Trojans Live - Bye Week

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

There may not be a football game this weekend, but there was still lots to talk about on Trojans Live on Monday night. USC head coach Steve Sarkisian covered a wide range of topics including the Trojans' bounce back win over ASU, motivating his players and utilizing the bye week.

Click here to watch Coach Sark's segment.

Offensive coordinator Clay Helton spent much of his segment discussing the outstanding start QB Cody Kessler is off to this season, as well as his role as playcaller in balancing the offense.

Click here to watch Helton's complete segment.

With his team currently boasting a 14-0 record, USC women's volleyball coach Mick Haley called in to the show, eager to talk about the changes implemented this season that have allowed his team to succeed so quickly.

Click here to listen to Haley's full interview.

Freshman linebacker Cam Smith, who currently leads the Trojans in tackles and is second in the nation among true freshmen, joined the show to talk about his role on USC's defense, forcing turnovers and his ascension to the starting lineup in his first season.

Catching Up With Cody

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USC QB Cody Kessler is off to another terrific start this season, throwing for 15 touchdowns (most in the nation versus FBS teams) in four games with just one interception. The redshirt senior and Heisman hopeful currently boasts the second-best passer rating in college football (201.18) and his career completion percentage (68.5) is the best in USC history.

In the Trojans' victory on Saturday, the captain surged up two of USC's all-time lists, passing Carson Palmer to become third in career touchdowns (74) and Rodney Peete to become fifth in career completions (642). For his unstoppable effort, he was named a Manning Award Star of the Week.

A candidate for the Walter Camp, Maxwell, and Manning Awards among others, Kessler is one of many Trojans under the postseason awards microscope this year. Eleven Trojans and counting have been named to watch lists, and as the team continues to pursue its championship-level goals, these players will be seeking to cement their names in the USC history books.

For more on these players, and to follow them throughout the season, click here to go to


2015 NFL Week 3

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USC alums Clay Matthews and Nick Perry will be getting after the quarterback for the Packers on Monday Night Football tonight. Here's how their fellow Trojans fared in week three:

The Best

griffen-nfl.jpgEverson Griffen, DE, Vikings

The pass rush specialist terrorized Philip Rivers to the point that the Chargers pulled their starting QB from the game to protect him. In all, Griffen registered five hits on the quarterback, including 1.5 sacks. He made six tackles (four solo and two for loss) and batted a pass away. Minnesota, which also features OT Matt Kalil and TE/FB Rhett Ellison is now 2-1 on the season after the convincing win.

Best of the Rest

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - 7 tackles (6 solo), including two for loss and a sack

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 3 solo tackles, including two for loss and a sack

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 20/32 for 311 yards and 2 TDs

Frostee Rucker, DE, Cardinals - 3 solo tackles, including two for loss and a sack

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - 6 tackles, including one for loss and half a sack

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 5 tackles (4 solo and a TFL) plus a pass defended

Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - 5 tackles

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 8 tackles (5 solo)

Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - 5 tackles (3 solo)

Robert Woods, WR, Bills - 4 catches for 38 yards

Nickell Robey, CB, Bills - 5 tackles (3 solo)

Opportunistic Opening

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USC women's soccer is off to a strong conference start after defeating Oregon State, 2-1, on Saturday in its Pac-12 opener. Team-leading scorer Sydney Johnson gave the Trojans the early lead in the 44th minute thanks to an impressive right-corner header, her fourth goal of the season. Sophomore Nicole Molen, who led the team with seven shots in the match, found the net in the 59th minute for her first goal this year.

The Trojans outshot the Beavers, 23-5, the fourth consecutive game in which USC has outshot its opponent by at least 18.

Click here for a complete game recap.

The Women of Troy hit the road this week, facing Washington State on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Washington at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.


2 for 1

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On the strength of two Pac-12 road wins, USC women's volleyball moved up to No. 2 in the AVCA Coaches' Poll and picked up two more Pac-12 Players of the Week. Led by Offensive Player of the Week Samantha Bricio and Defensive Player of the Week Alicia Ogoms, the Women of Troy decimated UCLA in three sets and then outlasted Stanford in five to remain undefeated on the season (14-0).

Click here for more.

Bricio continues her remarkable start, having won Pac-12 Player of the Week an unprecedented four times in five tries. She produced her finest performance against the Cardinal, registering a career-high 34.0 points.

Ogoms is USC's intimidator, posting a career-high nine blocks against Stanford after five in the quick win at UCLA. This is her first career conference player of the week honor.

Hat Trick Home Opener

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

MPSF-koplow.jpgThe USC men's water polo team finally returned to the Uytengsu Aquatics Center after a trio of invitationals to begin its 2015 season, facing the No. 7 ranked Long Beach State 49ers. Courtesy of hat tricks from Nick Bell, Grant Stein, and Chase Koplow, the Trojans won 17-9 to start MPSF play undefeated and improve their overall record to 10-1. 

Koplow piqued the interest of the Trojan coaching staff early on after scoring nine goals in five games thus earning a position on the starting roster for Saturday's home opener against Long Beach. He took advantage of the opportunity by not only scoring three goals on three attempts in 14 minutes of play but also by committing zero turnovers and not sacrificing a goal on defense. This dominant breakout performance from the first-time starter earned him MPSF Player of the Week honors. 

Next up, USC faces Stanford in a rematch after falling to the Cardinal 6-5 in the Kap7 Norcal Invitational semifinals. The Trojans will host their MPSF rival on Saturday at 10:30a.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network.

