Kessler, freshmen shine in season opener

first_imgThe Trojans ushered in the Steve Sarkisian era on Saturday afternoon following a chaotic week in Troy. USC’s 15th-ranked football team silenced all the whispers about senior cornerback Josh Shaw’s suspension and senior running back Anthony Brown’s departure by charging to a 52-13 victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs.Breakout performance · Freshman wide receiver-safety John “JuJu” Smith eclipsed 100 receiving yards in just the first half of the game against Fresno State. The Long Beach Poly product finished with 123 yards. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThe events of the past week proved to be no distraction to the Trojans on the field, who put up their highest yard total (701) since 2005 in Sarkisian’s first game as USC’s head coach. The Trojans achieved those 701 yards on 105 total plays, which broke the previous Pac-12 record.The Trojans looked a bit shaky out of the gates, as true freshman wide receiver JuJu Smith committed a holding penalty on the opening kickoff and redshirt junior quarterback Cody Kessler nearly threw a pick-six to Fresno State safety Derron Smith on the first play from scrimmage. But from then on, Kessler and Smith were two of USC’s most dynamic players.Kessler proved to have mastered Sarkisian’s new up-tempo offense, putting up a career-high 394 yards and tying career-highs with 37 attempts, 25 completions and four touchdown passes. The Bakersfield, California native got the Trojans’ scoring storm started with a one-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game.Though Kessler’s aerial abilities might have surprised some USC fans, Sarkisian insisted that Kessler has always had it in him.“The way [Kessler] throws and his athleticism in short areas is better than a lot of people,” Sarkisian said. “He has the ability to buy time and make plays down the field and throw an excellent ball.”Kessler looked in sync with all of his targets, old and new. He spread the ball out between nine different receivers, including true freshman tight end Bryce Dixon and true freshmen wide receivers Smith and Adoree’ Jackson.Sarkisian lauded the abilities of the group of freshmen.“I’m not surprised, quite honestly, that they were able to go in and play,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve challenged them every single day and thrown them in with the ones, whether it’s JuJu or Adoree’ or Bryce Dixon or the young O-linemen that were in there, all those guys stepped in and played well.”Freshman Ajene Harris was slated to start at wide receiver, but Smith started in his place, and it made a huge difference for the Trojans. Smith, who also wreaked havoc on the defensive side of the ball, eclipsed 100 receiving yards early in the second quarter. Smith achieved that mark on just his fourth reception of the game, a 43-yard catch-and-run, and finished the game with 123 yards.Junior wide receiver Nelson Agholor looked capable of filling former All-American wide receiver Marqise Lee’s shoes as the Trojans’ No. 1 wideout at times, but dropped a few easy catches as well. In addition to hauling in two touchdowns, Agholor had a circus catch that bounced off his helmet and into his hands in the second quarter.After a high-scoring first quarter for USC, the train came off the tracks a bit in the second. Sophomore running back Justin Davis lost a fumble on Fresno State’s 42-yard line, but Fresno State quarterback Brandon Connette returned the favor by throwing an interception to senior safety Gerald Bowman. The Trojans handed the ball right back over, though, when redshirt junior running back Javorius “Buck” Allen fumbled again.Like Bowman, junior defensive end Leonard Williams also hauled in the second interception of his career on Saturday.“It felt pretty, wild to be honest,” Williams said. “I got one freshman year and even that one felt like it was good luck or something. I never thought I’d get another one. It felt crazy, it just happened so fast.”While Kessler and the Trojan defense flexed their muscles Saturday evening, the Fresno State signal callers struggled all game.Fresno State entered the game with no clear frontrunner at quarterback. Head coach Tim DeRuyter started Brian Burrell, but after he went 3-for-6 with only 14 yards in a little over a quarter of action, DeRuyter replaced Burrell with Connette, who transferred this spring from Duke. The two alternated throughout the game and finished with a combined 150 yards.Though the Bulldogs struggled on offense in the first half, they came out strong to start off the second. The Trojan defense looked sluggish, letting up a bit after the offense had built up a 31-7 lead at the half.The Bulldogs marched down the field and running back Marteze Waller punched in his second of two rushing touchdowns on the day. After a failed extra point by Fresno State kicker Colin McGuire, the score sat at 31-13.The Trojan offense responded, though, reeling off two straight touchdowns after that to increase their lead to 45-13. Allen, the 2013 team MVP, busted through Fresno State’s defense for a nine-yard touchdown before Kessler connected with Dixon for the Oxnard, California native’s first receiving touchdown as a Trojan.Kessler and the crop of freshmen stole the show, but there’s much to be said about USC’s defense as well — the Trojans held the Bulldogs to 317 total yards of offense, most of which came in the second half.With such a big lead in the second half, Sarkisian allowed redshirt freshman quarterback Max Browne to get his first reps as a Trojan. Browne looked like a capable future leader, going 3-for-4 for 30 yards.Despite the record-setting performance and the impressive debuts of so many freshmen, Sarkisian immediately brought attention to the game on the horizon. The Trojans must now prepare to head north to Palo Alto, California to begin Pac-12 play against Stanford, who has been a thorn in USC’s side for years.“We’ll enjoy it for a moment,” Sarkisian said. “We gotta get back to work.”last_img read more

