Stanford v USC

USC upsets Stanford on late field goal


Andre Heidari kicked a 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds left to lead USC to a 20-17 victory over No. 5 Stanford at the Coliseum on Saturday night.

With the win, the Trojans improved to 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12. The Cardinal dropped to 8-2 and 6-2.

It was an emotional effort by USC, which snapped a four-game losing streak to Stanford while winning for the fifth time in six games under interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

Trojan quarterback Cody Kessler passed for 288 yards and a touchdown on 25 of 37 passing to pace a USC offense that made the plays that it had to make to win. Case in point, a 13-yard completion to Marqise Lee on fourth and two on USC’s last drive that gave the Trojans a first down at the Stanford 35-yard line. Six plays later, Heidari was the hero.

The key to the game was USC’s ability to score early. By doing so, Stanford was unable to grind out the clock with its run game (as it did against Oregon last week). As it was, running back Tyler Gaffney still gained 158 yards on 28 carries, with two scores, but quarterback Kevin Hogan struggled to hit targets down the field, completing just 14 of 25 passes for 127 yards while throwing two interceptions, including a back-breaker to safety Dion Bailey at the USC 10-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

There was no major breakdown by either defense. Stanford allowed 311 total yards, while USC gave up 387. The time of possession was about even and the Trojans gained just 23 net yards on the ground. But USC’s spirited effort on defense stymied the Cardinal, whose three turnovers might’ve been the difference.

The win by USC tonight could have some long-term ramifications in the Pac-12 and nationally. By beating Stanford, Oregon has now taken control of the race for the Pac-12 North. Stanford now has no place in the national title discussion, while the Ducks have an outside chance at sneaking back into it.

Meanwhile, the temptation might exist for USC athletic director Pat Haden to tab Orgeron as his permanent head coach. But USC has the potential to get an elite coach who has proven himself over the long term. Will Haden be far-sighted enough to think of that long term rather than take the easy, emotional route? His decision could ultimately decide the course of the conference for the next five years.

For now, though, USC can enjoy a great win over a top five team. It just goes to show that despite the scholarship restrictions, the Trojans can field a roster that can compete with any team in the country. Lane Kiffin obscured that fact for a while — now it’s self evident.

Rutgers reinstates WR Leonte Carroo to football team

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 28:  Wide receiver Leonte Carroo #4 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights makes a touchdown catch on the first play of the game against the Washington State Cougars at CenturyLink Field on August 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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While the news of late has been littered with the exits of two SEC wide receivers, one team from the Big Ten is welcoming back a player who plays the same position.

In a press release, Rutgers confirmed that Leonte Carroo has been reinstated to the Scarlet Knights football program.  The release stated that head coach Kyle Flood, who is suspended himself, “reinstated Carroo after the student-athlete agreed to the conditions of his reinstatement and after he accepted the responsibility that comes with his return to the team.”

The reinstatement comes one day after a domestic violence charge against him was dropped after the alleged victim decided not to testify against he former boyfriend.  Carroo had been accused of slamming a woman with whom he had a previous relationship into the concrete outside of the RU football facility last month.

Carroo has missed the last two games (Penn State, Kansas) because of the suspension.  He will be eligible to return to practice today and play in Saturday’s game against 10th-ranked Michigan State.

Despite missing those two contests, Carroo is still tops on the team in receiving yards with 181 and tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns.  He’s also averaging nearly 26 yards per reception.

Carroo led the Scarlet Knights last season in receptions (55), receiving yards (1,086) and receiving touchdowns (10).

Pig Howard dismissed by Vols

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 5: Pig Howard #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers fumbles the ball through the end zone during overtime of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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It’s been a bad week for talented SEC wide receivers.

On the heels of Auburn giving the boot to D’haquille Williams following an alleged bar rampage, Tennessee announced Wednesday that Pig Howard has been dismissed from Butch Jones‘ football program.  Violations of unspecified team rules was the only explanation offered.

Howard had been suspended for the season opener for the same reason due to an unspecified incident several months before.  It’s unknown if the dismissal is related in any way to that suspension.

Injuries had allowed the senior to play in just two games this season, against Oklahoma and Western Carolina.  He had one reception for eight yards, with that coming in the overtime loss to the Sooners.

The past two seasons, Howard led the Vols in receiving with 54 and 44 receptions in 2014 and 2013, respectively.  He accounted for 1,006 receiving yards in that span, and has also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.