USC Survives North Dakota State

USC was tied with North Dakota State, 58-58, with a little more than six minutes left before pulling away with a 75-65 victory at the Galen Center. The Trojans were only up 4 with less than 4 minutes.

If you think North Dakota State is good, they lost to UC Santa Barbara, 85-66, Friday night. Bennie Boatwright had 28 points for USC.

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USC Is 18-2

USC Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold #14 ...

Clay Helton pointed out USC is 18-2 in the past 20 games. So why are so many (including myself) basically treating this stat in a matter-of-fact manner?

Is it the weekly frustration of watching USC play below its potential? Is it the fact Sam Darnold is responsible for so much of the success? Is it the fact expectations were so high this season? Is it the general sloppiness of play this season? What else?

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Strike Up The Band

Since Clay Helton says USC showed improvement over a year ago because it won a Pac-12 South, where is the rally to celebrate?

In 1931, USC snapped Notre Dame’s 26-game winning streak and won for the first time in South Bend. By the time the Trojans arrived back in Los Angeles by train, nearly a million people showed up for the victory parade according to newspaper accounts (above).

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Welcome To The Clown Conference

Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez #12 ...

USC is going to play Stanford, Washington or Washington State in the Pac-12 title game. For a second, forget that USC is involved and just look at the logistics:

One team will have a bye. The other team will be playing two games in six days. What other conference would do this? Can you imagine the SEC or Big Ten pulling this?

Is the entertainment value of this game going to be optimal in this scenario?

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USC Basketball Ranked No. 10

The Trojans are ranked 10th in the AP Top 25 poll. And football ranked No. 10 in the coaches’ poll. What a time . . . except for that FBI investigation and the fact football was supposed to be a top-four team.

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Sunday Night With Clay Helton

I asked Clay Helton about his handling of Jack Jones and whether something different needs to be done to control his emotions.

“Part of being a coach is developing players, physically and emotionally,” Helton said. “Jack is an emotional and passionate player. It’s my job to reel that in (when he loses composure).”

I asked Helton why lining up in a shotgun formation is a good idea on short-yardage situations.

“We’re comfortable right now in the shotgun. (The advantage is) the tailback lines up right behind the quarterback.”

Helton was asked about Pac-12 teams being 0-6 on Friday nights the past two years when they play a Saturday night road game the week before.

“Coaches really don’t have a say,” he said.

Helton on USC’s 18-2 record in its past 20 games: “Sam (Darnold) is the reason we’re here today.”

Helton said he wished he had a bye after the Washington State game but since USC made the Pac-12 title game is happy to have one next week.

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