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  • College football ahead: Week 7 was crazy, but next weekend could be better

    College football ahead: Week 7 was crazy, but next weekend could be better

    Think of all the things we knew just a few days ago. We knew Clemson was neck and neck with Alabama at the top of the college football heap, the two programs seemingly distancing themselves from the pack. We knew Washington had nudged its way into the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 Conference with...

  • Podcast | USC Overtime: How the Trojans saved their season against Utah

    Podcast | USC Overtime: How the Trojans saved their season against Utah

    USC played maybe its best half of the season to erase a 14-point deficit against Utah and keep their Pac-12 and playoff hopes alive. Zach Helfand takes you inside the game and answers this and other questions including: Is Sam Darnold back to being Sam Darnold?What were the four most important...

  • USC beats Utah after they let Ronald Jones II run wild

    USC beats Utah after they let Ronald Jones II run wild

    USC running back Ronald Jones II launched himself into the air, flipped forward over Utah safety Marquise Blair with a neat half-twist, and came down in the end zone, cradling the ball in his right hand as he landed on his right leg and thigh. The crowd at the Coliseum roared its approval, even...

  • No. 13 USC rallies, flips and stops Utah 28-27

    No. 13 USC rallies, flips and stops Utah 28-27

    USC’s catharsis seven games in the making did not happen when Ajene Harris stuffed Troy Williams on a two-point conversion stop that saved USC’s season. It did not happen when Ronald Jones II went hurtling through the night, pulling a front flip — with a half twist — that won the game 28-27 for...

  • Lynn Swann thinks USC should be 7-0

    Lynn Swann thinks USC should be 7-0

    USC athletic director Lynn Swann was less than thrilled about the first half of USC’s football season. Swann said USC’s first six games left him “a little disappointed we’re not undefeated.” Swann spoke Friday, a day before USC played Utah, during a ceremony when he was presented with a plaque...

  • USC basketball loses four-star recruit J'Raan Brooks because of scandal

    USC basketball loses four-star recruit J'Raan Brooks because of scandal

    The college basketball bribery and corruption scandal has cost USC a top recruit, at least temporarily. Forward J'Raan Brooks, a 6-foot-8 forward from Seattle Garfield High who is ranked among the nation’s top 100 high school players, said he is reopening his college search. “Due to unforeseen...

  • Seeking another boost, USC looks to last season's loss to Utah for lessons

    Seeking another boost, USC looks to last season's loss to Utah for lessons

    USC’s players do not talk much after a loss. The locker room is silent. If the team is on the road, no one says a word on the charter plane back home. The last time USC played Utah, USC’s opponent Saturday in a key midseason Pac-12 Conference South division game, one person broke the silence in...

  • How USC and Utah match up in another important Pac-12 South meeting

    How USC and Utah match up in another important Pac-12 South meeting

    No. 13 USC (5-1, 3-1 in the Pac-12) vs. Utah (4-1, 1-1) Saturday, 5 p.m., Coliseum. TV: ABC. Radio: 710. Marquee matchup Ronald Jones II vs. Utah defensive line: Jones, when healthy, is one of the nation’s best backs. He averages 6.2 yards per rush and has scored in 12 consecutive games. He has...

  • USC mailbag: Whose fault are all of USC's injuries? (Hint: Probably no one's)

    USC mailbag: Whose fault are all of USC's injuries? (Hint: Probably no one's)

    Every week*, The Times’ USC beat reporter, Zach Helfand, will answer your questions. Tweet yours to @zhelfand or email them to zach.helfand@latimes.com. And after every USC game, you can leave a voice message on the USC Overtime hotline, at (213) 357-0984, for a call-in podcast posted the day after...

  • Former USC linebacker Osa Masina pleads guilty to lesser charges

    Former USC linebacker Osa Masina pleads guilty to lesser charges

    A suspended USC football player accused of sexual assault in Utah pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor charges in a deal with prosecutors. The agreement carries no possible state prison time for Osa Masina, 20, but he could be sentenced to three years in county jail and probation. Prosecutors...

