Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Why didn’t the dog want to play football? He was a Boxer.
Quarterback Kedon Slovis came out firing, with 297 yards and four touchdowns in the first quarter. The Trojans’ defense came out ferocious, with just a single yard allowed over that same stretch.
But over the next three quarters, that near-perfection nearly came apart at the seams. What began as a smooth sail to bowl eligibility became a rocky ride just to stay alive, one the Trojans were lucky to survive in a 31-26 victory over Arizona State on Saturday.
With Arizona State driving and just 30 seconds remaining, it was Christian Rector who ultimately saved them. The senior defensive end leaped in the air, tipped a third-down pass, and dived forward to cradle it for the interception USC desperately needed.
The Trojans (6-4, 4-2) are now bowl eligible, after missing a bowl game last season.
But there was little enthusiasm for that milestone in the aftermath of Saturday’s escape.
“I don’t celebrate six wins,” said receiver Amon-ra St. Brown, who did plenty worth celebrating in an 8-catch, 173-yard performance.
Clay Helton agreed, assuring there was still plenty of time for his uneven team to accomplish more than it has thus far.
“We have higher standards,” Helton said. “We have more to play for.”
Dylan Hernandez: Clay Helton is not about to throw in the towel
USC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
All times Pacific. Radio: 790 KABC
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
Oregon 56, at USC 24
USC 31, at Arizona State 26
Nov. 16 at California, 8 p.m., FS1
Nov. 23 vs. UCLA, TBD
SATURDAY’S TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
No. 1 Ohio State 73, Maryland 14
No. 2 LSU 46, No. 3 Alabama 41 (Read game story here)
No. 17 Minnesota 31, No. 4 Penn State 26
No. 5 Clemson 55, North Carolina St. 10
No. 6 Georgia, 27, Missouri 0
No. 9 Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 41
No. 10 Florida 56, Vanderbilt 0
No. 12 Baylor 29, TCU 23
No. 13 Wisconsin 24, No. 18 Iowa 22
No. 15 Notre Dame 38, Duke 7
Texas 27, No. 16 Kansas State 24
Virginia Tech 36, No. 19 Wake Forest 17
No. 20 Cincinnati 48, Connecticut 3
No. 22 Boise State 20, Wyoming 17
No. 25 SMU 59, East Carolina 51
SATURDAY’S PAC-12 SCOREBOARD
USC 31, Arizona State 26
Colorado 16, Stanford 13
California 33, Washington State 20
Oregon, 6-0 in Pac-12, 8-1 overall
Oregon State, 3-3, 4-5
Stanford, 3-4, 4-5
Washington, 3-4, 6-4
California, 2-4, 5-4
Washington State, 1-5, 4-5
Utah, 5-1, 8-1
USC, 5-2, 6-4
UCLA, 4-2, 4-5
Arizona State, 2-4, 5-4
Arizona, 2-4, 4-5
Colorado, 2-5, 4-6
Defenseman Shea Weber scored two power-play goals in the Montreal Canadiens’ 3-2 victory over the Kings on Saturday night.
Blake Lizotte scored his first NHL goal, Anze Kopitar also connected, and Jonathan Quick stopped 34 shots for the Kings, who have only one victory in its last eight.
Weber opened the scoring midway through the first period. The captain fired a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that hit defenseman Matt Roy. As the puck landed back toward Weber, he blasted it past Quick.
As a rookie in 2015, Rams running back Todd Gurley made his NFL debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It was the third game of the season, and Gurley -- the 10th pick in the draft -- was in the final stage of working his way back from 2014 knee surgery.
Gurley rushed for nine yards in six carries and caught a pass before moving into the starting lineup the next week.
Four years later, the three-time Pro Bowl selection can’t wait to play the Steelers at Heinz Field today for the first time.
“I grew up a [Baltimore] Ravens fan, so I never liked the Steelers,” Gurley said. “I’m looking forward to it-- it’s like one of those places like Green Bay, Dallas, Chicago, Pittsburgh…. That’s always been their philosophy to be all about the ball and all about defense.
