Trojans go with Morgan as starter at tailback

first_imgThrough fall camp, the tailback competition was so close that USC coach Lane Kiffin refused to disclose the starter prior to the team’s season opener against Minnesota.On USC’s first offensive possession, the starting tailback was wearing uniform number No. 30, even though the Trojans did not have an offensive player with that jersey on their official roster.The starter was not a last-minute addition to the squad; rather, redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan decided to switch his number from No. 34 the day before the game.“I know it threw off a lot of fans,” Morgan said. “I wanted 30 all along. That was my high school number.”Morgan, who learned that he would be the starter less than 24 hours before kick-off, rushed for 70 yards on 18 attempts.“I did not feel that I had secured the starting job, even though I came out first,” Morgan said. “I wanted to establish myself so that I would get more carriers the rest of the game.”Junior Curtis McNeal had 33 yards on six carries, with a long of 27 yards. Sophomore Dillon Baxter did not run the ball, but had a reception for three yards.“The running game was just OK, but it did come to life when we needed it,” Kiffin said. “Then again, we have four guys playing offensive line at a position they have never played before in college football, so it could have been worse.”—After each of USC’s first two touchdowns, the Trojans tried to complete two-point conversions. Both attempts, the first a run by redshirt senior fullback Rhett Ellison and the second a pass by junior quarterback Matt Barkley, were stopped by the Golden Gophers. The Trojans finally utilized freshman place kicker Andre Heidari after Robert Woods scored USC’s third touchdown of the game.The two failed two-point conversion very well could have been the difference in the game. On Minnesota’s final drive late in the fourth quarter, the Trojans led by two points, meaning the Golden Gophers only needed a field goal to take the lead. Should the Trojans have successful attempted point-after attempts following the first two touchdowns, USC would have led by four points, and forced Minnesota to score a touchdown to overtake the lead.“I do not worry about things I cannot control,” Kiffin said. “At this point you cannot go back and change your decision.”Redshirt sophomore cornerback Torin Harris’ interception on Minnesota’s last possession made questioning the decisions of whether to attempt two-point conversions a moot point.—Kiffin did not mince words when asked whether the Trojans could beat Utah on Sept. 10 if they played like they did against Minnesota.“No,” he said.Utah is 1-0 after defeating Montana State on Sept.1. Under the guidance of former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow, junior quarterback Jordan Wynn completed 15-of-23 attempts for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the win, and junior running back John White recorded 150 rushing yards with two touchdowns.last_img read more

Knight named USTFCCCA National Performer of the Week

first_img Published on October 16, 2017 at 6:29 pm Contact KJ: | @KJEdelman Syracuse senior cross country runner Justyn Knight, who placed first on Friday at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, was named United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Performer of the Week on Monday.Knight is currently coming off a season where he placed third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and placed ninth at the IAAF World Championships, both in the 5000-meters. Knight’s participation on Friday was in doubt after his track season was extended until Mid-August.“(When he runs), he will run to win,” Fox said, ” If he lines up at Wisconsin, it’s because he believes he will win.”Knight raced his first meet of the season behind other All-Americans Colin Bennie and Philo Germano. Nearing the end of the race, Knight zoomed past Stanford’s Grant Fisher to finish the race at a time of 23:28.5. The Syracuse men placed third at the meet.Going back to last season, Knight has won three-straight meets and six of the last seven. This is the second time he has won the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, becoming one of only two runners to win the event multiple times.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThis is the fourth time Knight has been named national athlete of the week during his tenure at Syracuse, with his most recent title occurring last track season. He also earned the honor after winning the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational last year.Knight will next race at the John Reif Memorial in Ithaca on October 20th. That meet will mark the final race of the team’s season before ACC Championships. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more