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Boston College (2-0) at USC (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 14, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Los Angeles Coliseum (93,607) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: BC 2-0, USC 0-1. Away Record: BC 0-0, USC 1-0. Neutral Record: BC 0-0, USC 0-0. Conference Record: BC 1-0, USC 0-0. Series Record: USC leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Boston College Eagles hit the road for the first time in 2013, when they travel across the country to take on the USC Trojans in a non-conference showdown at the Coliseum.
Steve Addazio has instilled instant credibility to a Boston College program that had fallen on hard times the last few seasons. Addazio has his Eagles at 2-0 in his first season at the helm, following a pair of victories over Villanova (24-14) and most recently, Wake Forest (24-10).
Lane Kiffin is firmly planted on the hot seat at USC, as the Trojans have started off slow in 2013, following a disappointing 2012. USC opened the year with a solid win on the road at Hawaii (30-13), but struggled offensively in last weekend's stunning Pac-12-opening loss to Washington State (10-7).
USC holds a 3-0 advantage in the series with Boston College, with the last meeting coming in the 2009 Emerald Bowl, a 24-13 win.
The Eagles struggled with their offensive proficiency a year ago, relying too much on their passing game and lacking the kind of balance to compete both in and out of the ACC. Well, the early returns on Addazio's offense are good, as BC has found a way to move the ball effectively both with the run (159.5 ypg) and the pass (204.0 ypg) thus far.
Las weekend in the ACC opener, it was tailback Andre Williams who led the charge, earning ACC Offensive Player of the Week honors with a career-high 204 yards. He already has an ACC-high 58 carries through two games, going for an ACC-best 318 yards (5.5 ypc) with two touchdowns.
Williams' ability to move the chains on the ground, has taken some of the pressure off quarterback Chase Rettig, who has completed an efficient 68.2 percent of his passes thus far, for 408 yards and four TDs. One of the conference's top wideouts resides in Chestnut Hill and defensive coordinators will be tasked with trying to contain Alex Amidon. Thus far, Amidon has hauled in 18 balls, for 239 yards and two TDs.
Sophomore defensive back Bryce Jones added to the early season accolades for Boston College, as he was tabbed the ACC's Defensive Player of the Week, with his performance against Wake Forest last week. Jones recorded two turnovers in the win, with an interception and fumble recovery.
Jones has two interceptions in as many games in 2013 and has been instrumental in the team's early success, especially against the pass, where the Eagles are yielding just 179.5 yards per game. The Eagles have had the luxury of one of the nation's most active tacklers over the last few years and it looks as if linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis could fill that spot this season. Pierre-Louis has already registered 23 tackles through the first two games, with 3.5 TFL and one sack. Fellow LBs Steele Divitto (16 tackles) and Steven Daniels (14 tackles) have been active as well. Overall, BC has recorded 18 TFL, 6.0 sacks and seven takeaways in just two outings.
USC's loss to Washington State was its first since 2002. With a new quarterback under center this season, the Trojans need a strong ground game. The team has received solid running from sophomore Tre Madden, who has rushed for 260 yards thus far, but USC definitely misses starting senior tailback Silas Redd, who has yet to suit up in 2013 due to injury. He is listed as questionable for this contest.
A diversified rushing attack could alleviate some of the quarterback problems. Neither Cody Kessler nor Max Wittek have made anyone forget record-setting signal caller Matt Barkley (now in the NFL). Overall, USC is averaging a meager 113.0 yards per game through the air, effectively negating the team's most potent weapon, All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee. The ultra-talented receiver has hauled in 15 balls through two games, but is averaging just 8.7 yards per reception.
Defense will be the name of the game for USC until the offense finds a rhythm. It's still early, but the Trojans are giving up just 226.5 yards per game, including a minute 15.0 yards rushing per game.
The team has already shown a penchant for big plays upfield, recording 20 TFL and 11 sacks in the first two games, to go with nine takeaways, including six interceptions. Safety Dion Bailey leads the team in tackles (17) and interceptions (2). Both George Uko (3.0 sacks) and Morgan Breslin (2.0 sacks) have been handfuls coming off the edge.
The Trojans are coming off a disappointing performance in their Pac-12 opener, but the writing may be on the wall and there could be several more disappointing outings in 2013. USC may be able to stop the bleeding for a week however, as the Eagles must travel across the country and prove that their fast start isn't an aberration.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: USC 24, Boston College 14
09/11 10:41:44 ET
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