“Should be a fun game.”
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)
Today 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
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard weren’t on the same team during practice Saturday but, at long last, at least they were on the same court. Doc Rivers can’t help but smirk at the sight of his stars finally aligning after George’s Clippers tenure is off to a delayed start.
“It is nice to see him on the floor today, I can tell you that,” the smiling Clippers coach said of George. “I think some guys found out that he was on the floor today, I can say that.”
George participated in live drills Saturday for the first time since undergoing two shoulder surgeries during the offseason. The first surgery in May repaired a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder and another procedure in June addressed a labrum tear in his left shoulder.
While the six-time NBA All-Star can possibly return for the team’s home game against the Toronto Raptors on Monday, Rivers said he didn’t know of a definitive plan for George’s return. George, for one, doesn’t believe he’s ready just yet.
“I still got some stuff,” he said. “From a health standpoint, I feel great. But I think with rhythm especially, with where these guys are at right now in their season, they’re flowing right now, so I just want to come in with an easy transition.”
Rajon Rondo went through a full-court, five-on-five drill Saturday as part of the final progression in his rehabilitation from a mild calf strain. The Lakers did not have an official practice, but Rondo worked with a combination of teammates and assistant coaches.
Although there is hope that he will play Sunday when the Lakers face the Toronto Raptors, it will depend on how his body reacts to Saturday’s workout.
Rondo has missed the first eight games of the Lakers’ season with the injury. Rondo had an MRI two weeks ago that confirmed the Lakers’ suspicions that he had suffered a mild calf strain.
In Rondo’s absence, the Lakers have been using a combination of guards to run their offense. LeBron James functions as the point guard in their starting lineup, playing alongside guards Danny Green and Avery Bradley, center JaVale McGee and power forward Anthony Davis.
UCLA’s offensive weaknesses were laid out in small black type for all to see after the Bruins staggered their way to a season-opening 69-65 victory over Long Beach State on Wednesday.
Their sloppiness was disclosed in their 14 turnovers. Freshman point guard Tyger Campbell had four, which was forgivable considering he played a team-high 37 minutes in his college debut. But sophomore guard David Singleton had three turnovers in 13 minutes after committing just 12 turnovers in 559 minutes all of last season.
The Bruins’ lack of ball movement was evident by three starters combining for just one assist. Sophomore guard Jules Bernard finished with no assists and played only 10 minutes after reverting to some of his bad habits from last season, when he drove into defenders and threw up wild, contested shots.
Their lack of perimeter shooters was exposed in their making just five of 19 three-pointers, a less-than-passable 26.3%. Redshirt senior guard Prince Ali made one that gave the Bruins a late five-point cushion, but only after having missed his first four attempts from long range. Five other players combined to miss all six of their three-pointers.
“I think we’ve got a lot of guys nervous when it comes to shooting the ball, but that’s to be expected,” coach Mick Cronin said afterward, noting that his entire roster is stepping into larger roles with the departures of Kris Wilkes, Jaylen Hands and Moses Brown. “It’s just going to take us time to find a rhythm, offensively, as we get young guys comfortable.”
TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE
All times Pacific
Toronto at Lakers, 6:30 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, 710 ESPN
Edmonton at Ducks, 6 p.m., PRIME
UC Santa Barbara at UCLA (basketball), 4 p.m., Pac-12 Network, AM 570
BORN ON THIS DATE
1934: Baseball player Norm Cash (d. 1986)
1955: Baseball player Jack Clark
1962: Basketball player Cathy Boswell
1963: Long jumper Mike Powell
1970: Gymnast Trent Dimas
1972: Former Ram Isaac Bruce
1972: Former Dodger Shawn Green
1980: Football player Donte Stallworth
1984: Basketball player Kendrick Perkins
DIED ON THIS DATE
1985: Hockey player Pelle Lindbergh, 26
1992: Baseball/basketball player and actor Chuck Connors, 71
Shawn Green hits four home runs in one game. Watch it here.
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