Katie Chin | Daily TrojanLast Saturday, USC lost for the first time in 13 games, or 371 days. Now the Trojans are looking to rebound against conference foe Oregon State in their return to the Coliseum.After their shocking defeat last weekend, the Trojans plummeted from No. 5 to No. 14 in the AP rankings. Their national championship hopes are on hold, at least for the time being. Whether or not the Trojans can reassert themselves in the conversation will be based largely on the team’s health following a litany of injuries.In the second half against Washington State, USC was forced to play three back-ups on the offensive line. Junior tackle Toa Lobendahn was already out with a staph infection, junior tackle Chuma Edoga exited with a knee injury and senior guard Viane Talamaivao, who has the most career starts amongst the entire unit, tore his pectoral muscle. Talamaivao will miss the rest of the season giving USC two devastating losses on the same day.With an inexperienced crew at offensive line, sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold struggled for much of Saturday’s game. He started out hot, going 4-of-5 on pass attempts and rushing for a touchdown on USC’s first offensive drive, but afterwards he had difficulty finding ample time in the pocket. Darnold finished with just 164 yards on a 51.7 completion percentage, both career lows among his 14 career starts. His disappointing day culminated in a game-ending fumble with 1:27 left on the clock and the Trojans down by 3. Despite the rough outing, Helton sees USC’s first home game in two weeks as a potential bounce-back game for the Heisman hopeful.“I hope to see more consistent flow, I really do,” Helton said. “Just consistent drives, kind of like the first drive. I thought when that first drive hit, it felt like a great flow of run, pass, staying on pace, third- and- manageable and then efficiency in the red zone.”This week, USC should be more healthy at the skill positions, aside from freshman running back Stephen Carr, who is doubtful with a foot injury. Junior wide receiver Deontay Burnett played through a shoulder injury last week, but should be closer to 100 percent now especially with an extra day of rest this week. Meanwhile, junior running back Ronald Jones II returned from injury last week and burst open for a career-long 86-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.Combine those two with the likely return of senior wideout Steven Mitchell Jr., who missed two games due to a groin injury, and the emergence of freshman Tyler Vaughns — who notched 89 yards with two clutch catches in the fourth quarter — and it looks as though Darnold will have plenty of weapons at his disposal come Saturday. However, with starting tackles Edoga and Lobendahn listed as questionable, the real question will be whether or not he has enough time to get the ball to those athletes.“When you lose two linemen, it changes you a little bit,” Helton said. “I’ve been there as a playcaller before.”On the defensive side of the ball, Helton is happy with the team’s progress, despite giving up 340 passing yards to quarterback Luke Falk and the Washington State offense last week. Behind junior outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu — who defended eight passes — and the secondary’s collective ball hawking mentality, USC has shown to be adept at making the big plays, but inconsistent at getting off the field in key situations. The team proved this by holding Washington State to 8-of-18 on third downs. The unit is seventh in Pac-12 scoring defense, giving up 25.8 points per game, but simultaneously has forced the second-most interceptions (eight) and third-most sacks (16) in the conference.“We have put a lot of pressure on our DBs,” Helton said. “They’ve held up extremely well throughout the season. When you have an aggressive game-plan, you count on each man doing their job and for the most part everybody has been.”This weekend defense will be dealing with a much less prolific offense than Washington State’s. The Beavers’ best player, running back Ryan Nall, is doubtful with an ankle injury, while the passing game has been ineffective with quarterback Jake Luton under center.Overall, Oregon State is off to a difficult start to its 2017 campaign to say the least. In head coach Gary Andersen’s third year in Corvallis, the team is 1-4 with their only win coming against FCS squad Portland State by three points (and Portland State is currently winless).Despite their string of injuries and offensive woes, Oregon State played a tough game against No. 6 Washington last week. The Huskies led just 7-0 entering half-time, despite possessing the second highest scoring offense in the Pac-12, before eventually pulling away and winning 42-7.“I thought defensively, they did a really nice job in the first half,” Helton said. “The past couple of games, they’ve played a little bit more loaded box, cover-1, cover-3 coverages. I’ll tell you what, I thought they competed at home.”The last time USC lost to Oregon State was back in 2010 when the Beavers won 36-7 at home. In 2008, Oregon State beat No. 1 ranked USC in one of the more notable upsets in recent memory.
“Mr. Bility has asked me with respect and dignity to step aside for Mr. Sekou Konneh to go unopposed,” Ansu Dulleh. Barrack Young Controllers president Sekou Konneh will go unopposed for the vacant vice president for operation post during the 22nd extraordinary congress of the Liberia Football Association due to the withdrawal of Director of Competition, Ansu Dulleh.Dulleh yesterday announced his withdrawal with less than three days to the congress scheduled to be held at the PA’s Rib House in Lakpazee this weekend. The constituted LFA Elections Committee recently qualified the two candidates to contest for the vacant post.The vacant post was created due to the resignation of LFA’s former VPO Cassell Anthony Kuoh, who is currently behind bars in the United States.According to Dulleh, his withdrawal was done in the best interest of the development of the game. He said he expressed interest after he was told that no club president was contesting.“I was overwhelmed by the many calls from club presidents who continue to encourage me to contest for the post since no club president was vying for the post at the time,” he said.“I’ve always said that I will give the opportunity to any club president who wants to contest for the position.”Dulleh said he reconsidered his decision after a series of meetings with the LFA president and his supporting club presidents.Following talks with Konneh, Dulleh said he had no option but to withdraw to give him a chance to form part of the administration.“We all agree that Liberian football is facing difficult time and needs new ideas so we as club presidents need to take a decision for the betterment of a league and our teams.”Konneh earlier this week announced his ambition to contest for the vacant post highlighting the introduction of new ideas to contribute to the growth of football in the Liberia after his ambition was endorsed by some club presidents.“I am bringing new creative ideas involving stakeholders to see themselves as the FA by participating or contributing to key decisions that affect them. The clubs are the ones that are affected by good or bad decisions taken by the LFA and we must take the lead to bring about development in Liberian football,” he told a local daily.In another development, the LFA has disclosed that 39 clubs and affiliates have been qualified for the LFA bye-elections this weekend.According to a release, three teams from the ongoing LFA 3rd Division Playoffs will be admitted at the Congress and will be allowed to participate in the voting process.List of clubs and affiliates:Member ClubsMonrovia Club Breweries FCBYC IBYC IINimba United F CFC FassellLISCR FCGardnersville FCKeitrace FCJubilee FCInvincible ElevenMighty BarrolleLPRC Oilers FCELWA UnitedNPA Anchors FCSmall Town FCNimba FCTony FCJai FCNimba Kwado FCBea Mountain FCWatanga FC Professional SistersSenior ProfessionalEarth AngelsBlanco FCDetermine GirlsNaskid FCWorld GirlsIsland QueensAffiliatesLONABAASALVARSITYLIFICOABEACH SOCCERACADEMICALLIFFRAShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Women’s Football