment

Stay Hot

| No Comments
New Mexico is in town for USC men's basketball's biggest non-conference game to date this season. Both teams are unbeaten on the campaign, setting up a showdown at Galen Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network).

Click here for tickets!

The Trojans are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since the 2012-13 season. They are led by sophomore guards Jordan McLaughlin (21 points per game) and Elijah Stewart (17 points per game).


2015 Game 11: USC vs. Oregon

| No Comments
No. 24 USC Trojans at No. 23 Oregon Ducks

Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, at 12:30 p.m. PT on ESPN and WatchESPN

Freeman-O.jpgDuck to Watch: Sophomore RB Royce Freeman

"Rolls" Royce is the Pac-12's leading rusher (139.2 yards per game) and the bell cow back for the nation's fourth best rushing offense (297.4 yards per game). While Oregon has had several talented tailbacks in recent years, Freeman is the pick of the bunch. To go along with breakaway speed, he carries a powerful 230-pound frame. He has only been held under 100 yards rushing twice this season, and not coincidentally, the Ducks lost both those games.

(Photo by Taylor Wilder/Daily Emerald)

Click here for more on the Ducks.

3 Keys

Quack First

USC has been prone to slow starts of late, so striking quickly would have been an emphasis against any opponent in any environment this week. However, the Ducks are the opponent and Autzen Stadium is the environment, so getting the engines revved up early is paramount. If the Trojans can play from out front, they can set the tempo to slow Oregon down and quiet the raucous crowd. In 2011, USC led 21-7 at halftime and then held on to win late. Interim head coach Clay Helton was there that night and knows a winning blueprint when he sees one.

Meet Ian Wheeler

In 2012, the last time USC and Oregon played, the Ducks did not punt until the game's final possession. The Trojans would like to get to know Ian Wheeler, Oregon's current punter, a whole lot better this time around. In order to get the Ducks to concede possession, the Trojans will need to force negative plays, which has suddenly become a strength for this team, totaling 10 tackles for loss in each of the last two games. Taking the ball away would be even better. Oregon is -4 in turnover margin in losses this season and +9 in wins.

7 >>> 3

The third key comes right from the head coach's mouth. Red zone efficiency is the stat of the week. Oregon leads the conference in scoring at 41.8 points per game, but the Ducks yield a conference-worst 37.1 points per contest. The Trojans have been more focused on physicality than explosiveness during their four-game winning streak, but they will need to hang a number on Saturday to hold off the Ducks. Oregon's defensive priorities will be stopping the run and taking away JuJu Smith-Schuster, so the Trojans need their other pass catchers to rise to the occasion.


JuJu's Turn

| No Comments
USC sophomore WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, a Biletnikoff semifinalist, has proudly carried the torch this season.

He ranks first in the Pac-12 in receiving yards and tied for second in touchdown catches. Nationally, he is sixth in receiving yards per game, and among receivers with at least 1,000 yards on the season, he is third in yards per catch.

Click here for more on JuJu.

Click here to vote for JuJu for the Biletnikoff.

Smith-Schuster will have the national stage to state his case at least two more times this season as the Trojans travel to Oregon on Saturday before returning home for the annual showdown with UCLA.


Water Polo's Finest at USC

| No Comments
USC men's water polo is hosting this year's MPSF Tournament, which features the nation's most elite field battling for spots in the NCAA Tournament. The bracket battle will be waged Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on campus.

Click here for the complete preview.

The Trojans are seeded No. 4 in the 10-team field, so they will open against No. 5 Stanford on Friday at 11:30 a.m. The winner will advance to the semifinals, likely against No. 1 UCLA, at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The title match, which grants the champion an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, will be Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Click here for the MPSF Tournament Central page.

USC is in a tight battle to keep its 10-year streak of trips to the NCAA title match alive. The Trojans will need a strong showing this weekend in front of their home fans in order to make the NCAA field. USC has taken two out of three matches against Stanford this season.


Top 25 Road Tests

| No Comments
USC women's volleyball has regained its national No. 1 ranking as the Women of Troy hit the road for trips to No. 23 Arizona (Friday at 6 p.m. PT) and No. 24 Arizona State (Sunday at 1 p.m. PT).

Click here for the weekend preview.

The Trojans are on top of the conference by a single game over Washington, but they only have four matches left to play in the regular season. Here is Mick Haley on last week's sweeps and the final regular season road trip coming up: