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Working Geek: The surprising stress-reliever that helps Fjuri co-founder Paulo Resende unplug

Paolo Resende chats with his Fjuri co-founder Thom Gruhler. (Fjuri Photo)

In February, Paulo Resende left a 15-year career at Microsoft to start a marketing firm helping Fortune 500 companies improve their branding with fellow Microsoft vet Thom Gruhler. Together they created Fjuri, a digital strategy, and marketing consultancy that leverages big data, predictive analytics, and automation.

“I wear multiple hats at Fjuri — from business strategy and development to helping clients enhance their marketing strategy by tapping into customer experience and engagement data in a more powerful way,” Resende said.

Resende learned how to use data analytics to increase sales and business performance during his time at Microsoft, where he worked from 2002 to 2015. He held positions as a revenue and financial analyst before becoming a director for product marketing. Resende met Gruhler working on Microsoft’s Partner Channel Marketing team. Gruhler was overseeing marketing teams for Windows, Windows Phone, and consumer apps/services at the time.

They used their combined experience to launch Fjuri earlier this year.

“Our approach focuses on being shoulder-to-shoulder with CMOs and marketing teams on the ground to create tangible change, repeatable processes and clear results,” Resende says.

We caught up with Resende for this Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Current Location: Seattle, WA 

Computer types: MacBook Pro

 Mobile devices: iPhone 6s

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: OmniFocus, Slack, Outlook, Zoom, LinkedIn, Trello, Dropbox. Audible and Spotify. And, of course, Excel

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “I split my time between client offices, Fjuri’s office at Galvanize Seattle, and my home office, when I need uninterrupted time to work on something that requires unwavering focus. At my home office, I have an industrial looking desk and a Herman Miller chair. On a corner table sits my dad’s typewriter and mechanical pinwheel calculator. There’s something fascinating about the juxtaposition of them and a MacBook Pro, where I do most of my work. This invisible thread that connects where we came from to where we are today is, to me, conducive to focus and determination in making progress.”

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “Set your priorities based on what’s important, and nothing else. Then have the courage to say no. That’s fundamentally important to be able to focus on opportunities instead of problems.”

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “LinkedIn. I use it primarily to create new connections and keep up with colleagues and the great things they’re doing.” 

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? Of the ones that require an answer, two or three.

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? 21

How do you run meetings? “I find that the most important factors in running a successful meeting are preparation and clarity about its purpose and agenda. It’s also critical to capture actions, owners and timing for next steps. Sometimes meetings can get off track, so bringing it back to the overarching goal or challenge at hand is important. Another key success factor is separating facts from opinions. I strongly encourage the use of data to substantiate arguments. Before ending a meeting, I always ask ‘is there anything we should have talked about that we didn’t?.’ Especially in larger settings, it’s remarkable how often important ideas or concerns weren’t discussed. Too often we can fall into a trap of believing time-sensitive items are also the most important.”

Paulo Resende.

Everyday work uniform? Jeans, a button-down shirt and some classic shoes. 

How do you make time for family? “I listen to Harry Chapin’s ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ often. The story of a man’s busy life of work that creates a loss of connection, interaction and love with his kids scares me to death. So, being clear with yourself about your life priorities and rigorously planning around that helps tremendously.” 

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “Music. Cooking. For some reason, chopping vegetables is an awesome stress reliever.”

What are you listening to? Pink Floyd, Beatles, The Clash, Pearl Jam and Johnny Cash.

 Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “I’ve been listening to Reid Hoffman’s ‘Masters of Scale’ podcast and I’m loving it. I often read the Harvard Business Review, and Fred Wilson’s AVC blog.” 

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? The Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, and Multipliers by Liz Wiseman.

Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? “Night owl by DNA, early riser by duty. I try to go to bed at the same time every night, and when there’s something important and time-sensitive to do that didn’t fit work hours, I’ll wake up before the sun rises and get stuff done.”

