ABC The USC football team has accepted an invitation to play in the 22nd Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl against No. 21-ranked Fresno State on Dec. 21. The game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. PT in Sam Boyd Stadium and will be shown live nationally on ABC-TV. The Trojans, who will be guided in the bowl by interim head coach Clay Helton, are 9-4 overall and tied for second place in the Pac-12 South Division. Head coach Tim DeRuyter’s Bulldogs are 11-1 overall and won the inaugural Mountain West championship game. “We are extremely excited to have been invited to participate in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl,” said Helton. “It is a tremendous honor and a great reward to our team and what they have been able to accomplish in the 2013 season. We look forward to our trip to Las Vegas and the challenge of competing against one of the better teams in the country in Fresno State.” This will be USC’s second time in the Las Vegas Bowl. Troy fell to Utah, 10-6, in the 2001 game. The Trojans are among the nation’s premier bowl teams, with an overall post-season record of 31-16 (not including 1 win and 1 loss vacated due to NCAA penalty). USC has lost just twice in its past 9 bowl games. Troy has appeared in 13 different bowls, including 33 times in the Rose Bowl. USC has one of the nation’s top defenses in 2013, as it is ranked in the Top 25 in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks, interceptions, red zone defense, third down conversion defense and fourth down conversion defense. Key Trojan defenders are defensive end Leonard Williams (a Bednarik Award semifinalist), outside linebacker (a Lott Trophy finalist), safety Dion Bailey (11 career interceptions), 2013 team tackle leader Hayes Pullard at linebacker and lockdown cornerback Josh Shaw. USC’s balanced offense is led by steady quarterback Cody Kessler, tailback Javorius Allen (12 rushing TDs and a quartet of 100-yard games in 2013) and dangerous wide receivers Marqise Lee (the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner) and Nelson Agholor. Fresno State, which also lost to Utah in its only Las Vegas Bowl appearance (17-16 in 1999), sports a 12-12 overall post-season mark. The Bulldogs have appeared in 20 different bowls. Fresno State, which won its first 10 games of 2013 before falling in the regular season finale at San Jose State, features one of game’s top offenses. The Bulldogs rank first in the nation in passing offense (409.8), are third in total offense (570.6) and are fifth in scoring offense (45.3) thanks to the performance of quarterback Derek Carr, the nation’s passing (405.5) and total offense (415.3) leader, and wide receiver Davante Adams, who is tops nationally in receptions (10.2) and receiving touchdowns (23) and second in receiving yards (137.1). Linebacker Karl Mickelson’s 88 tackles lead the defense, while safety Derron Smith has 6 picks this year. This will be only the third meeting between USC and Fresno State. The Bulldogs downed USC, 24-7, in the 1992 Freedom Bowl, then the Trojans beat the Bulldogs, 50-42, at home in 2005 (the victory was later vacated due to NCAA penalty). USC fans can go to USCTrojans.com/BowlCentral for ticket information for the Las Vegas Bowl. Current USC football season ticketholders will receive an email regarding Las Vegas Bowl tickets on Monday.