  • How turnovers and timely defense explain USC's odd season

    How turnovers and timely defense explain USC's odd season

    There was a pass intercepted deep in USC territory, at the 25-yard line. There was another at USC’s 45. There were fumbles near midfield, at USC’s 29-yard line, at its own 23. All of those plays shared two things in common: They all were potentially back-breaking turnovers that put the Trojans’...

  • College basketball corruption scandal takes center stage at Pac-12 media day

    College basketball corruption scandal takes center stage at Pac-12 media day

    On a day usually reserved for coaches to deliver clunky podium jokes and injury updates, USC’s Andy Enfield and Arizona’s Sean Miller were confronted by a far more uncomfortable topic Thursday at Pac-12 Conference basketball media day. Neither could escape a fusillade of questions related to the...

  • Rams' high-powered offense sputters in second half vs. Seahawks

    Rams' high-powered offense sputters in second half vs. Seahawks

    Keep the throwback uniforms, Rams. Lose the throwback offense. As their offense sputtered and wheezed in the second half against Seattle on Sunday, it was as if the Rams were using last year’s playbook. They looked uninspired and predictable, nothing like the team that tore through the first month...

  • Podcast | USC Overtime: What to make of USC's win over Oregon State

    Podcast | USC Overtime: What to make of USC's win over Oregon State

    USC finally had its first blowout win of the season. But are USC’s players feeling good? Or kind of meh. Zach Helfand takes you inside the game and answers this and other questions including: Did USC’s punt return team listen to the fans, with disastrous results?How stressful has this season been...

  • How USC and Oregon State compare in a lopsided matchup

    How USC and Oregon State compare in a lopsided matchup

    No. 14 USC (4-1, 2-1 in the Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (1-4, 0-2) Saturday, 1 p.m., Coliseum. TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 710 Marquee matchup USC passing game vs. Oregon State’s secondary: Last week, the Trojans endured their worst passing game in quarterback Sam Darnold’s time as a starter. He completed...

  • For USC's defense, third-and-short is no problem. Third-and-long? A problem.

    For USC's defense, third-and-short is no problem. Third-and-long? A problem.

    USC’s offense has spent part of this week puzzling over how to solve its futility on third downs before it plays Oregon State. USC has converted just 14 of 44 tries in the last three games. But the offense’s ineffectiveness has overshadowed the defense’s own, unusual problem on third downs. Against...

  • USC lineman Viane Talamaivao out for season after tearing pectoral muscle

    USC lineman Viane Talamaivao out for season after tearing pectoral muscle

    In a season marred by injuries, USC could at least hold out hope that its banged-up players would return eventually. All the players the Trojans had sent to the injured list did not have season-ending injuries. Until Wednesday. Guard Viane Talamaivao was diagnosed with a tear in his pectoral muscle,...

  • In what areas is USC's passing game struggling? All of them

    In what areas is USC's passing game struggling? All of them

    Tee Martin has no regrets about his game planning this season. He has regrets about USC’s inability to convert an interception at Washington State’s three-yard line into a touchdown. He has regrets about the result. But not about the calls. “I mean, you call those same plays again,” said Martin,...

  • USC football player under investigation for incident after game at Washington State

    USC football player under investigation for incident after game at Washington State

    A USC player who was captured on video knocking over a Washington State fan after Friday’s game in Pullman is being investigated by the Washington State University Police Department. A video showed the player, who was running to exit the field, knocking over a fan who had rushed the field after...

  • In loss to Washington State, receiver Tyler Vaughns emerges as bright spot for USC

    In loss to Washington State, receiver Tyler Vaughns emerges as bright spot for USC

    The pocket was collapsing on Sam Darnold. It was fourth and 13, and the quarterback needed to get rid of the ball. But to where? None of his receivers were open. Tyler Vaughns was dashing across the middle of the field with a defender blanketing him, and another lurking in the path of his route....

  • 'We were hurt,' Jordan McLaughlin said of alleged bribery on USC basketball team

    'We were hurt,' Jordan McLaughlin said of alleged bribery on USC basketball team

    Most members of the USC basketball team found out about the bribery scandal that would tear through the team and others around college basketball the same way as everyone else. They woke up on Tuesday to phones buzzing about the news: That the FBI had arrested USC’s top assistant, Tony Bland, and...