Where do you get your best ideas? “Often, I find the best ideas come when I break focus from the challenge at hand, and then return to it with a fresh perspective. I find walking, reading and talking to colleagues about things that are seemingly unrelated helps immensely. I tend to naturally solve problems analytically and methodically, and I learned that to be creative you need to get off the path you’ve been working on, create space to process those loose and remote associations between the elements of a problem, and connect ideas in a new way.”

 Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “Winston Churchill and Warren Buffett. Both are examples of leaders with incredible vision, grit and a laser focus on achieving goals, who put their team, company and/or country ahead of themselves.

Churchill’s ability to inspire and encourage stand out, along with his determination and strategic foresight. I’m also fascinated with Warren Buffet’s focus, giving the team a lot of autonomy and ability to keep calm in the face of uncertainty.

They are humble leaders, who learn from their mistakes and openly share their lessons. As Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.’”

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Gourmet tech: Nathan Myhrvold’s ‘Modernist Bread’ finds new twists in one of the oldest foods

Technologist Nathan Myhrvold is on a mission with “Modernist Bread.” (The Cooking Lab, LLC)

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Did you ever try inflating bread dough with a bicycle pump? Gourmet technologist Nathan Myhrvold did — and after thumbing through the 2,642 pages of his latest opus, “Modernist Bread,” you just might, too.

Like “Modernist Cuisine,” his earlier work, the new five-volume set of books is bigger than a bread box and costs hundreds of dollars. But although “Modernist Bread” offers hundreds of recipes, these are no common cookbooks: Myhrvold and his co-author, head chef Francisco Migoya, delve into the history of one of the world’s oldest foods, the science and technology of breadmaking, and why stunts like pumping up bread actually work.

“Some people ask me how I could possibly make a 2,600-page book on bread,” Myhrvold told GeekWire, “My answer is, ‘Because I had to hold the line somewhere.’ Seriously, we had lots of material that we had to cut.”

Myhrvold and Migoya manage to deflate a few myths along the way. Some examples: The need to knead bread is a fraud. Some of the “rustic” bread techniques in vogue today aren’t rustic at all, but were invented over the past 40 years or so. And there’s no such thing as true rye bread in America.

“How come it took till the 21st century for us to figure this out?” Myhrvold asked.

“Modernist Bread: The Art and Science” by Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya.

That’s the sort of question Myhrvold asks about a lot of things, ranging from how many Earth-threatening asteroids are out there to how fast a dinosaur could whip its tail. His eagerness to test conventional wisdom held him in good stead as a physicist under the tutelage of Stephen Hawking at Cambridge University, as chief strategist and chief technology officer at Microsoft in its early days, and as the co-founder and CEO of Bellevue-based Intellectual Ventures.

Myhrvold’s fortune, which is thought to amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, gives him the freedom to explore the art and science of cooking.

“I’ve always loved food, and I’ve been interested in food as long as I’ve been interested in science,” he said. “So, it happens that taking that kind of skeptical, curious attitude toward food is actually really helpful in making better food.”

Sometimes it’s just a case of rediscovering what someone else already figured out. For example, bakers had put out formulas for “no-knead bread” going back decades, but the experiments that Myhrvold and his team conducted in their Bellevue lab figured out more precisely how dough could do what it needed to do without kneading.

And it wasn’t until Myhrvold played host to Austrian bakers that he learned why American rye bread pales in comparison to the real thing from Europe. Spoiler alert: It’s usually just rye-flavored wheat bread, containing as little as 4 percent rye.

True rye flour is gluten-free, and it has to be finely milled to make a nice, fluffy loaf. The closest U.S. product comes from Oregon-based Bob’s Red Mill, Myhrvold said.

Cooking with lab equipment

To test the recipes, and to advance the frontier of baking technology, Myhrvold, Migoya and the team’s other bakers took advantage of a state-of-the-art Cooking Lab set up within Intellectual Ventures’ Bellevue laboratory.

“We have a lot of lab equipment that was repurposed for cooking,” Migoya told GeekWire during a tour.

There’s a rotary evaporator that’s typically used to remove solvents from chemical mixtures, a cryogenic freeze-dryer, a spray dryer, a proofer-retarder, a rotor-stator homogenizer and other gadgets that look as if they’d be at home in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab.