ABC <iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/5lc2kRdFNFI” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe> Quotes | Photo Gallery
ABC TESTFifth-year Washington head football coach Steve Sarkisian, who previously spent 7 years as an assistant at USC, including on the 2003 national championship squad and 2 seasons as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator, has been named USC’s head coach, Trojan athletic director Pat Haden announced today (Dec. 2). Sarkisian and Haden will meet with the media at 2 p.m. on Tuesday (Dec. 3) in the John McKay Center. “We are delighted to welcome Steve Sarkisian back to the Trojan Family,” said Haden. “We conducted a very exhaustive and thorough search, pinpointing about 20 candidates and interviewing five of them. We kept coming back to Sark. He is the only one who was offered the job. I believe in my gut that he is the right coach for USC at this time. “He embodies many of the qualities for which we looked. He is an innovative coach who recruits well and develops players. He is a proven and successful leader. He connects with people. He has energy and passion. He knows how to build a program and create a culture that we value. He is committed to academic success and rules compliance. And he understands the heritage and tradition of USC.” Said Sarkisian: “First, I’d like to thank the University of Washington and athletic director Scott Woodward for the opportunity they gave me five years ago. I believe the Husky program is in a better place now than when we arrived, and I am proud and thankful of the players for that. “That said, I am extremely excited to be coming home to USC and for the opportunity that USC presents to win championships. I can’t wait to get started.” Ed Orgeron, who served as USC’s interim head coach the past 8 games of the 2013 season, said he is leaving USC to pursue head coaching opportunities. “I am grateful to the University of Southern California for the great time I had here,” said Orgeron. “I’m especially grateful for the players on this year’s team, the coaching staff and the Trojan Family for the way they all fought through adversity and became one. I’m also thankful for all the Trojan players and family members who have become close personal friends during my 11 years at USC. I am especially proud of this year’s team and coaching staff, who had to start a new season and then bonded, played together as a family and competed like Trojans. I’ll forever be grateful to the University of Southern California. Fight On!” Said Haden: “Ed is one of the greatest Trojans ever and we thank him for all he has done for the program. He and I had a very open and frank discussion. He understandably was disappointed when I told him we were going in a different direction. We talked about the possibility of him remaining at USC, but Ed wants to be a head coach and I am supportive of that. I told him I will do whatever I can to help him in that pursuit.” This is the 39-year-old Sarkisian’s fifth stop at USC as a coach or athlete. He played baseball briefly at USC before transferring to BYU. He then served as a Trojan offensive assistant coach, came back after a brief absence as the quarterbacks coach, then after a year in the NFL returned and rose to the offensive coordinator role. At Washington, Sarkisian inherited a program in 2009 that had won just 12 games during the previous 5 seasons, including going winless the year before he took over. Despite that challenge, he guided the Huskies to bowl games the past 4 seasons (Alamo, Holiday, Las Vegas, plus a bowl to be determined in 2013). His 8 victories this year are the most at UW since 2000. During his time in Seattle, his teams posted 8 wins over AP Top 25 teams, including twice over the Trojans (No. 3 USC and No. 19 California in 2009, No. 18 USC, No. 18 Nebraska and No. 24 Oregon State in 2010, No. 7 Oregon State and No. 8 Stanford in 2012 and No. 19 Boise State in 2013). He won 4 of his 5 Apple Cup games against in-state rival Washington State. He produced a 1,000-yard rusher each year. His overall Washington record was 34-29. This year’s school record-setting Washington offense is in the national Top 20 in total offense, rushing offense, pass efficiency offense and scoring offense, while the defense is in the Pac-12′s Top 5 in every category. The 2013 Husky squad features standouts such as Doak Walker Award finalist tailback Bishop Sankey (No. 3 nationally in rushing), quarterback Keith Price (UW’s recordholder in career TD passes, passing efficiency and completion percentage), 2-time Mackey Award finalist tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and safety Sean Parker (11 career interceptions). Among the UW players Sarkisian has coached are 7 NFL draftees, including quarterback Jake Locker, cornerback Desmond Trufant, linebackers Donald Butler and All-American Mason Foster and defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, plus All-Pac-12 tailback Chris Polk. At USC, Sarkisian coached Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, along with NFL signalcallers Mark Sanchez, John David Booty and Matt Cassel. The Trojans went 23-3 when he was the offensive coordinator. Sarkisian originally