NCAA

Stanford WR Owusu likely out for Fiesta Bowl

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Stanford WR Owusu likely out for Fiesta Bowl

STANFORD (APCSN) -- Chris Owusu's college football career is likely over.

Whether he ever plays football again is still to be determined.

Stanford coach David Shaw said Friday night that the senior wide receiver will "probably not" play in the Fiesta Bowl for the fourth-ranked Cardinal against No. 3 Oklahoma State on Jan. 2, adding, "it's not going to happen, it's not going to happen."

Owusu sustained at least three concussions in a 13-month span and absorbed several other blows from defenders this year. He didn't see active duty in the final three games after leaving Oregon State in an ambulance Nov. 5, dressing for the season finale against Notre Dame and entering for the final play when Stanford downed the ball in the final seconds to cap a 28-14 victory.

Also a speedy kick returner, Owusu had high hopes coming into this season. He was expected to be one of Andrew Luck's top targets and was a projected middle- to-late-round NFL draft pick.

Owusu finished his senior season with 35 catches for 376 yards and two touchdowns. He was limited to seven games his junior due to various injuries - including at least one concussion.

The receiver also was hit hard in the head by Southern California safety T.J. McDonald on Oct. 29. The Pac-12 suspended McDonald for one half of USC's next game for the hit.

Owusu first became concussed this season in what Shaw has described as a "minor concussion" in a win at Washington State in mid-October. Through all the injuries, once cleared to play, Owusu had always come back.

The receiver won the Jim Reynolds Team Award, given to the senior with the most courage, at the program's annual banquet voted on by players.

"It's a combination of toughness and character, he's battled so much going back to his freshman year hurting his knee right before the season started (Aug. 19)," Shaw said. "He and I had the conversation four or five games in, Gosh, if you really want to redshirt, we'll hold you back. We don't know that you're completely ready, this might take a while. He said, Coach, the first moment I can get ready to play, I need to play.'

"And he's just been one of those guys," Shaw said. "And he's gotten beaten up and knocked out, and he comes back. He's been beaten up and knocked out, and he comes back. And the players recognize that as the guy that they look to for courage."

Owusu played five games as a freshman, catching five passes for 80 yards. He had 682 yards receiving as a sophomore, including 1,167 yards as a kick returner and eight total touchdowns that year.

The human biology major was ranked by many recruiting services as the No. 34 best wide receiver in the country coming out of Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, California.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

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.