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USC rallies past Utah for Pac-12 road win

first_imgSALT LAKE CITY — USC’s Thursday night game at Utah began inauspiciously for the visiting Trojans, who were making their first visit to Salt Lake City in 95 years. But they weathered the early onslaught, prevailing for a 38-28 victory.“At the end of the day, as you go through your season, your team builds itself,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “Those things [adverse situations] are good. You don’t like them at the time, but if you can rally from them as we did and come back, it’s good.”Late push · Junior cornerback Nickell Robey intercepts a pass from quarterback Jon Hays for a 38-yard touchdown return. The Trojans led by 17 points before surrendering a final touchdown in the waning minutes. – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanOn the second play of the game with quarterback Matt Barkley in the shotgun formation, senior center Khaled Holmes bounced a snap. Though Barkley successfully fielded the football on the hop, Utah defensive end Trevor Reilly exploded into the backfield and wrestled the ball away from the senior signal caller, returning it eight yards for a touchdown.Just moments later, on the fifth offensive play of the game, Barkley and Holmes muffed another snap exchange, this time under center, and Utah recovered the football. Two plays later, Utah quarterback Jon Hays completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenneth Scott on a fade route over junior cornerback Torin Harris’ outstretched arms.Just 2:45 into the first quarter, the stunned Trojans trailed 14-0.“It was kind of a low point,” said Barkley. “It’s not how we wanted to start the game — to give the other team 14 points.”Undeterred, USC mounted the furious comeback it couldn’t three weeks ago at Stanford, outscoring Utah 24-7 over the rest of the first half to seize a 24-21 lead at halftime.“We did a lot better job as a staff today handling negative plays than we did last time on the road,” Kiffin said.Sophomore tight end Randall Telfer’s spectacular one-handed 23-yard touchdown reception highlighted the offensive breakthrough, leaving a raucous Utah sell-out crowd momentarily silent and bringing the Trojans to just a four-point deficit, 21-17.“It was a great job of pushing it out of the way and realizing there was nothing  we could do about it,” Barkley said.On Utah’s subsequent possession, junior cornerback Nickell Robey forced a fumble that junior defensive end Morgan Breslin recovered at the Utes’ 34-yard line. Though the receiver was initially ruled down before the fumble, the call was overturned after an officials review.The Trojans took advantage of the Utes’ costly mistake, completing their drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Robert Woods — the final score of the half — for the second of Barkley’s three touchdown passes. On the evening, Barkley completed 23 of 30 passes for 303 yards.“Going into the game, my two stats are to not turn the ball over and completions,” Barkley said. “Those were both evident today. I was happy with the completions, though I do feel like I could have put better placement on some of those balls. But overall, on the year, it was a good way to come back.”Utah and USC played to a stalemate in the third quarter, but the Trojans began the fourth threatening at the Utes’ 32-yard line. USC couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, however, as sophomore tight end Xavier Grimble dropped a surefire 27-yard touchdown pass in the end zone and sophomore kicker Andre Heidari missed his second field goal opportunity of the night, pushing the 44-yard chance right of the uprights.The Trojans eventually broke through after a defensive three-and-out, with Barkley launching an 83-yard touchdown strike — the longest of his career — to sophomore wide receiver Marqise Lee, giving USC a 31-21 cushion. Lee finished with 192 receiving yards, nearly surpassing his season-high of 197 yards he posted in the season opener against Hawai’i.“That’s something that goes through my head constantly,” said Lee when asked about his penchant for making big plays. “Even within the first two seconds of the game, I want to do anything positive to help my team — making big plays, making bog blocks or taking one-yard catches. That’s what I’m going to do.”On Utah’s subsequent offensive possession, Robey clinched the victory with his first interception of the season, returning it 38 yards for a touchdown.“It actually felt good to get some balls thrown my way,” said Robey. “Coach said just be patient, it’s going to be a long game, and then we just started feeling out the quarterback. They started running the same thing over and over again. I just felt it and got a pick-six.”USC returns to action on Oct. 13 against No. 23 Washington for a 4 p.m. matchup at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Quick Hits— Freshman defensive tackle Leonard Williams earned his first career start for USC, supplanting redshirt freshman Antwaun Woods in the lineup.— After undergoing minor knee surgery, sophomore running back D.J. Morgan ran for 46 yards on nine attempts for a 5.1 average per carry. His return to the lineup was critical, as senior running back Curtis McNeal appeared to suffer a head injury in the first quarter and never returned to the game.— In other injury news, sophomore wide receiver George Farmer returned after missing consecutive games against Stanford and California. Farmer failed to record a reception. — Sophomore defensive end J.R. Tavai continues to be sidelined with an undisclosed injury and did not dress for the game.— In a relatively sloppy contest, the two teams combined for 222 penalty yards on 27 penalties.— USC tied the school record for consecutive games without being shut out at 186 (also occurred from 1967-83).— With his six receptions, Woods moved into second place on the USC career receptions list.last_img read more

