NCAA

SJSU looking for historic win vs. Navy

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SJSU looking for historic win vs. Navy

The SJSU football team is experiencing one if its best starts to a season in recent history. This weekend, the team will travel to Annapolis, Md. and with a win over Navy, will dabble into the schools all-time record books.The program has never won a game on the East Coast neither has it ever won four games in the month of September. A win Saturday will accomplish both feats for the program that has seen a great amount of improvement this season.Many of our kids have never been to the East Coast in their lives, said head coach Mike MacIntyre, so it will be a great experience all the way around but the most important experience will be going out there and giving all we have to win the football game.The Spartans are a motivated and inspired team coming off a 38-34 win on the road over favored San Diego State this past Saturday. In order for SJSU to grasp its second road win of the season, the defense will need to do a better job stopping the oppositions run game something it did not do well at all against San Diego State.RELATED: SJSU kick returner wins WAC special teams award
Against the Aztecs, the Spartan run defense allowed 271 yards on 55 attempts. This weekend, it will face a triple-option Navy offense coming off a very productive and efficient game in the teams 41-3 over Virginia Military Institute. The Midshipmen run game, which ranks 10th in the nation with 265.7 yards per game, racked up 403 yards on the ground against VMI.MacIntyre knows his run defense will need to step up this Saturday.This week, well have to do our responsibilities and have to make the open field tackles, he said adding, We just need to tackle better, but the running backs have a say in that as well.The triple-option features senior running back Gee Gee Green, sophomore fullback Noah Copeland and junior quarterback Trey Miller, in ranking order of the teams top rushing leaders. Still, the offense cant be predicted to run through either of those three. Eight other offensive players have contributed to 292 yards rushing through the triple-option offense.You cant follow the football, thats what they want you to do with all the deception, MacIntyre said.They have a lot of different schemes. Certain blocking schemes happen and certain guards pull and certain backs are going certain places and when they come to block you have to either fit inside or outside and you have to realize that quick.MacIntyre said forcing the Navy run game to turn the ball over will be crucial to both stopping the Midshipmen offense and winning the game.They kind of methodically go down the field we have to be able to cause turnovers, he said. Thats how youre able to stop an option team. They put the ball on the ground and youre able to hop on it.MacIntyre also said that Navys passing game, which is ranked 118th in the nation, cannot be counted out to contribute to moving the ball against the Spartan defense.They are a better passing team than they were in previous years, he said. I know theyll try and establish the run and do that, but I do know theyll try to exploit us in the passing game as well.We have to fit the run and react to the pass. The offensive line does a good job in selling the run and then all of a sudden its a pass. We have to be aware or else someone is going to pop right up.The team will spend an hour on Friday touring some of the local historical sights in Washington D.C., something MacIntyre said is important for his players to do. He added the tourism wont distract the team at all, in fact he think it could do the opposite.It will make us more focused on being proud of being an American, really, he said. Proud to be able to play the game of football, to go to school and live in a free country. Afterwards, well get into our same routine and go from there.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.

From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

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From feeding homeless to doing the splits, Stanford's Phillips a rare find

Stanford has a penchant for recruiting the overachieving student-athlete. Even among those standards, Harrison Phillips is a rare find. The senior defensive tackle helps feed the homeless every Friday morning at a local shelter. He often visits the kids in the oncology ward at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. He was named to the Pac-12 All Academic First Team and will graduate in December with a double major and a minor. He is a team captain and heir apparent to Solomon Thomas, the 49ers third overall pick in this year’s NFL draft.

“One thing you love about Harrison is, every day he’s going to get something done,” head coach David Shaw told NBC Sports Bay Area. “On the field, off the field, in the community, he’s always got a million things going on. But nothing ever suffers.

"He does everything at a high level.”

At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Phillips is a mountain of a man. His skill set is different than that of Thomas, but he can be just as disruptive. He plays over the center. He plays over the guards. His self-proclaimed job is to eat as many blocks as possible to keep the linebackers free.

“He’s such that hard point for us. He’s that guy up front that’s getting knock back, that force in the run game that you gotta have,” defensive coordinator Lance Anderson explained. “You have to have that strong solid point in the middle of your defense, and he provides that.”

Phillips had a game-high 11 tackles, five of them solo, in the Cardinal’s loss to USC. No other defensive lineman on the field had more than three.

“He’s outstanding against the run. He’s a very good pass rusher,” Shaw added. “He’s got a lot of tools that can work inside.”

Phillips main instruments of domination are strength, knowledge of leverage and abnormal flexibility for a man of his size.

“He can do the splits on command,” Thomas said laughing from in front of his locker after a recent 49ers practice. “He loves showing it off. We get on him for it. But he loves doing it.

And, according to Thomas, his former Stanford teammate loves to bench. So it comes as no surprise that Phillips’ upper body strength stands out.

“He’ll be really low in a position that you think he’d get knocked over in,” Thomas explained. “Because of how flexible he is, it’s not a problem for him to get in that position and stay there and move on from there. It definitely shows up on his film.”

No doubt, Phillips says, that ability comes from his wrestling experience. His high school curriculum vitae includes, “Nebraska State Wrestling Champion, Heavy Weight Division, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years.”

Phillips first year on The Farm, he vividly remembers his Stanford coaches testing him. Just a mere 245 pounds at the time, they put him up against Joshua Garnett and Andrus Peat, two offensive linemen now in the NFL and each well over 300 pounds.

“They’d double team me, almost 700 pounds on you, and I would somehow find leverage and be able to sit on some of those double teams,” Phillips said. “I think the violence that wrestling brings, and balance and being comfortable in weird positions, wrestling has a ton of scrambling, as it's called, you just know your body and know what you can do. I have tremendous flexibility, and I use everything to my advantage.”

One thing Phillips is not allowed to do is use his explosiveness away from the football field. At one time, Phillips could do a back flip off the wall, but he no longer attempts it.

“I’m not a big fan of the back hand springs,” Shaw said. “I’d like for him to stay on his feet.”

Phillips doesn’t argue. He lost his entire sophomore year to a knee injury, and doesn’t want to risk another. He has NFL aspirations and put himself in position to graduate in three-and-a-half years should he choose to enter the 2018 draft. But just as he has done at Stanford, he is looking to be more than just a name on a jersey should he play on a professional level.

“I want to build something that is really lasting,” Phillips said of his life goal, “and put my name on something to touch people’s lives and change people’s lives, pay it forward as much as I can.”