But there’s also an oven that looks as if it came from a college dorm.

“It’s this rinky-dink oven,” Migoya said. “We do a lot of testing in there because we want people who have rinky-dink ovens to do the food that we make. … In fact, some of our best-looking loaves came out of this home oven.”

Nathan Myhrvold
Rotary evaporator

Johnny Zhu
Modernist Cuisine

Another type of oven was used to recreate the bread loaves that are depicted on 2,000-year-old murals in Roman Pompeii. To add verisimilitude to the exercise, Myrhvold had lab employees dress up in Roman costumes for a photo, and bought an authentic (and rather expensive) Roman-era bread stamp to mark the loaves.

“The antiquarian dealer was horrified, of course. … I can’t tell you, ‘Ah, yes, our sales will be 22 percent higher because we recreated the Pompeiian mural,’ but it does sort of speak to how crazy and carried away we get on some things,” Myhrvold said.

The lab doesn’t just recreate old recipes: The Modernist Bread team delves into innovations on the frontiers of baking.

There’s that pumped-up bread, for example: When air is injected into the dough, using a basting syringe or even a bicycle pump, that leads to bigger holes in the baked bread — making for a different taste experience. The team went so far as to build a bubble-blowing machine for bread dough.

“It creates these hollow spheres of bread,” Myhrvold explained. “Imagine a balloon with the outside shell made of something like phyllo dough.”

The meaning of modernist baking

Advancing the state of food technology is what the “modernist” in “Modernist Bread” is all about.

“Historically speaking, this notion that the best bread was in the past is just wrong. … That fabled golden age of bread never really existed,” Myhrvold said. “That’s the first thing. The other thing is, it’s very stultifying if you think that the best stuff happened only in the distant past, and if you think all we can do is struggle to re-attain to what once occurred.”

Six years ago, “Modernist Cuisine” documented the innovations that forward-thinking chefs were bringing to the age-old craft of cooking. This time around, Myhrvold is on a different mission.

“Rather than documenting a movement, what we do is we document the undercover stirrings of all of these things, and try to get the whole baking world to say, ‘Hey, you can have a model for high quality that doesn’t mean you’re copying the past. It’s OK to innovate. It’s OK to come up with new ideas.’ Science and technology is not bad. Science and technology is how the world works.”

Myhrvold is among the inventors listed on a patent for making crisper french fries by soaking them in a special solution and subjecting them to ultrasound. Now his work on “Modernist Bread” might spawn another patent.

“Very late in the process, someone I know who’s got celiac disease and knew that we made gluten-free things said, ‘You know, I would kill for a gluten-free bagel,’” he recalled.

At first, Myhrvold was skeptical. He listed all the reasons why it’s impossible to make a true bagel using gluten-free flour.

“Then, a couple of days later, it occurred to me, ‘Hey, we should try this one thing.’ And by God, it worked,” he said. “We have a gluten-free bagel that’s actually good.”

Is it possible to patent and commercialize that bagel? “It may be,” Myhrvold replied. “We’re looking at it.”

Nathan’s Gluten-Free Bagels: It could happen, people.

“Modernist Bread: The Art and Science” can be pre-ordered now for delivery after the Nov. 7 publication date. Myhrvold will talk about modernist breadmaking during a Town Hall Seattle presentation at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian Theater on Oct. 26. It’s part of a culinary doubleheader with Rachel Yang and Jess Thomson, co-authors of “My Rice Bowl: Korean Cooking Outside the Lines.”

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‘Halo Wars 2’ shoots for a Grammy, and a composer scores with music made for video games

Gordy Haab
Composer Gordy Haab during a promotional event for the music of the video game “Halo Wars 2” at SIFF Film Center in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

It’s safe to say, film fans, that a large part of the enjoyment derived from watching movies comes from listening to them. As video games compete for attention and dollars in the overall entertainment space, they’re doing more to appeal to the conventional cinematic experience, especially when it comes to music.