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The real OG: How music and family made Olaijah Griffin the person and player he is

first_img“He’s a dude that can dance a lot, that’s for sure,” sophomore safety Talanoa Hufanga said. “He just brings a great attitude of energy — a sense of charisma. Everybody wants to be around him all the time.” Football and music have been two of Griffin’s greatest loves in his life. To this day, he enjoys getting in the recording studio at his family’s house, playing around with his dad’s equipment and having fun on the drum machine. “You’ve got to have a good rhythm to have good technique as well,” Griffin told the Daily Trojan.  “And so once those two kick in, it’s just like a beat just going in my head that just matches with my feet. And that’s why I think I have great feet. And my rhythm is just on point.” Griffin’s expressive nature has endeared him to his Trojan teammates, who know him as “OG.” He recalls watching former Browns running back Jim Brown on TV and mimicking his plays on the field. He was just 4 years old. It’s hard not to think of music when watching Olaijah Griffin play football.  “Music to me is just something that’s always in my head,” Griffin said. “That’s why people see me dancing on the sideline, because just being around music, just getting the rhythm, hearing beats, it’s just something that makes me move, and that’s something I love as well. The world wouldn’t even be the same without music.” Griffin speaks about all of his teammates, especially the defensive backs, as though they are family. But there was a time that he seemed unlikely to become as ingrained in the USC culture as he is now. After initially committing to UCLA, the five-star recruit didn’t choose the Trojans until National Signing Day. There’s a rhythmic energy to the sophomore cornerback’s footwork and his ability to react to the receiver he’s covering, similar to the improvisational ability of some of the greatest jazz musicians. There are the leaping deflections he makes to keep receivers from getting their hands on the ball. There’s a grace with which he covers ground and jumps high in the air, arms outstretched. On the field, he’s the skilled ballroom dancer on a dance floor.  In OG’s case, however, the son of the star has already made a name for himself. “He’s [got] attention to detail,” Pendergast said. “He wants to be the best that he can be at his position. And, you know, he’s a guy that loves challenges, and that’s one of the things I liked about him as a player.” Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said Griffin has learned to channel his energy in a way that helps the team. Fans may have noticed Griffin frequently dances during games, whether it be on the sideline, during timeouts or waiting for kickoffs. That’s just part of who he is; he has a deep appreciation for how music and rhythm affect life — and it’s hard for him to contain. But his family, including his father, also helped Griffin discover his true passion on the gridiron. That desire traces back to early childhood, when he first fell in love with football. From a young age, Griffin always knew he wanted to go to the NFL. Griffin’s moves are a hot topic of discussion among his teammates. Redshirt sophomore safety Isaiah Pola-Mao joked that he thinks Griffin sits in his room for hours on end dancing in the mirror to see what he thinks looks cool. He’s certainly progressing along that path. Despite being a sophomore, Griffin has established himself as the team’s top cornerback. Granted, just about every corner on the team’s roster is a sophomore or younger, but Griffin has set himself apart with his growth from his freshman season. Pendergast noted Griffin’s jump in performance and chalked it up to improved focus. Sophomore cornerback Olaijah Griffin fought through injuries to both shoulders to become one of USC’s best defensive players this year. (Photo: Sarah Ko, Design: Kitty Huang / Daily Trojan) Griffin’s passion doesn’t always manifest itself in productive or entertaining ways, though. Too many times this season he has let his competitiveness get the best of him, picking up bad unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for late and unnecessary hits. That’s something he needs to iron out, but it’s also part of the OG experience — for now. He wouldn’t be the same player if he wasn’t ruled by his need to succeed. Griffin is proud of his family name and his role in representing it. He said his 4-year-old brother Royal loves watching him play and that he wants to be a role model for him. Griffin could hardly contain his smile when he said he hopes Royal turns out like him. “Just seeing him playing and getting the chance to see him play in front of my eyes, it was just a great experience,” Griffin said. “But now I know it’s my time to finally take over his place.” However, it hasn’t always been easy for Griffin. After undergoing surgery on both of his shoulders over the offseason, Griffin struggled with back spasms that kept him out of the Washington and Arizona games. At times, he said, the recovery process was disheartening. “That’s a dream that I’m trying to fulfill, and I’m getting closer to that accomplishment, and that’s something I’m proud of as of right now,” he said. “But I just need to keep going.” “He’s jokes. Funniest guy ever,” Jackson said. “He’s just full of energy, always dancing, always hyping other people up. Being around OG — he makes sure you’re naturally happy.” It was Griffin’s given family that ultimately played the biggest role in determining his chosen family. When he switched schools, he picked USC so that his family could still come see him play every game, and he doesn’t take their support for granted. Freshman defensive lineman Drake Jackson, in particular, connected with Griffin upon arriving at USC. Jackson said he was drawn to both Griffin’s musicality and his comedic nature. “At first, I didn’t think I was going to be the same because I was out for so long,” Griffin said. “I never had football not [be] in my life for that long, and just to be back and doing more than what I was doing before, it’s just a great feeling.”  The connections are no accident, Griffin admits. As the son of rapper, songwriter and producer Warren G, music has undoubtedly influenced and, in his opinion, assisted his game.  “One day, my [older] brother went to practice, and I was too young to play, but I was practicing with him,” he said. “And once it was my time, I put on the cleats and I shocked everybody on the field.” Griffin said a big reason for his development was his relationship with former USC cornerback Iman Marshall, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft. The two Long Beach products had known each other for years before Griffin arrived on campus, and their relationship only grew when they became teammates. “It means everything to me, because even while I’m playing, I could hear my family’s voice cheering me on or telling me something that I need to know,” he said. “Music to me is just something that’s always in my head. That’s why people see me dancing on the sideline, because just being around music, just getting the rhythm, hearing beats, it’s just something that makes me move, and that’s something I love as well. The world wouldn’t even be the same without music.”Olaijah Griffin Increased attention comes with the territory of having a famous father, but it’s not too often that celebrities’ family members make waves in their own right.  Griffin’s background has played a prominent role in his sports career. He has a self-assured nature that comes naturally from seeing high-profile celebrities visit his home from an early age. The lights of the Coliseum don’t seem too bright in contrast. Take a look at the rest of our collaboration with The Daily Bruin:last_img read more

