USC Defense Making Strides In The Stretch Run

first_imgCOLUMBIA – University of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier couldn’t wait to spread the news during his Sunday teleconference.The Gamecocks defense is no longer rated last in the Southeastern Conference.The unit, which has struggled most of the season, has hit its stride in USC’s last two games. It was instrumental in the Gamecocks 23-20 overtime road win against Florida and created five turnovers in a 37-12 victory over South Alabama.“We have had a lot better (last) two games, held the opponent under 300 yards,” said Spurrier. “I don’t have really the answer for it, except our guys have played a little bit better. We’ve stopped the run, stopped the pass a little better. Got off to a slow start last week. It seemed like South Alabama was making a whole bunch of third downs, third-and-10s, 8s, 20s, but we really played well the second half. So, we know we’ve got to really play well up there to give us a chance.”One of the differences for the defense has been the improvement of the defensive front. After losing three of its four starters entering the season, it has stepped up its play.The unit, which has failed to put pressure on the quarterback for much of the season, picked up three sacks against South Alabama.“It is very important,” said defensive tackle J.T, Surratt. “Almost everything starts up front. The battle starts up front. Having the defensive line and the front seven play well, it works for us. Every week we’ve been trying to get better as a whole. We’ve been doing that. We’ve been showing that. We’re going to continue to do that. This week we’re going to do nothing short of trying to get better than we have been the last couple of weeks.”The Gamecocks improvement up front has caught the eye of Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.“I’m very impressed with what they’ve done defensively,” said Swinney. “They’re a young defense that’s gotten better the latter part of the season here. The last two games they’ve given up 12 points and 20 points, so they are playing with more confidence. I think they’ve only got three seniors that play for them over there on the defensive side. It’s a young group, like I said, that’s kind of had to grow up throughout the year.“Their defensive line is big, strong, physical, fit guys. Most of those guys played against us last year and (they’ve) got a couple dynamic guys at linebacker.”The Gamecocks have had success against Clemson during the five-game winning streak although Spurrier doesn’t believe that will be a factor on Saturday.“I don’t know that we have a greater confidence,” said Spurrier. “If we have some confidence it’s because we played pretty well the last two games, not because of what happened last year.”“We don’t talk about (the streak) much,” said senior spur Sharrod Golightly. “This is a different game. They’ve got different players. It is a game that means a lot to everyone. We’re looking forward to going up there and competing.”last_img read more

Vintage Federer holds off Nadal to reach Wimbledon final

first_imgLONDON, (Reuters) – A vintage display by Roger Federer took him past Rafael Nadal into the Wimbledon final in an eagerly-anticipated first grasscourt duel between the great rivals for 11 years today. The 40th career meeting between the golden duo with 38 Grand Slam titles between them, swung this way and that before Federer seized control to claim a 7-6(3) 1-6 6-3 6-4 victory.World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic now stands between the 37-year-old Federer, the oldest finalist here since Ken Rosewall in 1974, and a record-equalling ninth Wimbledon title in Sunday’s showpiece.“I’m exhausted. It was tough at the end,” said 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who needed five match points to end an absorbing scrap that never scaled the heights of their 2008 epic when Nadal won a final dubbed the greatest of all time. “Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match. The match was played at a very high level.“It was a joy to play today,” he added after reaching his 31st Grand Slam final.After edging a tense first set by taking the last five points of the tiebreak, Federer was overpowered in a 36-minute second as Nadal, eyeing a first Wimbledon title for nine years, appeared to have wrestled control. Federer’s fans inside Centre Court and those massed on ‘Henman Hill’ watching the drama unfold on the giant screen, need not have worried though as the second seed proved he had plenty left in the tank.Playing with relentless aggression Federer began to dictate from the baseline and broke early in the third set, held off a fierce Nadal counter-attack in the next game, then swept back into a one-set lead.The effervescent Swiss turned the screw to break again early in the fourth and there was to be no way back for third seed Nadal as he lost a Grand Slam semi-final against Federer for the first time, having won the previous four. The 33-year-old Spanish warrior was never going to slink away without a fight though.He clung on at 3-5, saving two match points, then had a break point as Federer served for the match.The ice cool Swiss fended off that danger and unloaded everything in his arsenal at Nadal in two more break points, only to see victory snatched away by two sublime winners off the indefatigable Spaniard’s racket. A fifth match point arrived though and as Nadal swung a backhand over the baseline Federer pumped his arms above his head to celebrate only his fourth Grand Slam win over the Spaniard he has battled around the world for 15 years.“Today it’s sad for me because chances are not forever,” a deflated Nadal said. “He played a bit better than me, I had a few small chances but didn’t convert them.”last_img read more

Tom Hardy cast as “Spider-Man” baddie Venom

first_img Related Getty Images/Jason LaVeris(LOS ANGELES) — Tom Hardy has gone from playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises to portraying another superhero baddie: Spider-Man’s shape-shifting nemesis Venom. “Tom Hardy is Eddie Brock,” reads the announcement made Friday by Sony Pictures, naming the character’s human alter-ego. The post featured a menacing picture of the Mad Max actor wearing a Venom shirt.The character of Brock is a disgraced journalist who comes into contact with a black, gooey alien organism that covers his body and gives him fearsome powers…which he uses to try to take down Spidey.Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, will be seen next on July 7 in Spider-Man: Homecoming — officially, at least, there’s no mention yet if he’ll appear in Venom.Venom is slated for an October, 2018 release.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more