first_imgI’m certain that I was just one of the thousands of people who were fervently refreshing junior Juju Smith-Schuster’s social media accounts Saturday afternoon in search of an answer to the question:“One more year?”When the standout receiver tweeted that a decision on his senior season would be announced in “a couple hours” Saturday, it was 3:19 p.m. With eyes glued to my smartphone, I rapidly began updating my Twitter feed at 5:19 p.m. Everybody knows that “a couple” entails two hours, right? Nope, still nothing from the receiver concerning his decision. Then, at exactly 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, Smith-Schuster dropped the bombshell on Twitter: He will forgo his senior season and declare for the 2017 NFL Draft.Smith-Schuster’s announcement-tweet included a letter to the Trojan Family. In the letter, he said, “I have loved my time at USC and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Playing for USC was truly a dream come true, and I am proud of what we were able to accomplish in three years.” He also noted that USC will always be a huge part of him and that he sees the program is in a position to compete for a national championship. Looking back, there’s no question that Smith-Schuster will go down as one of the greatest Trojan wideouts in USC history. Statistically, Smith-Schuster ranks fourth all-time in career receptions by a USC receiver (213); he also ranks fifth all-time in Trojan history in receiving yards (3,032) and touchdowns (25).And within his bundle of impressive statistics, there are countless JuJu memories that will be replayed over and over in the minds of Trojan fans for years to come. We’ll never forget the time Smith-Schuster, in the open field, pointed out Utah defensive back Dominique Hatfield before viciously stiff-arming him to the Coliseum turf as USC upset the then-No. 3 ranked Utes. Or how about the time in 2015 when he reeled in eight catches for 138 yards and a touchdown against Arizona — all with a pretty-much-broken right hand. In 2016, Smith-Schuester had a pair of three-touchdown receiving performances against Arizona State (Oct. 1) and Arizona (Oct. 15).In last week’s Rose Bowl Game against No. 5 Penn State, Smith-Schuster made the play that sparked the Trojans’ 17-0 run over the final 8:15 of regulation to defeat the Nittany Lions. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold found Smith-Schuster streaking down the sideline for a 27-yard connection that put the Trojans at the Penn State 3-yard line before USC proceeded to punch in a crucial late-game score. The catch, which Smith-Schuster made with one arm, was initially ruled incomplete, but the call was overturned and the catch confirmed upon further review.If you asked me what play got USC back into that Rose Bowl, I would tell you that this catch in the fourth quarter by Smith-Schuster is what catapulted the Trojans back into the game.No doubt, Smith-Schuster’s receptions and clutch performances (seven catches, 133 yards and a touchdown in Pasadena last week) have landed him a permanent spot in Trojan football lore. But, now looking back pensively, I feel that one of Smith-Schuster’s most pivotal plays may have been one of the few times he didn’t catch the ball when targeted.No matter how you look at USC’s season, one cannot deny that Sam Darnold was the golden boy for the Trojans this year. Without the emergence of Darnold, there was simply no hope for the Trojans to even dream of a Rose Bowl berth.We’ve all heard the story a hundred times over now: USC gets off to an anemic start offensively this season; redshirt junior Max Browne out as quarterback; enter Darnold.Now let’s take a look at the timing of the quarterback switch and the role Smith-Schuster played in installing Darnold as the Trojans’ permanent signal caller.Browne was replaced by Darnold after the Trojans suffered a 27-10 loss to then-No. 7 Stanford in Week 3. On a third down play in the fourth quarter against the Cardinal, Browne targeted Smith-Schuster for what would be his final passing attempt as the Trojans’ starting quarterback.  A solid throw from Browne failed to connect with Smith-Schuster in the end-zone. The receiver was tied up with a Stanford defender in the process of trying to make the catch; he failed to reel in the ball with his one available arm and the pass fell incomplete.The ball hits the turf. It’s fourth down, and Browne trots off the field for the final time as USC’s starter. The failure to reel in that accurate dart to Smith-Schuster’s hands just may have saved the Trojans’ season.If Smith-Schuster somehow found a way to catch that pass, the whole course of the 2016 campaign would have been altered in an unknown manner.It would be hard to imagine the USC coaching staff making the switch that they did in Week 4 for Darnold had Browne connected with Smith-Schuster on that play, which would have been a 46-yard touchdown pass late in the Stanford game. If Smith-Schuster found a way to reel in the pass with one arm — as was nearly routine during his time as a Trojan — who knows how long Browne would have gone in the season as USC’s head signal-caller?In retrospect, most can agree that head coach Clay Helton’s switch to Darnold was the turning point of the Trojans’ season. Without the incompletion to Smith-Schuster in the late stages of the Stanford game, we may have seen more of Browne this season, and less of Darnold at quarterback.And as harsh as it may sound, the longer Browne stood in as USC quarterback, the lesser the likelihood was of the Trojans making a bowl game in 2016, let alone the Rose Bowl Game.No Darnold, no Rose Bowl: that’s a statement every USC follower should be able to agree with.As strange as it may sound, Smith-Schuster’s drop on a September night in Palo Alto may have been the birth pangs of the Sam Darnold era — and the commencement of USC’s Rose Bowl run.And with that, the Trojan Family collectively should be saying, “Thank you for everything, Juju, even the drops.” Whether it was making one-handed catches that left us scratching our heads, delivering bone-crushing hits, playing with crushed bones or even “JuJu-ing on that beat” on a Thursday night against Cal, you always left us wanting more.Angel Viscarra is a sophomore studying broadcast and digital journalism. His column, Viscarra’s Vice, runs on Tuesdays.last_img read more

