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The Sports Report: UCLA wins, USC loses

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USC quarterback Kedon Slovis protects the ball in the second quarter.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Have you ever tried Trick or Treating on Nov. 2? Boy, do you get some strange looks from people when you knock on their door at 8 p.m..

USC FOOTBALL

As USC (5-4, 4-2) clung tightly to its tiebreaker atop the conference, destiny was still in their hands. The Pac-12 was still in play. All the Trojans needed to do was hold on.

Then, in a clash with the class of the conference, USC lost its grip, fumbling away its Pac-12 fate in a 56-24 loss to No. 7 Oregon. With three games left in the season and Utah now ahead in the division, the destiny held close now felt like a far-flung dream.

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Their grip on the division had been tenuous to begin with. But over a sloppy second quarter on Saturday night when Oregon scored four touchdowns, it took a literal tumble to the turf.

USC was still leading, 10-7, when Kedon Slovis tried to scramble away from a descending Oregon rush, with only three yards to the end zone. He cocked back his arm to throw, but as his right arm flung forward, the ball didn’t join it.

The fumble set off a sequence for the Trojans that would surely serve as nightmare fuel for weeks to come. As a golden opportunity went wasted, the Ducks drove 92 yards down the field, took the lead, and never returned it.

What began with a dynamic first quarter for USC’s freshman quarterback took a sharp turn into territory he hoped was behind him. Just an hour earlier, he’d taken off scrambling in the pocket, spinning left, then right, evading Oregon defenders until Drake London came open for an impressively improvised touchdown pass.

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But with his fumble, the turnover issues that Slovis had kept at bay in recent weeks reared their head. Just two plays into USC’s next drive, Slovis threw to the sideline, unaware of the Ducks corner about to jump the route.

His pass was picked off, and 32 yards later, Brady Breeze’s interception wound up in the opposite end zone.

As USC fell further behind, with its backfield still depleted by injury, it had no choice but to continue leaning on Slovis, who set a school record with 57 pass attempts on Saturday. But it was Slovis’ four turnovers, his most yet at USC, that loomed larger. He finished with 264 yards and two touchdowns, while completing a season-low 56% of his passes.

Read more

Bill Plaschke: USC’s debacle against Oregon is final nail in coach Clay Helton’s coffin

For USC quarterback Kedon Slovis, one turnover leads to others

USC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: 790 KABC

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USC 31, Fresno State 23

USC 45, Stanford 20

at BYU 30, USC 27 (OT)

at USC 30, Utah 23

at Washington 28, USC 14

at Notre Dame 30, USC 27

at USC 41, Arizona 14

USC 35, at Colorado 31

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Oregon 56, at USC 24

Nov. 9 at Arizona State, 12:30 p.m., ESPN or ABC

Nov. 16 at California, TBD

Nov. 23 vs. UCLA, TBD

UCLA FOOTBALL

UCLA’s improbable resurgence continued during a 31-14 victory over Colorado in which the Bruins blitzed the Buffaloes early and piled on late.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson returned from a knee injury suffered last week to spark an efficient offensive performance and the Bruins’ defense continued its stunning late-season turnaround, much to the delight of an announced crowd of 47,118.

After turning away in disgust for more than a month, UCLA fans should take a long look at their team now. The Bruins (4-5 overall, 4-2 Pac-12 Conference) have exceeded their win total from last season while setting up a showdown Nov. 16 in Salt Lake City with Utah, which sits alone atop the Pac-12 South after USC’s stumble against Oregon.

The Bruins also can advance to a bowl game by winning two of their last three games, with the Pac-12 championship game and a Rose Bowl berth remaining as possibilities.

Colorado (3-6, 1-5) contributed to coach Chip Kelly’s first three-game winning streak with the Bruins, the Buffaloes faltering on defense and missing two field goals, including a 27-yard attempt that hit the goal post and bounced back.

Kelly’s offense did not produce another yardage bonanza, but it didn’t need to on a night when Thompson-Robinson was nearly perfect in the first half. His final statistics weren’t bad either. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while also rushing for 38 yards.

Running back Joshua Kelley added 126 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Bruins, who totaled 426 yards of offense.

UCLA dominated in all facets while building a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. The Bruins outgained Colorado, 201-20, in total yardage while allowing just one first down and holding the Buffaloes to 0 for 4 on third downs.