Thursday night at the SIFF Film Center in Seattle, music composed for the “Halo Wars 2” video game — from 343 Industries and Microsoft Studios — was showcased, along with the folks who created it. The effort was aimed at attracting the attention of Recording Academy members in the area who might help nominate the music and those involved for a Grammy.

Composers Gordy Haab, Brian Trifon and Brian Lee White of Finishing Move, and audio director Paul Lipson, VP of creative services at Formosa Group, created the ‘Halo Wars 2’ music with an 80-piece orchestra on the Fox scoring stage in Los Angeles and a 20-piece choir at Skywalker Sound.

Haab is already an award-winning composer for film, television and video games. His work for the Electronic Arts game “Star Wars: Battlefront” won Music of the Year, Best Interactive Score, and Best Instrumental Score at the 2016 GDC G.A.N.G. Awards, and was nominated for a BAFTA for Excellence in Audio Achievement.

Hardcore Gamer called that score “the best music John Williams never wrote” in a nod to the legendary film composer known for his music for such films as “Star Wars,” “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones,” “E.T.” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and more.

The comparison is not lost on Haab, 41, who grew up a huge fan of the Star Wars franchise.

“John Williams in particular, of all the film composers that have inspired me, is probably the biggest,” Haab told GeekWire. “Star Wars was right in my wheelhouse. It was one of the first movies I can remember seeing. Before I knew anything about music, the music that was sort of inspiring me and making me want to become a musician and a composer was the music of John Williams … Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it’s all true — that I get to live in this universe that was the very universe that inspired me to do this in the first place.”

If you can hear Williams’ Star Wars music playing in your head while reading this, welcome to Haab’s world. In writing new music for a franchise like “Battlefront,” he’s tasked with writing transitions out of Williams’ music and into his own and back. He said it’s “kind of cool” to have to bridge those gaps between his own work and the stuff of legend.

Halo Wars 2
Seattle musician Rachel Flotard of the band Visqueen hangs with the guys of “Halo Wars 2,” from left, Gordy Haab, Brian Trifon, Paul Lipson and Brian Lee White. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

While Williams doesn’t write for games, Haab is committed to the medium and the creativity being fostered.

“Games have come so far even in just my time of being involved, which has been about 10 years,” Haab said. “I’ve seen them grow from simply what we called them, which is a game, to being really like a full cinematic experience that you get to be a part of. It really is the next generation of entertainment and being a part of that is really cool.”

For “Halo Wars 2,” Haab, Trifon and Lee White ended up creating 150 minutes of music, with 30 minutes of that being cinematic cut scenes.

“The cinematics are pretty beautiful in this game, I’ve got to say,” Haab said. “It’s like watching a feature film on the highest of levels.”

Haab remembers the video game he was playing when he first noticed a musical score being employed and heightening the experience. He previously thought music in games served a one-dimensional function — faster music means hurry up, or that kind of effect.

“I remember playing this game, ‘Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis’ and the score was a full orchestral score,” Haab said. “It was the first time I’d ever heard that in a video game and I was kind of blown away by it. That was the first moment I realized, ‘Oh, wow, I like games, I write cinematic scores and had no idea that the two could be combined.’ So i started pursuing writing music for video games at that point and sort of found my way into the industry by that inspiration, really.”

Haab has recorded and conducted his music with orchestras from around the world, according to his bio, including The London Symphony Orchestra, The San Francisco Symphony, The Nashville Symphony and the Hollywood Studio Orchestra.

He recently composed the music for Activision/AMC’s “The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct” game, based on the popular zombie-infested television series.

Halo Wars 2 music
The music of “Halo Wars 2” was discussed during an event at the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Haab said every game has its set of challenges, just like a film, and while he finds the same inspiration in writing for either medium — characters, story arc — the process for games and movies is very different.

“Composers are brought on to a video game much earlier than they are to a film,” Haab said. “Usually on a film it’s almost the last step in the process in a lot of ways. The composer is usually working in the last six weeks of production when the film is already edited, cut together, there’s a full film you can look at and then you score it.

“But with games you’re writing music almost at the same time the game is being developed, so I’m working with still images, written scripts that give me a sense of what the story might be, concept art, that type of thing. Very rarely am I even seeing game play. I’m writing music to a concept, essentially.”

