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2014: Arizona State Sun Devils

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The Trojans look to avenge last year's loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils in another tough PAC-12 battle. To get you ready for this heated rematch, here is your Friday Night Video. #BeatTheSunDevils


2014 Game 5: USC vs. Arizona State

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Arizona State Sun Devils (3-1, 1-1) at No. 16 USC Trojans (3-1, 2-0)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 4:30 p.m. on FOX

Sun Devil to Watch: Junior RB D.J. Foster

Foster-ASU.jpgThe Pac-12's leading rusher is the most dangerous weapon in Arizona State's potent attack.  While Foster is averaging 135 yards per game on the ground, his versatility in the passing game is his greatest strength.  He averages four catches for 52 yards per game as a receiver making him the No. 1 all-purpose talent in the conference (187 yards per game).

Click here for more on the Sun Devils.

3 Keys

The Stopper

In last year's 62-41 win by Arizona State, the Sun Devils deployed their running backs more effectively as receivers than rushers.  Marion Grice and Foster accounted for 116 receiving yards and 103 rushing yards plus 5 touchdowns. To counteract Foster, Justin Wilcox has a versatile weapon of his own in Su'a Cravens.  Now as an outside linebacker, Cravens can be an extra man in the box to stop the run game, but also use his superior cover skills to keep Foster out of the passing game.

Be Strong

Jaelen Strong presents another match-up nightmare for the Trojans.  At 6-foot-3, he is a big, physical target who used his size on back shoulder fade routes to reel in 7 catches for 103 yards last year against USC.  Without Josh Shaw, the Trojans are not very big at corner, so Kevon Seymour, Chris Hawkins and Adoree' Jackson will have to rely on their technique and leaping ability to deter Strong.  Of course, if the Trojans' pass rush can get to Mike Bercovici, who is less mobile than Taylor Kelly, they can cut off the supply line to Strong.

Scorch the Devils

It's going to be a hot one!  With 95-degree temperatures expected and two uptempo offenses, this Pac-12 South showdown could devolve into a fitness competition.  ASU QB Mike Bercovici chided his friend Antwaun Woods and the USC defense saying, "They're not going to be saying anything about anything because they're going to be sucking wind."  To beat the heat, Steve Sarkisian plans on digging deep into his roster to rotate players, but the best scenario would be to grab an early lead.  The team playing uphill will feel the sun burn even deeper.

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Stevens Academic Center Spotlight: Jamie Fink

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

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

Name: Jamie FinkJamieFink.jpg
Year: Junior
Sport:
Women's Soccer
Major:
Communications

Sarah Bergstrom (SB): I always like to ask people how they ended up at USC. I know your sister played tennis here, was she the reason you became a Trojan?

Jamie Fink (JF):
Actually, no. I love to be different than my sister so I was actually looking to go somewhere different than my sister. But when I visited USC, I just saw myself here. I was so in awe by everything this school had, from top academics to a great soccer team to a great football team. I love the camaraderie and tradition that is at USC.

SB:
Did you come in knowing you wanted to be a Communications major?

JF:
No I didn't. I had no idea what I wanted to be but I though that I might want to do something on camera. My coaches told me I should probably be a Communications major, and I took some classes and I absolutely fell in love with the program. I really enjoy Annenberg. I would love to do sports broadcasting because it's so close to my heart with soccer.

SB:
As an athlete it can be hard to find time to do an internship or pursue elements of your major outside of class. Have you had a chance to intern or even just talk with professionals in the broadcast field while you've been at USC?

JF:
Yeah I actually do little interviews after our games. It's called "Free Kicks with Fink" and it's a good way for me to get some experience on camera. I also had an internship with Fox Sports this summer where I worked with highlights and Fox Sports Live. It was a good chance to see what I want to do and what I don't want to do.

SB: What were some of the things you realized you do or don't want to do?

JF:  During my internship I had to work off camera. I had to find clips and put everything together. It was so stressful and tedious. I realized I definitely didn't want to do that. But I got to shadow talent sometimes and work with them off the camera and I thought that was really cool.