Thompson-Robinson was UCLA’s offensive catalyst, completing 10 of 11 passes in the quarter for 118 yards and two touchdowns. The one incompletion? A pass that was dropped by tight end Greg Dulcich.

Read more

Having Martell Irby use a redshirt season at UCLA is no longer an option

UCLA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: AM 1150

at Cincinnati 24, UCLA 14

San Diego State 23, at UCLA 14

Oklahoma 48, at UCLA 14

UCLA 67, at Washington State 63

at Arizona 20, UCLA 17

Oregon State 48, at UCLA 31

UCLA 34, at Stanford 16

at UCLA 42, Arizona State 32

at UCLA 31, Colorado 14

Nov. 16 at Utah, TBD

Nov. 23 at USC, TBD

Nov. 30 vs. California, TBD

SATURDAY’S TOP 25 SCOREBOARD

No. 4 Clemson 59, Wofford 14

No. 8 Georgia 24, No. 6 Florida 17

No. 7 Oregon 56, USC 24

No. 9 Utah 33, Washington 28

No. 11 Auburn 20, Ole Miss 14

No. 14 Michigan 38, Maryland 7

No. 24 Memphis 54, No. 15 SMU 48

No. 16 Notre Dame 21, Virginia Tech 20

No. 17 Cincinnati 56, East Carolina 43

No. 21 Boise State 52, San Jose State 42

No. 22 Kansas State 38, Kansas 10

No. 23 Wake Forest 44, North Carolina State 10

SATURDAY’S PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

UCLA 31, Colorado 14

No. 7 Oregon 56, USC 24

No. 9 Utah 33, Washington 28

Oregon State 56, Arizona 38

PAC-12 STANDINGS

North

Oregon, 6-0 in conference, 8-1 overall

Oregon State, 3-2, 4-4

Stanford, 3-3, 4-4

Washington, 2-4, 5-4

Washington State, 1-4, 4-4

California, 1-4, 4-4

South

Utah, 5-1, 8-1

USC 4-2, 5-4

UCLA, 4-2, 4-5

Arizona State, 2-3, 5-3

Arizona, 2-4, 4-5

Colorado, 1-5, 3-6

CHARGERS

When Ken Whisenhunt was fired as offensive coordinator Monday, the development arrived more like just another loss in a season filled with too many of them.

“We’ve been needing to look in the mirror for a long time now, just with how our games have been turning out,” running back Austin Ekeler said. “It’s a reminder of how cutthroat this league can be and how changes do happen if you’re not performing.” The Chargers are 3-5 and just snapped a three-game losing streak but only because Chicago’s kicker missed a 41-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

They have been historically bad over the last month when trying to run the ball, their recent yardage totals unseen in the NFL since the 1940s.

They return to Carson on Sunday to face 7-1 Green Bay, trying to overcome Aaron Rodgers and what figures to be another decided home-field disadvantage.

They’ll do so with Shane Steichen, a quarterbacks coach three years younger than the team’s actual quarterback, calling plays for the first time in his career.

“I think Shane’s been calling plays his whole life,” head coach Anthony Lynn said. “He just wasn’t the coordinator. He’s always had great ideas. He’s not going to be doing this alone.”

CHARGERS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: KFI-AM 640, KFWB-AM 980

at Chargers 30, Indianapolis 24 (OT)

at Detroit 13, Chargers 10

Houston 27, at Chargers 20

Chargers 30, at Miami 10

Denver 20, at Chargers 13

Pittsburgh 24, at Chargers 17

at Tennessee 23, Chargers 20

Chargers 17, at Chicago 16

Today vs. Green Bay, 1:15 p.m., CBS

Nov. 10 at Oakland, 5:15 p.m., Fox, NFL Network

Nov. 18 vs. Kansas City, 5:15 p.m., ESPN (at Mexico City, counts as home game for Chargers)

Dec. 1 at Denver, 1:15 p.m., CBS

Dec. 8 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 15 vs. Minnesota, 5:15 p.m., NBC

Dec. 22 or 23 vs. Oakland, TBD

Dec. 29 at Kansas City, 10 a.m., CBS

RAMS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: 710 ESPN, 93.1 JACK FM

Rams 30, at Carolina 27

at Rams 27, New Orleans 9

Rams 20, at Cleveland 13

Tampa Bay 55, at Rams 40

at Seattle 30, Rams 29

San Francisco 20, at Rams 7

Rams 37, at Atlanta 10

Rams 24, Cincinnati 10 (at London)