  • USC assistant Tony Bland hires high-powered New York attorney in bribery case

    USC assistant Tony Bland hires high-powered New York attorney in bribery case

    Tony Bland, the USC assistant coach charged last week in the college basketball corruption and fraud scandal, has retained a veteran New York attorney who defended John Gotti Jr. and represents alleged drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. In his first public comments about the Bland case, Jeffrey...

  • Clay Helton preaches calm: 'One game doesn't define our season'

    Clay Helton preaches calm: 'One game doesn't define our season'

    Like a politician giving a stump speech, USC coach Clay Helton hammered a theme during his Sunday evening phone call with reporters, playing to a riled-up base. "The message to our team is that one game doesn't define our season,” Helton said. “We had a hard-fought game on the road against a very...

  • Washington takes over as Pac-12's top playoff contender

    Washington takes over as Pac-12's top playoff contender

    It may have looked like a blowout on the scoreboard, but after a 42-7 victory over Oregon State, sixth-ranked Washington sounded less than satisfied. “Sometimes it doesn’t go how you want it to go,” coach Chris Petersen said. The Huskies suffered through a sluggish first half against a heavy underdog...

  • What are the biggest issues facing USC's offense?

    What are the biggest issues facing USC's offense?

    The quarterback sneak made a strange comeback for USC in the fourth quarter of a 30-27 loss to Washington State on Friday evening. After Ronald Jones II was tackled right at the sticks on second down, USC hurried to the line. Quarterback Sam Darnold squatted under center. The play, previously abandoned...

  • Podcast | USC Overtime: USC's loss to Washington State lays bare plenty of problems

    Podcast | USC Overtime: USC's loss to Washington State lays bare plenty of problems

    USC has reached a crucial point in its season following a 30-27 loss to Washington State on Friday evening. Zach Helfand takes you inside the game and into the most important questions, including: What’s up with USC’s play calling?What’s the one big thing quarterback Sam Darnold was lacking Friday?Are...

  • USC simply didn't deserve a victory at Washington State

    USC simply didn't deserve a victory at Washington State

    The public address announcer’s warnings to stay off the field at Martin Stadium were totally and happily ignored. Fans jumped over fences to stream down from the stands, cheering, chanting and smiling as they gathered at midfield Friday night in a huge pulsing crowd of crimson to celebrate the...

  • Sam Darnold struggles, and so does No. 5 USC in loss to No. 16 Washington State 30-27

    Sam Darnold struggles, and so does No. 5 USC in loss to No. 16 Washington State 30-27

    Sam Darnold trotted onto the field with 1 minute and 40 seconds left in USC’s 30-27 loss to Washington State on Friday night, a situation Darnold relishes and that USC has come to increasingly, and dangerously, rely on. The Trojans trailed by three. Playoff implications for two teams hung in the...

  • USC has to plug more holes on offensive line because of injuries

    USC has to plug more holes on offensive line because of injuries

    A couple of weeks into training camp in August, USC coach Clay Helton remarked on how nice it felt having three veterans, each with plenty of game experience, leading his offensive line. Center Nico Falah, right guard Viane Talamaivao and left tackle Toa Lobendahn had combined for 78 starts entering...

  • USC cornerback Iman Marshall is taking himself to finishing school

    As the sun set to the west Tuesday and the final rays of light pierced the palm trees shielding USC’s Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field, cornerback Iman Marshall lay on his back looking like a lonely figure deep in thought. Whether at Long Beach Poly High or in three years at USC, Marshall has...

  • USC assistant coach Tony Bland among 10 charged in college basketball corruption probe

    Two months ago, Tony Bland walked into a Las Vegas hotel room for a clandestine business meeting. The men's associate head basketball coach at USC wanted to reassure Christian Dawkins, a former sports agent trying to start his own firm, that his "heavy influence" would convince Trojans players...

  • Injuries mount for USC, this time snaring receiver Deontay Burnett

    It has been difficult to watch USC’s passing attack through its first four games without wondering where USC might be without receiver Deontay Burnett. He is 13th nationally, and second in the conference, in yards receiving. He accounts for about a third of USC’s targets, receiving yards and receptions....