Here is Rachel Bennett's photo gallery from Saturday's home opener... 

Trojan of the Game: Adoree' Jackson

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The Trojan Family voted Adoree' Jackson the Jack in the Box Trojan of the Game for his 184 all-purpose yard effort against Arizona State. Jackson enjoyed his first career 100-yard receiving game (131) on only three catches, plus he added 53 yards on punt returns and 48 defensive snaps (2 tackles).

The multi-talented sophomore also made the weekly honor roll for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the nation's most versatile player. 


Bricio's Barrage

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contibutor

No. 3 USC women's volleyball faced its first real test of 2015 on the Farm this weekend and passed with flying colors, thanks to senior captain Samantha Bricio's career-high 34.0 points in the Trojans' thrilling five-set victory over No. 8 Stanford. The Women of Troy are now 14-0 on the season, their best start since 2006.

Leading into Sunday's match, USC had defeated opponents in three sets in 11 of their 13 wins. The Cardinal quickly proved to be a more formidable opponent, pushing the match to five sets after clinching the second and third. Stepping up in the clutch, Bricio scored 13 of her 27 kills in the fourth and fifth sets, propelling the Trojans to victory and moving herself to fifth on USC's all-time kills list with 1,655 in her career.

Blocking, an emerging strength for this year's new-look Trojan team, continued to be a big asset on Sunday as the Women of Troy boasted 14 in the match - their fourth straight with ten or more.

Click here for a complete game recap.

This weekend, the Women of Troy return to Galen Center for the first time in two weeks as they host Washington State on Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 6 Washington on Sunday at 1 p.m. The match against the Huskies will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.

Check out the highlights from Sunday's exhilarating match:

McGillen Galleries: USC vs. Arizona State

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On a steamy desert night, USC stormed to a 35-0 halftime lead over Arizona State and then cruised to its first Pac-12 win of the season.

Here are the John McGillen photos from pregame (top), first half (middle) and second half (bottom):

6-Points: USC 42, ASU 14

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The Trojans bounce back with a dominating road victory over a Pac-12 South rival.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the Rapid Reaction.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

IMG_4016.JPGRallying as One

"In life, we get faced with adversity, and how we respond, that's our character," said head coach Steve Sarkisian after his team showed its collective resilience in the face of its doubters. With all eyes on the defense, the Trojans attacked from the outset, holding the Sun Devils scoreless until late in the third quarter. "We've got to remain aggressive," said the head coach. "When we're at our best, we're attacking you." The post-game locker room busted with pride after a complete team performance. "There's a lot of emotion. We were just hungry to bounce back,"  said WR JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Amazing Adoree'

Media and coaches alike are running out of superlatives for Adoree' Jackson. Sarkisian understatedly joked that he's a "pretty good player" after a show-stopping performance, totaling a game-high 184 all-purpose yards. "We just wanted to get the guy the ball," said Sarkisian. "At the end of the day, it was just really positive to have him involved in the offense, where he is a threat." Jackson's speed, balance and elusiveness defy description, so just watch the highlights below.

The Dam Broke

After back-to-back games without forcing a turnover, Sarkisian was relentless this week in emphasizing the need to take the ball away. The Trojans got the message loud and clear, responding with an interception and three forced fumbles. "We kept preaching it. Once the dam breaks, it's going to be an onslaught on the ball, and that's what happened, especially in the first half," said Sarkisian. Instead of trying to do too much to make plays, USC found its success by focusing on the details. "Every time we play, that's the main factor, just to do your job," said LB Su'a Cravens. "That's the main goal. Just be disciplined in our assignments, and we can make big plays like that. Tonight, we were just in the right place at the right time."

IMG_4015.JPGFirst Half Knockout

The biggest turnover came late in the first half with the Trojans leading 21-0. DL Delvon Simmons made a mistake to allow the Sun Devils to break a run to USC's goal line, and then he more than made up for it by blasting the runner to force a fumble, which Chris Hawkins scooped up and returned 94 yards for a touchdown. "I was just thinking, 'How could I make up for this play?'" said DL Delvon Simmons. "Perfect call. Perfect execution. It just set me up to make a big play for the team." Instead of the Sun Devils gaining momentum going into halftime, the Trojans silenced the stadium by leading 35-0 at the break. "The crowd was loud. When the crowd goes silent, that's the best sound in the world," said Smith-Schuster.

Blitz Busters

ASU is known to live by the blitz, but tonight, the Sun Devils died by it. Sarkisian and offensive coordinator Clay Helton tipped their game plan from the opening play, hitting Smith-Schuster on a 52-yard bomb. While the Trojans found it hard to run against a stacked box, Cody Kessler exploited all the one-on-one match-ups and threw for 375 yards and 5 TDs. The USC receivers are thriving on yards after the catch thanks to selfless blocking downfield, which is "a credit to coach [Tee] Martin and what he's doing with that group," said Sarkisian.

The Amazing Race

While things looked bleak after the Stanford loss, a lot can change in one week. Road teams went 5-0 in the Pac-12 this week, and the conference appears wide open for the taking. "We can do whatever we put our mind to," said captain Cravens. Sarkisian was thrilled with tonight's victory, but he wants it to be a mere stepping stone to greater things down the road. "The key is to take this game and then build on it," he said. "We didn't play our best a week ago, but that game's not going to define us. What we do moving forward is going to define us.

Here are the SnappyTV highlights featuring Adoree' Jackson's amazing runs and much more: