Trojans close season at UCLA

first_imgFollow Darian on Twitter @dariannourian24 No. 2 USC travels to Westwood on Thursday to take on crosstown rival UCLA, in what will be the team’s last regular season game of the year and a crucial Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matchup heading into the conference tournament.Too little · Senior utility man Mace Rapsey scored a team-high four goals against Stanford in USC’s 17-16 overtime loss to the Cardinal. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThe Trojans (23-3, 5-2 MPSF) will be matching up with the No. 3-ranked Bruins (26-2, 6-1 MPSF) for the third time this year. This game, however, is of utmost importance because of MPSF tournament seeding implications.The Trojans currently trail their rivals by one game in the MPSF standings and a win against the Bruins would allow them to clinch at least the No. 3 seed of the conference tournament. In order for the Trojans to achieve a higher seed, Pacific or Stanford would have to lose their final matches this weekend.The Trojans have gotten the best of the Bruins in four of their last five matchups, but each of those games has been extremely close.The last time the teams had a match decided by more than one goal was when USC defeated UCLA 7-4 in the 2011 national title game.In their last epic clash, USC defeated the Bruins when junior driver Kostas Genidounias netted a goal to allow the Trojans to prevail 12-11 in overtime. At the time, the Bruins were the top-ranked team in the country after beating USC 9-8 earlier in the season to snap the Trojans’ 41-game winning streak.“We’ve played them twice already this season,” redshirt junior driver Zach Lucas said. “We know what they have, we know what their strengths are so we are just going to have to focus on that.”With so many recent losses to USC, UCLA will be especially motivated to clinch the season series at their home pool.“They’re definitely going to be after us,” senior two-meter Jeremy Davie said. “It’s going to be their senior day at home and they’re going to be going all out, so we are just going to have to match their intensity.”Last week, the Trojans split a pair of matches at home, losing to No. 4 Stanford on the team’s senior day 17-16 in overtime before bouncing back to defeat the No. 8 Long Beach State 10-8. USC had previously defeated both squads at neutral sites earlier this season.The team’s loss to the Cardinal was a heartbreaker, as Stanford struck at the final buzzer to prevail over the Trojans. USC is determined to prevent any more last-second defensive breakdowns.“We have to focus a lot more, improve on our defense and helping each other out,” Lucas said.The Bruins played the Cardinal twice this season, defeating them 10-5 at the SoCal tournament but losing 8-6 in MPSF play.UCLA is led by junior Paul Reynolds, who leads the team with 40 goals on the year. They have five total players who have 30 or more goals. Redshirt freshman Garrett Danner has made 217 total saves in goal in his 25 starts.The showdown in the pool is set to start at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted nationally on ESPNU.last_img read more

Nunn Jr. among inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame inductees

first_imgEstablished in 2009 by pioneer quarterbacks Pro Bowl MVP James “Shack” Harris and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, the Hall of Fame is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The enshrinement ceremony will be held Feb. 20, in conjunction with Black History Month at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta. Bill Nunn Jr. The members of the inaugural class are:•Bill Nunn, Jr. (Pittsburgh Courier Journalist and NFL Scout)•Alonzo Gaither (Head Coach, Florida A&M University, 1945-1969)•Eddie Robinson (Head Coach, Grambling State University, 1941-1997)•Buck Buchanan (DE, Grambling State University, 1959-1963)•Willie Galimore (RB, Florida A&M University, 1953-1956)•David Jones (DE, S.C. State & Mississippi Valley State, 1958-1960)•Willie Lanier (LB, Morgan State University, 1963-1967)•Walter Payton (RB, Jackson State University, 1971-1974)•Jerry Rice (WR, Mississippi Valley State University, 1981-1984)•Ben Stevenson (RB, Tuskegee University, 1923-1930)•Paul Younger (RB/DB, Grambling State University, 1945-1948)A selection committee comprised of prominent journalists and football executives chose 35 finalists, from a field of more than 260 nominees, before naming the 11 inaugural inductees.About Contributor Inductee Bill NunnLegendary journalist and NFL scout Bill Nunn, Jr. entered the newspaper business as a sports writer for the Pittsburgh Courier, where he later rose to sports editor and managing editor. After elevating the Courier’s Black College All-American team to new heights, Nunn joined the Pittsburgh Steelers’ scouting staff part time in 1967 and then full time in 1969. A true innovator, he constructed a bridge between the Steelers and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Five Super Bowl rings later, Nunn is among the most legendary NFL scouts of all time.About the Coach InducteesCoach Alonzo “Jake” Gaither spent 24 years at Florida A&M University, from 1945 to 1969, amassing an overall record of 203-36-4. His teams won 18 conference championships and were Black College national champions six times. From 1953 to 1962, his teams went 87-7-1. Gaither’s “split line T” offense was adopted by several major college programs. He retired in 1969 with a .844 winning percentage, the best ever among all NCAA coaches. Gaither was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.Coach Eddie G. Robinson spent 56 years at Grambling State University, from 1941- 1997. He put together an overall record of 408-165-15 and sent more than 80 players to the NFL and AFL. Robinson led the Tigers to a streak of 27 consecutive winning seasons from 1960 to 1986, as well as 17 SWAC Championships and nine Black College National Championships, more than any other HBCU. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997 and received more awards than any other coach in history.About the Player InducteesJunious “Buck” Buchanan, as a defensive end for Grambling State University from 1959 to 1963, was an NAIA All-American and a three-time Black College All-America. Buchanan could bat down passes with either hand, play the run and rush the passer. The first of the prototypical defensive lineman, combing size, speed, and strength, he was the first Black college player taken as the No. 1 overall pick in an NFL Draft, when the Kansas City Chiefs selected him in 1963. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and the College Football Hall of in 1996.Willie “Gallopin’ Gal” Galimore, as a running back at Florida A&M University from 1953 to 1956, was all-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference choice four times and was named a Black College All-America by the Pittsburgh Courier three times. The Rattlers won four conference championships while Galimore was at FAMU and one Black College National Championship. He played for the Chicago Bears from 1957 to 1963, before passing away tragically at the age of 29 in an auto accident in Rensselaer, Indiana, on July 27, 1964. As FAMU’s all-time leading rusher, Galimore averaged 94 yards per game and was the Rattler’s first 1,000-yard runner (1,203 yards in 1954).David “Deacon” Jones played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. Yet had it not been for the chance observation of two Rams scouts viewing films of an opponent, he might never have had a chance to play pro football. When the scouts noted that the 6-4, 272-pound tackle was outrunning the backs they were scouting, they recommended Jones as a sleeper pick. He went on to unanimous all-league honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970 and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.Willie “Honey Bear” Lanier played linebacker and offensive guard at Morgan State University from 1963 to 1967. He earned first team All-America honors his junior year and led the Bears to bowl games in 1965 and 1966, winning both and holding opponents to 0 total yards offense in the 1965 game. His teams won three conference championships and at one point had a 32-game winning streak. Lanier went on to play in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, winning a Super Bowl and five times being named as an All-Pro middle linebacker. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.Walter “Sweetness” Payton, a running back at Jackson State University from 1971 to 1974, made every All-American team picked for college division or division 1-AA teams. In both years Payton was voted Black College Player of the Year. A tough back, who ran harder than his size (5’10, 200), Payton was a complete football player—one who could run the ball, block, tackle, pass, catch passes, and kick. It was in college that Payton picked up his nickname “Sweetness” because of the smooth way he ran. He moved on to a legendary career with the Chicago Bears, which included a Super Bowl Ring in 1985, nine Pro Bowls and two NFL Player of the Year Awards. Payton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.Jerry Rice, a wide receiver for Mississippi Valley State University from 1981 to 1984, is widely regarded as one of the greatest receivers in history. He was named first-team Division I-AA All-America and finished ninth in the 1984 Heisman voting. His 27 touchdown receptions that season set the NCAA mark for all divisions. Rice was named the 1984 SWAC Player of the Year. In addition to being named first-team Division I-AA All-American, the NEA and Football Writers’ Association of America both named Rice to their first-team Division I-A All-America squads. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 16th overall selection in the 1985 NFL Draft and became arguably the greatest player in NFL history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and is a 2010 finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Ben “Big Ben” Stevenson spent his first years at Tuskegee University as a prep-schooler, which allowed him to play eight seasons for the Golden Tigers, from 1923 to 1930. During that span, the team amazingly suffered only two defeats. Stevenson combined speed (9.8 100-yard dash), strength and durability. Scoring on a combination of long runs and drop kicks, he also played defensive back, earning a reputation as one of the top pass thieves in the conference. Stevenson was named to seven consecutive Black College All-America teams, numerous Negro all-time All-America teams and was voted the game’s greatest all-around player.Paul “Tank” Younger had a record-setting career at running back and linebacker at Grambling State University from 1945 to 1948. He was named to the 1948 Pittsburgh Courier All-America team and was the Tigers’ leader on offense and defense. Younger totaled 60 touchdowns during his career at Grambling, which at the time was a collegiate record. After his senior season, he was named Black college football’s Player of the Year. Younger went on to a very successful NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers, earning Pro Bowl status five times. He became the first Black player to play in an NFL All-Star game, and after his playing days, went on to become the league’s first Black assistant general manager in 1975.(The Black College Football Hall of Fame is sponsored by The Shack Harris & Doug Williams Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization. For more information visit www.BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org.)center_img (Atlanta, Ga.)—Legendary Pittsburgh Courier journalist and NFL scout Bill Nunn Jr., former NFL greats Walter Payton, Jerry Rice and Deacon Jones and coaching legend Eddie Robinson are among the inaugural induction class of the Black College Football Hall of Fame.last_img read more