first_imgOns developed its incidence: “I suggest not to begin enjoying the Australian Open, since we performed it this 12 months … We might begin from Indian Wells, the place everybody stopped. It could be the fairest factor for the opposite Grand Slams, for the rating factors and for every little thing, “she stated from her house, the place she entertains herself amongst different issues making movies with Tik Tok, the primary Arab tennis participant to attain the quarterfinals of a significant, who was coaching earlier than the event with the Spanish Alejandro García Cenzano.Jabeur believes that if the sport is performed once more ultimately, it is going to be, on the earliest, “in September”. “Let’s say we even began in July, what in regards to the different tournaments? What in regards to the different Grand Slams if we are able to play two or three a 12 months and simply skip the opposite? Is it truthful for the factors and for the opposite gamers? displays, earlier than acknowledging that “everybody has misplaced many issues.” In today of confinement, the place tennis gamers are very energetic in expressing their concepts about the way forward for tennis, Ons Jabeur has had one that’s not less than curious, in addition to fascinating, though it’s doubtless that it’s not as properly obtained because the one which Federer’s proposal had a few potential union between the ATP and the WTA. The 25-year-old and 39-year-old Tunisian from the world, who had a exceptional efficiency on the final Australian Open (reached the quarterfinals), thinks that “It’s not a good suggestion for the season to resume this 12 months.” “Let’s begin in March subsequent 12 months,” Jabeur stated on the vodcast. Tennis Legends, by Eurosport.last_img read more

first_img0Shares0000Italy’s forward Mario Balotelli (L) celebrates with Italy’s forward Lorenzo Insigne after scoring his team’s first goal during the friendly football match between Italy and Saudi Arabia at Kybunpark stadium in St Gallen on May 28, 2018. © AFP / Fabrice COFFRINIST. GALLEN, Switzerland, May 29 – Mario Balotelli got new Italy coach Roberto Mancini off to a winning start by scoring the opener in a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in a pre-World Cup friendly in Saint Gallen on Monday.Saudi Arabia face hosts Russia in the opening match of the tournament on June 14 while four-time champions Italy stay home following their failure to qualify for the first time in 60 years. Made the scapegoat for Italy’s first-round exit from the 2014 World Cup, Balotelli’s four-year Azzurri hiatus ended when he was recalled by Mancini, appointed six months after Italy’s shock failure to qualify for Russia following a playoff defeat to Sweden.It took the 27-year-old Nice striker just 21 minutes to get on the scoreboard with his first goal for Italy since netting the winner against England at the 2014 World Cup.Substitute Andrea Belotti added a second midway through the second half before Yahya Al-Shehri pulled one back for the Saudis following Italian defensive blunders.“I’m satisfied with the first half-performance. The difficulties of the second half were down to tiredness due to the extra fitness training we’ve been doing over the last few days,” said Mancini.“Saudi Arabia are approaching peak form because they are going to the World Cup. I wasn’t angry about the goal we conceded. I thought it was down to fatigue.”Mancini said Balotelli’s performance was “pretty good”.“Balotelli can do better, much better, but I thought he did pretty good in the first half. He scored a goal, which is important for a striker, but of course he can do more.”Italy have dropped to their lowest ever world ranking of 20th, but were in control against the 67th-ranked Saudis.Mancini opted for a 4-3-3 formation with Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal and Sassuolo winger Matteo Politano handed his full debut.Balotelli came out firing early with the Nice striker heading just wide off a Leonardo Bonucci cross.He finally found a way through with a low drive under the outstretched arms of Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais for his 14th goal in 34 appearances.Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne nearly added a second minutes later after picking up a pin perfect cross but defender Yasir Al Shahrani blocked.An Alessio Romagnoli bicycle kick flew just wide with Domenico Criscito rattling the the crossbar.– ‘Open wound’ –Both Mancini and Saudi coach Juan Antonio Pizzi made substitutions in the second half with Balotelli making way for Belotti after 58 minutes.Italy’s head coach Roberto Mancini (R) looks on next to Italy’s forward Andrea Belotti during the friendly football match between Italy and Saudi Arabia at Kybunpark stadium in St Gallen on May 28, 2018. © AFP / Fabrice COFFRINIAnd the 24-year-old Torino striker scored the second when he turned in a rebound ten minutes later.Al-Shehri pulled Saudi Arabia back into the game four minutes later taking advantage of defensive error by Davide Zappacosta.Leganes winger Al-Shehri picked up a Salem Al Dawsari flick and fired past the outrushing Donnarumma into an empty net.After Donnarumma denied Fahad Al Muwallad a late equaliser Italy held on for their first win since their 1-0 World Cup qualifier away to Albania on October 9, which was followed by two draws and two defeats.“In the second half we held our own against one of the best teams in the world,” said Saudi coach Pizzi. “Although they are not in the World Cup, they have a great coach, an unparalleled history.”Belotti added: “The failure to reach the World Cup is something that continues to hurt, it’s an open wound.“We must start again and build our self-confidence, which I think is what we saw tonight.”Italy play two more friendlies, against France on June 1 in Nice and the Netherlands on June 4 in Turin.The Saudis play two more warm-up games, against Peru on June 3 and Germany on June 8 before kicking off their World Cup campaign.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more