Sports Report: USC faces the team that inspired them to greatness


Hello, I’m Houston Mitchell, your host. Let’s get straight to the news.

From Ryan Kartjaas: For Justin Dedich, the moment it became clear this season at USC would be special came seven weeks ago in the midst of its first and only loss at Salt Lake City.

USC’s 43-42 loss to Utah last month was just that. The senior was caught up in the incident as the Trojans were courting the visitors’ locker room at Rice-Eccles Stadium. In the final moments, the emotions of defeat were bare. The players sat in their lockers crying. But behind their puffy eyes, Dedic saw something he had never seen in his previous four seasons at USC.

Not sadness or indifference in defeat, but determination.

“It was a different mentality from this team,” Dedich said. “Some teams … they wouldn’t think about it, one loss. They will move on to the next one. But we were upset. It created a fire in us.”

USC coach Lincoln Riley felt the same way.

“If we manage it the way I think we can, we’ll have a real hit,” Lincoln Riley said that evening.

Seven weeks later, that shot has never felt more real to USC. Not only did the Trojans clinch their first Pac-12 title since 2017, they are one win away from their first invitation to the College Football Playoff semifinals. What stands in the way of Friday is the one team that lit a fire under them in the first place.

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Caption: Inside the Rose Bowl’s tough road to get the College Football Playoff expansion sanctioned

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Charger

From Jeff Miller: Las Vegas ranks ninth in the NFL in man-to-man pass coverage.

Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen was asked Thursday what that means to him.

“Fried chicken,” he said. “No doubt.”

Allen was then asked what “fried chicken” meant.

“I mean, they’re dead,” he smiled. “You’re going to see The Killer.”

“The Killer” is Allen’s nickname, and he hopes to earn it again with renewed emphasis in a crucial postseason game when the Chargers visit the Raiders in the AFC West on Sunday.

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NFL Readers Q&A: Will the Rams get a legitimate backup QB? What is Brandon Staley’s logic?

UCLA BASKETBALL

From Ben Bolch: A big early run and all the turnovers UCLA forced didn’t make for the easy night the Bruins were hoping for.

A sloppy second-half stretch helped turn the Maples Pavilion crowd, with the visitors making more noise and swinging back in favor of the home team.

When Stanford’s Brandon Angel hit a three-pointer with 41/2 minutes left Thursday night, UCLA’s previously 23-point lead had been cut to eight, and the tension inside the old building was palpable.

That’s when the Bruins turned to an old friend to tide them over.

Senior forward Jame Jaquez Jr. made a short jumper and dunked through several defenders as the No. 21 Bruins held off the Cardinals for an 80-66 victory in the Pac-12 Conference opener.

KINGS

From Helen Elliott: Kings general manager Rob Blake said he wasn’t trying to send a message when he relieved Cal Petersen and risked losing a goaltender who should be the cornerstone of the team’s future.

Even though Blake’s only motivation was to help a faltering Petersen find his game, and even though Petersen claimed waivers Thursday and was sent to the Kings’ farm team in Ontario for extra work, Blake was able to beat a defensively sloppy team. No more than the first third of this season.

The Kings stockpiled talent in the draft and acquired their leading scoring wing, Kevin Fiala, with the most talent they’ve had in years. Their strength, once a liability, has become an asset thanks to the creativity of new assistant coach Jim Hiller.

But their overall defensive effort was distinctly poor, hitting its lowest point in Tuesday’s 9-8 overtime loss to Seattle. The players spent Wednesday talking to each other, the coaches and Blake about Petersen. They welcomed back Jonathan Quick on Thursday morning from Pheonix Copley on Thursday night. Arizona has a comeback win over the Coyotes 5-3and welcome newly promoted forward Samuel Fagemo to the fourth line and defender Tobias Bjornfot to pair with Matt Roy.

Petersen refused and sent a message.

“We have to because we’re in this streak,” coach Todd McLellan said. We all do.”

DUCK

Jason Robertson had his third career hat trick and scored in all three quarters as the Dallas Stars extended their hitting streak to 17 games with a 5-0 win. Defeated the Ducks Thursday night.

Robertson became the first NHL player to score 20 goals with a shutout in the first period, and scored his 21st and 22nd goals in each of the next two periods. His other hat tricks came in back-to-back games last March, becoming the first Star player to do so.

World Cup

From Kevin Baxter in Qatar: The last time El Tri played in the first round of the World Cup, there was no one alive in Mexico’s team in Qatar. Even confederation president Yon de Luisa was only 8 years old when Mexico lost all three of their group games in Argentina in 1978 and came home early.

It was Mexico’s worst performance, because at least the 78’s could have scored. Mexico went 2.5 games without scoring in Qatar.

It’s clear that no one in Mexican football knows how to undo the damage of the last 18 months, as no one has been involved in cleaning up the latest mess. During that time, Mexico lost the Gold Cup and League of Nations, failed to qualify for the U20 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics, and two Liga MX teams lost to MLS’s Seattle Sounders in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Then came Qatar, whom even Mexican coach Tata Martino called a failure.