Trojans to play ASU in playoffs

first_imgAfter a dominant win over Arizona State University on Saturday, the USC women’s lacrosse team, ranked third in the Pac-12, will travel to Prentup Field in Boulder, Colo., to face off — for their second game in a row — against the Sun Devils in the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday. The Trojans hope to continue their success against the sixth-seeded Sun Devils with another commanding victory.Senior goalie Gussie Johns ended the 2018 regular season boasting a spectacular .492 save percentage. Ling Luo | Daily TrojanThis match will mark the third time this season that the Trojans have faced off against ASU. The Women of Troy are 2-0 against Arizona State so far this year, touting a combined score of 33-5 in those two games.The Sun Devils have had a rollercoaster of a season. Although it is in the middle of a five-game losing streak, Arizona State started the season well — by winning five of their first six games. Since then, they have cooled down. Arizona State has lost 10 of its last 11 games, ending their inaugural season with a 6-11 record.Since its inception, the USC women’s lacrosse team, led by head coach Lindsey Munday, has been dominant. Munday, who has been with the program since its beginning, is 78-37 all-time. In previous seasons, USC was a member of the MPSF in which it won the MPSF Tournament in both 2016 and 2017. Now in the Pac-12, the Trojans are ranked No. 20 in the IWLCA coaches poll for the 40th consecutive week and without a doubt have made a strong statement in their new conference.USC currently has three players on the Tewaaraton Award Watch List including All-American senior goalie Gussie Johns, senior All-Region defender Lydia Sutton, and sophomore midfielder Kerrigan Miller. The award annually honors the top lacrosse player in the United States.Johns, who leads the nation in ground balls with 76, and Sutton, who earned third-team All-American honors, lead the Trojans’ defense. The two have combined for three Pac-12 defensive player of the week awards this season.Miller, who put together a 3-goal, two-assist performance last week against the Sun Devils, leads the team in goals and points scored but also has contributed with 10 assists, 41 draw controls and 35 ground balls. Miller, who has been a huge part of the team’s success, picked up the honor of Pac-12 offensive player of the week earlier this season. She also leads the Pac-12 in both caused turnovers per game (2.6) and game-winning goals (4).Freshman midfielder Kelsey Huff, who matched Miller’s performance against Arizona State with 3 goals and two assists, now sits at 25 goals and five assists this season. Huff should play a large role in Thursday’s matchup. The Trojans will also rely on players like sophomore midfielder Kaeli Huff, who has racked up 27 goals — good for third on the team. Two of those goals came on Saturday against ASU.Graduate attacker Maeve McMahon will also look to improve upon her already impressive first year as a Trojan. She  has already piled up 15 goals and leads the team with 13 assists. Sophomore attacker Izzy McMahon, who is second on the team in goals scored (28), will need to put up a strong performance Thursday.A win over the Sun Devils would give the Trojans their fourth-straight 10-win season.Further, beating Arizona State Thursday would guarantee a berth in the semifinals and a third matchup this season against Stanford, the tournament’s No. 2 seed Stanford, which has put together a dominant season shown by their 13-4 record, defeated the Trojans twice this year. The Trojans have not lost to the Cardinal by more than 3 scores this season and lost to them by 1 in a heartbreaking overtime game on March 25. A rematch should be a nailbiter.last_img read more

Year of change sees Malta MGA bolster its enforcement capacity

first_img Soft2Bet continues new market drive with Irokobet launch August 26, 2020 Related Articles Share Share StumbleUpon TVBET passes GLI test for five live games in Malta and Italy August 25, 2020 Submit Publishing its 2018 annual report and financial statement, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) details that it has effectively implemented a number of key directives strengthening its regulatory oversight.During 2018, the regulator focused on strengthening its anti-money-laundering (AML) supervision under the guidance of a revamped ‘Gaming Act’ framework, which established stricter AML procedures alongside further provisions on player protection standards and responsibilities.Enforcing new Gaming Act responsibilities, the MGA details that it has placed a stronger emphasis on ‘effective enforcement’, which saw the regulator issue 16 ‘Notices of Reprimand and 73 Notices of Breach.During the course of 2018, the MGA would suspend four licences and cancel a further eight incumbents, with the Maltese authority issuing a total of 139 fines on operators.Closing 2018 accounts, the MGA details that it received a total of 209 license applications, of which 93 were processed, eight rejected, and with the remainder still under ongoing review.Further initiatives saw it launch a ‘Commercial Communications Committee’ helping its regulatory oversight review breaches of conducted and operator reviews.During the year, a total of 14 cases were evaluated, out of which seven decisions determined that there had been a breach of the regulations.Heathcliff Farrugia, Chief Executive of the MGA, said: “2018 was a remarkable year for the Authority, predominantly because of the coming into force of the new law on the 1 August 2018. The new framework strengthened the MGA’s supervisory role, specifically in the areas of compliance and enforcement, enabling it to focus efforts on areas which present a higher risk profile.” Kansspelautoriteit enters into MoU with Malta Gaming Authority August 28, 2020last_img read more