Lipson spent almost five years at Microsoft on the Central Media Team and then as senior audio director at 343, the studio that makes “Halo.” He left for Formosa Group, one of the largest post-production teams in the world, and he’s spent three years working on “Halo Wars 2.”

“When I was looking to do the next ‘Halo’ score — and I’ve done a bunch of them — Gordy immediately popped out,” Lipson said. “His voice and what he does is so unique.”

He said it made sense to pair Haab and “the two Brians” because “Halo” has a long tradition of being a hybrid score. It’s not just an orchestral score, or an electronic-based score.

“You needed masters of their domain that could work together to produce a singularity,” Lipson said. “You stay up at night and you dream about your partners, and I thought up the team and … luckily I was right!”

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Week in Geek: Amazon’s HQ2 deadline arrives, renting sports jerseys, and new signs of a tech bubble

Amazon summer camp
Amazon likes to say, “it’s still Day 1.”In the city Amazon picks for its HQ2, soon it really will be. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Cities around the continent submitted their bids for Amazon’s HQ2 this week, bringing the frenzy of speculation about the company’s second headquarters to new heights. On this episode of the Week in Geek podcast, GeekWire’s Monica Nickelsburg shares details from her reporting on the biggest headquarters contest in history, and looks ahead to what’s next.

Plus, the sharing economy has changed a lot of things, but could renting specialized clothes really become a thing? GeekWire’s Taylor Soper tried out the new $20/month jersey rental service Rep the Squad, and he says it actually worked pretty well.

Also this week, we remember Mighty AI co-founder Matt Benke, who passed away this week at 45 years old after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Be sure to read the piece that Benke wrote for Wired in August, “The Day I Found Out My Life Was Hanging by a Thread.”

And finally, in the Random Channel, we talk about some unoriginal Silicon Valley “innovations.”

Listen to the show above, and download the MP3 here.

[A big thanks to GeekWire reporter and podcast producer Clare McGrane for hosting the show this week, as I visited Bellingham, Wash., to take part in the TAG NW Tech Summit.]

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Ask Ethan: How sure are we that the Universe is 13.8 billion years old? (Synopsis)

“Normal science, the activity in which most scientists inevitably spend almost all their time, is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like.” -Thomas S. Kuhn

For all of human history, the biggest questions have fascinated us. Where did the Universe come from? How old is it? And what is its ultimate fate? Once relegated to the realm of theologians, poets, and philosophers, science has brought us closer than ever to the answers. But scientific revolutions have occurred before, in many cases significantly changing the answers to these and other inquiries. How certain are we that this won’t happen again?

The Sun, the Earth, and the history of life on our world all have a consistent age today, but back in the late 1800s, the evidence for the age of the Earth suggested it was significantly older than the Sun. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and ISS Expedition 37.

When it comes to the question of the age of the Universe, presently estimated at 13.8 billion years, there are many uncertainties that could come into play. Dark energy could evolve over time, fundamental constants might not be constant, or today’s fundamental particles might be broken up into smaller components. Additionally, we could have flaws in the expansion rate or composition of our Universe, or even alter General Relativity.

The four possible fates of our Universe into the future; the last one appears to be the Universe we live in, dominated by dark energy. What’s in the Universe, along with the laws of physics, determines not only how the Universe evolves, but how old it is. Image credit: E. Siegel / Beyond The Galaxy.

But it really looks like 13.8 billion years is safe, to within perhaps 2% at most. How can we be so confident? Find out on this week’s Ask Ethan!

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Adventurous Man Quits His Job to Travel Australia in a Campervan With a Beautiful Black Cat By His Side

Tired of his corporate life in Hobart, Tasmania, adventurer Rich East decided to go off the grid in a campervan of his own design. He sold off all his things and hit the road with his beloved black cat Willow whom he adopted from a rescue center. Since that time, the travelling duo has clocked over 31,000 miles around the continent of Australia, documenting the trip the entire way through YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Calendars of their adventure are available for purchase through the VanCatMeow site.

