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USC in unfamiliar position as week begins

first_imgAs a result of its 38-34 home loss to now No. 20 Arizona State on Saturday night, the USC football team dropped out of the AP Top 25 Poll.Buck off · Redshirt junior tailback Javorius “Buck” Allen nearly sealed a win on Saturday night with a 53-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Allen finished the game with 229 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. – Mariya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanThe Trojans (3-2, 2-1 Pac-12) have made a habit of falling to the Sun Devils (4-1, 2-1); last season, a devastating 62-41 defeat led to the firing of former head coach Lane Kiffin.For the second time this season, USC will have to regroup after a tough-to-swallow loss, and they will have to do so quickly as they head back to the feared state of Arizona to take on No. 10 Arizona (5-0, 2-0).The Wildcats made a historic leap in the polls this week after upsetting then No. 2 Oregon last Thursday, becoming the first team to make the jump from being unranked to the Top 10 since 1989.Even though the Wildcats have a better record and ranking than the Trojans on paper, USC is still a three-point favorite to win on the road.Though the Trojans will get back to work on Howard Jones Field on Tuesday, head coach Steve Sarkisian addressed some of the things that went wrong against the Sun Devils and after watching the game film, he continued to express his dismay.“Quite honestly, it doesn’t get any better,” Sarkisian said. “We missed a lot of opportunities. It’s easy to see the drops. Cody [Kessler] would like to have [some passes] back.”Hail Mary AnsweredIn the days following the game, many questions surrounded the last play formation and play call by the coaching staff with seven seconds remaining, which eventually resulted in the 46-yard, game-winning Hail Mary.Sarkisian revealed that the coaching staff had called one defense initially, but switched the play call during a delay. Despite the confusion when changing formations, the coaching staff confirmed that USC players still adjusted into their correct positions.Sarkisian also said that sophomore safety Leon McQuay III was tasked as the “jumper” to bat down the ball on the Hail Mary, but ended up running into senior linebacker Hayes Pullard and no play on the ball was made.As much as the Trojan faithful wants to blame the loss on the last play of the game, the 73-yard catch and run touchdown by ASU’s Cameron Smith that made it 34-32 USC with 2:43 remaining cannot be forgotten.This big play immediately followed a 53-yard rushing touchdown by redshirt junior tailback Javorius “Buck” Allen that sent a majority of USC fans, who believed the game was no longer in doubt, to the exits.“The biggest thing we need to learn from this is that the game is never over until there are zeros on the clock,” Sarkisian said.Punting Kessler A lot of criticism was also geared towards Sarkisian in regard to his special teams strategy.Redshirt junior quarterback Cody Kessler, who is not designated on the team’s punting depth chart, “pooch punted” the majority (four of six times) of the team’s fourth-down calls.It remains unknown whether or not Kessler had practiced punting in practice, but he did punt in high school.“He did a good job,” Sarkisian said.The reason for Kessler’s increased role at punter was at least partially due to the absence of starting sophomore long snapper Zach Smith, who suffered a concussion against Oregon State and was not cleared to play in time for the game.Sarkisian and the Trojans will try to learn from their mistakes as they gear up to take on an Arizona team with a lot of momentum in a crucial Pac-12 tilt.USC’s showdown against the Wildcats will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and be nationally televised on ESPN 2.last_img read more

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Women’s soccer: Badgers head to South Carolina for second round of NCAA tournament

first_imgAfter a dominant 5-0 blowout victory over Toledo last Friday evening, the University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team has moved onto the second round of the NCAA tournament and will be matching up against #1 seed South Carolina on Friday night.That game featured Grace Douglas’s first two goals of her season, as well as goals by Lauren Rice, Jordan McNeese, and Allie Winterfield. This was by far the Badgers most dominant performance of the season and one that has to have Wisconsin feeling good about their upset chances against South Carolina.Women’s soccer: Badgers dominate Hawkeyes in final road challengeThe University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team took down the University of Iowa 3-0 Saturday evening in what was the Read…They have now won 4 out of their past 5 games, with all of those victories being shutouts. The defense has been there all season for the Badgers, but only recently has the offense began to rise up. South Carolina is currently 16-2-1 on the season, including 8-0-1 at home, which is where this game will be played.Their only losses this year are against Wake Forest and Arkansas, which occurred in their first game of the SEC tournament. They are coming off a 3-0 victory over Alabama State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last week. They are led in scoring by Savannah McCaskill and Elexa Bahr with 7 and 8 goals, respectively.They have been impressive on both ends of the field this season and had no problem at all with SEC competition. They went 9-0-1 against the SEC and have pitched shutouts in 14 of their 19 games. This will be a tough challenge for the Badgers, who have had some struggles offensively this year.Women’s soccer: Northwestern hands Wisconsin surprising 2-0 lossThe University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team (10-4-2, 4-3-2 Big Ten) was unable to put up any points Sunday against Read…They will likely need to play a strong defensive game and keep South Carolina from scoring if they want a decent chance at the upset. Goaltender Caitlyn Clem has been a huge presence for the Badgers all year long and this would be the perfect chance for her to come up big for Wisconsin in their biggest game of the season.This 2nd round game will happen on Friday evening at 5 p.m. in Columbia, South Carolina in a game that will decide each team’ postseason fate. It will be available to watch on the SEC Network. Tune in to watch the Badgers attempt to upset top-ranked South Carolina in a must-win match-up.last_img read more

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