  • Clay Helton, USC laud ability to finish strong after sluggish early quarters

    During his time as USC’s coach, Clay Helton has preferred to use his public comments to spread a message of optimism. He does not use media reports as an opportunity to prod a player or his team. So a day after USC’s 30-20 win over California, Helton chose to paint a bright picture. “You’re very,...

  • Surprising Texas Christian can't fly under the radar anymore

    Hardly anyone outside of Fort Worth was talking about Texas Christian football during the summer. Most of the Big 12 Conference buzz revolved around preseason darlings Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs were, at best, an afterthought. That should change this week after Texas Christian...

  • Podcast | USC Overtime: Going over USC's life on the edge in win over California

    USC moved to 4-0 on Saturday with a road win over California, 30-20. The Trojans have become an excellent fourth-quarter team, but is that something fans should be concerned about? Zach Helfand and Bill Plaschke break it down in the latest postgame podcast. GET IT ON TUNES » zach.helfand@latimes.com...

  • Kicker Chase McGrath has been on the money; now will USC show him the money?

    What price victory? After a game like USC’s 30-20 win over California on Saturday, one could generally answer that question with the usual blood, sweat and cliches. But the Trojans’ most valuable player here paid an entirely different price. For freshman kicker Chase McGrath, this victory was part...

  • USC works hard to find joy in victory over California

    At halftime of USC’s 30-20 victory over California on Saturday, in the locker room under California Memorial Stadium, USC confronted its own expectations. The Trojans were not losing. The score was tied at 13-13. And still, USC’s captains took turns ripping into the team. "I was pretty explicit,"...

  • With Ronald Jones II out, Stephen Carr gets plenty of touches, and he loves it

    A USC staffer knocked on the hotel room door of running back Stephen Carr at 10 p.m. Friday night to make a bed check. Carr reported in, went to his mattress and promptly fell asleep. "I slept pretty good,” Carr said with a shrug. The first start of the freshman running back’s career would come...

  • USC hopes to drop the drops against California

    Tee Martin stood in a far corner of USC’s practice field this week and acted like a toddler begging for attention. This was intentional, part of a drill. Trojan receivers caught passes from a JUGS machine as Martin swatted at the players, smacked them with foam pads, grabbed their arms, nagged,...

  • How USC matches up with California in a meeting with former coordinator Justin Wilcox

    No. 5 USC (3-0) vs. California (3-0) Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Memorial Stadium, Berkeley. TV: ABC Radio: 710 Marquee matchup Tee Martin vs. Justin Wilcox and Tim DeRuyter: Martin, USC’s offensive coordinator, had maybe his best game against Stanford two weeks ago. Saturday, when USC was six of 21...

  • Mailbag: Is the quarterback sneak dead at USC?

    Every week*, The Times’ USC beat reporter, Zach Helfand, will answer your questions. Tweet yours to @zhelfand or email them to zach.helfand@latimes.com. And after every USC game, you can leave a voice message on the USC Overtime hotline, at (213) 357-0984, for a call-in podcast posted every Sunday...

  • Don't tell Lane Kiffin, but USC is in the middle of a screen renaissance

    There were many reasons why Lane Kiffin did not last at USC, but the thing that turned the fans against him was clear. It was all those bubble screens. The screens so agonized the Coliseum crowd during a loss to Washington State in September 2013 that after every timid pass behind the line of scrimmage...

  • College football TV viewers guide

    Need some help deciding which college football games to watch? Look no further. Each Friday, Times contributor Chuck Schilken handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on the weekend’s menu of games: TODAY 5 p.m.: Virginia at Boise State, ESPN2. 7:30 p.m.: Utah at Arizona, FS1 SATURDAY MORNING...

  • Justin Wilcox's turnaround at California is nothing to swear at. So what happened at USC?

    Justin Wilcox has become more meme than coach for a subsection of USC fans. When the Trojans defense performs poorly enough to make one want to scream profanities over and over again, that is a Justin Wilcox game. In other words, Wilcox’s last contest as USC’s defensive coordinator — a 41-22 loss...

