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Does last season’s fate await USC? (Point)

first_imgIt looks familiar, doesn’t it? Last season USC, then 5-2 overall, hosted No. 1 Oregon on Halloween weekend. ESPN’s College GameDay visited the Coliseum for the nationally televised primetime matchup.In flight · When ESPN’s College GameDay visited USC last season, running back LaMichael James (above) and Oregon beat the Trojans at the Coliseum 53-32, handing the Trojans their third loss of the year. – Daily Trojan file photoSimilarly this season, USC (6-1) hosts another Pac-12 juggernaut in No. 4 Stanford. The Cardinal is also undefeated, as ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning college football pregame show descends upon Los Angeles.The circumstances are certainly familiar for these Trojans. But will it be different this time? Will USC give us a treat and play as it has in the last two games or will it only trick us into thinking things have really changed this time around?For many, USC’s resounding 31-17 victory over Notre Dame last Saturday in South Bend, Ind., signified a turning point in its season. Many dubbed the game USC coach Lane Kiffin’s signature win. Others believed the Trojans played their most complete game on both sides of the ball.With the win, USC thrust itself into the national spotlight, jumping to No. 20 in the Associated Press top-25 poll. Despite the ranking, fans should be warned: It’s déjà vu all over again.Yes, USC’s defense looked better against the Irish. It won the turnover battle three-to-zero and allowed just 226 passing yards and 41 rushing yards. But Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees isn’t typically mentioned in the same breath as Stanford signal caller Andrew Luck. Tailbacks Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray aren’t exactly Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor or Tyler Gaffney.The Trojan defense has certainly had its moments, but it hasn’t been consistent. A 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter should have been safe, but it wasn’t. Junior safety Jawanza Starling’s fumble recovery was a 14-point swing. Had Notre Dame scored, the Irish would have had all the momentum and it’s a coin flip the rest of the way.The Trojan defense has had its moments, but at times, it’s almost as if it’s 2010 again. A great offensive team like Stanford will capitalize on these weaknesses. Its offensive line has allowed just two sacks all season, which ranks first in the nation. Luck will have plenty of time to find his receivers and tight ends should USC not be able to pressure him. The Cardinal won’t turn the ball over in the red zone, it won’t make any unforced errors and it will score when given the opportunity.The USC offense also seems to be hitting its stride, but its toughest test will be against Stanford. USC coach Lane Kiffin has raved about physical front sevens from Utah and Notre Dame, but Stanford’s rushing defense ranks second in the nation behind Alabama. Its scoring defense ranks fourth in the nation and 18th in total defense.Another thing: Stanford has been nothing short of dominant this season and the second half of last season as it defeated its last 10 opponents by at least 25 points.The Trojans have made improvements on both sides of the ball, but still have room to grow. Sure, the last two games have been encouraging and even nice for a change. Beating up on Notre Dame — something that has been almost expected now — is one thing, but hanging with a top-five team in the nation is completely different. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves: USC football has certainly turned the corner, but it just doesn’t have that killer instinct or aura about it that all great teams possess. And this weekend’s matchup against Stanford will prove the true measuring stick.Click here for a different viewpoint.last_img read more

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Russia 2018 Tickets on Sale to Nigerian Fans from Thursday

first_imgFans can now beat many countries in securing World Cup tickets. At the moment, only seven other countries apart from hosts, Russia have secured tickets to the lead FIFA event.The qualified teams are Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia.But while many countries are still battling for tickets, individual fans worldwide can obtain theirs from 10:00 Nigerian time tomorrow. According to a media release by FIFA, the tickets will be exclusively on sale on FIFA.com/tickets.“We have put in place a ticketing system that will enable all fans a fair chance to secure tickets. Throughout history, fans have made a key contribution to the fascination of the FIFA World Cup.“Russia promises to be a unique continuation of this history, with outstanding organisation and a great atmosphere in the stadiums,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.According to the release, World Cup tickets will be available during the sales phases. There will be the first sales phase which is divided into two stages.During the first period of sales phase 1, which starts this Thursday and run through to October 12, fans will be able to submit their ticket applications.During this sales period, it will make no difference whether they submit their applications on Day 1, the last day or any time in between, as all applications will have the same chance of being successful.In cases where the number of tickets applied for exceeds the available inventory, tickets will be allocated by a random selection draw process.All successful, partially successful and unsuccessful applicants will be duly notified of the outcome of their applications by November 16.From November 16 to 28, tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The second phase of tickets sales will begin after the Final Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on December 1.Like the first phase, it will also have two stages. This will comprise a random selection draw period from December 5 to 31 January 2018 and a further first-come, first-served period from 13 March to 3 April 2018.Tickets purchased during sales phases 1 and 2 will be delivered free of charge to fans in the weeks leading up to the tournament, with deliveries planned to start in April/May 2018. This is however subject to change.There is also a window for last minute sales which will be implemented on a first-come, first-served basis from 18 April to 15 July 2018, the day of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.FIFA also explained the types of tickets that will be available. In the first phase of tickets’ sales, individual match tickets for a specific matches, will be available for all matches from the opening game through to the final.Also, there will be venue-specific ticket series and ticket strips for a specific stadium. These strips include the group matches (except the opening match), the round-of-16 match and the play-off for third place played at the specific venue of choice.For instance, the venue-specific ticket series for Luzhniki Stadium includes three group matches and one round-of-16 match. It does not include the opening match, semi-final or final.There will also be team-specific ticket series. These are ticket strips for fans to follow the national team of their choice. Team-specific ticket series are available as packages that include three to seven matches and can only be requested during sales phase 1.There is a fourth ticket sale category which is in line with the ticketing policy implemented at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. Residents of the host country will exclusively benefit from this special price category.The mode of payments for the tickets in the first two phases will be by Visa card which is the Official Payment Services Partner of FIFA.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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GPL Preview: Hearts defender Isaac Oduro ruled out for 10 weeks with broken fibula

first_imgAccra Hearts of Oak physiotherapist Okyere Baffour Agyei has confirmed that defender Isaac Oduro has been ruled out for 10 weeks.The defender fractured his fibula in the fourth minute of the club’s MTN FA CUP match with Samartex on Saturday.Oduro was playing his second match of the season, and was on his first full start, after he had recovered from an ankle injury.However, the defender could not last the opening minutes of the game as he unluckily succumbed to another injury blow.“Isaac Oduro from our match with Samartex had an injury in the early stages of the game and we quickly rushed him to the Samreboi Hospital,” Baffour told facebook.com/accraheartsofoak.“We took an X-ray from there the Doctor realized there was a fracture to the fibula – the distal one-third – so they gave him medication and took him to the theatre to put his leg in a cast. At the moment, we are going to see an orthopaedic specialist and then we will carry on from there. “We know for a normal bone fracture injury, it takes six weeks to come out of the cast and also depending on how the healing goes, the rehabilitation too will take a number of weeks; so normally, and at best, by the 10th week, if everything goes according then he should return to training – so that is what we are looking at, at the moment.”The Hearts physiotherapist has also advised Isaac Oduro on a number of things he would have to do to help his recovery rate.Baffour said: “I have been speaking with him and he tells me how he moves or sleeps so I have advised him with his posture in the house, even using the clutches, how he lies down, how he sits down and how he should position the leg in sleeping, sitting, and even walking. I have advised him on his diets also because that will also influence the rate of healing.”  –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more