Cal unravels against USC after series of second-half turnovers

BERKELEY — The Cal defense continued to defy expectations Saturday until six turnovers by quarterback Ross Bowers and a costly roll of the dice by coach Justin Wilcox flipped the script in a 30-20 loss to No. 5 USC.

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The Bears and Trojans were tied at 13-all with 3 minutes left in the third quarter when Wilcox kept his offense on the field for a fourth-and-4 play from the Cal 42.

The Bears had converted all three of their previous fourth-down tries and were 9 for 10 on the year. This time, Bowers threw incomplete to Melquise Stovall, who was seeing his first action of the season, and USC took over.

Seven minutes and 17 unanswered points later, the Trojans were well on their way to a 14th straight win over Cal in front of 46,747 fans at Memorial Stadium.

Cal (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) has not beaten the Trojans (4-0, 2-0) since a triple-overtime victory back in 2003. The Bears are now 3-28-1 all-time against USC teams ranked in the top-10 of the AP Top-25.

The Trojans settled for a 46-yard, go-ahead field goal by Casey McGrath after taking over on downs.

But on Cal’s next play, Bowers fumbled under a heavy rush and the Trojans …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

“It makes our neighborhood look shabby”: Volunteers paint over graffiti tags along Federal Boulevard for Brush Off Day

A smell of chili with a tinge of spray paint wafted down Federal Boulevard Saturday morning.

Groups of people in safety vests slowly progressed between West Sixth and Evans avenues and parts of West Alameda Avenue, covering up graffiti tags and picking up trash that lined the street as part of the eighth Brush Off Day hosted by the city of Denver.

Ginger Scholte, who lives in the Mar Lee neighborhood, was among the 165 volunteers along the street. Since 2008, she has been walking up and down Federal Boulevard, reporting tags to the city and cleaning them up herself.

“It makes our neighborhood look shabby,” she said. “It says a small, small community controls our neighborhood.”

Det. George Gray with the Denver Graffiti Unit said the city removed 5.6 million square feet of graffiti in 2007, but it has fallen to closer to 1.6 million annually. Still, it costs $145 to remove a typical tag and the city said it spends $1.4 million annually to clean up graffiti. About 10,100 incidences of graffiti have been reported this year.

Gray described two types of taggers. There are those who do it alone or with crews but for themselves. Then there are crews that can become involved with or morph into gangs, turning to more aggressive crimes like burglary or car theft.

About 65 percent of taggers are 25-35 years old, he said. The unit focuses its efforts on prolific taggers instead of the people who spend two or three hours creating a project on one wall, he said.

“The guys that do 50 places a night, they’re the ones I target because they’re crushing us and they’re causing a lot more damage to our city,” he said.

Police District Four, which includes Federal Boulevard from 6th Avenue to just north of US Highway 285, has more graffiti than …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

Yankees clinch playoff spot with win over Blue Jays

TORONTO (AP) — The New York Yankees returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence, clinching no worse the a wild card with a 5-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday behind Greg Bird’s three-run homer.

Sonny Gray (10-11) allowed one run and four hits in six innings as the Yankees won for the 11th time in 14 games and at 86-68 matched their season high of 18 games over .500. New York celebrated its 53rd postseason berth in a low-key manner on the field after former-Yankee Rob Refsnyder hit a game-ending groundout off Aroldis Chapman, then sprayed bubbly in the visitors’ clubhouse.

Unless New York overcomes Boston’s four-game lead the AL East, the Yankees would play in the AL wild card game on Oct. 3, most likely against Minnesota. New York lost the wild card matchup to Houston 3-0 at home two years ago and has not won a postseason game since Derek Jeter broke an ankle in the 2012 AL Championship Series opener against Detroit.

Minnesota started the night with a 3 1/2-game lead over Texas for the second wild card and has been eliminated by the Yankees in four of its last five postseason appearances.

…read more