“I take full responsibility for this failure,” the coach said Thursday morning after Mexico’s desperate bid to reach the last 16 fell short.

He is a former Mexican coach. Martino’s contract was up at the time of Mexico’s World Cup, and the federation said at a press conference on Thursday that it would not ask him back.

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Thursday’s results

Group E
Japan 2, Spain 1
Germany 4, Costa Rica 2

Country, WDL, GD, Pts
y-Japan, 2-0-1, +1, 6
y-Spain, 1-1-1, +6, 4
x-Germany, 1-1-1, +1, 4
x-Costa Rica, 1-0-2, -8, 3

Group F
Croatia 0, Belgium 0
Morocco 2, Canada 1

Country, WDL, GD, Pts
y-Morocco, 2-1-0, +3, 7
y-Croatia, 1-1-1, +3, 5
x-Belgium, 1-0-2, -1, 4
x-Canada, 0-0-3, -5, 0

Today’s schedule
Pacific at all times

Group D
Serbia vs. Switzerland, 11:00, FS1, Universo, Peacock
Cameroon vs. Brazil, 11 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Togo

Country, WDL, GD, Pts
y-Brazil, 2-0-0, +3, 6
Switzerland, 1-0-1, 0, 3
Cameroon, 0-1-1, -1, 1
Serbia, 0-1-1, -2, 1

Group H
Ghana vs Argentina Uruguay, 7am, Fox, Teleworld, Togo
South Korea vs. Portugal, 7 a.m., FS1, Universo, Peacock

Country, WDL, GD, Pts
and-Portugal, 2-0-0, +3, 6
Ghana, 1-0-1, 0, 3
South Korea, 0-1-1, -1, 1
Uruguay, 0-1-1, -2, 1

x removed
made it to the last 16
Note: The top two in each group will qualify for the Round of 16.

Round 16 schedule

Saturday
USA vs Netherlands, 7am, Fox, Telemundo, Togos
Argentina vs. Australia, 11 a.m. Fox, Telemundo, Togos

Sunday
France vs. Poland, 7 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock
England vs. Senegal, 11 a.m., FS1, Telemundo, Peacock

Monday
Japan vs Croatia, 7am, Fox, Telemundo, Togos
1G vs. 2H, 11, Fox, Telemundo, Peacock

Tuesday
Morocco vs. Spain, 7 a.m., Fox, Telemundo, Peacock
1H vs. 2G, 11 a.m., Foxes, Telemundo, Peacocks

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Complete World Cup coverage

Qatar World Cup: Kick-off times and how to watch every match

Christian Pulisic is ‘doing everything he can’ to play for Netherlands against USA

UCLA football returns to the College Bowl in pursuit of its second straight NCAA title

SPORTS TODAY

1907 – Tommy Burns defends his world heavyweight title by defeating Gunner Moir in the 10th round in London.

1944 – Ohio State quarterback Leslie Horvath wins the Heisman Trophy.

1947 – Notre Dame quarterback Johnny Lujack wins the Heisman Trophy.

1952 – Oklahoma quarterback Billy Wessels wins the Heisman Trophy.

1958 – Army quarterback Pete Dawkins is named the Heisman Trophy winner.

1977 – Veterinarian Mark Gerard is accused of horse-tampering. Cinzano, a 4-year-old colt named LeBon, won the Sept. 23 race at Belmont Park at odds of 57-1.

1984 – Dan Marino throws his 37th touchdown to break the NFL single-season touchdown pass record.

1995 – Notre Dame advances to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship by becoming the first team to beat 13-time champion North Carolina in the national semifinals. Tar Heel forward Cindy Parlow accidentally put the ball into her own net for the only score.

2002 – Oakland’s Tim Brown and Jerry Rice take turns in the NFL record books in a 26-20 win over the New York Jets. Brown became the third player with 1,000 receptions and the third player with 14,000 receiving yards. Rich Gannon set an NFL record with his ninth 300-yard passing game of the season. After Brown’s 1,000th catch, Rice made a 26-yard field goal on the next play to give Oakland a 13-10 lead. It was Rice’s 192nd TD catch and his 14th 1,000-yard season.

2009 — The Dallas Mavericks start the season with their 18th straight loss as the New Jersey Nets suffer a 117-101 loss to the NBA. The Nets lost their first 17 games, surpassing the 1988-89 Miami Heat and the 1999 Clippers.

2018 – Florida State’s Dallas Dorothy scores in the 60th minute to help North Carolina beat North Carolina 1-0 for the NCAA Women’s College Cup. Florida State wins the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship for the second time. North Carolina, the 21-time NCAA champion, is out for the second time this season.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Top 50 Lakers played from 2011-20. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvements, or anything you’d like to see, please email me houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter @latimeshouston. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, click here.





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