joined the USC staff as an offensive assistant in January of 2001. Then, after going to San Diego State briefly as the quarterbacks coach in January of 2002, he returned to USC in March of 2002 to handle the quarterbacks fulltime for 2 seasons (2002-03). In 2002, Palmer won the Heisman and Unitas Award en route to setting the Pac-10 career records for passing yards and total offense (he was the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NFL draft), plus he was an All-American first teamer. In 2003, Leinart was an All-American first teamer and was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year (he finished sixth in the Heisman voting) while setting Pac-10 season records for TD passes (35) and consecutive passes without an interception (212). He also had the highest passing efficiency rating of any USC quarterback... read more »
ABC Javorius Allen rushed for 123 yards and a score for the Trojans, but No. 23 USC fell 35-14 to their crosstown rival No. 22 UCLA on Saturday night. This is the second straight season UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) has won the crosstown rivalry. USC (9-4, 6-3) had won five straight in their revitalized season under interim coach Ed Orgeron. Cody Kessler passed for 174 yards and hit Xavier Grimble with a TD pass for USC. But its defense couldn’t handle Brett Hundley, who rushed for 80 yards, passed for 208 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Bruins. Linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes also rushed for touchdowns as the Bruins earned their first win at the Coliseum since 1997, retaining the Victory Bell by grinding out just their third victory over USC in 15 years. Marqise Lee had six catches for 69 yards in what’s expected to be the final home game for the USC junior, who won the Biletnikoff Award last year before struggling with injuries all season long. Hundley and UCLA coach Jim Mora have never lost to the Trojans, and Jack had his latest big game in his first taste of the rivalry. After the freshman scored his seventh touchdown in four games, he also recovered Allen’s fumble deep in UCLA territory early in the fourth quarter. Anthony Barr then swatted the ball out of Kessler’s hand from behind with 6 minutes left, and Cassius Marsh fell on the fumble near midfield. After Hundley rushed 23 yards up the middle on another nimble draw, Paul Perkins scored the clinching TD from 8 yards out with 3:50 to play. Orgeron, the interim head coach, got the Trojans back into the national rankings, shocked No. 5 Stanford earlier this month and revitalized USC football. Athletic director Pat Haden has not announced when he’ll pick a full-time coach. The crosstown rivals had rarely been so evenly matched heading into their annual meeting. UCLA and USC hadn’t been next to each other in the AP rankings for the game since 1976, and both schools are headed to bowl games after solid seasons. Both teams wore their home jerseys at the Coliseum, sticking to tradition at the venerable arena they shared for decades. UCLA broke from that tradition two years ago and debuted an all-white uniform at the Coliseum, only to lose 50-0 in a game that got coach Rick Neuheisel fired. Two hours before the game, USC’s players and coaches gathered in a large circle at midfield in what’s become a tradition under Orgeron. The Coliseum crowd roared for USC’s seniors before the game – and then went crazy when former linebacker Willie McGinest led the rest of the Trojans onto the field after ripping off his sweatshirt to reveal his old No. 55 jersey and pulling on a helmet. UCLA made a 48-yard scoring drive late in the first quarter, with Hundley calling plays at the line of scrimmage and scrambling repeatedly to set up Jack’s 3-yard TD run. Jack scored 6 touchdowns on 35 carries in the Bruins’ previous three games when the freshman was pressed into offensive service by injuries to several UCLA tailbacks. UCLA added an 80-yard scoring drive early in the second quarter ending in a TD run by the 305-pound Vanderdoes, who committed to USC and Notre Dame before switching from the Irish to UCLA earlier this year. The Trojans finally replied with a sturdy drive and an 11-yard TD run by Allen, who has seized the top job at tailback from injured Silas Redd and Tre Madden. UCLA’s offense was stopped on fourth down at the USC 12 late in the first half, but the Bruins went up 21-7 early in the second half on an 11-yard TD draw by Hundley, who went in untouched. The Trojans responded with a 22-yard TD pass to Grimble, but the Bruins got another huge kick return from Ishmael Adams and scored less than three minutes later. Hundley took it in on a 5-yard run, beating USC’s Devon Kennard to the corner for his second TD. AP Recap | Games Stats | Photo Gallery | Post Game Press Conference
