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After playoff elimination, USC points toward other remaining goals

By in Press Enterprise on October 23, 2017

By Joey Kaufman

A season has lost some of its luster.

When USC suffered a humbling 49-14 defeat at Notre Dame on Saturday, it also saw its playoff hopes wither.

Effectively, it was eliminated from contention.

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Since the College Football Playoff format was introduced in 2014, no team has been selected as one of the four participants with more than one loss. The Trojans, who were expected to challenge for a national championship in the preseason, now sit 6-2 overall, left to make the most of a final stretch of the regular season.

“We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves,” USC coach Clay Helton said Sunday.

The faces of the USC players that emerged from the locker room after the rout appeared shellshocked. They carried national title hopes for months and knew the ramifications from the latest result.

Most looked for some consolation.

Safety Chris Hawkins stressed that that nonconference loss did not impact the Pac-12 Conference standings.

USC remained a viable contender, if not among the favorites, to win the conference for the first time since 2008.

“That’s the goal at the beginning of the season and we can still do that,” Hawkins said.

The Trojans’ position atop the South Division was unaltered, remaining ahead of Arizona and Arizona State.

“Things sometimes don’t go your way,” linebacker Cameron Smith said. “We got to fight the rest of the season.”

Helton reiterated the Trojans remained in a position to “control our own destiny” in the conference race.

Securing the […]    

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