In early 2014 I started making plans for a massive life change. Unhappy with my 10 years in the corporate world I started designing a new life for myself. I started designing a campervan that could provide me with shelter, a home, and comfort for this next stage of my life. Slowly I began to sell all my possessions such that what was left would fit in this van….We have now travelled thousands and thousands of kilometres around Australia, often only managing 60 kilometres a week. Please join us as we continue our trip, our worlds slowest land speed record attempt.

via My Modern Met

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5 things we learned about Notre Dame in blowout of USC

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 21: Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Josh Adams (33) dives in for a 3 yard touchdown during the college football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and USC Trojans on October 21, 2017, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

The No. 13-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish continued to force their way into the College Football Playoff conversation.

The Irish (6-1) routed the No. 11 USC Trojans (6-2) Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium, 49-14. It was Notre Dame’s fifth straight win and sixth win this season by double digits.

NBC began plugging next week’s game against No. 16 North Carolina State (6-1) midway through the telecast’s fourth quarter.

CFP elimination game

Who says we need to expand the College Football Playoff beyond four teams?

Some coaches such as Duke’s David Cutcliffe have pointed out that the four-team formula already has led to elimination games. As two teams with one loss, USC-Notre Dame was essentially an elimination game.

Well, it will take a Mount Everest climb for the Trojans to overcome their second loss. History says Sherpas don’t know the way. A two-loss team hasn’t qualified for the CFP in the first three years of the formula, though it can still happen with a flurry of upsets.

The CFP has been dividing its four berths among four champions from the five Power Five conferences. Notre Dame, if it wins out, is in position to make a case for snatching the Pac-12’s berth. A win over Stanford in the regular-season would give the Fighting Irish two wins over ranked Pac-12 schools.

That case would be strengthened if USC and Stanford meet in the Pac-12 Championship Game. USC owns the Pac-12 South lead and Stanford is atop the North.

Confident Kelly

Sideline interviews are usually worthless. So the first hint Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly felt unusually confident about beating USC was his relaxed presence and expansive comments.

Kelly isn’t in Nick Saban’s league when it comes to sideline curtness, but it was notable that he allowed NBC’s Kathryn Tappen to get in two questions before kickoff. The first was on preparation for a showdown of two top-15 teams.

“We’ve got to play better than we did the first half of the year,” Kelly said. “This is better competition we’re going to have the next six weeks against teams that are nationally ranked. We’ve got to be better focused tonight all around – offense, defense and special teams. Our guys know what that means, and it starts tonight.”

The next was on controlling USC quarterback Sam Darnold.

“One good way would be to keep him off the field. We’ve got to be productive offensively for us; obviously running the ball and scoring. There is no magic here. We’ve got to do a great job a slowing them down on third down. He is a great player. We’ve got to be productive offensively, keep him off the field, slow him down and take him advantage of our opportunities, where we’ve been at good taking the ball away.”

Check, check, check, check on those points.

This was clearly Notre Dame’s strongest performance of the year. All three phases of the game contributed, but a strong performance form quarterback Brandon Wimbush was key. In his first game back from missing the North Carolina contest with an injury, he ran 14 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns and completed 9-of-19 passes for 120 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Notre Dame outgained USC, 500-336.

USC was 4-of-13 on third downs.

Notre Dame scored 21 points off of three turnovers.

More turnovers than Pillsbury

Notre Dame continues to not only force turnovers but make opponents pay for coughing up the ball.
The Irish entered plus-seven in turnovers with a 73-10 scoring margin. Bump those totals to plus-10 and 94-10 after Saturday.

Notre Dame won the turnover battle, 3-0. It converted two fumbles and one interception into three touchdowns.

Josh Adams’ second-half Heisman push

If we extract a comment from the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum about Alabama running back Damien Harris possibly duplicating Alabama’s Derrick Henry’s second-half run which won the 2015 Heisman Trophy, we can equally apply that scenario to Notre Dame’s Josh Adams.

Finebaum noted on his popular show Friday that Henry had moved from outside the conversation in the first half of the season to winning the Heisman. Henry posted four 200-yard games in his final seven regular-season contests between mid-October and the Heisman balloting which followed SEC Conference Championship.