ABC No. 23 USC hosts No. 22 UCLA on Thanksgiving weekend in the 83rd renewal of the famous crosstown rivalry. Besides setting claim to year-long city bragging rights, both teams are angling for post-season bowl berths (also at stake are possession of the Victory Bell and points in the Crosstown Gauntlet standings). UCLA has won just twice in the last 14 matchups against USC and Troy’s last loss to the Bruins in the Coliseum was in 1997. A Trojan victory would give USC its second 10-win season in the past 3 years (and its 25th overall). Although it is the 22nd time that UCLA enters the game ranked higher than USC, the series outcome is even when both teams come in ranked. It’s only the third meeting that Troy sits only one slot below the Bruins in the polls (USC has won both of those). And it is just the ninth night game in the series (it also is USC’s ninth night outing of 2013). It’s also the final home appearance for USC’s seniors. The game, which is approaching a sellout, will be shown live nationally in primetime on ABC-TV. The matchup features players whose fathers and brothers once wore the opponent’s colors, as well as coaches and athletic department staff who worked at the “other” school. UCLA head coach Jim Mora’s parents even attended USC. Troy is riding a 5-game winning streak (including a dominating win at chilly Colorado on Saturday) and has captured 6 of its past 7 games, all under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, who has emerged as a semifinalist for National Coach of the Year. The re-energized Trojans feature a balanced offensive attack that is among the national leaders in red zone scoring and a staunch defense that shows up in just about every NCAA statistical category. QB Cody Kessler, who continues to impress with his steady play (he has hit 73% of his aerials in the past 4 games), has already entered the USC career passing chart. TB Javorius Allen (10 TDs in the last 4 games and a trio of 100-yard rushing performances in 2013) leads USC’s ground game, while WRs Nelson Agholor (he doubles as a return threat) and 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee serving as the primary pass targets. USC’s defense continues to be highly-ranked nationally in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks, interceptions, turnover margin, red zone defense and third down conversion defense. Prominent Trojan defenders include DE Leonard Williams (a Bednarik semifinalist who has 13 tackles for loss), OLB Devon Kennard (a Lott semifinalist with 8 sacks), S Dion Bailey (11 career interceptions), 2013 team tackle leader LB Hayes Pullard and lockdown CB Josh Shaw. The Trojan special teams have blocked 5 kicks this year, including 1 in each of the last 4 games (FB Soma Vainuku owns 3 knockdowns), and scored on 3 punt returns. UCLA dropped a close home game last weekend to Arizona State that eliminated the Bruins (and the Trojans, for that matter) from a chance to represent the South Division in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Bruin offense rides the talented arm and legs of QB Brett Hundley, among the nation’s best in passing efficiency. More than 2 dozen Bruins have caught passes this year, with WRs Shaquell Evans and Devin Fuller claiming 82 grabs and 12 scores between them. Besides Hundley, UCLA’s top runners are RBs Paul Perkins and Jordon James, who run behind a line anchored by 2012 All-Pac-12 first team OT-OG Xavier Su’a-Filo. True freshman sensation Myles Jack has starred on both sides of the ball as he starts at linebacker and has played often lately at running back. OLB Anthony Barr, another 2012 All-Pac-12 first teamer, is a semifinalist for the Lombardi, Bednarik, Butkus and Lott awards. Among his blue-and-gold defensive mates are ILBs Eric Kendricks and Jordan Zumwalt, plus CB Anthony Jefferson. As part of USC’s 125th anniversary of athletics celebration (dating to the first football game in 1888), men’s and women’s golf, tennis and sailing alumni will be honored on the field during the game. Complete Media Release (pdf)
ABC This game came down to talent, not temperature. “After a couple of plays, I warmed up,” sophomore Javorius Allen said after running for a career-best 145 yards and three touchdowns in No. 23 Southern California’s 47-29 win over Colorado in 29-degree weather. That’s tied for the second-coldest kickoff in the Trojans’ storied history. “I’m from Bakersfield, this doesn’t bother me,” said USC quarterback Cody Kessler, who followed Allen into the stands afterward to lead the band in the school’s fight song, “Conquest.” Allen’s from Tallahassee, Fla., and he had never seen snow before. He went to the piles that were plowed off to the side of the field and his frozen fingers quickly made him regret making his first snowball. He was eager to get inside and warm up after the game, but he was summoned into the stands to lead the band. “I was about to run in here, it was cold,” said Allen, who averaged 6.9 yards on his 21 carries. The Trojans (9-3, 6-2 Pac-12) improved to 8-0 all-time against the Buffaloes (4-7, 1-7). The only downer for the Trojans was getting left out in the cold in the Pac-12 race as No. 19 Arizona State held off UCLA 38-33 earlier Saturday to clinch the South division. The Buffaloes saw their slim bowl hopes come to an end in what might have been star receiver Paul Richardson’s final home game. He didn’t catch a pass until midway through the third quarter, and by that time, the Buffs trailed by 30. For much of the night, he was smothered by cornerback Josh Shaw on short underneath routes, unable to get open for even short gains while this was