  • L.A. fans don't just give their devotion, teams have to earn it

    Two weeks into the NFL season, Los Angeles has two teams with a combined one victory, yet it seems the biggest criticism is being leveled at all those people with the audacity to ignore them. The national narrative is not about the Rams and Chargers, but about the empty seats surrounding them,...

  • UCLA and USC finalize 2017-18 basketball schedules

    The UCLA and USC basketball teams on Tuesday each released game dates and times for the upcoming basketball season, and each will have every game televised on an ESPN channel, FS1, Pac-12 Networks or CBS. The Pac-12 Conference schedule has promoted the local rivalry, which has gained new relevance...

  • Chase McGrath, USC's hero against Texas, rarely tried field goals in high school

    Jana and Greg McGrath watched their son, Chase, stare at the goal posts before the biggest moment of his young football career. Jana trembled and prayed. Greg had a lump in his throat. Chase paced back to line up for the third field-goal attempt he had tried in college, from 43 yards. It was late...

  • Sam Darnold says give the Trojans just 20 seconds and they can mount a comeback

    Standing on the sideline watching Texas drive down the field, seeing the Longhorns squeeze out the clock, Sam Darnold watched the seconds tick down and hoped. It may seem that the USC quarterback can mount a late drive with any amount of time left, but he cannot, he said, standing outside the Trojans’...

  • Podcast | USC Overtime: A thrilling (and somewhat concerning) USC win over Texas

    The USC Overtime Podcast hotline is a little conflicted after USC’s 27-24 double-overtime victory over Texas. Is there more or to be happy about? Or concerned about? Bill Plaschke and Zach Helfand take you inside the crazy game. Plus: What happened to USC’s run game? Sam Darnold just had a Heisman...

  • USC hooks Texas at the Coliseum for a little revenge after 11 years

    The 43-yard field goal sailed through the uprights and the Coliseum was filled with screams of joy, shrieks of wonder and overpowering sighs of relief. Eleven years after USC lost a lead, a game and a monumental moment to Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl, it almost happened again Saturday night at the...

  • Freshman walk-on kicker delivers USC victory over Texas 27-24 in double overtime

    College football has, somehow, survived more than 11 years without USC playing Texas, and Saturday night it was a wonder anyone could live that long without it. The matchup has produced heroes and despair, iconic finishes and a life’s worth of stories. Deep into another wild Los Angeles evening,...

  • USC linebacker Porter Gustin's return from toe surgery is short-lived

    Porter Gustin tore off the left edge of USC’s defense late in the first half on Saturday, blew past his blocker and crunched Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Then he lined up for second down and did it again — another sack. He nearly did it a third time in a row on third down, but a teammate beat...

  • How USC and Texas match up in a rematch of the 2006 Rose Bowl Game

    No. 4 USC (2-0) vs. Texas (1-1) Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Coliseum. TV: Fox. Radio: 710 Marquee matchup USC running backs Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr against Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson: Jones and Carr have been perhaps college football’s best running back duo. They’ve been difficult to tackle:...

  • USC looking to stick with reclaimed smash-mouth style against Texas

    USC reprised a classic late in the third quarter of its opener two weeks ago. With two men in the backfield, the Trojans’ center and right guard pulled to the left side, forming the core of a phalanx of blockers. The running back swept in behind them. USC was essentially running John McKay’s offensive...

  • The playoff era could make games like USC vs. Texas a rarity

    Eight years ago, USC’s senior associate athletic director, Steve Lopes, called his counterpart at Texas, Butch Worley, and floated an idea. What if USC and Texas played a home-and-home series? Worley was intrigued. Coaches and athletic directors from both schools signed off, and now, finally, the...

  • USC-Texas revisited: Vince Young was scary good in 2006 Rose Bowl, but he was also a little scared

    Today: Longhorns hero Vince Young, part 3 of a four-part series revisiting the 2006 Rose Bowl game between USC and Texas. Lawrence Jackson remembers what it looked like to see Vince Young on film. “He looked like he was floating,” the former USC defensive end said. He looked invincible. Young didn’t...

