USC managed to have a record-setting day yesterday against Arizona. Receiver Marqise Lee hauled in 16 receptions for 345 yards and a pair of touchdowns, good enough to break school and Pac-12 records. Matt Barkley threw for almost 500 yards. And, yet, the Trojans lost to the Wildcats 39-36.
Seeing as there’s an explanation for just about everything, not entirely. There are some things that immediately stick out looking at the preseason No. 1 team now sitting at 6-2 and in the middle of an unexpectedly scrappy battle for a Pac-12 South championship. Depth has been and will be a concern for USC because of NCAA sanctions. Matt Barkley has three games this season where he’s thrown multiple interceptions. If all else fails, blame Lane Kiffin, right?
But there’s one stat that continues to haunt the Trojans with Halloween quickly approaching: USC is dead last in the country in penalties per game with 82 total for 677 yards. That’s just over 10 penalties a game for 85 yards a game. Against Arizona, USC had 13 for 117 yards, though it should be pointed out that the Wildcats had 14 of their own for 129 yards. In USC’s loss to Stanford earlier this season, the Trojans had seven penalties for 73 yards (Stanford had eight penalties for 68 yards).
Yeah, ugly. That’s not something you expect from a team with that much talent and that much experience in key areas. Blame Kiffin for play calling all you want, but a lack of discipline like that is definitely on his shoulders. In games decided by more than one touchdown, USC is 6-0. In games decided by a touchdown or less — you guessed it, 0-2.
Mistakes are magnified in close games, so it’s no wonder that the Trojans have dropped a pair when they needed to play more fundamentally sound even though their opponents have played mistake-prone football as well. If USC was able to cut those penalties in half, perhaps the Trojans would still be undefeated and in the BCS championship discussion.
Interestingly enough, USC’s next game is against Oregon, a team that also ranks among the worst in penalties per game. But giving the Ducks any sort of help has already proven lethal to eight opponents this season.
‘No timetable’ for Wisconsin LB T.J. Edwards’ return from foot injury
Wisconsin will need all hands on deck if they hope to contain LSU’s Leonard Fournette in the 2016 opener at Lambeau field. Unfortunately for the Badgers, a key hand may be unavailable.
A report emerged late last week that T.J. Edwards would be sidelined indefinitely because of a foot injury. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote that “Edwards was seen wearing a walking boot this week and a source confirmed the redshirt sophomore is out” for the foreseeable future.
During the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, head coach Paul Chryst somewhat addressed the linebacker’s status.
Paul Chryst said in local media session that there isn’t a timetable for ILB T.J. Edwards’ return from an injured foot. #Badgers
Leidner was one of the Gophers’ player representatives at the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, and decided he’d share a post-operation picture of his surgically-repaired foot. Again, if your squeamish, look away.
Here’s what Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner endured this offseason. It’s amazing he’s healthy. This photo is likely NSFW. pic.twitter.com/3HmVyb9f0x
As if the photo doesn’t paint this picture, head coach Tracy Claeys acknowledged that the starter was worse off health-wise than the football program let on last year.
“We hid his injuries pretty good a year ago,” Claeys said according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He was banged up pretty good. The foot injury he had was tough and really limited him.”
Now, though, Leidner proclaims himself, “[p]hysically, I’m in the best shape of my life, by far.” The fifth-year senior, projected by some to be a first-round quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL draft, added that he feels “like I’m throwing the ball better than I ever have before.”
VIDEO: Body cam footage shows Iowa football player’s encounter with police
The story of an Iowa football player, Pokemon Go and Iowa City police now has some visuals to go along with the oral narrative.
Over the weekend, officers in that police department were searching for a suspect in a bank robbery. Hawkeyes defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (pictured, No. 56) just happened to be in a park in that area and seemingly matched the description of the suspect — black man in black clothing wearing something on his head — prompting the officers to approach the lineman. When Ekakitie failed to respond to the officers’ commands, because he was wearing headphones, weapons were drawn.
Because of the national attention the incident has received, the ICPD on Tuesday released two body cam videos that shows exactly how the encounter between their officers and Ekakitie went down.
“I think it’s critical we get the information out so people can actually see the events as they actually occurred in real time,” says ICPD Sgt. Scott Gaarde in regards to releasing the videos.
In his social media missive, Ekakitie thanked the police officers involved for how they handled the situation.
“I would like to thank the Iowa City Police department for handling a situation very professionally,” the lineman wrote. “I would also urge people to be more aware of their surroundings because clearly I wasn’t.
“Lastly, I would urge us all to unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our minds and our society. I am convinced that in the same way that we learned these prejudices, we can also unlearn them.”
Arrest on UCLA campus led to USC CB’s suspension for opener vs. Alabama
The Los Angeles Times reported that USC cornerback Isaiah Langley was arrested back in May at a frat party at rival UCLA on three misdemeanor charges — suspicion of trespassing, intoxication and resisting arrest. USC head coach Clay Helton subsequently confirmed that Langley will be suspended for the opener against Alabama because of the incident.
From the Times on the events surrounding the arrest:
Langley was attending a fraternity party at UCLA when he was arrested, according to Greenstein. She said Langley gave responding officers the wrong age and resisted arrest.
“When he was asked to leave, he refused,” Greenstein said. “Police were called and he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing.”
As a true freshman last season, Langley appeared in 11 games as a backup corner. He was credited with 12 tackles in limited action.
On his official bio, the school wrote that “Langley will battle for key playing time at cornerback as a sophomore in 2016.”