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Tyler Vaughns represents the future for the USC offense

first_imgFreshman wide receiver Tyler Vaughns dives into the end zone in a game against Arizona State. Photo by Daniel Zhu | Daily TrojanAfter a full week of dealing with the fallout from Notre Dame, head coach Clay Helton was happy to hand out plenty of praise following USC’s bounce-back victory at Arizona State last week.“Maybe our best team effort all away across the board,” Helton said after the Trojans’ 48-17 blowout over the Sun Devils, in which they torched ASU for 607 yards on offense.As usual, USC relied heavily on the run, but the team opened up a big lead early thanks to a handful of big passing plays. The Trojans saw on film how aggressively the Sun Devil cornerbacks were pressing, and they employed a simple game plan through the air: Go deep.“The plan was to try to throw it over their heads and back them off,” Helton said. “Whether we hit them or not, we thought it was going to be important.”Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold executed the strategy to perfection, and redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyler Vaughns hauled in close to half of Darnold’s 266 passing yards and caught two of his three touchdown passes. It was a career night in every way for the wideout: Vaughns’ six catches tied a career high for the third straight week, and his 126 yards, two scores and 42-yard touchdown reception were all personal bests.The big night was a long time coming. After beginning the season sharing a spot on the depth chart with redshirt freshman Josh Imatorbhebhe and freshman Randall Grimes, Vaughns shot up the ranks as he quickly developed a rapport with Darnold. Vaughns has emerged as one of his quarterback’s favorite targets.“Tyler has been a big part to the passing game for a while now,” Darnold said. “I think the way he works and the fact that every single play [he assumes] the ball is coming to him is huge. That’s a really great mentality to have as a receiver.”Vaughns frankly had no reason to assume a throw was coming his way on his second touchdown reception. Reminiscent of Darnold’s snipe through triple coverage in last season’s Rose Bowl, Vaughns caught a laser beam late in the second half while sandwiched between three defenders and taking an illegal hit to the head to stretch USC’s lead to 25 points.Offensive coordinator Tee Martin described his disbelief in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.“It’s a pick, it’s a pick, it’s a pick,” he remembered muttering aloud during the play. “No, it’s a touchdown!”Vaughns had only found the end zone once in his college career before his two-score effort in Tempe, when he hauled in a 37-yard pass against Oregon State. But last Saturday also marked the fifth straight game he had recorded at least five receptions and 65 yards, and his career night quietly pushed him ahead of redshirt senior wideout Steven Mitchell Jr. as USC’s second-leading receiver with 478 yards on the season.Now, as the Trojans pursue their first Pac-12 championship in nearly a decade, Vaughns will be one of Darnold’s central weapons alongside Burnett and the running back duo of junior Ronald Jones II and freshman Stephen Carr. Vaughns’ breakout — if he can sustain it — might just lift a receiving corps that never seemed to recover from the departure of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.When reporters questioned his options on opening day, Darnold insisted he just needed time to develop trust with his young wideouts. He steadfastly maintained his stance as the season went on, through every miscommunication and every interception. Perhaps Vaughns’ second-quarter score last weekend was the tipping point Darnold had long been waiting for.“That was the moment that I felt [Darnold] trusted [Vaughns] to that next level,” Martin said, “like the Deontay throw in the Rose Bowl.”last_img read more

Liverpool team news: Daniel Sturridge set for return? Predicted XI to face West Ham

first_img 2. Nathaniel Clyne (right-back) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham 12 22. Simon Mignolet (goalkeeper) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham 17. Mamadou Sakho (centre-back) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham 11. Roberto Firmino (attacking midfield) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham 6. Dejan Lovren (centre-back) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham 12 33. Jordon Ibe (right wing) – With Adam Lallana struggling for form, teenage star Ibe may get the chance to shine against the Hammers… 12 12 12 12 18. Alberto Moreno (left-back) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham 12 Liverpool are now within touching distance of the top four, so can Jurgen Klopp’s men continue their climb up the table and kick off 2016 with three points against West Ham on Saturday?The Reds have recovered from their mid-season blip, although somewhat unconvincingly with two 1-0 wins courtesy of back-to-back Christian Benteke strikes.But will their forward be boosted by the return of England striker Daniel Sturridge as the Reds travel to Upton Park on the hunt for a third consecutive Premier League win?Sturridge hasn’t featured since the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle at the start of December, when he suffered a fresh injury blow.Reports this week have suggested the frontman could make a return to the team for the West Ham clash, after revealing on social media this week he is ‘good to go’ after making a return to training.However, is appears Jurgen Klopp is still cautious over Sturridge’s long-term fitness, with confirmation the frontman has NOT travelled with the team to London.Captain Jordan Henderson is also out of the game after limping out of the victory over Sunderland with a foot injury, while the likes of Divock Origi [hamstring], midfielder James Milner [calf] and defender Martin Skrtel are also on the sidelines.So, with Sturridge sidelined, who will Klopp pick to face Slaven Bilic’s men? Click the right arrow for talkSPORT’s predicted XI… 21. Lucas (holding midfield) – Supposing captain Henderson is ruled out, the Brazilian is likely to deputise 12 12 12 23. Emre Can (holding midfield) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham 12 10. Philippe Coutinho (left wing) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Ham 12 9. Christian Benteke (striker) – Click the YELLOW ARROW to see the possible Liverpool line-up against West Hamlast_img read more