  • USC-Texas revisited: A look at the little plays that set up the game-changers

    The first domino fell long before the fourth-and-two and Vince Young’s fateful run. Take back the last 11 years, run back the game of the century from the beginning and the thing that might have done USC in, the thing that changed it all, was … a rolled ankle? USC’s former players are thinking...

  • Stephen Carr is creating a good problem for USC: competition at running back

    USC running back Stephen Carr says he is built for the open field. He calls it his “specialty.” After USC’s win over Stanford on Saturday, when he found the open field often, he described what he thinks about when he is one-on-one with a defender: "Let's see what this highlight's gonna be like.” ...

  • USC to shut down tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe because of a leg injury

    When USC coach Clay Helton spoke with tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe recently, they did not talk about Imatorbhebhe returning quickly to the field from a leg injury. Instead they discussed a topic that does not foretell a particularly speedy recovery. They talked about linebacker John Houston Jr....

  • USC-Texas revisited | Why soldier Travis Tofi kept his football career a secret

    On Jan. 4, 2006, USC and Texas played for college football’s national championship at the Rose Bowl in what is considered one of the greatest games in the sport’s history. The Longhorns won it 41-38 to complete a 13-0 season. USC, which had a 34-game winning streak, finished 12-1. The schools have...

  • Podcast | USC Overtime: The Trojans make a statement with a win over Stanford

    The Trojans earned about as big a Week 2 victory as there is, with a 42-24 win over Stanford on Saturday. Bill Plaschke and Zach Helfand take you inside the game on the USC Overtime podcast. Then it’s time for your calls on the USC Overtime hotline. There’s interviews with Stephen Carr, Sam Darnold...

  • USC controls the line, and beats Stanford at its own game

    As USC coach Clay Helton walked off the Coliseum field Saturday evening, he wrapped his arms around players on either side of him and grinned. All three stopped for a moment. Helton looked like a fisherman posing to show off the results of a good day on the boat. And he had a weighty catch. He...

  • The Sam Darnold of old is back, and he's brought USC new confidence

    The relief washed through the overheated USC football fans like that cool breeze that poured into the Coliseum. In his second game of the season, Sam Darnold finally threw his first touchdown pass. And his second. And his third. And his fourth. One week after saying the muddled victory in baking...

  • USC's receivers get higher grades against Stanford

    Right after USC’s Week 1 game ended, after answering a few minutes of questions about what was wrong with USC’s receivers, Deontay Burnett got his hands on the game film and watched. “It wasn’t that bad,” Burnett said this week. Burnett, quarterback Sam Darnold and the rest of USC’s offense had...

  • UCLA's receivers were keys to success in comeback win over Texas A&M

    Josh Rosen’s eyes momentarily shifted toward the television camera fixed on him before UCLA’s game Sunday, the quarterback winking as one corner of his mouth curled into a smile. It was as if he knew what was about to happen and who was going to help make it possible. Rosen’s career-best performance...

  • College football viewers guide

    Need some help deciding which college football games to watch this weekend? Look no further. FRIDAY Memphis (1-0) at Central Florida (1-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU UCLA fans can get an early look at Memphis, which hosts the Bruins on Sept. 16. This game was moved up a day because of the threat of Hurricane...

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says USC's expulsion of Matt Boermeester shows a 'failed system'

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday that the system for handling sexual assaults on college campuses is broken and, without naming him, used former Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester and USC’s investigation into allegations against him, as an example. DeVos outlined her plans to review...

  • Picks are in for Week 2 of college football: Will Trojans be left in a Cardinal hue?

    Each week, the Los Angeles Times' college football experts — it's how they refer to themselves — will make choices on a variety of games. Warning: If they could accurately predict results, they wouldn't be reporters or editors. Their picks: Ben Bolch Louisville at North Carolina: Louisville, 38-28...

  • Joseph Lewis IV may be USC's savior at receiver, just probably not yet

    Joseph Lewis IV stands at 6 feet 2 and weighs 220 pounds. He was, according to some recruiting services, a five-star recruit in the latest cycle, considered one of the best receivers in the country. During Tuesday’s practice, Lewis performed as well as he has since arriving at USC. He caught balls...