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BossMoves Meek Mill Named CoOwner Of Lids

first_img Business , Hip Hop , Lids , meek mill , Ownership , rap , Robert Williams Many hip-hop artists like Jay-Z, T.I., Killer Mike, and the late Nipsey Hussle have advocated for the importance of ownership amongst the Black community and Williams has stepped up to make corporate ownership a reality for himself. The 32-year-old says it was Jay-Z who inspired him to go beyond music, learn the ins and outs of business and start investing. With the help of Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, he was able to move forward with being at the helm of the sports apparel brand.In his new role, he will oversee the creative direction of Lids and launch a limited edition line of hats through the company. “I’m trying to get ownership in a lot of things,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I’ve been shopping at Lids my whole life, wearing hats, fitteds, of course, fitted hats and caps, all types of hats. In our culture, it’s been a big thing. So, it was something I ain’t have to think twice about and always believed in, that it’ll work.” He also added that under his leadership he would like to intertwine the brand with hip-hop culture.The leadership team is excited to have the “Dreams and Nightmares” rapper on board. “The Lids design team is thrilled to collaborate with Meek Mill,” Lids Chief Executive Officer Tom Ripley told ABC 13 in a statement. “He is a true original artist with an incredible sense of fashion.”Williams is carving out his influence and impact beyond hip-hop. In April, he joined forces with lawmakers to propose a probation and parole reform bill. US-VOTE-2020-DEMOCRATS-DEBATE Twitter Crowns Kamala Harris Winner Of The Second Democratic Debate SEE ALSO: Meek Mill And Lawmakers Propose Probation Reform BillRacist Las Vegas Hotel That Threatened Meek Mill Suddenly Realizes It Was Wrongcenter_img Exclusive: @MeekMill on becoming the co-owner of sports apparel retailer Lids, and how Jay-Z changed his perspective on business https://t.co/mFM6xxH0Yh— Business Insider (@businessinsider) June 26, 2019 Philadelphia-bred rapper and social activist Meek Mill has bossed up in a major way. According to Business Insider Meek—whose real name is Robert Williams—is now co-owner of the athletic apparel brand Lids. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisMore2Share to EmailEmailEmaillast_img read more