Count the USC victory as Adams’ first step toward a Henry-like push. An 84-yard touchdown run highlighted the 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior’s day. He finished with 19 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

It was Adams’ sixth 100-yard game of the season, including a 229-yard performance against Boston College.

Out of the doghouse

Kelly hinted during the week that Kevin Stepherson had worked his way back into the playing rotation. And NBC analyst Doug Flutie, who is privy to Notre Dame practices, noted Stepherson got a lot of touches in practice.

Stepherson (6-0, 185) helped set the tone early when Notre Dame jumped to a 14-0 first-quarter lead. He had a 13-yard run on a reverse on the first touchdown drive. He had a 23-yard touchdown reception for the second score.

The true sophomore finished with two runs for 24 yards and three catches for 58 and the score.

Stepherson, the team’s second-leading returning receiver, didn’t play in the season’s first four games. Kelly didn’t explain why, though he said it wasn’t an injury. Without a doubt it was an attitude adjustment. Kelly’s re-make of the team from last’s 4-8 record puts an emphasis on work habits and attitude over entitled playing time.

Follow Tom Shanahan’s FanRag Sports stories on Twitter @shanny4055

The post 5 things we learned about Notre Dame in blowout of USC appeared first on FanRag Sports.

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Astros shut out Yankees to win ALCS Game 7

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. reacts after getting New York Yankees' Aaron Judge to strike out during the eighth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Having made just one World Series appearance in franchise history prior to this season, the Houston Astros are headed back for the first time since 2005. Evan Gattis got things going offensively in the fourth inning with a solo home run, and the Astros scored three more in the 5th as they defeated the New York Yankees by the final score of 4-0 in Game 7 of the American League Championship series.

While the mid-game offensive fireworks gave the Astros the cushion they needed, chasing Yankees starter CC Sabathia from the game in the 4th inning, it was the pitching that sealed the deal for AJ Hinch’s team. Charlie Morton pitched five innings of shutout ball to get things going, allowing two hits while striking out five and walking one.

Lance McCullers Jr. took over from there, allowing just one hit while striking out six batters and walking one over the next four innings to earn the save.

After Gattis’ solo shot got the Astros on the scoreboard, Jose Altuve hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 5th to extend the lead to 2-0. Houston plated two more runs that inning courtesy of a Brian McCann two-run double, with Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel scoring the runs that made the score 4-0 in favor of the home team.

The home team won all seven games in the series, the first time it’s happened in a League Championship Series since the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Astros in seven games in the 2004 NLCS. And the visitors struggled offensively in this series, scoring a combined eight runs with four being scored by the Astros in their Game 4 loss at Yankee Stadium.

Next up for Houston is Los Angeles, with the Dodgers defeating the Chicago Cubs in five games to win the NLCS. Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

The post Astros shut out Yankees to win ALCS Game 7 appeared first on FanRag Sports.

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Rapid Recap- Bulls make program history-roll to 7-0

A history making night for USF, as the Bulls raced out to a big lead and then had to hang on a bit as Tulane got closer, but it still ended 34-28.

The Bulls had been slow starters all year, outscoring opponents only 43-38 in the first quarter.

However, Saturday night was a different story. The Bulls opened with a 10-play, 85-yard drive for a touchdown on its opening possession on Saturday night at Yulman Stadium and controlled the game from there.

A victory over the Green Wave gave USF its first-ever 7-0 start to a season. The 34 points is the modern NCAA Division One record with 24 straight games with at least 30 points scored.

Meanwhile, RB Darius Tice ended the night with a career high 141 rushing yards on 13 carries, 10.8 yards per carry on the night.

Senior quarterback Quinton Flowers totaled 265 yards for three touchdowns to help the Bulls garner their second conference road win against Tulane (3-4, 1-2). He hit Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the third quarter on this score:

Tice scored on a 30-yard run only a few moments after Tulane called its final timeout sealed the win for the Bulls.

The Bulls now put their perfect mark on line and host Houston next Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.

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