The USC Trojans gave one last case to possibly find their way in to the College Football Playoffs on Friday night, and that's the Pac-12 Championship. Sam Darnold threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, while Ronald Jones II ran for 140 yards and a score in the Trojans' 31-28 win over the Stanford Cardinal. The Trojans used a 99-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to seal their 11th of the season. That drive ended with an eight-yard run for Jones that found the end zone, which was set up by a 54-yard completion to Michael Pittman Jr. The Cardinal suffered their fourth loss of the season, despite making an attempt at tying the game in the fourth. Unfortunately for them, starting running back Bryce Love spent most of the fourth quarter on the sidelines due to a bad ankle. Love finished the night with 125 yards and a touchdown on the ground, most of which came prior to the injury. The Trojans' first Pac-12 title since 2008 may not be enough for them to reach the final four of the College Football Playoffs, but it does put them into the conversation. Projections currently have them in the Fiesta Bowl following Friday's victory.
Mitchell's Dominant Performance Powers Jazz
The Utah Jazz got an impressive performance from rookie Donovan Mitchell in Friday night's 114-108 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Mitchell scored a career-high 41 points, which set a franchise record for points by a rookie in a game, helping the Jazz move above the Pelicans in the Western Conference Standings. The 13th overall pick's outing beats out David Griffiths' 38-point effort for Utah in 1981, and is the most points scored by a rookie since Blake Griffin went over 40 for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011. Mitchell is also the seventh rookie in franchise history with at least 30 points in a game. The Pelicans got off to a fast start by shooting 52 percent from the floor in the first three quarters, including 11-of-21 from beyond the arc, before things fell off in the fourth. It started with them losing big man Anthony Davis to an apparent groin injury in the beginning of the final quarter. Davis did not return and finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He will undergo an MRI on Saturday. New Orleans was outscored by 10 in the final 12 minutes, as they dropped to .500 on the season at 11-11. Their other big man, DeMarcus Cousins, had 23 points and 13 rebounds in the loss. The Jazz's rally was led by MItchell and Alec Burks, who combined for 21 points in the fourth quarter, completing a comeback from a 16-point deficit, making it their largest comeback of the season. The Jazz are now 12-11 and will host the Washington Wizards on Monday, while the Pelicans visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
Yankees Bring in Aaron Boone as Next Manager
The New York Yankees proved that they are all about championships after firing manager Joe Girardi despite the team making the American League Championship Series this past season. They decided to take a chance with a first-time manager on Friday night, announcing Aaron Boone as the next man up in that position. Boone has been an analyst with ESPN since 2010, but played with the Yankees as a trade deadline acquisition in 2003, and hit his infamous walk-off home run in Game 7 of the ALCS over the Boston Red Sox. He would go on to tear a ligament in his knee that off-season and was released. He played in the big leagues from 1997-2009 and the 44-year-old was one of two options for New York, along with San Francisco Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens. The likes of Carlos Beltran, Eric Wedge, Rob Thompson, and Chris Woodward are reported to also have interviewed for the position. This hiring makes in the first time that a father and a son have both been managers in the big leagues, as his father, Bob, managed the Washington Nationals in 2004 and is now an assistant general manager. The Yankees are coming off a Game 7 loss to the eventual World Series Champion Houston Astros, and they are now taking a shot in the dark to hope Boone can continue to lead this young team on the rise.