Nov. 10 at Pittsburgh, 1:15 p.m., Fox

Nov. 17 vs. Chicago, 5:15 p.m., NBC

Nov. 25 vs. Baltimore, 5:15 p.m., ESPN

Dec. 1 at Arizona, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 8 vs. Seattle, 5:15 p.m., NBC

Dec. 15 at Dallas, 1:15 p.m., Fox

Dec. 22 or 23 at San Francisco, TBD

Dec. 29 vs. Arizona, 1:15 p.m., Fox

HORSE RACING

It appeared that Santa Anita had a safe Breeders’ Cup, but in the last race, at the top of the stretch, Mongolian Groom was pulled up in distress. He suffered a life-ending injury to his left-hind leg and was euthanized on Saturday. It was the 37th death at Santa Anita since Dec. 30 and will raise the temperature even higher on the track with one day remaining in the meeting.

It was the seventh death in the abbreviated fall meeting. Last year, there were four in the same time span.

Most in the crowd of 67,811 were focused on the front of the race where Vino Rosso and McKinzie were fighting for the lead in the $6 million Classic, the marquee event of the two-day event. Vino Rosso won the Classic by 4 ¼ lengths over McKinzie.

Mongolian Groom was in third place when he was injured. Both jockeys in front of him looked back as if they had heard something when Mongolian Groom started to be pulled up.

“Given the extent of the injury, Dr. [Ryan] Carpenter, in consultation with Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, veterinary surgeon … Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director of the California Horse Racing Board and attending veterinarian Dr. Vince Baker, recommended humane euthanasia of Mongolian Groom,” according to a statement from the Breeders’ Cup.

Read more

Bricks and Mortar has a solid case for horse of the year

Race-by-race recap

KINGS

Drew Doughty scored with 16.6 seconds remaining in overtime and the Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Saturday night.

Michael Amadio, Kyle Clifford and Matt Roy also scored for the Kings, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Jack Campbell made 24 saves.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped the initial shot during a 2-on-1 break late in overtime, but the puck trickled free from under the Blackhawks goalie. Doughty was able to tap in the loose puck for his fourth goal of the season.

BOXING

Canelo Alvarez won one more title for another milestone in a record that one day might allow him to say he belongs among the best ever.

Canelo did it emphatically, winning the World Boxing Organization’s light-heavyweight title with a left-right combination that stopped Sergey Kovalev at 2:15 of the 11th-round Saturday night at the MGM Grand.

First, it was a left to the body. Then, a right to the head. The blows drove Kovalev into the ropes. Then, the Russian dropped onto the canvas, looking almost lifeless. He had to be helped to his feet and onto a stool.

“I just ask you to be patient,” Canelo said to a cheering crowd. “I am making history.”

History is built on what Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) achieved. In moving up two divisions from middleweight, he won his fourth title at a fourth weight.

MMA

Veteran welterweight Jorge Masvidal defeated Nate Diaz via third-round TKO in the main event of UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden.

The bout ended unexpectedly, as a ringside doctor waved off the fight between the third and fourth rounds due to a cut over Diaz’s right eye. Both Masvidal (35-13) and Diaz (20-12) expressed interest in a rematch.

“For a fact, I told Nate right now, let’s run it back,” Masvidal said in his postfight interview in the octagon. “UFC, make it happen. Let’s run it back. I don’t like to leave the ring like this with my opponent conscious. There’s only one way to do it, and that’s to baptize them, and I didn’t get to baptize Nate, so we’re going to run it back.”

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Green Bay at Chargers, 1:15 p.m., CBS, KFI AM 640

Lakers at San Antonio, 4 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, 710 ESPN

Utah at Clippers, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570

Chicago at Ducks, 5 p.m., FSW

BORN ON THIS DATE

1893: Tennis player Robert Murray (d. 1970)

1908: Football player Bronko Nagurski (d. 1990)

1918: Baseball player Bob Feller (d. 2010)

1936: Tennis player Roy Emerson

1945: Baseball player Ken Holtzman

1945: Soccer player Gerd Muller

1949: Boxer Larry Holmes

1955: Football player Phil Simms

1956: Former Dodger Bob Welch (d. 2014)

1960: Volleyball player Karch Kiraly

1975: Football player Darren Sharper

1982: Figure skater Evgeny Plushenko

1987: Football player Colin Kaepernick

AND FINALLY

Bob Welch strikes out Reggie Jackson in the 1978 World Series. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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