USC Responds With 35-7 Drubbing of Boston College
It was a tough seven days for the Southern California football program. The home opening loss to Washington State wasn’t easy to swallow, and following days were spent absorbing shots from the media, who mercilessly took aim and fired at will.
Only two games into the season, USC found itself in an odd predicament. The program had not suffered a loss in the first two weeks of the season since its 1-1 start in 2001, Which was also the last time a Trojan team was unranked in the month of September.
Troy hadn’t suffered a loss in its home opener since falling 14-7 to Florida State in 1997, and it suddenly lost its grip on Washington State, after more than ten years of dominance over the conference foe.
After two games, the team was even in wins and losses, 0-1 in conference, and quickly fading into college football obscurity. For seven days there was doubt, concern, and fear of mediocrity. And as each day passed, we were left wondering if coaches were not only losing games, but also losing the team.
USC responded to doubts and worries by delivering a 35-7 blow to Boston College. The Eagles were ambushed in the Coliseum, where the Trojans refused to lose a second in as many weeks. The ACC representative was used to temporarily silence critics and douse flames beneath a coach sitting uncomfortably in his seat. Visitor became victim, with the talent of Troy on full display, as it overpowered and overwhelmed its opponent in every facet of the game.
Saturday marked the transformation of Cody Kessler, who went from being just one half of a quarterbacking pair, to the primary leader of the huddle. The change in circumstance proved to bring about change in play, as the sophomore managed his team to victory, in his first error-free game.
Kessler completed 15 of 17 pass attempts against the Eagles, for a career-high 237 yards. Now playing with the coach’s confidence, the newly named starter also threw for two scores. But more importantly, L.A’s newest gunslinger recorded his first game as a Trojan without a turnover.
Marqise Lee contributed a large chunk of Kessler’s passing yardage, leading all receivers, with 90 yards on just two receptions.
The Trojan attack remained unbalanced, with a team total of 19 pass attempts in the game, and 43 rushes through the four quarters. Tre Madden continues to be the workhorse, reaching the 100-yard plateau for the third consecutive game, after receiving a team-high 16 carries. Madden now tallies 66 rushes for the season, at an average 5.5 yards per attempt.
Freshman Justin Davis followed up his 2 carries, 2 yards performance against Washington State by finishing just shy of the 100-yard mark (96 yds) on Saturday. With the game well in hand, Max Wittek entered at quarterback, attempting only 2 passes in the final period, and rushing for a USC touchdown.
The Trojan defense remains one of the best in the nation, pitching a shutout through three quarters, before Boston College got on the board with a touchdown in the fourth. It was only the second touchdown the unit has surrendered in 2013, and snapped a streak of six consecutive quarters without an opposition touchdown. Unlike the first two weeks of multiple sacks, the unit would get to Chase Rettig just once. But the Trojans allowed just 184 total yards to the Eagles, as the defense continues to smother opponents.
Key to victory: USC’s 28-point victory didn’t come without error. The Trojans drew a season-high 10 penalties. The difference between winning and losing is third down conversion success. After converting just 6 of 27 conversions through the first two games, Southern California raised its total to 50 percent in game three, converting 5 of 10 times against B.C.
Game Ball: Tre Madden, who became the first USC running back since Marcus Allen to rush for 100-yards in each of his first three games.
Up Next: Utah State
For the first time in 28 career games, Marqise Lee was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass thrown by someone other than Matt Barkley.
Tre Madden’s 30-yard TD run in the third quarter ended a drought for the period that extended 5 games. USC had last scored offensive points in the third quarter on November 10, 2012, in a victory over Arizona State.
The Trojan offense scored multiple touchdowns in a quarter for the first time since losing 38-28 to UCLA. USC scored two touchdowns in the second quarter of that game.
- Starting in place of the departed Robert Woods, Nelson Agholor has just 6 receptions through 3 games.