  • Clay Helton and David Shaw agree: Running is winning when USC plays Stanford

    There had already been two scuffles during USC’s Tuesday evening practice by the time cornerback Jack Jones tangled with receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, Imatorbhebhe’s helmet dislodged and the pugilists wrestled to the turf. Coach Clay Helton paused practice and huddled the team together. USC’s preparation...

  • College football: The Pac-12 won't be perfect after this weekend

    At least one thing is certain as we head into the second full weekend of college football: Pac-12 Conference teams won’t go undefeated. Someone has to lose in Saturday’s showdown between No. 6 USC and No. 14 Stanford, precluding a repeat of last week’s 11-0 performance that began with Utah defeating...

  • USC baseball gets commitment from son of tennis greats Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf

    Tennis legends Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf have steered their children away from the game that made them famous, but that didn’t stop their eldest, 15-year-old son Jaden, from becoming a terrific athlete. He just chose to use his hand-eye coordination to strike a different ball. Instead of a racket,...

  • Former USC running back Ty Issac finally breaks through in Michigan opener

    Michigan waited many weeks for Ty Isaac to become a player. One week into the season, he took care of that. He ran for 114 yards on 11 carries Saturday in No. 11 Michigan's 33-17 season-opening victory over Florida. “He had a terrific game,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He's going to be our...

  • USC tackles a tackling problem before facing Stanford’s potent rushing game

    Underneath the Coliseum, linebacker Cameron Smith watched his USC teammates flail against Western Michigan via a television in the locker room and tried not to stew. “There's no reason to get negative,” he said. “It just ruins the whole mood.” It was probably difficult. As Smith, the captain of...

  • Clay Helton says he's not worried about Sam Darnold, but USC receivers' drops are an issue

    USC coach Clay Helton cut right to the chase during his weekly teleconference after USC’s less-than-emphatic 49-31 win over Western Michigan. “Know there's going to be questions about Sam,” Helton said. He was right. Sam Darnold, the Trojans’ star quarterback, had the first less-than-stellar outing...

  • Podcast | USC Overtime: A win but many questions after USC's opener

    USC won its opener but left unanswered major questions heading into a crucial Pac-12 Conference game against Stanford on Saturday. What’s the foremost concern? Bill Plaschke and Zach Helfand break it down on the USC Overtime postgame podcast call-in show. Then it’s time for your calls on the USC...

  • USC has to work hard to put away Western Michigan in opener 49-31

    Want to hear a joke? Here’s one from inside USC’s locker room minutes after the Trojans escaped with a 49-31 win over Western Michigan in an opening game that was scarier than the final score showed. “Are we even anywhere near a finished product?” coach Clay Helton said. The team burst out laughing....

  • USC long snapper Jake Olson delivers in a key moment — 'Certain things are bigger than the game'

    Jake Olson will never behold his perfect snap, the wondrous kick, that glorious final point of USC’s opening-day victory. But he felt it in the hugs, heard it in the roars and basked in its triumph as he trotted from the Coliseum field into the arms of his Trojans teammates. Turns out, USC’s blind...

  • USC's young receivers slow to catch on

    USC didn’t need to generate much offense other than on the ground Saturday — except on one crucial third down when it faced third and 17. Western Michigan had just scored on a double-pass. USC was losing. Its offense was sputtering. So quarterback Sam Darnold looked for a familiar partner. He unleashed...

  • USC's victory probably won't help come playoff time

    The first boos trickled down from the Coliseum crowd with 14:47 remaining in the second quarter. So much for USC enjoying any sort of honeymoon at the start of this, their most promising football season in recent years. “It didn’t get to us,” offensive lineman Chuma Edoga said. “You know how fans...

  • Is USC a playoff team? Saturday's opener and Trojans' newcomers will provide a clue

    Playing in high school or watching from the bench, a new player can forget one unchangeable fact about college football: The dominant emotion of the game is not excitement. It is not school pride. There are big men on the field trying to make you mess up. Trying to hurt you. The dominant emotion...

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