SB: Is there anyone in the sports broadcasting industry that you currently look up to?

JF: I think I'm still trying to figure that out a little. Well, obviously Erin Andrews. She has an awesome job. And Julie Foudy, she played soccer and now she's in broadcasting which is exactly what I want to do.

SB: Transitioning to soccer a bit, there's been a lot of change that's happened in the three years that you've been here. How have you seen your team grow and change in that time and what do you think about where you are at right now?

JF: Our environment is completely different. I think we're more so enjoying the game now and are so much calmer. Our chemistry has gotten so much stronger, we really do things for each other and make the littlest sacrifices that ultimately make the biggest impact.

SB: What has your new head coach, Keidane McAlpine, brought to this program?

JF: He just wants us to love the game and love what we do. He pushes us to be the best players we can be and to challenge ourselves in order to get there. I think he just instills the fun aspect in it. You can tell at practice that everyone's smiling now. It's just the little things. I think with fun comes more passion for the game. People are starting to step out of their comfort zones and are really challenging themselves to be the best players they can be.

SB: Do you ever see anything that you learn on the soccer field transition to the classroom?

JF: Competitiveness for sure. In soccer, I compete so hard with my opponents and then in the classroom I strive to do the same. I am always trying to get the best grade and I try to be the best I can be in there as well.

SB: What has been the biggest difference in transitioning to becoming an upperclassman and a girl that other teammates look to?

JF: It's definitely been a hard transition for me and I'm still learning how to really take on that leadership role. It's a good experience and I know that outside of soccer, in the business world, it will be good to know how to be a good leader. But it's been a fun transition too. The girls from my previous years have taught me a lot and I've learned what to do and what not to do from them.

SB: What is some advice you would give to a girl who's maybe thinking about coming here or to a younger member of your team about balancing soccer and school?

JF: I always tell people, 'You are a student-athlete. The student comes before the athlete. You come to USC for the academics and then your sport follows.' A sport will be there, but it won't be there your whole life. Your education will help you forever.

SB: Your team is off to a stellar start this season, what are your aspirations as a group and what do you think your team is capable of?

JF: We are capable of a lot. We are trying to take it one game at a time and keep our focus there. We just want to keep improving and progressing and make it to the NCAA tournament, that's our first small goal. Hopefully winning the PAC-12 and the NCAA tournament will follow.

A Day at the Coliseum

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From start to finish, here is an Epic look at the USC vs. Oregon State game...


Throwback Thursday: Swanny

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(Photo via Getty Images)

Defend McAlister

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No. 23 USC women's soccer has been on a roll since the first kick this season and now the Women of Troy can build on their good start to the season with five consecutive Pac-12 home matches.  The Trojans (7-1-2) begin their defense of McAlister Field against Colorado (Friday at 3 p.m.) and Utah (Sunday at 3 p.m.) this weekend.

Here is head coach Keidane McAlpine's weekly update:


Water Polo Undercard

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The best tailgate Saturday will be at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center as No. 4 USC men's water polo hosts No. 5 UC Santa Barbara at Noon. Keep cool by the pool and enjoy world class water polo followed by the annual Alumni Game.

Click here for more.

In pursuit of a seventh consecutive national championship, men's water polo is off to an 11-2 start this season, but this is the first time the Trojans will officially play in their new home stadium.

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Arizona State Thursday: Steve Sarkisian Presser

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In his final presser before game day, head coach Steve Sarkisian announced that WR Ajene Harris (hamstring) will not play Saturday and Steven Mitchell will take most of those reps. Here is the rest of what Sarkisian had to say...

TweetMates

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USC football players can Tweet some ridiculous things, so before the season started, we combed through the back logs to find the craziest Tweets and had their teammates read them.

The result is called #TweetMates.


Trojans Live - Arizona State Week

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A Pac-12 South showdown looms this Saturday, so we had an all-star Trojans Live to match Tuesday night. 

John Jackson and I were joined at The Lab on Figueroa by head coach Steve Sarkisian, QB Cody Kessler and men's volleyball captain Micah Christenson plus we heard from New York Giants OLB Devon Kennard