still a game up for grabs. Richardson broke free and finished with eight catches for 88 yards, including a 5-yard TD grab with 3:19 left that pulled Colorado to 40-29 after the 2-point conversion. That also gave Richardson the school single-season receptions record of 79, besting D.J. Hackett’s 2003 mark of 78. The Buffs couldn’t recover the onside kick, however, and fullback Soma Vainuku’s 52-yard TD run two plays later sealed it. Colorado lost for just the second time in 14 home games in sub-30 degree weather at kickoff. Sefo Liufau’s 38-yard TD toss to Nelson Spruce on the second play of the fourth quarter was Colorado’s first offensive score. The Trojans have played in a handful of 29-degree games. The only time they played in a colder game was on Nov. 30, 1957, when they lost 40-12 at Notre Dame in 20-degree weather, the last time they had to play in snow. This time, the snow that blanketed the Front Range earlier in the week was plowed off to the side. “It wasn’t like it was freezing cold and it was snowing the whole time,” Kessler said. “No, I don’t think it fazed us.” “I thought it was rather pleasant tonight compared to what we heard it was going to be like,” said interim head coach Ed Orgeron, who is 6-1 heading into next weekend’s showdown against archrival UCLA. The Trojans had no hangover from their statement win over then-No. 5 Stanford nor did they get caught peeking ahead to the Bruins. They dominated the Buffaloes on every front in building a 37-7 lead. Allen’s two first-half TD runs were sandwiched around Vainuku’s block of Darragh O’Neill’s punt that bounced out of the end zone for a safety. Dion Bailey’s interception of Liufau’s pass at midfield led to another USC score, this one when Kessler found Nelson Agholor from 20 yards for a touchdown that gave the Trojans a 23-0 halftime lead. While the Buffaloes gave their fans little to cheer about, senior Colorado cheerleader Ozell Williams wowed the crowd with a dizzying 57 handsprings between the first and second quarters before pulling up at the 5-yard line to gather himself. That’s by far the closest any Buffalo got to the end zone in the first half. Things changed quickly when Allen was stripped on USC’s first play of the third quarter and safety Jered Bell scooped up the fumble and returned it 31 yards for the score to make it 23-7. Allen quickly atoned with a 46-yard scamper that set up Randall Telfer’s 10-yard TD catch. Then he took it in untouched from 23 yards to make it 37-7. Colorado first-year coach Mike MacIntyre took solace in his team’s late push. “Last (home) game of the year, freezing cold, down, you keep fighting, you keep battling. They were excited. They were pumped up. It wasn’t it was a dead sideline,” he said. “That shows you a lot of internal fortitude. If they keep doing that and keep doing that and keep doing that, good things will eventually happen.” AP Recap | Game Stats | Photo Gallery Post Game Press Conference: Ed Orgeron | Buck Allen | Cody Kessler
ABC No. 23 USC, back in the national polls after a dramatic last-minute victory over No. 5 Stanford, now takes its final regular season road trip of 2013 when it visits Colorado. The revitalized Trojans, who have won their last 4 overall games and past 5 Pac-12 contests, are now 5-1 under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. USC and CU have played only 7 times in history (Troy has never lost to the Buffaloes). This is the latest date that any team from the Pacific Time Zone has visited Boulder, where it could be quite chilly this Saturday night. It is USC’s eighth night game of 2013. The Trojans possess a fairly balanced offense and one of the game’s best defenses. QB Cody Kessler has hit 75% of his passes over the past 3 games, with key targets being 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner WR Marqise Lee (owner of 24 USC records) and WR Nelson Agholor (also a dangerous returner). The run game features TBs Javorius Allen (7 TDs in the last 3 games), Tre Madden and Silas Redd. USC’s defense continues to be in the national Top 25 in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks, tackles for loss, interceptions, red zone defense and third down conversion defense. That Trojan defense (which played only 2 subs last week) features DEs Leonard Williams, Ss Dion Bailey and Su’a Cravens, OLB Devon Kennard, LB Hayes Pullard and CB Josh Shaw. Colorado, under new head coach Mike MacIntyre, also is coming off a big victory, as its home win over California last week snapped a 14-game Pac-12 losing streak. The Buffaloes feature one of the nation’s premier pass catchers in WR Paul Richardson. He owns school records for receptions and receiving yards in a game. True freshman QB Sefo Liufau took over the CU offense mid-season and has been effective. Colorado’s defense has struggled, as it ranks in the nation’s bottom 25 in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense. LB Addison Gillam, just a freshman, and S Parker Orms are among the national leaders in tackles, while CB Greg Henderson ranks high in deflections and interceptions. PK Will Oliver is 13th in the country in field goals. The game will be shown live nationally on Pac-12 Networks. Complete Media Release (pdf)